Chapter 28: The Might and Horror of Grand Loop Magic
For but a moment, there was nothing else in the world of the sisters other than themselves, they hugged and cried. Reunited.
For but a moment, they forgot that they were faced up against some chlan power, possibly of their own making.
For but a moment, they were not in a dark and cold realm, filled with the aura of the lost.
They were together and glad.
There was a gasp.
“Koolah, your hands, oh my your face, your fur, your body!” Jadah exclaimed.
Like a fussy mother hen, Jadah checked over the magic backlash wounds that Koolah had taken.
“You always push yourself like this sister. Qusheab dear, will you go get some balms, set some herbal tea boiling too”
“Yes~” Qusheab sang as she pounced off the bed and skipped into the brewhall.
As soon as Qusheab left, Jadah slowly spoke.
“We’ve come too close to destruction this time. If it wasn’t for those charms…”
Slowly Koolah shook her head.
“This time, we’ll talk about it with Qushqush present. She’s the heir and… I don’t think we can reach the root of this matter unless we restore our memories somewhat.”
“That will be difficult. Time and serendipity is needed for that normally, healing them with magic, that is hard”
“Creation and destruction those are two paths of healing magic”
“It should be possible in this realm, we can make use of the resonance between us too”
Silence moved in as Jadah tended to Koolah’s strained patterns and fitful heartflame, giving them the spiritual equivalent of a massage. Silently Qusheab came in furious concentration on her face as she balanced a tray piled with cakes, biscuits, cups and kettles.
“I thought we could raid the last of the stores”
A warm fond smile passed over Jadah’s face, and even Koolah’s sour face twitched a bit.
“What a good idea dear” Jadah said.
Koolah did not say anything, but she, without a word she poured herself a cup of tea, took a plate with a slice of cake and began to elegantly sip and eat.
There was still time.
So, once more, the three sisters forgot about the world outside, forgot about the weight of the legacy of their pride and most certainly forgot about their current matters. They simply had tea and chattered about pointless inconsequential things. Just three sisters enjoying an unexpected tea party.
Whatever else would happen, whatever power they desired, whatever knowledge they looked for…
The lust for ways of magic had not extinguished this. The mystical had not slain the mundane, the mundane had not slain the mystical.
It is in matters of these, that magicians maintain their sanity and personhood. Else, would they be naught more than vessels of power, tossed about by the flows of magic?
In each thing, its time, and in time, the teaparty ended with the clink of a cup upon a saucer. To rest forever would be a life as empty as that of those vessels gone astray, drowned in power, in magic.
“We’ve dallied about quite enough sisters. I have some idea as to what we should do, but first, we should each speak of what we’ve seen and done”
There was not even a hint of disagreement. Each told their tale, Jadah didn’t avoid speaking of her shameful actions towards Wauldigg. Koolah did not beat around the bush concerning what she lost and gained from the dragonsmaiden Yovra, she finished by explaining the idea of a plan that had formed between her and Zamelnah. They all went quiet as they pondered the information.
“Perhaps we should lay it all out, in sequence?” Qusheab nodded.
Jadah nodded, and Koolah spoke.
“It began… with us coming to this place. We had some objective in mind, to brew something particular…”
“…our plans and preparations were in order, everything was moving as we wished it to…”
“…something went wrong. A mandragora, probably an ingredient from the brew, became twisted and calamity overcame us”
“We went through several cycles, being murdered in a number of them, before we broke out of the lure of the loop”
“The most important question…” Qusheab mumbled.
All three sisters said it at the same time.
“What was the brew we were working on?”
There was only one thing left to do. The answer had been with them all along. They had not needed to go searching, yet they would not have realised that searching was pointless unless they had gone.
They had to repair their memories.
More words were pointless.
They joined hands, and closed their eyes, and their memories flashed past them, from joyful youth to grim tragedy to persistent survival. The flow of magic was disturbed by this, and the wards of the cottage opened but a little, like pores of skin and the power of the loop came through.
The memories went around and around, growing faster each time they passed through the minds of the sisters. Finally they shattered into pieces, all before their minds at once. Every moment at the same time.
The sisters opened their eyes, which were flickering with these shards of memories. Qusheab spoke first.
“This is the third time we have reached an event like this, the charm is the key”
“We succeed this time, or we fail forever, till someone saves us or we are distorted to destruction” Koolah groaned.
“What arrogance did we have… thinking that our wards could escape the loop. The most we can have is this moment of awareness. The loop came around everything.” Jadah said.
“It will fade, hurry we must brand our purpose back into our minds” Koolah urged.
“Will we finally be free this time?” Qusheab worried.
“Just remember why we came here dear. We will forget everything else” Jadah soothed.
That is the horror of the grand loop magic. One can only escape it by being outside of it. What people believe, again and again, is that they will be different. That they can resist the pull of the loop. Once one steps inside, one becomes part of the loop.
Not long after the sisters finished branding the memory anew, there was a knock on the door of the cottage, Wauldigg around for his kit.
Not long after that, Koolah sent out the sign she promised Zamelnah.
The bait was set.
The brew only had one last ingredient it required. Then, all mysteries would be boiled away.