Fathers Kevin and Carmine pray with me and seem to enjoy my help around the church. Nat says we need the gods to put this war to rest, so I’m going to do everything I can to get the Dawnmother’s help. I spend hours and hours praying to her. I attended every service, every day for three months straight.
I don’t hear her, not like when she was right there in front of us in the time bubble, but I can feel her. I can feel her presence around me, watching me. I find I can channel this feeling into magic. It’s not like the other spells I cast, it helps people. I can help someone with a small task by asking for her Guidance. I can stop Remy from bleeding out when he knocks himself unconscious with his experiments. I can even do a tiny bit of healing like Dalish, but at much lower a cost. If I take my time, I can even help multiple people.
The Fathers say they have never seen the like before. I can feel the strain, too. The Dawnmother seems to be pushing against something to watch me, to help me. It isn’t easy, but I believe she is trying to help. If she is trying, maybe the others can help, too. Nat will have to help us figure out how to contact them, though.
It takes me a month of evenings, working with Xin Yue to get my bond back. She helps me through a purification ritual to reconnect with the earth and renew my bond. When I am finished, my hair has also grown back, long as ever, to signify the pact is complete. I know I can harness thunder and lightning through my bond with the earth, but I’ve always leaned away from these forces. They are so much more destructive than the air. With this renewal, however, I feel the pulse of the earth stronger, now.
I feel the storm coming. It’s never a good idea to stand against the storm. So, I’ve leaned into it. I’ve learned new ways to harness the earth magic. To imbue my strikes with thunder, to call lightning from the clouds. I’ve even figured out how to move longer distances than the noisy Thunderous Step, and send my words on the wind to go further.
The others spend the summer researching and creating new spells. Gerhardt works on some potions, as well. Remy trains and spends time with Aranea. I don’t know what he’s going to do, she’s going to kill him if he can’t find a better way. We help out here and there with small investigations. Pyrus gets elected as the new Prime. Everything settles back into a normal routine as the beginning of the next presumptive school year draws closer.
Then Klyce comes to us one day, two weeks out from school. Philomena didn’t come home when she was supposed to. Her boat didn’t arrive. We try sending spells and scrying spells, but nothing connects. Everyone dives into action. Dalish and Maribeth go dig up information on the boat and the company that owns it. Remy asks his family about anything they might know about vacation spots in Italy. Klyce keeps going down to the dock. Several days later, the ship arrives, without Philomena and her family.
The captain tells Klyce that he waited several days, but they never showed up. Captain Barnes tells him the name of the town they departed from near Rome. Klyce asks about his schedule and getting passage on the return trip to Italy. It’s going to be a little while for him to unload his cargo and get new.
Klyce reports back and Remy goes back to the Maiden’s Folly to talk to the captain about chartering the entire ship, sans cargo, for a return trip as soon as possible. Barnes says he can leave in two days, and it’ll cost 1500. Remy asks about a discount if we can help the ship go faster. I help with that negotiation, and we agree to pay in full up front, and get 50 back for each day we take off the week-long trip. Gerhardt goes to his party and gets Tongues in exchange for future service, as none of us speak Italian. Dalish reads up on Italy and lets us know that magic is not welcome there.
Dalish then goes to tell Rictus that we plan to go to Italy to rescue Philomena and her parents. He forbids us going as we are government officials under his control. We all sit down for a big discussion. Klyce is going, but he doesn’t expect any of us to risk Rictus’ wrath. I point out to everyone that disobeying Prime Rictus in this manner could get us all arrested and executed. I don’t care, but some of them have family to think of. Maribeth says she can’t risk it, she has to take care of her mother. The rest of us will go, consequences be damned. But we convince Dalish that he needs to stay with Maribeth, keep her safe, and maybe keep Rictus off our scent for a few days.
Philomena sends Klyce a message. Her parents have been captured. She’s going to rescue them, and isn’t sure she’ll make it back. He replies to her, letting her know we leave for Italy in two days, and should arrive in Ostia within nine. He asks her to send her location if she can, and to meet us if she is able. Klyce then asks Maribeth and Dalish to try official channels to get her parents back while we set sail. He doesn’t want either of them to lie to Rictus, just try not to mention it for a while. Aleria wishes Nat a good fishing trip when she tries to go leave a note.
Two days into our voyage, Dalish appears on the ship, spellbook in one hand, and pajamas on. I send a message to Maribeth that Rictus is in our house, and just teleported Dalish to us. I don’t get much of a response other than shrieking panic. This is not what we had hoped for, but at least Rictus didn’t come himself and whisk us all back home.