Once in a while, I do have to give Vae credit for doing the Right Thing.
As soon as she noticed that her
captives friends had died, she stopped fighting Warrior and all the other heroes and weapons of Jinteros, and teleported herself (and a few attacking weapons that were close enough to her to count as her possessions) over to the mountaintop, and tried to figure out what she could do and if it was actually too late or not.
Digression into Biology
Death by violence occurs when the body is sufficiently battered so that the spirit can no longer hold on to it. After death, the spirit sort of wobbles around in the area for a few minutes, as if hoping that someone will fix the body so it can get back. (Spirits technically have personality but no actual mind, so it’s not literally hoping, but that’s the impression one gets.) And, if the body is healed quickly enough, the spirit happily glomps back onto it. Semi-happily — it still feels awful to have been dead for any length of time.
Incidentally, proper healing magic — with Healoc — lets spirits come back. Improper healing magic — with Mutoc — generally does not. (As I remember the reason from classes a century ago, Healoc restores the body to a prior, healthier state, which the severed spirit finds comforting and comfortable, and will rejoin with. Mutoc-based healing changes the body to a new, but viable, state, which the severed spirit finds alien and upsetting. That’s related to why it hurts so much in ways that numbing-spells don’t help much with, too. (That may not be true but it makes sense to me now. I don’t feel like looking it up.) Anyhow, Vae herself can’t put spirits back in bodies … or rather, she can do it in a bad and approximate way, but she knows better than to do so.
Spirits are very hard to observe for primes, though Kennoc Spiridor spells can manage it. Either Vae can sense them (I don’t know) or she knows enough to give herself that sense at need.
After a while — a few minutes, but the time is variable — the spirit gives up and retreats to the comfort and company of its creator god, who (in some more or less metaphorical sense, and usually by means of servitors rather than in person) cleans it up, pets it, and puts it in storage pending later reuse and reincarnation. At this point, mere healing spells applied to the body don’t restore life: the spirit is far away, and no longer interested in that body. Far mightier spells can reach into the god’s private domain and yoink a spirit back, but that is Serious Magic Indeed and generally not worth the effort for the decedent’s sake.
So, that is the reason that healing spells don’t restore life after a while. There are, of course, other things you can do. Spells like Spirit Tether tie the spirit up and don’t let it go back to the creator god for a few hours. (Permanent versions are available, but that’s a bad idea.) Which prolongs the time that healing spells work for resurrection, though they do tend to leave the decedent rather spiritually battered, more than simply being dead.
(If you wait until the spirit has been reincarnated, it is still possible to grab them back and stuff them into their prior body. That is exceedingly hard for magical reasons — the spirit has to be reincarnated within the few-hundred-mile range of your spell, and you probably want to get the mind back, too. Also for moral reasons — it is, arguably, murder of a newborn child.)
Generally, on the World Tree, we do not approve of the murder of prime children. Fortunately — or somewhat fortunately — we have inculcated this attitude into Vae.
Back to the Battle
So, upon arriving at the corpses of my friends, Vae stared around to see if their spirits were still there and if healing them back together was any possibility.
Yes, yes, no, yes.
Vae, in a rush, with the mighty weapons of Jinteros buzzing around her, put together Spirit Tether variants for Windigar, Ochirion, and Quendry. Now, Spirit Tether is a Ruloc Spiridor spell, and Vae used a Mutoc variant, essentially making the spirits unable to leave the body for a time. This is quite rough on the spirit, especially when it is in an unusually delicate state from having been killed repeatedly — of course the adventurers had Heal the Awful Wound spells, so in fact they had been slain more than once. That’s very bad for the spirit.
Vae is often hard to turn aside when she is motivated. And I cannot really fault her for working hard to save her friends as a general rule; I do it myself, and I should hope that most decent people do. She could see Feralan’s spirit, wobbling off in a preposterous direction towards Mircannis. She decided not to permit him to die.
She tried by two or three means to snag his spirit directly. The more straightforward approaches did no good. So, she took a more drastic approach. She noted a Locador demon in the middle distance: one of the spawn, servitors, or friends of the terrible god “Here”. A Locador demon who had the misfortune to be composed largely of space and spirit. Vae’s space-manipulation powers are her greatest strength. So, she grabbed the demon and mutated it into a sort of vast spiritual spiderweb, and flung it at Feralan.
It caught him.
Vae pulled him back to his body with it. His spirit was thrashing around wildly, getting more and more stuck in the strands that had been Locador demon, trying to escape. But Vae is a cruel monster, and would not allow him to leave to death.
So, that’s what an upset Locador-aspected N. lachrymosa does in place of a Spirit Tether.
Return to Strayway
Vae then teleported in a rushing terrible hurry back to Strayway. She could see the bruises and lesions her tethers were inflicting on the primes’ spirits, and suspected (correctly) that the longer they were dead, the worse off they’d be. So she took the shortest route she could, using very long-range spells indeed, which are none too safe, while a few leftover Jinteros weapons buzzed around her trying to find a chink in her defenses. She ignored them.
She and her cargo flickered from not too far under Ketheria to a parlor in Strayway next to one of my laboratory doors. She paused a moment to pacify my guardians and wards, which she is allowed to do in an emergency (and can do with just a word, as can Phaniet and Kantele and a few others not present).
And then she burst in, carrying four corpses. “Sythyry, Sythyry! Quick must be the healing, the need is great and greater!”
I dropped my istricary in surprise. “Vae! With dead friends of mine!” Or something equally inane. Phaniet, working by my side, barked at her.
The leftover Jinteros weapons, seeing that their main victim was too well-defended for them to touch, pounced on the softest living target in the area, which was poor Phaniet.
Rather unwisely, I leapt in front of her and spread my wings, relying on my own magical defenses to block or blunt their attack, and started casting Bite the Spell’s Head Off, which probably would have dealt with the spare attack.
The Jinteros weapon was faster than I was, though, and superb at getting throough standard Prime-style magical defenses. (Which is why Vae wears so many eccentric ones: not that they work better than the standard ones in general, for they don’t, but they can stop things which know how to penetrate the standard ones.) It killed me before I managed to bite its head off.
I hate when that happens.