20 August 2010

When Others Are Losing Theirs

I've only been cleared for flight for a week, now. Seems I had some residual damage from the divine revelation, even with the instinctive actions from my eyes. Luckily, Wolfgang was able to let me link to his eyes well enough to get me off the pagoda. Mama says he's designing winged apparatus, now. Good thing I don't have to see to planes shift, she was pretty upset.

Great Uncle Ibiz grounded me until my vision came back to 20/1, but I was able to see well enough to walk in a few days, so I took some time to work on his project, interviewing the old aunties in the villages on the Dyne watershed. They were delighted to have someone to talk to them about the begets of the village. Not a lot of new information, but it all gets recorded, in case it is needed for another project.

I filed copies with the local census department, and headed back with copies for Vater. He's a lot better about sharing information if it is reciprocal. It took little time to drop them off with Vater's assistant. Typing them up took the most time, because Mama's assistant was out. Then I noticed about half the support staff was not in the office.

"Ah, do you have any duties for the rest of the day? Could you run some errands in town for me?" Mama's tone was hopeful, with a slight edge of stress to it. When she starts down that road, it's better to pitch in than skive off. Besides, anything else I had on my plate would have been in Europa or the family holdings. Her relief was a cool breeze as she handed me a list of the staff that were out, and their addresses. "Please check on these people, we might have something not-physical happening." Another sheet of paper, "...and the reports we have so far, if any of them are embarrassed about having issues."

"So, you aren't suspecting a sick-out or goldbricking," I checked the first sheet of paper, and saw Hâjdău headed the list, "...erm, I see - not with her in on it."

"Her first missed day of work - yes, I am worried, but cannot spare the time to check on her right now." I glanced over and saw three clerks waiting to talk to her.

"I got it Mama, and I can have this for you by lunch, if there's nothing serious." Rather than shove out through the crowd, I left by the open window. Hâjdău lives at the hotel, less than a block from the office, so I glided over. Shifting back to my cipher-in-the-background form when I landed on the hotel's front steps, none of the staff likely saw anything but the Wulfenbach courier's uniform as I crossed the lobby.

When she responded to the knock on her door, Hâjdău did not sound sick, she sounded scared out of her wits. Still, I reached into the margins *pulled* my medic pack out of the Infirmary as I answered, "It's Ama, from the office - I came by to check on you."

Hâjdău opened the door, quickly, asking "Do I still have my head?"

Ooookay, so this was going to be one of those illnesses. "I see you as I last saw you, but why don't I come in and make sure there's nothing wrong, hm?" Since she was still in her nightgown and dressing robe, I figured it better to get her calm with some routine medical evaluation. She nervously let me in, and I checked her over. There weren't any physical problems that I could find in my quick once-over, save that she was worn out. She probably had not been sleeping well, poor kid. By the time I got to testing her pupil reactions, they were no longer pinpoints, and responded to light appropriately. "Everything checks out, can you tell me what feels wrong?" She was a little upset, but it was directed inward, scolding herself for being so skittish. Nodding, I said, "Why don't I start off, " and I made a show of reading from the sheaf of papers I brought with me, "Things have been relatively normal during the day, but at night you dream of Steelhead being shrouded in fog..."

She started in shock, and the words just tumbled from her like a mountain stream at snow-melt, mostly in Romanian. "It is so eerie, the streets are blocked by fog so thick it is difficult to breathe, and it does not get better when I am indoors! I wake, and was getting ready for work, when I could not find my head! Her panic was increasing in waves, and I had to throw a shield around her to keep myself calm.

"It's all right! It is a dream, but it is one that many are having! We can fix this, at least enough so you will know it is a dream, and be able to rest." Taking a moment to adjust the shields to keep things from reaching in to her, I asked, "Do you have a favorite stone, or piece of jewelry?" I knew she was going to show me that promissory ring, but it helped deflect her mind away from the panic. When she held up her hand, I told her to focus on it. She did so, quizzically, and I let a little of the power of anchoring the shields in the metal bleed through to the visible light spectrum.

I dropped back into English, "There... it won't keep them out completely, but it will be enough to keep them from scaring you half to death. If you are not wearing that ring, keep it within arm's reach of you, at least until we find out who is behind the dreams."

She looked at the ring with wide eyes as the slight glow faded. "You... you did not change the ring from what it was, did you?"

"No, it's just a convenient anchor. Your young man's gift is still there with it." Her head snapped up, and I smiled, "The feelings attached to that are still a promise. Though none of us have even met him yet."

Hâjdău blushed, then yawned, "Oh! My apologies, I shouldn't have yaw-" and then she did it again.

I chuckled, "You need to catch up on your sleep. I will check back on you later, after I get through the rest of the list." I let myself out of her room without waiting for her to stand.

Once out of the hotel, I shifted to wings and headed to Auntie Kitla's workshop in Harborside. That little parlour trick with the ring took more out of me than I dared let on in front of Hâjdău. She had to believe in it for it to work at full power, but whatever it was behind the dreams was old. Ancient and powerful enemies are not taken on lightly, and we were going to need the big guns for this.

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