“…Rune?” “Mhmm”, I mutter, enjoying the soft sheets that I lie on. That enjoyment only lasts until my last memories reassert themselves with a bang. The Hangar. We were attempting to see what I could with some help. There was a scream.
/I have, using your last memories, attempted to construct some semblance of a picture. The voice that screamed was feminine.Rune… it was Sara Eksjö./ I screw my eyes shut even more tightly. A normal coming onto a scene like that? Explaining Merith’s presence and Erim’s drums might have been possible, but how to explain my form and shape?
“Rune, can you hear me?” I nod in the direction of Merith’s voice. “Don’t try to sit quite yet”, she starts as I ignore her advice and do sit up. A headache from hell and I see stars, but sure, I am sitting up. “What happened? Why did Erim stop the drums?” I ask.
“Sara Eksjö came inside the Hangar at the same time you were supposed to handle the magic on your own. Erim instantly used his magic to put her to sleep. Without his aid you went on a rampage. You lept high into the sky and I took your away magic without finesse. You crashed down and broke your left leg.”
I glance down at the aformentioned leg which to me seems unwounded. /My magic probably sustained you once you were unconscious. But you have bigger problems to consider./ You mean Sara?
“My leg is fine”, I state, before continuing,”but what about Sara? And where is Erim?” Merith pulls out a chair that creaks softly and sits in it while obviously contemplating how to phrase her answer. “I sent Erim home. His settlement forbids him from attacking normals. Once the truth comes out, and I expect the truth to come out sooner rather than later, you will tell them that I was the one to take out Sara.”
“But… why…” I ask, my mind not functioning with my usual edge. Verde sighs./Must she spell it out for you? Erim lives by the forbearance of another and he was on thin ice BEFORE he struck a mortal. And with the Censure and Tam Linn’s presence here..../ “Alright, I get it”, I tell Merith.
/No Rune, I fear that you do not get it. Erim’s failing in this was attacking Sara. Merith should have ensured that the Hangar was locked, or that you had picked a better locale. But who was the revealer? The principial offender?/
I swallow audibly. “Where… where is Sara?” Merith drags a curtain around a bed. The health-bay, of course we’re at the health-bay. Where else would Merith hide me?
Sara lies on a bed, much like me, but unlike me, there is a large contraption next to her. Each time she breathes, it pings. “Is she…?” I don’t know how to end the question. “No”, Merith simply says. “Whatever Erim did to her and the drugs I gave her… she’s in a coma, for now.”
“What will you do to her?” Her response frightens me, for the truth of it mirrors my fear. “I don’t know. We cannot let her retain her memories of what happened, but the favors I called at the Bonfire Ball have been called, and I cannot in good conscience force Morpheus to come here again, not that he would listen. If she dies… Tam Linn and the human authorities will ask questions we can’t afford.”
“You sound so cold”, I say in protest. Her eyes flashes toward me. “`You say that I sound cold, Rune Fallowfell, but that is because the future of Fallowfell might be balanced on this decision. Should Tam Linn find out, he could, under the rules of Censure, execute us all. Now, I don’t feel like dying, and you can be certain that Greyscale and Hermann would do more than protest when Linn places your head on the chopping block. And what about Erim? The teachers of Ochre are sworn to keep their charges safe– whatever your feelings for them are, can you imagine Gomagog, Perenelle or Corazon abandoning their oaths?”
I shake my head, mutely. “So the death of one girl, is to me, acceptable if it means the rest of Fallowfell will survive. If it helps you sleep better, Rune, then I can say this isn’t the first time I have had to shoulder the death of thousands.”
I nod, not trusting myself to say something that will enrage Merit and exit the health-bay. No, exit isn’t the word. Flee is more like it. I walk, dazed and confused through Ochre, until I reach the library.
Its dodecahedronian walls envelope me in silence, and I pull out a fantasy-book, one about a supercontinent haunted by world-sweeping storms and orders of knights who have to follow oaths. I flick through pages, taking in a world so much different than ours, but with people that have the same troubles like us.
Before long I put it down. I can’t concentrate. Merith might kill Sara, and in a way its all my fault. I have to make it right.Verde?/Yes?/Who do I know that can heal Sara?/ Time passes before Verde replies, reluctantly./ You will not find the answer to your liking; only Perenelle could do, and that’s a big maybe, mind you./
Ever since I was told about the Black Death, what Perenelle did during the Dark Ages, my French-lessons have been stilted. I am not stupid; I recognize that Greyscale, Hermann, Gomagog and the other have killed in their lifetimes, but they have done so to protect themselves. What Perenelle did was different- she went out on a limb to destroy and kill as many humans as she could. Yet… I am no hypocrite. She helped save my life, and I need her help, and accepting that help while quietly dispising her would be the hallmark of hypocrisy.
I get up to find her.