The Woman Who Counseled Pharaohs
On Tuesday morning, I make a visit to the health-bay at Ochre. As Merith turn to greet me, I notice that her ink-colored hair has grown, eclipsing the bob that she used have, granting her a less severe look. But her eyes, eyes that have seen countless millenia remain the same: brown, compassionate and ever-knowing.
“Are you sick?” She asks, with a certain dry humor. Dry, because as long as Verde resides in my body I will not age, will not get sick, will leave to see the stars changing. Of course, unbid, goes the fact if someone ever tried to separate Verde from me, I’d die. As Tam Linn reminded me of so recently.
“I am not sick”, I respond. “Although”, I continue in the same vein,”I have a certain problem, one that I hoped that you could help me with”, I add, after a pause. “Oh?”
I fidget somewhat as she dials up the scrutiny with those eyes. “Your magic- you can absorbs other people’s magic, correct?” Merith nods. “And when you do that, the people who have lost their magic, they become normal?”
She leans back in her svivel-chair. “It depends really. I cannot take away the immortality of of those supernaturals that does not age, because that characteristic is infused into their very cells if you’d like. But the more active traits, in contrast to those passive, those I can hinder, albeit momentarily.”
Active…. I clear my throat. “So if you had an supernatural out of control, one whose abilities are powered by magic, an active use of it, you could shut them down?”
Merith gives me a cold smile. “That’s what I did to some of Helena Gravsten’s undead.” “Of course”, she adds a heartbeat later,” my magic is limited in that sense that I have to use what I absorb, effectively putting a finite cap on it.” / A truly heavenly form of magic. There are supernaturals out there that can mimic other supernaturals. But to think that she can absorb and use other magics?/ I shiver inwards. It’s a good thing she’s on our side.
“I…. you have heard about Tam Linn right? His… little visit?” I ask, gingerly. Merith, sensing something of my mood, pats my shoulder. I decide to tell her what I haven’t told Greyscale, haven’t told Hermann. “He’s going to kill me if I don’t get better control of my magic.”
Erim Yazar strolls by the health-bay when he hears something intriguing. “… kill me if don’t get better control of my magic.”
Merith’s mouth opens. “Surely…” she stops. “No, I think that one actually would. Have you told anyone? Hermann?” She emphasises Hermann’s name. I shake my head mutely. “Good.” At my questioning look, she continues.
“Hermann is logical in most ways, but not when it comes to you. He’d fight Tam Linn, not like in the glade, but for real. And who could ever predict the outcome of a fight like that?”
“That’s exactly why I haven’t told him, and why I wanted to ask you if you could help me train?” Merith frowns, before her features abruptly smoothens out. “You want to use more of Verde’s magic, and when you go out of control, you want me to siphon off the excess, is that it?”
“Very well…” Merith immediately outlines a schedule, one that I agree to after some modification. I exit the nursery-bay and head for the black toilets. Midway, I am stopped by my least favorite person, Erim Yazar.
I will, quite grudgingly, admit that he’s not that bad. That he showed up at my party was the result of manipulations, not because he actually wanted to crash it. “Hey Rune”, he opens with. “Hi”, I respond, somewhat wary of his ouverture.
“I…” he starts, before closing his mouth. “Look, I think that the two of us got on the wrong track. I know myself, and I pretty sure I said something fucking rude and you got offended” he says matter-of-fact before I have time to add my cents,” but I overheard you talking to Merith.”
I stop breathing for a moment.
I quickly glance right; then left. “Did you now?” I say, opting for a stalling technique. Dammit, what do I say now? His next words shock me.
“… and I want to help you.” “And how”, I wonder, not quite sardonic,” could you help me?” Crap, now I have tacitly confirmed it. “My magic has to do with song and rythm. I can… calm people down when they’re angry or out of control, among other things”, Erim maintains.
/Can you afford to turn down an offer of help? Truly?/ I stare at Erim silently, weighing the scales, uncertain of what to do. /Remember, Merith will be with you, should he attempt something untoward./ Untoward? /He says that he has the ability to calm people down.If he can do that, who is to say that he can’t enflame a person’s passions to unbearable degree?/Hmm.
Even with that… I do need help. For a moment I see them in front of me. Greyscale, Hermann, Elena, the rest of 1A. Wounded, dead or hurt in a battle against Tam Linn. Because of me. That prospect hardens me.
“Alright, you can help me. But don’t tell anyone about this. Promise it, on claw, spell, fang and sword. Promise it on fastened roads and forgotten realms. Promise it by the prince of lies, the wyrm of midnight, the priestess of the temples and the firstborn of the blood”, I demand.
Erim swears the oath without reluctance, although he hesitates somewhat when he mentions the name of the Council members.