"Voice of Wisdom" (Downtime Ep 24)

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Cyl sat on her bed, a sending scroll gripped in her hands. This was the second time she was trying to reach her mother. What were her chances of successfully casting the spell again? She was no spellwright. But she tried to cling to Pinbol’s reassurance that she could do this.

Peeling open the stiff parchment, she scanned the incantations. The scroll read like a textbook that was dozens of reading levels over Cyl. But last time, with enough study and practice, she’d been able to parse out the hand gestures and follow the instructions scrawled across the page.

Cyl wriggled her hand dramatically in front of her like she was holding a fancy feather quill. Writing her mother’s name in the air. But she was still unsure how formal the spell wanted her to be. Should she write “Eiress Kyne of the Goa Nation”? Or simply, “Mother”?

She spoke out into the room, her words a little shaky. “The rot is thin black veining that causes eirshale to flake away like paper,” she explained out loud. Cyl fought the shiver that took over her at the sense memory. Steeling herself, she quickly counted the number of words she’d already said, then continued. “Water helps wash it away, but it’s no cure. Grows quickly.”

She felt the words leave her and flutter out into the air like smoke rings. But she saw nothing. Felt nothing in the silent room, or within herself, that would tell her that the message reached the Eiress.

Quiet clung to the air. Cyl waited.

Slowly, she felt a familiar voice at the back of her mind. Warm as the sun. She couldn’t resist the involuntary smile as she felt her mother’s voice.

We’re on our way.

Cyl’s shoulders relaxed. If she had needed to breathe, she would have filled her lungs in a release of tension.

The itching in her feet gave her pause, though. Her mother, her people, were vulnerable. Cyl feared she would pass along this disease if any of them got too close.

With a flurry of her hands, she tore open the last sending scroll she had and followed the instructions. Her last chance. “Mother, no please, it’s too dangerous,” Cyl pleaded with the spell, “I may be contagious. The city isn’t safe for Goa. I can make it so, but I need time.”

Another unbearably slow minute passed. Then her mother’s voice returned.

The danger is greater than you are aware. The Erudite have knowledge of this sickness, yet none have seen it. Look for us by Snowfall.

Cyl waited in silence, even though she knew there’d be no more response. Snowfall. It felt ages away, yet was coming swiftly. It had been nearly thirty years since she’d left home. She’d be with her people soon. She’s see her Mother again. The thought filled her with dread and hope.

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