Sythyry (sythyry) wrote,

Plague Ship [14 Hispis 4385]

The nycathath was rather nonplussed by Grinwipey's outburst. "Forgive me, but I don't understand." (I didn't understand a lot of the words either, except 'anaphoresis', and that didn't make sense the way Grinwipey was using it.)

"You're trying to lure us over for the old murderburger 'n flinch flies, sure as the dashitzie," explained Grinwipey.

"I beg your pardon?"

Rheng smirked. "You plan to bring us to the back of the Doöaru inistella. Then you kill those who go there. After that, you come back here and kill the rest of us. The profit? A very nice prime sky-yacht, even if the inistella cannot fit inside it."

The nycathath flapped his wings. "I intend no such iniquity!"

"Precisely what someone who intended such an iniquity would say!" noted Phaniet.

"My companions have a point. To wit: why would five wise Rassimel philosophers be caught unawares by the plague?" I asked.

"Who would expect that contagion could come to us, so deep in the sky?" asked the nycathath. "And they were tired for some time before; perhaps they were not aware of their disease, or perhaps they were too tired to understand the peril that they were in."

"Hoi, snoofter-doofting bat boy, I ain't been churfing my scruffles all night. I understand what peril I'm in," said Grinwipey. "And if'n you don't give up that chuppy little pot of turd-lard story of yours and at least come up with something interesting, I ain't even gonna give you the gun-blundered time o' day."

"Then I shall demonstrate my bona fides in terms that cannot be denied!" thundered the nycathath. He leapt off the balcony, his wings booming as they smashed the sky.

"One does pick up the oddest little bits of sky-wrack when one travels this far from Ketheria," I noted, when he was not quite out of earshot.

"Not greatly do I trust the beast!" said Vae, "Not likely is he to remain departed!" She clawed a few splinters off the edge of the balcon, and turned them into massive glass cardinals with razor-edged tentacles, and black Locador spikes crowning from their heads.

"I imagine the next move is for the inistella to try to crush us," I guessed. "Unless they're trying to capture the yacht altogether." I called to Windigar to escape energetically if the star island came any closer than the quarter-mile -- viz. one body-length -- it already was. I don't know how fast an inistella can pounce.

It didn't. The nycathath flew back to Doöaru, stomped into a hut, and came out with a stripey parcel in his arms. A quadrupedal horror bound it to his chest with some sort of spell. The nycathath spread his huge wings and flew leadenly towards us.

Kantele stared at it. "Or we might be wrong."

The nycathath approached, holding something that looked -- as best as we could tell -- like a sleeping Rassimel woman dressed rather informally. It was impossible to determine if she was a philosopher or not at this distance, though. He roared, "Again, I request that I may land upon your deck, and my dear sick friend Kazrie oa Stamps with me?"

"Yes, of course," I said. Vae's glass birds perched massively on the balcony, glaring at the monster -- the foreign monster, not their creatrix, who was busy turning the thready breezes into coiled serpentine distortions of distance, ready to strike at need.

The nycathath landed with a thump, and cradled the Rassimel woman in his arms. "The situation is straightforward and wholly innocent. I do nothing the least bit dishonorable."

"Yeah, yeah, that's what I always say when the guard catches me carrying an unconscious Rassy," said Grinwipey.

I spread my wings to fly towards the woman, for medical reasons. Phaniet grabbed my tail. "Careful, Sythyry. It's probably some trickier trap, like Wipey asked for."

"Right. Stupid of me," I said. I stared at the Rassimel-looking bundle with three senses, and the Eye of Mirizan and Melizan. "It looks like a sick Rassimel woman with a don't-fall spell on her."

"Right," hissed Rheng. "Monster, put the woman down there. Then retreat to the other end of the balcony."

The nycathath frowned. "Prime courtesy has its own distinctive flavor."

"Is that why you consider this 'Kazrie' woman your dear friend?" asked Phaniet.

"She is an exception," admitted the monster.

Vae hissed angrily and lashed her tail, dripping with strange Locador spells. "Not discourteous are my primes! Not happily will I endure their insulting, thou wicked beast!"

The nycathath sat on the far end of the balcony, crossing his arms, crossing his legs, and looking generally quite cross. "I am here as a barely-tolerated guest asking for a favor, and so I shall not investigate in any detail about precisely who is insulting precisely whom. I shall endure insults and worse, for the sake of Kazrie and the others."

Yerenthax and Rheng and some curling intangible discontinuities in space interposed themselves between me and the nycathath. Vae ripped her earmuffs off and stood by my side as I inspected my patient. Or, rather, as I checked her basic life signs (pulse: slow and weak. Breathing: slow and weak. Fur: limp and unlustrous. Temperature: cool, but that might be due to a recent flight. Eyes: closed, and dim and blank when I pried an eyelid open. Urine: unavailable.) I didn't quite remember if there was anything I needed to do about the plague, besides the basic spell. I didn't think so. But I hadn't looked at the topic in over a century.

So I cast Wake from Mircannis’ Endless Slumber in the obvious way. It is not possible to forget a spell, since spells are artificial limbs grafted onto one's psyche. But it is possible how to forget how to use one well, as with any other artificial limb one has not used or even thought about in a century.

She woke up promptly, opened her eyes, and stared at me. "Who are you, and what have you done with my village?"

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