Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) - Episode 079

Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) - Episode 079

The high horse had decided to be a bright yellow today, almost as if it sensed how much Jillian missed her gwiffons. Or even that dwagon. Anything that flew. This thing just walked, and it was an uncomfortable ride. With the bulky torso in front, she could hardly see where she was going.

The Chief dismounted outside the city garden, and cracked open the ornate wrought-iron gate. There wasn‘t a delicate way to interrupt afternoon meditation. She poked her head in, scanned the cross-legged figures, and found the Healomancer‘s‘ black hair. “Betsy!” she stage-whispered.

It earned her one disapproving, open eye from her father. But Sister Betsy Murgatroyd looked up, took the intent of the order, and rose to her feet.

A few moments later, they stood beside Jillian‘s mount, and the gate was shut again.

“Princess Jillian.”

“I need to ask you something,” said Jillian, keeping her voice low. “I think it‘s the kind of thing I can‘t just order.”

“Mm.” Her lips were tightly closed, her mouth a tiny dot.

“I talked to Charlie this morning,” Jillian said, which caused the Healomancer to raise one eyebrow, just a twitch. Anyone who‘d taken the Deal had a hard time with the topic of Charlie, but Jillian figured she could do all of the talking. “That Flower Power thing that‘s wrong with Wanda, he can do something about it. I told him if he cures her, I‘ll sign his thing.”

Betsy‘s mouth managed to stay tiny and tight, even as she spoke. “That would be an unexpectedly harmonious development.”

Jillian rolled her eyes. “Yeah, well, he can‘t really cure her, though. He can keep her alive, but it‘s not a cure. It‘s just...it‘s better than nothing.”

Betsy stared at her.

“Anyway, he‘s gotta link up with a Healomancer to do it. And...y‘know, I know how you feel about Wanda. And me. If you don‘t want to do this, it won‘t work. So I can‘t really make you, I guess.”

The Healomancer‘s stare went even colder. She sniffed in a long, deep breath. “Chief Warlady, you have managed to offend me more with these few words than with all your violent deeds combined.”

Great. She‘d broken another brittle one. “What does that mean?” she asked. “You won‘t do it? Fine, sorry I asked.” She turned to the horse and reached up to grip the saddle. “We‘ll get someone from the Magic Kingdom.”

“I certainly will do it. Lady Firebaugh will have my utmost attentions and skills. Healing is what I do.”

The Chief turned around. The little caster stood there, her fists clenched and her voice quivering. “I would heal the whole world, if I could. I‘d cure everyone. I‘d gladly fix whatever‘s wrong with you, that makes you want to put swords through healthy bodies. Yes, I will do this. You needn‘t have asked.”

Jillian licked her lips, going through three or four unhelpful replies she could say. She decided to put her foot in the stirrup instead of her mouth.

“Meet us in the Wizard‘s Hall.”

She clucked to the horse, and rode off.

---

“Let the Healomancer take the altar!” boomed the enormous green head. “The subject must keep her distance until the link is formed!” Pillars of flame shot up to either side of the dais.

“Whatever,” Jillian told it. “It‘s not his real face,” she muttered to Wanda, whose arm she was steadying. The Croakamancer nodded weakly.

The great apparition hung in the air and scowled down at them. “Silence! You‘ll soon raze this city. This is my final chance to employ this apparatus and appear as...the Wizaaaaard!”

More flames shot up. Jillian sighed.

---

It took a little under two numbingly dull hours to complete whatever it was they were doing. Jillian stood around until it became uncomfortable, then sat on the marble floor until that became uncomfortable. Repeat, repeat.

Betsy and Wanda were in a trance, and the big green head had vanished. It appeared only once during the procedure, to glare and shoot warning flames when Jillian dared to go over and look inside the little room behind the curtains where Judy had been hiding.

When Wanda and Betsy finally stirred, Jillian sprinted over to help Lady Firebaugh to her feet. Immediately overhead, the menacing green face materialized again, and intoned, “It is done!” A gong sounded somewhere.

“About disbanded time,” said Jillian, taking the Lady Firebaugh‘s hand as she sat up. “How d‘you feel?”

Wanda shook her head, eyes closed. “Sleepy...”

“We‘ll get you to bed. C‘mon.”

“No!” boomed the great green head of Charlie McWizardface. “The link is still active. It is your turn, Jillian of Faq!”

Jillian looked up at it. “I can see up your nose,” she said.

“Regardless.”

“Regardless, I‘m not doing it until I‘m sure she‘s okay. C‘mon, Wanda.”

The head scowled at them.

“Sensible!” it declared.

The flame pillars diminished and went out.

---

Wanda slept for the rest of the day, and long into the night. Jillian dozed beside her, bringing her water twice, taking her chamberpot away once.

At times, Jillian lay on her back and stared up into the darkness. She could see phantoms up there, faint images that remained from flower dreams. A bridge, a doorway, the branches of an impossibly complicated tree...just random scenes that would flash for a moment and vanish.

Some calculating, dispassionate, professional part of her was asking why she was going to this much trouble to preserve one Caster unit, especially when the side was so caster-heavy. What specific asset did this one represent? As Chief Warlord of a mercenary side, did she imagine taking this Croakamancer out on missions in the future?

Well, maybe. Slaughtering for a client side would pay more if they could return from the battlefield with uncroaked units. Or they could keep them as spoils, strengthening them and replenishing their numbers for the next fight. They could stay out in the field longer, travel farther.

But that really wasn‘t it. There was something else about Wanda.

She‘d felt it before they‘d ever met. Wanda was her charge. Hers to rescue. Jillian was compelled to find her, save her, and bring her home. That message from the Predictamancer–Delphie Temple–was absolutely right.

And she didn‘t even resent it. Easy way or not, Prediction or not, this was the right thing to do. She was going to save Wanda. She chose to. It was all she wanted to do.

“Get better,” she whispered.

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Recent posts... (See full thread)
Corwyn_Ulhar wrote:
I just love the bit about how Betsy is so offended at the very idea that she, as a Healomancer, would ever consider not healing someone just because she didn't like them. It says a lot about how she sees the world that such a notion offends her more than the sum of all of the violence that Jillian's ever done.


Yeah. Even when she's being right and good, it's all about her.
wih wrote:
She could very well have already been fatalistic (we don't hear her speak enough or get into her head to find out), or the change could be from the reaction to the Pliers, not decryption.
On top of that, if she did change when she was decrypted we have no way of knowing how much of it was magically induced in her by the process of decryption and how much came merely from the realization that she had died and come back to life a second time. I'm tempted to think that her craziness wasn't magically induced since we've never seen any suggestion of the arkentools turning people crazy anywhere else.
Lilwik wrote:
wih wrote:
She could very well have already been fatalistic (we don't hear her speak enough or get into her head to find out), or the change could be from the reaction to the Pliers, not decryption.
On top of that, if she did change when she was decrypted we have no way of knowing how much of it was magically induced in her by the process of decryption and how much came merely from the realization that she had died and come back to life a second time. I'm tempted to think that her craziness wasn't magically induced since we've never seen any suggestion of the arkentools turning people crazy anywhere else.

Unless you consider Charlie crazy, and his change a symptom of gaining the Arkendish. But that's not something we have hard evidence for, only suspicion for some right now.
wih wrote:
mortissimus wrote:
Talisid wrote:
We know for a fact that Silvia was similarly obsessed with her own fate and (hypothetically) was saved by the same spell.


We did not see Sylvia worry at all about her fate in book 1. Decryption changed her.


To be fair we see very little of Sylvia in book 1 in any way that is meaningful to the discussion.


Being a warlord we see her argue tactics, in particular outside GK.

On assaulting the walls guarded by the uncroaked former Jetstone troops:
http://www.erfworld.com/book-1-archive/?px=%2F117.jpg
Quote:
What?

We can't get through the walls with all those troops deployed there!


On Ansom soloing the uncroaked:
http://www.erfworld.com/book-1-archive/?px=%2F118.jpg
Quote:
He's mad.

We'll see his body fall at any moment.


It is hardly the fatalistic charge-in-and-burn-everything Syliva of book 2.

I'll admit that wheter decryption, the pliers, or something in the battle changed her is unknown. But since she was not fatalistic in book 1, we can know that it was not Jojo's spell that did it.
I don't particularly feel that three speaking parts of one line a piece (she also spoke in 101) give us enough to confirm what you're saying. It might be entirely likely (if anything, I'd put the quatloos on your side), but I don't see enough evidence to confirm it.
Free Radical wrote:
Quote:
The high horse had decided to be a bright yellow today

So, if it wants, it can be a horse of a different colour?
Straight out of The Wizard of Oz.
Oberon wrote:
Free Radical wrote:
Quote:
The high horse had decided to be a bright yellow today

So, if it wants, it can be a horse of a different colour?
Straight out of The Wizard of Oz.

Ha ha, I kind of thought The Wizard of Oz was well enough known, and that it was obvious enough that a lot of El-Efbaum and Haffaton are references to it that I didn't even need to point that part out.
Not THAT familiar with the source material, I'm afraid. Thanks for the explanation.
Me too, I'm more familiar with Return to Oz myself.
I saw it a LONG LONG time ago, and didn't even remember the scene. Having looked now on youtube, I am surprised I don't remember it.

Of course, us old peoples only ever got to see something once, in a theatre, and there were none of these things like memes, or any of the other memory enhancing things you guys use now to fix a group memory.

Look away from the screen for a moment in my day, and that was it, you never picked up what passed for a meme for us.