[Flashback to an earlier moment in Chomrok]:
PA'AVU lies back in one of the cooling pools, eyes unfocused, letting her thoughts float through her mind like dust motes. Her lips smile slightly as she remembers how – in the Before-Time – one of her fellow younglings, frustrated by his inability to best her records of enduring some of the more difficult trials, suggested that Pa’avu’s mind is made of rock and that her receptors recognizing pain are thus slowed. He might even have been right, the goliath thinks, for she is always deliberate in her thought, like the stone of her skin. At moments such as this one, her body at rest, her brain unimpeded with thoughts of “protect” and “defend” and “attack,” that the young giant can allow herself to “think the same as that the sleeping rocks dream of.” Again, she gives a slight smile, recalling those words often said by K’m’ot’hi, the clan-uncle who attempted to teach them rational thought... with only moderate success.
As Pa’avu falls into a waking-dreaming state, the thought-motes begin to slowly move into a gentle constellation, her inner attention focusing briefly on one mote, then another, and so on, a pattern slowly falling place:
[a series of motes of memory]
[In Bantouk]: Defending Arunny, Priestess of Omthala, against Hakhaman’s thrall.
[In Bantouk, prior to the secret meeting in Ruffly Gelded]: As Chanvati strolls leisurely through the marketplace, stopping to idly examine an ornate vase here, a jewel-encrusted mask there, Pa’avu follows, maintaining a distance of a few paces so as to be able to thwart any possible threat. The variety of wares in the numerous stalls are not of much interest to her, and she allows her eyes to wander over the crowded road, looking for but not expecting any threat. Her attention is momentarily caught by one nearby stall: the hawker and her small child are wearing a style of clothing that the goliath recalls seeing in the long before time – in the Issyc Sehari region, wasn’t it? These are not as splendid as some of the other merchants’ garb in this marketplace: obviously this family has traveled far and recently and has only been moderately successful in cleaning their garments. And they look tired, very, very tired, the goliath thinks briefly, before returning her attention to her gosb’tar.
[In Bantouk, on a rooftop near Ruffy Gelded]: Pa’avu stares down at the merchant “owning” the little girl and reflects on her own relationship with her “master,” her gosb’tar. She has never fully understood the concept of “ownership” with regard to herself: apart from living in a dense city, Pa’avu is following her life’s purpose of being a warrior, albeit in defense of only one being. She does not feel “owned” particularly by him: after all she is stronger. This child, however: her purpose is being perverted, derailed, misaligned. Her “ownership” is Omthala and service to her Sect, not this merchant who is not allowing her to use her proper skills.
[In Bantouk, in tunnels under the city]: As the large group wanders through the tunnels, following Chanvati’s direction, Pa’avu barely pays attention as the revolutionaries-turned-fugitives talk among themselves, not only pondering Bita-Bahlin’s words (occasionally breaking out in hot debate) but also worrying about their change in situation. Walking alongside her, Bjorkus murmurs something about the pampered rich.
[In Bantouk, on a rooftop near Ruffy Gelded]: Moments before leaping down on the soldiers below, Pa’avu witnesses them shedding their “merchant” disguises.
[On the plains outside Chomrok]: The moment Chanvati finds a sphere in the loot of the raiders and realizes that it is an icon of the Sect of Omthala. His subsequent discussion with Bita-Bousseh: perhaps they can raise funds with a reward for its return? A brief argument whether it is more valuable by itself or in reaping a reward, followed by a debate on what is value, followed by Pa’avu returning to her task of deboning a dactyl so that its meat can be properly harvested.
[In Chomrok]: Accompanying Chanvati to the Shrine of Omthala to return the recovered icon to its rightful home, Pa’avu leans against the wall, taking a moment for rest, vaguely overhearing the conversation between her gosb’tar and the Elven Priestess Berylana about a dismaying pogrom against Sect of Omthala.
[In Bantouk and elsewhere]: Reflecting on the effect of the Stonefang spider on her and of her own effect on it and of its subsequent attack. Of spiders in general and their astonishing abilities. Of Audaseie family trade in Phase-spider silk.
[In Chomrok]: Pa’avu starring up at one of the signs of the Old Faith, only barely registering the voice of one of the many recent refugees, an old man relating the confusion of the attack against his town’s temple of Omthala and themselves, of hallucinogenic smoke smelling of anise, and of the strangely “soft hands” of the bladeling attackers, attackers who also seemed to disappear at will.
[In the before-time]: A hyenic body felled by one of Pa’avu’s clan-mothers, unusually slight of build (perhaps a Gnollish youngling?), wearing the clothing of a V’linski shepherd, but clearly one of the dactyleer raiders disguised as an elf.
Pa’avu allows her stone-mind to gather the thought-motes from the constellation and weave them into a tapestry of truth-possibilities. Some central ideas begin to draw attention to themselves: Disguise. Spiders. Omthala under attack. Many sources? Combined forces? Bladelings in disguise? “Soft Hands” disguised as bladelings? Anise. Arunny must be told! As Pa’avu steps out of the pool, pondering how to do so, her golden-eyed Hound frolicks up out of the pool as well, shaking his fur thoroughly, causing Pa’avu to laugh and others to scramble hastily away. Perhaps the barrister can be of some assistance.
BITA-BOUSSEH stares speculatively up at the gargantuan goliath as Pa’avu explains her need of aid in writing a letter to be sent to the Omthalan Priestess back in Bantouk. In answer to her demand for explanation of such a request, Pa’avu outlines her reasoning, relating the path of her “thought-motes” to the goliath’s conclusion. Looking downward, blushing slightly, Pa’avu murmurs that she would do it herself … but that writing is not one of her skills, as Bita-Bousseh is well aware. The ideas the giant suggests are staggering: The Empress’s forces disguised as bladelings! Possibly working with other forces? Insane! But certainly possible, perhaps even going far in explaining the change in the Empress’s attitude toward herself. The barrister agrees and quickly scribes a letter for Pa’avu to slip into Chanvati’s packet of epistles heading to Bantouk.
[Present Day]: Letter clutched in hand, ARUNNY hurries up the circular stairs leading to Ibhea’s cell. <I should have shown him ages ago,> she thinks desperately. <Why have I not done so before? What has been causing this constant disturbance in my mind??> In her distraction, the priestess is not looking where she is going and consequently slams into another body, moving in a similarly hurried fashion. As that person’s hands clutch her shoulders, steadying her and keeping her from tumbling downward, Arunny registers his identity. “Ibhea! Thank Goddess! I have something I must show you! Something most vital!”
Note: On a failure, it will be bad information given to Ibhea, and the Cost will be Hard DC for his follow-up move, but...
* Secondary Skill Streetwise check to gather information in aid of Primary Skill Insight: r(15) + 2 = 17 vs. 11 Easy DC = +2 bonus to
* Primary Skill Insight check to understand the pieces of information gathered: r(14) + 3 + 2 (bonus) = 19 vs. 15 Moderate DC Success!