I'd helped people who were injured, so took the time to get a short nap.
I got up not so long after, but I wasn't in charge of myself, though I was able to watch. I offered to help with the ritual, but Marguerite said things were ok. I said I'd do a little sweep, checking on people, helping people who needed help with the ritual.
Marguerite and Ofeshia were talking. I went over, and they were talking about the comm link with the south, that had a big backup of energy, so was potentially dangerous. I said I could help her resist magic better, like the manipulation of energies I've done before. I watch this part that the Gray Lady does this, and try to understand, as much as I can, how she covers Ofeshia in a web of energies. Interestingly, GL hadn't been sure she could do it, either. I tried to learn what I could, but there were layers of perception that were far beyond me.
Ofeshia went back into the shrine space to open the comm link so the shrines could link. There was a sound, and lights, then Ofeshia slumped towards the ground. Marguerite and I caught her. She was alive. GL said that she'd try to pull off the tangle from around Ofeshia while Marguerite held the ritual. The net caught a bunch of tons of energy. GL folded it up, layer by layer, quickly and carefully, into a small, lacy burning triangle, leaving her natural frame structure unenhanced, and in poor shape. I took the triangle's energy into myself. GL didn't want Ofeshia in this poor shape for her plan, but she also didn't want her to heal so quickly that she would interfere with her plan either. I told Marguerite that I'd done something to help Ofeshia heal, turned down the offer of some tea, and went to do another check on people. It was odd, watching.
The door to the GL's room, where I was sitting, was open. She said to come out, and I did, and she took my hand, and we were out past the fires. She said that in a moment, it would all happen, and things would work out, and our agreement would be over. I asked if there was a path we could find towards our plan working out without a lot of death. She said there would be an attack, at their weakest time, leading to the best chance of survival. She said that things had worked out well, coincidences that could be ridden a long way. I might experience some confusion/disassociation for a while. Difficulty remembering who I was, thoughts of being another race. I asked if there were something to be done to further both our plans, and she said that that would mean a renegotiation, which she knew I didn't want. And her lord already had claws into the situation.
She said "it's happening now." I say "fare thee well."
She played with the lacy triangle, then folded down into candlelight and was gone. And then there was a huge pain in my side. I fell over, but didn't pass out. I kept swallowing, and the pain branched out and diffused. I was covered in sweat, and didn't feel like myself.
Oreshalore and Eevolertu came out and got me. Oreshalore picked me up and carried me back to camp, near the fire. She'd asked what happened, and I said it was complicated. I asked Eevolertu about resisting pain. I put a hand in, and it wasn't blood, but some kind of slime, in a row underneath my ribs. Once it was clear I didn't need a bandage, we sent the person with the bandages away.
There was a bit of conversation after that, about protecting Ofeshia, and connecting to the comm link, and how Darren might not be anymore.
We headed back towards Marguerite, and Chloe came back from the gracknel. She said that Darren wasn't, and she'd gotten out of the gracknel before that, because being in the gracknel without Darren would be bad. And apparently people didn't want to talk about Darren anyway, so that conversation slid away.
The gracknel was making different sounds.
Chloe said that they fixed the parts that let the gracknel fix itself.
The ritual changed to the connecting ritual, with a number of us holding it together. Marguerite asked if I'd talk to the people I'd worked with before (as GL). I thought about what the GL had taught to two of the people holding the ritual before. This was for bridging and netting energy that would come out of this work when Ofeshia went in, and sent off to use, to interject the GL into the gracknel. I said I wasn't sure I knew appropriate things for this new ritual, and left it at that.
It took an hour for this ritual to take hold.