We assemble back in the chapel at twilight the next day. Honorable Alencar chairs our little meeting, and begins with her own findings.
“Ovedisca and Thessar belong to a race of gods called the Iyamzor. Though how that name is pronounced is uncertain; some spells use a meter in which it is of two syllables, some of three,” she adds in an undertone. “I’ve assembled an analysis of the legends, characteristics, and spells associated with Ovedisca and Thessar in particular, and a bit on the rest of them. They are a quarrelsome family.” She looks over to Katrina, “You’ve got the sacrifices we need?”
Katrina nods. “I’ve also searched the school grounds for anything else that can be used as a weapon.” She reached behind her chair, pulls out a device, and hands it to Jallia. “It’s mechanically complicated, but requires more dexterity than strength.”
“It” is a crossbow. Jallia looks it over. “How difficult is it to use?”
“Expertly, it takes years of practice,” Katrina says. “To hit the broad side of a barn, an hour.”
“Are we hunting barns?” Jallia automatically retorts.
Katrina never argues with her employers. “Gods are big. But even if you can’t shoot well, you’ll feel safer than if you were unarmed. Trust me on this, Jallia. I’ve led a lot of men into battle, many of them with very little training.”
Jallia nods, accepting Katrina’s verdict. She’s learned Katrina doesn’t ever lie about her own business. She puts the crossbow aside, and gives her report. “I was able to find a trail from where Honorable Strunstur briefly appeared back to his personal library and to one specific book, which, however, I cannot read.” She takes the book in her lap, opens it up, and shows it to us.
Mia chimes in. “That diagram on the left is of the spheres as they once were. I don’t understand the diagram on the right.”
Honorable Alencar takes the book from Jallia and scans it. “It’s in the old Etralstan tongue. I can review this and try to translate it, but it will take about a day.”
The mention of Etralsta reminds me, “Coincidentally, I acquired an Etralstan sword from a highwayman on my original trip this way.”
Mia shakes her head. “I doubt it is a coincidence, Tollon.” She pauses. “I went back to consult with my own people.” How she did this in under a day, she does not explain. “The last incursion of Ovedisca into our world was ended in Etralsta. We do not know how it was done, except that it was done by humans. Which is encouraging, as hostile human encounters with gods usually end by the gods abolishing the existence of the humans in question.”
“Which is a roundabout way of saying they get killed,” Katrina comments with a grim laugh.
Mia corrects her. “No, it is not that simple, or, depending on how you look at it, even simpler. The gods simply abolish the existence of the people, so that they never did exist. No one will remember them. Even we cannot remember them, although we can tell when such things happen.” She turns to me. “This is why the fae will not help us. To be abolished is to be without hope, or even the existence that would make hope possible. Whereas to be carried off by Ovedisca can be no worse, they think.”
“In that they are probably wrong,” Honorable Alencar says. “Legend has it that Ovedisca has turned his spheres into realms of psychological horror.” She looks over to me. “You’ll have to be the first to set foot in his spheres, Tollon. You’ve already been psychologically abused, or so Mia tells me. Katrina will have to be second, as the most self-controlled. Mia will have to be last, for if the rest of you are lost, only she can inform the fae. Which makes Jallia third.”
“And what about you, learned lady?” I ask.
She sits back, taken aback. “Me?” She thinks a moment, and nods. “I can see the value in that. In that case, I will go first. I am the most expendable of this group.” She sees me about to object and raises her hand to tell me to stop. “No, Tollon, do not protest. These are my people who have been lost, more so than they are yours. I am old. And I owe a life to Thessar’s service.”