Donieal's self induced scenario
|Donieal and Mai walked along the market road at a leisurely pace. It had been a nice relaxing day for Don, his first "free" day since arriving at Winding Circle. There had been no lessons on Nature Mages Throughout the Years, no control lessons that left his head pounding, Don hadn't even seen his teachers since breakfast that morning. Most of the day had been spent in Mai's company. Strolling the city and exploring its small but many wonders. Mai turned out to be an excellent guide, not because she knew anything about the town since she was as green as he, but because she revealed in everything. From the smelly fish market down on the docks to the meticulously ordered fashion of the uptown stores with their overpriced crystals, powders, and other costly fair, Mai drank it all in and marveled at their wonder. It was hard not to have a fantastic day with her shining optimism around.
Don could not remember the last time he had smiled so much. The fact his facial nerves weren't in spasm from overuse was remarkable. The duo were passing a small tart stand when Mai caught him up short. "Awww, look at that poor wretch. She can't be much older than either of us, yet she looks to be about at the end of her days." Don's gaze swept over the unkempt pile of rags Mai had referenced. The woman in question was hunched over near the mouth of the alley. Her dirty arms were hugging her knees. Long and stringy brown hair concealed her face from view. At first it was hard to distinguish where her hair ended and her clothes, if they could be called that, began. The dress she wore looked to be little more than a score of rags haphazardly stitched together into a patchwork of misery. Small dirt and mud caked feet jutted out from under the makeshift apparel.
Don shrugged, not overly concerned, there were loads of beggars back home, hardly noticeable unless you nearly ran over one. "I'm sure she's fine, probably just resting in the shade." At the sound of his voice the beggar woman raised her head, eyes wide. There was a keen alertness in her vision that made Don give pause. "El...Elmura?" It couldn't be.
"You know her?" He turned to find Mai peering at him curiously and will more than a hint of surprise.
"I'm not sure," he mused. He stepped closer to the tart stand and the woman. She twitched as if sensing a threat and moved closer to the mouth of the alley, bracing her arm behind her as if prepared to leap up and run. Don stopped his advance and put up his hands palms out, placatingly. "It's ok, It's ok, I just think I know you. Is your name Elmura?" The female simply stared at him, confusion battling in her eyes. Now that they were closer Don could see she was little more than a girl, 14, 15 at the most.
"Some people call me that," the girl spoke. "At least, some people used to call me that." The confusion that had begun to wan a bit returned in gusto. She began to whirl her head around and side to side as if looking for something or some one.
"Get out of here you loon!" A plump and flustered woman came to their side of the booth and began shooing the beggar away. "Away with ya, afore I call the market guards. Your stench is bad for business."
"Wait," Don interceded before he quite knew what he was doing. "She's with me." The tart seller looked at him in pure shock, but measured her voice before she spoke again.
"Well it would do kindly for you to distance her from my wares. I have to make a living here, how ever miserly it may be."
"Yes of course." Don said cordially and paid her for a few of her choicer looking tarts. Mai had managed to calm the girl down and was raising her to her feet. Don placed the largest tart in her dirty hands. "Come with us Elmura, I think we can help you."
"Help me? You want to help me? Who am I? Do you even know me?"
"Well yes sweetie, he knows your name doesn't it, surely he must know you." Mai said soothingly, like you would to a mare that had just be spooked by a snake in the road. She even rubbed the girls arm as you might a horses muzzle. It had the desired affect. Elmura began to chew the tart and did not protest as they led her down the road to Daja's house.
Back at the house Mai had taken the young woman to her quarters, cleaned her up a bit and given her a plain linen shift to wear. Don reheated some of Briars hearty veggie meat soup from the night before and encouraged Elmura to eat. She had eaten all the tarts and inhaled the soup and three hefty slices of bread before practically collapsing into a tired coma. She hadn't spoken much, just a few unintelligible phrases about time pieces and whereabouts while Mai had wiped the worst of the grime from her pale features.
"How do you know her?" Mai asked, as they watched the sleeping girl.
"From back home in Emelan. Her family lives in my town. Last I saw her she had just married the local butcher. That must have been a little over a year ago now. How did she end up all the way here?"
"I don't know and I doubt she'll be able to tell you. Doesn't sound like all her eggs are in the basket, poor girl." Mai frowned sympathetically. She was so cute when she cared.
"You're probably right, but there may be a way for me to ease her mind. At least mellow it out a bit so she can tell us how she got here and my she left Emelan."
"How are you going to do that?"
"It's hard to explain. Basically I manipulate the fluid around her brain and use it like healing water to sooth aches and nerve pains." Mai nodded slowly as if she sort of understood but was still lost. That was to be expected, Don wasn't even sure himself how it worked but he had seen it done. He decided not to mention that this would be his first time attempting the procedure. He didn't want Mai thinking he was a novice at everything. Without taking time to reflect on the possible outcomes to this endeavor Don placed his one hand on the top of Elmura's head and the other on her cheek not pressed against the sofa cushions she rested on. Closing his eyes and taking a deep breath Don plunged into his magic and through it gained access into Elmura's pores and through her skin. He floated along with his magic in the blood stream of a random vein, straight to the heart. All veins leaded to the heart. Following his knowledge of the human body he was able to locate a spine nerve not far from the aorta. He exerted a bit of control to force his magic self to leap from the blood to the nerves. Flowing up the spine in spastic nerve motions he landed at the base of the brain. The manifestation of Elmura's mind lay before him. A dense and eerie fog floated over dark murky water. Magic Don stood at the edge of the water and tried to look past the fog to the brain that had to be settled directly in the middle of the lake. Exerting more of himself into his magic his senses sharpened until he could just make out the faint outline of some texturized figure some 100 yards from where he stood.
He wasn't sure how he knew, probably nature magicians instinct, but there was the sinking feeling that he should not disturb anything here. Any one could tell this was a dark place and he hadn't a clue how to lighten it up. "That's it," he spoke to himself and no one in particular. "Light." He called a small globe of mind fire to existence. Just bright enough to get a better look at the fog. Nothing special, just dense grey matter, lighter than air. Taking a lesson from Daja he imagined he was a bellows and blew the fog away, clearing a path. That obstruction gone, his mind fire glowed brighter, hotter. Elmura's brain appeared small, shriveled, and charred in several places. Don knew this wasn't what her actual brain looked like, what he saw was just a magical representation of her affected thought patterns and cycles. Drawing closer, magic Don glided over and through the water surrounding the misshapen mass. Covering himself in the lake water, Don softly landed on a charred patch and slowly allowed himself to sink into the burnt section of brain.
A wooden bakers paddle brought down heavy in front of his face. Flashes of black and white light, remnants of pain echoed through him. Through Elmura. Intense in recollection, Don could only imagine how painful the real event must have been. A boot, aimed at his midsection, his groin, his head. Blackness for a while after that, then the bakers paddle was back the scene replayed. Don quickly extricated himself from the memory. If he was in a real body he was sure he would be panting and sweating from exertion. Where they all like that? He had to see, slowly, one by one he relieved Elmura's torturous encounters with her husband, the butcher. After about the 20th memory he could take no more. He laid in the shallow end of the recesses of Elmura's pool of brain fluid and caught his breath. He wanted to leave, run far away from those horrible images. Frightening memories. He could run and never look back, but Elmura couldn't. She would be forever trapped with those thoughts, that history. He had to help. Squashing his fear, calculated reserve, and educational reason Don expanded his small globe of mind fire until it blazed warm and bright in the mind cavern he currently resided in. Stretching and flexing his magic muscles he sent the globe of fire to hover over the dark splotched matter full of hateful memories. After a final instant of hesitation he lowered the fire onto Elmira's brain and worked with it to cover the brain and infuse it with a new light. He burned out the dark spots with his bright fire, creating a new brand. One as smooth and clear as fresh polished brass. That done he stepped back to gaze at his work. Elmura's brain, thought still too small was blemish free.