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Mindwalk Aftermath

Lirriel's picture

Darnassus came alive at night, when the kaldorei were most active. Normally, that would be a blessing to Rhiswyn. Instead, she wound through the streets, trying to ignore the low pulsing in her head that made looking at the lights hurt and noises painful.

She wearily smiled to the innkeep as she made her way up to her room. In the years since joining the Alliance, the night elves had added spaces for people who preferred walls. Three sides of the space Rhiswyn rented were enclosed, the fourth separated by a folding screen and some gauzy curtains.

It wouldn’t keep out all the noise and light, but the top floor of the inn was relatively empty and quiet at this point, the city’s activity more distant and dulled. She sat on the bed to remove her low boots—they’d gone to a Barrow after all—and then simply dropped backwards on the mattress.

Her fey drake, currently in its small whelp form, fluttered around her, making anxious little noises. “I’m all right,” she told it. The creature went from blue to purple to red, rippling in delight as she scratched its chin. “I just need to rest; that was exhausting.” She yawned, and waved her hand. “Go play, we’ll head home in the morning.”

It gave her one last chirr-ee, and then fluttered out the big window on the back wall. Blue Child shone through the space, light dim and soothing. Rhis crawled under the covers, not even bothering to remove her dress. Despite her playful comment to Timory about finding the Sentinel she’d flirted with earlier, all the priest wanted to do was sleep.

Except she couldn’t.

She’d spent the night in a young woman’s head, keeping Timory with her as the anchor and guide-light. The young women’s connection had drawn them right where they needed to be. It had taken effort to keep Timory’s untrained mind close, to not let her inadvertently wander through Curlaina’s head. The shadows in the first “hallway” could have led to any number of memories—or traps set by the interloper.

Curlaina herself was bound and gagged, held captive by herself. At first, Rhiswyn thought it a common defense tactic; a secondary, “strong” personality who could defend themselves against abuse, in the way a meeker victim thought that they couldn’t. Curlaina hadn’t known about the second personality, according to Timory; violent dreams had manifested, resulting in the interloper taking over when a druid had tried to assist the young women. But as Rhiswyn sought through the hidden memories of Curlaina’s mind, getting the interloper to talk and dredge those memories closer to the surface, more information had come out.

Curlaina had worked for the former Archbishop. Naturally sweet and mild, he had seen the girl as a useful tool. Rhis shuddered as the full force of the words from Curlaina’s memory rang in her aching skull.

“She doesn't have the instincts needed, holiness.”
“Then put them in her. No one would ever suspect her.”

Bile rose in Rhiswyn’s throat, the pulsing in her head became full pounding, beating in time to her increased heartrate as she gripped the blankets, face twisted in a sneer.

There was no one to take her anger out on, not anymore; Benedictus was dead, and his cronies fled or hidden, while the Cathedral tried to mitigate the damage done by a tiny few trespasser Cultists who’d gained power quietly, betraying the trust given to them. Those conspirators abuse of the shadows, of the Light’s own gifts, their horrifying mistreatment of this girl…

She sat up, leaning on the nightstand and then the wall, making her way to the door. She rang the little bell, wincing at the noise. A slim young man came to take her order, frowning. “Are you all right, priestess? Shall I send to the Temple for a healer…?”

Rhiswyn shook her head. “I had a rough evening. Food and rest shall help, but thank you, dear.” She smiled. He nodded slowly before heading down to the kitchen as bidden.

She turned, catching herself in the mirror. She was paler than usual, sweat sticking strands of tangled hair to her face, eyes rimmed red, and the smile was forced. She looked ghastly; no wonder the boy had been concerned.

The food didn’t take long to arrive; grilled vegetables and flaky fish still sizzling in the skillet, freshly baked bread soft and warm, and juice likely squeezed that very evening. Light, she needed to stay at this inn more often.

Rhis nibbled on what she could, covering the rest as her eyes refused to stay open. This time she shucked the dress, leaving it in a heap on the floor. She’d see to it in the morning. The words still echoed in her mind, but she took a breath, and touched the spot behind her ear again.

She shouldn’t rely on the Black Prince’s gift too much; it had been a handy diversion when the interloper had attacked, but Curlaina had destroyed her double on her own. Now, Rhiswyn used the boost to her mental abilities to simply gain the focus needed to blot the words out and get much-needed rest. To stifle the anger for one night; tomorrow she could deal with it properly.