Mirrored from Sythyry.
Nangbang took the children back to the sky-bridge and kept them from seeing or hearing the maiming and the assorted surrounding drama, of which there was a great deal. (Nangbang, because, not too many years ago, he had a child of the same age.) I very much wished I could stay back with the children and not be involved in the maiming and the assorted surrounding drama myself.
Ochirion: “What is Sythyry going to do Mommy and Mommy?”
Nangbang: “Zie’s going to hurt them enough to satisfy law and justice, so zie doesn’t have to kill them.”
Ochirion: “Are we going to see Mommy and Mommy any more?”
Nangbang: “Yes, a lot.”
Feralan: “Do we have to go live with Vae and be wild children again, and get stirred up with the dark grid more?”
Nangbang: “No. You’ll live with a nice comfortable safe Cani family, in Oorah Thrassen.”
Feralan: (cries and kind of giggles)
Nangbang: (comforts as best he can)
This is the horrible part.
Me: “Here is a serrated meat-knife with a sharp glass blade. Thiane, you will now cut off Zascalle’s ears and hand them to me.” I cast a twisty little Locador spell as I gave it to her.
(The other choice had been to do it myself. I have never actually done this surgery in my Healer’s Guild duties, but I have done other surgeries. Crueler to make them do it to each other, I think. Harder, too.)
Thiane took the knife, and, utterly unsurprisingly, tried to stab me with it. My twisty little Locador spell flipped her to the ground, with the knife missing me by several yards. Kzip giggled.
Me: “You’re not particularly making me feel more merciful, Thiane.”
Actually getting her to do it took many more minutes and various forms of persuasion I found exceedingly distasteful. (Kzip offered to help, but I did not let her.) I preferred those minutes to watching Mynthë die, or Dustweed, but elsewise they rank among the worst minutes of my life. I cauterized her ear-stubs with my breath, not because it’s a particularly good way to do so — it’s not — but because I thought I wanted to do some direct violence to Zascalle.
Then, bloody-headed Zascalle’s turn to cut Thiane’s ears off. She did it quickly and accurately, perhaps because she knew how much Thiane’s half-hearted sawing had hurt. Then she whirled and threw the ears off the edge of the balcony. “You may have me, but you’ll never have Thiane!”
One more cley, for a levitation spell to return the ears to me. Zascalle looked devastated.
La Hish: “You do know that wouldn’t have worked anyways? Sythyry could have just cut off her tail zirself, or her thumbs, or something else expendable.”
Another cley to stop Thiane’s ear-stubs from bleeding, nicely this time. I somehow am less angry with her than with Zascalle. Probably because she surrendered and Zascalle didn’t exactly.
Then, because I am a wicked and manipulative wizard — or at least can be when I absolutely need to — I bound two ear-healing spells to a pair of buttons.
Me: “Now, accept these bound spells, and keep these buttons. They will grow your ears back … when Saza triggers them.”
Saza: “And I am in no hurry at all to use them. An injury done to my dear coz is an injury done to me, and it is only fitting that you shall wear injuries in reprisal!”
Me: “Still, when you deem it advisable, they may have new ears. Of course, as Thiane well knows, the ears we already have will be perfectly excellent connections to you … forever.”
Thiane: “We understand. We accept this punishment.” Cani are generally pretty good at submission when they need to be.
Zascalle: “We do no such thing! What of Feralan? He needs tending, he needs curing!”
Saza: “It just so happens that I am a wizard of considerable skill and experience — more than Sythyry even. And I am not very busy at the moment; nobody wants to have a war with Oorah Thrassen just now, for, as noted, I am a wizard of considerable skill and experience. So I shall be investigating the matter for Sythyry.” Zie winked at me. “For a suitable contracting fee!” A suitable contracting fee which covers his full debt to Grinwipey, compensation for taking Zascalle and Thiane and the children, actual payment for research on Feralan, and then somewhat more.
Zascalle glared at Saza. Saza smirked at Zascalle.
Me: “If my dear coz lets me know that you have misbehaved more — or if zie somehow mysteriously vanishes; I should not be surprised if you add murder to your list of iniquities — I shall exact a terrible revenge upon you. I have been taking lessons from Vae, after all. “
And I hereby write in big letters, in case I am unclear about the matter later on and need to remind myself …
I am very very angry at Zascalle and Thiane! They deserve all of this, and more!
I am also feeling utterly miserable about the whole thing. I think I did an adequate job of punishing them … did I? I could certainly go back and do more, and nobody would think it the least bit improper. But it was only money — admittedly, the profits of a century’s enchantment work, which is not so little labor even for an immortal — and admittedly the funds I use to support many people, as well as various recreations. Also it was a betrayal by people I had supported and befriended for years.
I have no idea. I cannot measure the power and complexity of justice, or revenge, as I would a spell.