Side A – Yasgrid
Sometimes the most powerful healing magic is simply being there for someone. It’s not flashy and exciting. It can be hard to see that it’s doing much good. And it certainly doesn’t feel like it’s a miraculous cure-all.
Nia was still in pain. Her bones were healing, but it would be quite a while before they were as solid as she needed them to be. Her spirit was in much the same shape too.
“I feel terrible,” she said. “I didn’t even think to ask about you yet. I know the last few days haven’t exactly been easy ones for you either.”
“Between the two of us, I’d say I’ve had the easier time of it,” Yasgrid said. “I mean I’m taking the rest of the day as ‘sleep in and recover’ time, but I could get up and wander farther than the door before I collapsed if I wanted to.”
“Hey! I can make it farther than the door too!” Nia said. “I walked here from the front door of the inn. That’s like ten times as far as from the bed to the door over there.”
“I stand corrected,” Yasgrid said with a smile.
“It sounds like you’re laying down corrected,” Nia said. “Tell me what’s been happening. Why are you so wiped out at the moment?”
Yasgrid could see Nia was both genuinely curious and trying to take her mind off the pain which was slowly resurfacing as Doctor Prash’s elixir’s gradually wore off.
“Well, we had the big battle against the army of Troubles,” Yasgrid said. “That was basically the high point of the last couple days. Everything after that has been a lot messier.”
“Yeah, we talked after the fight, Marianne was with you,” Nia said. “Things got worse after that?”
“Not worse precisely, just more complicated,” Yasgrid said and launched into an explanation of her run in with the Fate Dancers, her impromptu Endings-powered surgery on Denar, and mentioned, obliquely at first how she’d revealed that she wasn’t Nia to Naosha, and Kayelle. And also that she’d shown Marianne how she was holding onto the hearts of the defeated Troubles.
“Wow, you do not do things by half measures do you?” Nia said, sitting up in rapt attention, well and truly distracted from her aches and pains.
“I wish I could say I had a plan for all of it, but each moment just sort of lead into the next,” Yasgrid said. “Was I being greedy? It felt right to tell people what I told them, and to do what I did for Denar, but was I just putting an unneeded burden on all of them?”
Nia stared at her in utter bafflement.
“Burden? Yasgrid? I thought I was the one who suffered severe head trauma. You took an incredible risk, but I know for a certainty that none of those people would ever consider it a burden.”
“You’ve never met Denar though, or the other Fate Dancers,” Yasgrid said.
“You saved his life, saved him from unbearable agony. Trust me, whatever the consequences are to what you did, he’s going to be a lot happier as a result than if you’d let him die in misery,” Nia said. “And as for the rest? My mother would have placed me under house arrest if I’d tried to sell that story to her. And Kayelle would have volunteered to stand guard in front of my cell. That they accepted your words at all means they believe you, at least on some level, and that they’re willing to learn who the real you is. That’s unbelievable! You’re amazing!”
“What about Marianne though?” Yasgrid asked. “She seemed a little concerned by what I showed her.”
“Did she stab you?” Nia asked.
“Then she’s not that freaked out,” Nia said. “I mean, I guess I never knew the real her as much as I thought I did. I was infatuated with this vision I had of her, but I wasn’t entirely blind. She’s a lot smarter than she lets on, and she acts plenty smart usually. If she’s worried about the Troubles, that’s balanced by one important fact.”
“What? That they’’re powerless?” Yasgrid asked.
“That it’s you who’s holding them,” Nia said. “She never loved me, but she trusts you. Or did you think she went around stabbing people for just anybody?”
Side B – Nia
Nia enjoyed the expression which crept over Yasgrid’s face. It was as though Yasgrid wanted to object, wanted to demur and downplay her accomplishments, but the truth was too clear to deny.
For all that Yasgrid had known the Darkwoods for only a few weeks, she moved through it and the relationships in Nia’s life with the grace which Nia had always lacked. Far from making Nia jealous, or regretful though, Nia felt only a quiet pride and joy.
Yasgrid’s confrontations with the Fate Dancers weren’t a fight Nia would have picked, but she could stand behind Yasgrid’s decisions fully, even as she wondered whether she would have been brave enough to go against Naosha’s implied wishes as easily as Yasgrid had.
“So where do you think we go from here?” she asked.
“It sounds like you have a concert to go to, if you feel up for making it there?” Yasgrid said.
“I do. Or I’m going at least. Sleeping here would be a lot easier, but if I can’t share the drumming with Margrada, and Belhelen, and Osdora, and all the others, I at least want to be there to cheer them on. I may not be a part of the Shatter Band at the moment, but I can still be on their side.”
“Maybe that’s what I need with the Fate Dancers?” Yasgrid said. “I’m not a part of their group, as the Bearer I’ll always be an outsider to them, but there’s no reason we have to be on different sides. Okay, so fighting together didn’t turn out quite how we expected, but we won! I think I need to show them that we didn’t win in spite of each other but because we’re all on the same side here.”
“I’m not going to be too busy for a while it seems, so if you need any help, you know I’ll be there right?”
Before Yasgrid could respond, the door to Nia’s room opened and Horgi and Grash walked in, carrying a transport lift for one of the large Shatter Drums.
“Hey there, we heard you could use a ride to the concert,” Horgi said.
“And there ain’t no safer ride than in one of these,” Grash said.
“Aww, you guys, you didn’t have to do that!” Nia said. “I know you’ve got to super busy now with setup right?”
“Taking care of own is the most important setup we can do,” Horgi said.
“And to us, you’re family,” Grash said, his eyes glassier than Nia had ever expected to see them.