Rain poured all around her. Soaked through her clothes until they clung to her body. Fell in rivulets down her face, clumping her eyelashes until seeing was almost impossible, no matter how often she wiped the water out of her eyes. But she didn’t stop running. Took the turns in the roads faster than one should in this kind of weather, but she didn’t dare slow down. Not until she got to where she was going. Not when she could feel the way the Worlds mourned as Rhyshladlyn’s Loss and grief rocketed across them, sending the Currents tumbling over each other with sobs and screams. Not when her qahllyn’qir writhed beneath her skin, an itch that only worsened whenever she tried to scratch it; a silent, loud demand that she turn around and go back, that her Qishir needed her.
But she couldn’t go back. Not yet. Maybe not ever. Though given the way her qahllyn’qir was insisting otherwise right now, she doubted that would get any easier with time. After all, she had heard the stories of how Relyt’s own had nearly driven him mad in the years leading up to that pivotal moment when he’d snapped the collar around Rhyshladlyn’s neck.
Everything was so fucked. So very fucked. She was so damned angry at Lílrt. It was clear now that Relyt had died that day in Thae’a’s old house, that the mind spell the Anointed One had enacted in the final seconds before that moment had been rooted in the older Greymend’s death and Nhulynolyn’s life. But why Lílrt had thought that was such a good plan was beyond her. It just made no sense. Not unless he had assumed Relyt’s death was going to be a permanent thing. Not unless he had also assumed Nhulynolyn wasn’t going to die any time soon. But by the Many itself and all the other gods in Existence, Lílrt had placed so much on those two things never getting messed with that it made her doubt whether he was a master strategist. It was such a rookie mistake. Never mind that she had no idea if he had planned for if they ever were before he’d accomplished… who the fuck knew what. He hadn’t even told her he was going to wipe the collective memories of the entire Seven Worlds and anchor that spell into the two most random things for pillars. Any back up plans were unknown to her.
It left her where she was now, running through the streets of some off the road city through the pouring rain. Had her qahllyn to Rhyshladlyn as his Healer. Had her having to deal with that and the knowledge that she had to stop the Anointed One’s spell from failing entirely if it hadn’t already. And she had no idea how she was going to do that without making her qahllyn’qir try and punish her for doing something that put her Qishir in danger, that hurt him. Not when they were already so loud, so itchy, so unsettled just from leaving his side knowing that Nhulynolyn was dead.
Just get to the safe house and find the notes Lílrt dictated to you and go from there. He had to have left me something to help with this mess.
The rain fell harder, if that was even possible, as she ducked beneath the awning of a building. Her breath fogged in the wet air before she shouldered open the door and stepped inside, shivering in the drafty foyer. Pushing her soaking hair out of her face she sighed and made for the stairs at the end of the hallway, ignoring the press of magick that slipped out from the doors to various apartments as she walked by. No one would bother her so she didn’t bother to hide her tracks, to cloak herself. After all, no Dhaoine would believe that one of the Grey Qishir’s qahllyn would come here of all places. Not when it was well known by now that he had lost someone close to him.
No one would believe that she wasn’t in Eyrdo with him like everyone else in the Grey Court. That even though her instincts, driven by the qahllyn and the qahllyn’qir that spoke of who and what she was and to whom, demanded she go back, she had run. Even as a few doors creaked open and then closed again, she didn’t pay it any mind. Knew that no one would accept that they’d seen the Grey Healer struggling to fit a key she hadn’t looked at in four decades into a lock because she needed what the apartment on the other side hid from the Worlds.
Everyone in this multi-home and -family compound knew that it was here that Lílrt had first spoken to a crowd of displaced, poor, broken, tired Dhaoine and gotten the first hundred of many thousands more to stand beside and behind him. To become the army that he would eventually use to imprison Rhyshladlyn for three hundred years. They all knew but none of them said anything. Would know, too, her face and her signature, would recognize it from how often she had been here in the early days, how often she’d been in the later ones, too. And would say nothing.
This was where she kept Lílrt’s notes and spell books and library and apothecary set up for a reason. Here she was surrounded by Dhaoine who were like minded enough not to turn her in and really that was all she needed. Even if they would never stand up and defend her, so long as they didn’t bring the Eighth Qishir’s warriors to her door, she could defend herself.
Thunder shook the building just as she disengaged the wards and got the door unlocked. Slumping against the door as she closed it, Ahdyfe let out of a shaky breath and looked slowly around the open floor living room and kitchen and dining room. She didn’t want to be here, wished more than words that she wasn’t torn between making good on her vow to Lílrt and adhering to the nature that now bound her to Rhyshladlyn.
I made my vow before I knew I was qahllyn, so that’s what will come first. It was bullshit and not remotely how things really worked but she didn’t care. It was all she had to go on because the gods only knew the Anointed One’s stupid ass mind spell could not fail. That if it had already failed she needed to find a way to reengaged it and quickly. Or prepare for the fallout if she couldn’t.
Rubbing her hand over her face before scratching at her itching forearms in annoyance, she pushed off the door and made for the master bedroom and its attached bath suite at the end of the hallway on the other side of the living room, pulling off her wet clothes as she went. First she’d have a nice long hot shower and then she’d get to work. And if she was stalling, well, no one had to know but her.