Ch3.06 The Pearl

It is a testament to the naiad’s weakened state that, even with her divine strength and sleek, powerfully-developed swimmer’s physique, she can be held down briefly by her mortal friend. But even Cala can’t hold her for long, and is thrown off to land on one hip with an “Oof!” As the demigoddess springs up, Sky moves swiftly and seizes her by her upper arms, looking intently into her eyes. He allows his divine aura to manifest, his hair moving in an ocean breeze, his eyes turning solid blue-green, and he says with a voice of ocean waves, “Doria! Priestess! We are the Guardia! We’re here to help you. Sit. Please...”

Calmed, she sits, the soaked cushion squelching, looking at his eyes, her expression half-dazed. As he releases her arms, she says, “You have a saltwater aspect.” She smiles vaguely. “I’ve seen a true ocean only in dreams.”

“Yes,” he says, his voice back to normal, calm and gentle. “It is a long time since I’ve swum in it.”

She glances down at his Guardia badge. “But your gem...obsidian? Void?” She tilts her head. “Why?”

“That’s not important right now, Priestess. We need to help your goddess.”

She gasps, almost stands again, but Sky gently prevents her. “We were attacked! Something...in the water, sending great, muscle-clenching waves of pain through my goddess! I was out of the water at the time, or it would have affected me too.” She shudders. “I can feel it even now, still hurting her! She is weakening! You must hurry!”

“We will,” the Inspector assures her. “But we mustn’t go in blind. Did you see what it was?”

“No...no, I didn’t see anything. Except...for a moment, a long, sinuous shape in the water, swift and somehow...evil.” She hugs herself as if cold, then looks at Sky’s face again. “Then they attacked me!”


“There was a woman on fire, burning cold and blue,” she says. Sky looks up at Dion at this, and Dion returns his look with a clenched jaw. “She grabbed me...and I was on fire, flames that felt like the coldest ice, burning into my flesh. She laughed at my pain. I...screamed. Then she held me at arm’s length and a big man, a warrior, hit me with his fist.” She puts her hand to her wound, now closed and mostly healed. “When I woke up, the Pearl was gone, and my mistress in agony in the water. Through blinding pain I sensed voices, outside...lovemaking.” Sky notices Alma, who has risen to her feet, shoot a sideways look at Dion, eyebrow raised. “I tried to heal myself, but even with all my mana I couldn’t fully do so.”

Alma looks away from Dion and allows her one raised eyebrow to return to its normal position. She says, “The wound was made by a blunt weapon enchanted with an aspect of viciousness, causing wounds to be exceptionally difficult to heal. Not as bad as Eater of Frogs’ poison, but she should rest. She’s suffering from mana depletion as well, from unsuccessfully trying to heal herself.”

Sky nods. “Doria? May I help you?” She nods, and he puts his hands on her shoulders and pulls her near, pressing his nose and forehead firmly against hers. Her eyes go wide and cross slightly at the unfamiliar form of contact, but then close as they share breath, as his mana flows into her, and she swoons slightly and smiles at the relief. He lays her down onto her side on the wet sofa, and she, smiling, falls asleep.

Sky stands and turns to Alma. “This Oracle...is this the same one who used to be on the Council of Archons?”

“I think so,” replies Alma. “She normally took the form of a mermaid, and it makes sense she would have a naiad as a priestess. No one knows why she left the Council and disappeared. It’s hard to believe she relocated here, though.”

Sky looks at the sleeping priestess, then back to Alma. “What do you think? Should she accompany you and Dion to the home of the Oracle?”

Alma looks surprised. “You’re not coming with us?”

He shakes his head and looks from her to Dion and back. “I’d like you two to take care of that. I will be trying to track down this pearl. I can already sense Doria’s connection to it; if I move quickly, I may be able to find it before it gets to its destination. And it sounds quite important. Now what about Doria?”

Alma considers. “It would be good to have her along but...as her healer, I have to say she should rest here.”

Dion mutters, “On our sofa.” He sighs at the water now dripping from sofa to floor.

Alma glances at him. “Actually, I may have a better place for her. Corporal Kaur, Constable Lamore, would you help me carry her?”


  1. I'm not sure whether or not to believe that you planned out the Bunnies' room just to take her there. If you did, then I'm actually quite frightened by this. So the Oracle is a powerful Goddess who left the First Ring for Three Rats? And the fire-woman and the Dukaines were behind it? So… logically, since they took an Oracle and her magical artefact, they must want her to read the future. And since she's so powerful, they must really be in trouble to go to the effort of catching her. And if Sky and Alma didn't know where she was, they must have gone to some trouble to locate her. And lastly, I'd just like to express my hope thst they haven't recruited the Watcher in the Water.

    1. By "the Bunnies' room," do you mean Cherry and Rosemary's love nest? That's just where those two go for some privacy; the Bunnies share Alma's quarters. But yes, we did plan out all the rooms in Three Rats Station quite early on, well before the first post went up.

      Nothing so far to indicate that the Dukaines were behind the Oracle leaving the Council and the First Ring. But your theory is otherwise logical. We'll see if it's correct...

      Sky and Alma would have no reason to keep track of the Oracle's movements, and the City is vast. This is something we haven't really had much of a chance to get into, but I will mention that it is the home of at least a million deities, and many times more mortals. It's like a very densely populated nation, really.

      As for the Watcher in the Water...why yes, we did consider tentacles...