Hurrying [20 Hispis 4385]
Everybody:"We want city walls and no more pirates! Can't we get to Eigrach faster?"
Me:"We're already flying all the time." I am, rather guiltily, standing two shifts (18 hours) as pilot. This is not, strictly speaking, approved by the guild, but I am sure to get a full shift's sleep (9 hours) after each one. Windigar, whose attitude towards time is rather more sensible than mine, is standing the other one, split in two 4.5-hour halves so I can get my nine hours of sleep between them.
Everybody:"No! Faster, faster, faster!"
Me and Vae:"Yes, but it's not a wonderfully good idea."
Everybody:"Do it! We have surely run out of doom for this leg of the voyage!"
Me and Vae:"Doom is not an exhaustable resource."
Phaniet:"Well, if we do thus-and-so, or such-and-such, the dangers are scarce, are they not?" She is my assistant for very good reasons.
Me and Vae:"Yes... Scarce ... well, more scarce. "
Me and Vae:"Well, um, OK..." Neither of us is particularly a leader, nor particularly good at denying our friends.
Two-thirds of an hour later, we were in the sky eight miles over Eigrach. Most of the two-thirds of the hour was discussing details with Phaniet. The travel was only a few minutes. Locador magic is very effective and powerful magic.
The reason one does not generally use this much Locador on a skyboat, especially a skyboat containing as much Locador as Strayway does, poked a dozen mile-long black fingery spikes (Technically, I believe that it has only a single finger-spike, but that it is in several places at once) though the injury our skyboat had left in the world's outer rind. Which isn't actually part of the world per se; it's just a sort of a coating or shell just outside the world that keeps nasty things from coming in and bothering us. Except, of course, when we wound it by too much Locador magic. Locador magic is very effective and powerful magic, and that means that it has consequences now and then.
Vae:"Oh, dearie, to be sure. The trouble and a half it is, when such a thing comes to visit."
Phaniet:"I was wrong, wasn't I?"
Me:"Yes." I'm usually nicer to her.
Phaniet:"What do we do?"
Vae:"The fighting. The troublesome fighting. If we are lucky, a god will come to us and help us."
Phaniet:"Is that likely?"
Vae:"If Oixe had not been with me the other time I faced one, yes, probably Flokin would have chased the being off after I died."
Phaniet:"Oixe isn't with you now."
Me:"I'll do what I can." I'm not nearly as dangerous as Oixe -- for that matter, Vae isn't nearly as dangerous as Oixe.
Vae and the Vindication -- which is surely an unusual name for such a creature, but it is what I called it, short for "Vindication that I Was Right And One Should Not Overdo It With The Locador." -- got into a bit of a battle royale. The basic disagreement was over whether the sky-wound was to be big enough for the whole of the Vindication to come through (the Vindication's opinion), or not (Vae's opinion). The sky-wound obeyed them both quite happily. I tried my best relevant spell. The sky-wound ignored me.
So, the Vindication tried to distract Vae. It shattered one of its finger-spikes, and sent the shards as spiralling darknesses to attack her directly. I tried to stop them with spells, but they ignored me. Vae, who is much stronger and more experienced at this sort of thing, was able to block them, but at the cost of many seconds -- during which the Vindication had stretched the sky-wound much wider. We could see its four eyes peering at us, arranged in an equilateral pentagon with eleven mismatched sides.
Vae started tugging the sky-wound closed. The Vindication let her, and shattered another finger-spike. (I'm not sure how this works if it has only one finger-spike. Confusing abomination, that Vindication.)
That simply would not do. If Vae blocked the shards, the Vindication would open the sky-wound enough to get its whole head through, and then the rest of it, and that would not be particularly good. If she didn't, we would all die quickly from the shards, which was certainly preferable but still not a good idea. And Vae was the only one of any use in this fight, and she was overwhelmed by the Vindication's speed.
I'm not Oixe; I don't have any fraction of her native violence. But I do understand time reasonably well. I cast Dancing in the Garden of Statues on her. She seemed to teleport eleven inches that way, presumably because she wasn't quite standing still when she was Dancing. The attacking shards had become peanuts and show tunes all at once from her defensive spells. And the top of the sky-wound had gotten a bit stitched up; she must have had a bit more time than she needed.
So I cast Dancing three more times on her, giving her two full minutes and some to do whatever she wanted without the Vindication interfering. I would have kept casting, except after the third, she left a note saying "The we have won already" over my eyes.
I looked. The sky-wound was closed. Scarred terribly, as always with Vae's Mutoc-based healing, but closed enough to keep the Vindication out.
Arfaen:"I thought I saw some ... black lightning or something? Any idea what it was, Sythyry?"
Vae:"Not a thing to worry about was it."
And so we didn't.
But I don't want to hurry that way again.