Side A – Nia
Nia wanted only a few things more than she wanted to watch whatever Osdora was going to do the Wailer who’d cornered Margrada. Margrada, however, was of another mind, one which involved listening to Osdora’s directions.
“Get her back to the inne safe,” Osdora said as the Wailer let go of Margrada’s arm and squared off against Osdora.
“We should stay and help her fight,” Nia said, trying to catch a glimpse of what was happening through the crowd Margrada was putting between them and their pursuers.
“That is the last thing we should do,” Margrada said. “You’re still so broken a stiff breeze would snap you in half, and I’d just be a liability.”
“How would you be a liability?” Nia asked. “You already waded into their den and handed them a beating. We can take those jerk if we need to.”
Nia suspected that Margrada wasn’t wrong about the ‘stiff breeze’ comment, but one thing Naosha M’Kellin had taught her daughters, though she never meant to, was that even if you couldn’t win through direct means, you could always fight for what you believed in.
“Your mother has experience with these people,” Margrada said. “She’s been here before and she can iron things out. If I’m there though, it’ll just be a reminder that more of them are going to be in the hospital than us.”
Nia didn’t have a counter argument for that right away, but she dearly wished she could find one.
“There’s only one of her there though,” Nia said. “What if they do remember what the count is and decide to use her to even the score?”
“I think she’ll be okay,” Margrada said. “She said they’d probably come after us. She also said was looking forward to it. It was kinda scary to be honest.”
“She doesn’t even have a drum with her though,” Nia said, knowing that she was beyond making rational appeals and well into whining.
“Yeah, I thought of that too,” Margrada said. “It didn’t seem like she needed or wanted one though.”
“That’s because she’s too stubborn!” Nia said. “She’s going to get herself killed!”
“I don’t think so,” Margrada said. “She was very calm and practical when we talked. I’d call it serious but she wasn’t grim, just focused.”
“Did you tell her you were going to the Wailers?” Nia asked, wondering why Margrada and Osdora had been talking in the first place.
“I said I was going see if I could find out who’d jumped you in the alley,” Margrada said. “I kind of promised her that I’d be careful and just ask a few questions. Not dig too deep, or get in trouble. She might be a little unhappy with me when she catches up to us I guess?”
“If she didn’t expect you to get into a fight, why did she meet us back there?” Nia asked.
“I don’t know. I thought we were going to meet up at Doctor Prash’s place,” Margrada said. “She had her own errands to run and then she was going to check in on you again.”
“Errands?” Nia asked.
“Yeah, she said she was going to visit an ex-girlfriend,” Margrada said. “Someone named Drokka?”
“Drokka?” Doctor Prash turned to them wide-eyed, halting their flight through the streets. “As in the High Executioner Drokka Feldspark?”
Side B – Yasgrid
Marianne was Yasgrid’s last visitor of the day. Yasgrid didn’t comment on the fact that Marianne had changed her outfit completely since they’d last met. Or that Marianne’s hair looked freshly washed. Having an ally who occasionally needed to clean a copious quantity of blood off themselves wasn’t an entirely disagreeable thing Yasgrid decided.
“Thanks,” she said, in theory referring to the plate of fresh food Marianne had brought but meaning it in a far broader sense which Marianne seemed to pick up on from the sparkle in her eyes.
“It was the least I could do,” Marianne said, referring to the fact that it had been her idea to go talk to the Fate Dancers in the first place.
“Any new word on Denar?” Yasgrid asked.
“Not yet,” Marianne said. “I am no longer on the allowed entry list for the Fate Dancer encampment or I would have spoken to him myself.”
“I should be up and about tomorrow,” Yasgrid said. “Maybe I’ll send a message to let them know that I’ll be swinging by for a house call if we don’t hear something sooner?”
“The question is whether what we hear from them can be trusted,” Marianne said. “After you finished up, they had a bit of a disagreement about what you’d done.”
“How disagreeable were they?” Yasgrid asked.
“Not enough to require anything vital be perforated,” Marianne said.
“I’m happy to hear that,” Yasgrid said after a moment’s consideration. “You shouldn’t have needed to perforate anything for me.”
“I know,” Marianne said. “I explained that to them. As it was entirely their fault. Hopefully the scar tissue will act as a helpful reminder in the future.”
“Are you okay though?” Yasgrid asked. Marianne didn’t seem injured but wounds could happen in all sorts of hard to see places.
“You don’t need to worry about me,” Marianne said.
“Maybe not. Still going to though,” Yasgrid said.
“You may want to warn me the next time you do whatever it was that you did with Denar then,” Marianne said. “It was a bit alarming let’s say, to be watching it from the outside.”
“Sorry, that wasn’t entirely planned,” Yasgrid said. “It just seemed like it was something that needed to be done.”
“Could you have saved the boy if you’d done anything else?” Marianne asked.
“No. Not him or the Trouble,” Yasgrid said.
“Then you don’t need to apologize, do you?” Marianne said. “Although I’m curious what you mean about saving the Trouble? What did you do to them, exactly?”
“They were merging together,” Yasgrid said. “Neither one could survive without the other by the time we got to them, but the two were incompatible, destroying each other as they fought to survive.”
“That sounds like something that would turn out poorly if the Trouble won that battle,” Marianne said.
“That’s why I had to cut them apart,” Yasgrid said.
“I thought they would die if they were separated?”
“They would have. Which is why I stitched together the missing pieces in Denar with the threads of the Trouble’s magic. The Trouble itself just needed another host once it was freed from the bonds of magic it was formed from.”
“And what host did you deliver it to?” Marianne asked, her eyes growing hard and narrow.
“The only one I had who could make an informed choice in the matter,” Yasgrid said holding out her hand and calling forth the only remnant of the Trouble which remained from within herself.