Eliona & Commander Filip Ryth

Above Faraking Island: The Heli'Dom...

Eliona steps towards Nalia. She takes hold of Nalia's hand and holds it out between them with the palm up. Eliona's left hand holds Nalia's wrist, with a thumb on Nalia's pulse. Eliona rests the index and middle fingers of her right hand on the center of Nalia's palm.

Nalia will recognize this. It's the test. The test Nalia has undergone several times in her life. The test for a link to the white light of life. Only a trained healer of the White Towers can successfully perform this.

Eliona performs it with little effort.

Unlike every other time Nalia has been tested, this test has an immediate result. The air around Nalia grows warm, like the sun in springtime. Immaterial shapes begin to glow around Nalia. They are organic lines flowing out from Nalia, much like branches grow out from a tree trunk. The portions of these branches that are closest to Nalia glow brightest. The ends of the branches appear to fade away into nothing. These branches represent Nalia's connection to life around her. Only a wielder of the light of life will have this connection.

The branches are disorderly, tangled. Like a tree tied up into a knot by its own limbs. Nalia's connection is obviously in a state of chaos. Eliona looks around at the state of Nalia's power. There's a determined seriousness in Eliona now. The study and mastery of these forces is her calling, where she had once dedicated so much of herself.

If Nalia had ever taken a life, these branches would still appear, but they would be dark and lifeless. This mystical construct would be a husk, existing only as a reminder of the lost connection to the light of life. Instead, Nalia's tree is bright, living, and still growing.

"You know the responsibility that comes with this power," Eliona tells Nalia. "You may not have the training on how to properly use it, but you were taught why it must be used. You were taught by the best. And anyone that has this power, and knows why it must be used to help those in need, will not needlessly endanger a life.

"I trust you. If you tell me the dark sorceress is genuinely helping, I will believe you."

Ryth puts his forehead into his hand and groans. His hand runs down from his forehead and over his frustrated features, as if trying to wipe away the anger. Now he's the only one in the room that thinks killing the princess is a horrible idea. Typically, when he finds himself disagreeing with a whole room of trusted, or once trusted, friends, it's always been because he's wrong.

Even if he is right, he's definitely not in a position to stop it.

He slips his pistol into his side holster, bringing an end to any threat of violence. Ryth storms away from the others, muttering curses to himself. He kicks over a table that's cluttered with books before finally making his way to the corner of the room that's farthest from everyone else. It's just Ryth's luck, the whole world has gone insane and he's surrounded by people he can't punch, shoot, or strangle.

Eliona releases Nalia's hand and wrist. The tree of light slowly fades away. She now focuses on the exhaustion in Nalia's features.

"You shouldn't use the light until you've begun your training at the White Towers," Eliona sternly advises Nalia, as if she were a healer diagnosing a patient. "You're a wildling. Without training you'll only do harm to yourself, and possibly others. It's like trying to light a house by setting fire to the furniture, eventually you'll burn the whole house down. The trainers at the Towers will teach you how to craft lanterns to light that house.

"Recently, I did something similar to what you've been doing to yourself. I used the light without first shaping it. That's fine in small doses, but I used too much at once."

Eliona looks down at her hands, which are still wrapped in bandages.

Across the room, Ryth glances at Eliona. Some of his anger melts away to reveal a moment of remorse. It's his fault that Eliona can't use her healing power now. If she could use the white light there might be another way to help Pasce. It doesn't seem fair to the soldier. He's an old man that has lived far longer than he should have, and has possibly outlived his usefulness. Pasce is just a kid. She should have her whole life ahead of her.

Ryth looks away from the room once again. It's all too sickeningly unfair for him to look at any longer.

"The light burned me," Eliona explains to Nalia. "I won't be able to help anyone until it heals. It has to heal on its own. Even the healing light of another would only make it worse."

Eliona then nervously looks at Olivia. The necromancer appears to be in some sort of trance, holding her uninjured hand out at the mostly dead princess. Eliona isn't sure what's happening, but it feels wrong. Everything about Olivia and this ritual runs against every instinct Eliona has.

Her attention gradually focuses on what's important: Pasce. Eliona's time avoiding the world, and celebrating every vice she could, has left her unaware of most of what's happening. However, even Eliona has heard the talk about the long missing princess. Now it seems that Pasce's absence is much, much worse than many have speculated.

"Does she truly possess the ancestral spirits? Is that why she's been missing?"