Avalyn woke to see Raeza holding her head in her hands. "Are you alright?" She scrambled to her feet.
"I'm just tired," Raeza said, but she was definitely lying. Avalyn didn't press, but she was starting to get sick of everything being kept from her, as it she wasn't important enough to know.
"You said you had a plan...can I help with it?"
"Not really." Avalyn's face fell. "I just needed to ask my mother a favor, she's doing the rest, Raeza explained. "I'm sorry."
"No, it's fine," Avalyn lied. Two could play at this lying game. More, really, if you counted J.A.. Avalyn still had mixed feelings about the symbols on her arm. Sure, the scarred woman wanted to help, but how many of those scars on her face were actually her own? Even if it was just the emotional pain for Avalyn, but that was almost worse. She had no idea what kind of visions had been shown to her, and whether they had been the same ones J.A. saw, or if since they were made by Psychics, if that meant they'd shown J.A. something different than Avalyn would have seen. Did it matter? Uh, probably not.
So the fact that she couldn't help with Raeza, J.A. or herself, really, left Avalyn sitting there doing absolutely nothing until the door panel opened behind her.
J.A. led Seth into the cell, and the woman with the short brown hair looked up gloomily, then jumped as she saw the unfamiliar figure. "J.A., who's that?" she asked, but the underlying question was there in her eyes: Is he trustworthy?
"This is Seth, you can trust him."
The woman nodded. "Raeza Blayd." An odd name, but Seth didn't judge.
"Seth Consider." He held out his hand, and Raeza shook it. He was surprised not to see J.A.'s symbols on her hand, they usually only vanished around someone with malicious thoughts, but maybe they were only on her left hand or something.
The other woman, a bit younger, with her hair braided out of her face, stood and smiled slightly. "I'm Avalyn." She, too, shook hands with Seth. The symbols were there, of course they were.
"We're going to get out of here," J.A. said simply, and Raeza raised her eyebrow slightly in surprise. She didn't argue, though, which Seth appreciated.
"How?" Avalyn asked, and J.A. shrugged.
"I suppose we could use this." She pulled out a digital card key.
"Did you have that the entire time?" Avalyn asked in shock.
"Well...yes," J.A. admitted. "I snagged it on my second day here. I just didn't see a reason to use it..." A sad look came over her, and Seth wished he could just hug her and make everything better. Or do something else, something confident, heroic and reassuring. Unfortunately, none of those really described him.
"So..." Raeza began, "We've got a key, and it shouldn't be too much trouble to reach around and access the lock. After that, though, comes what? There have got to be guards somewhere. What can you all do? I have some basic Adept magic, not very strong unless...this thing is cooperative. It won't be."
J.A. raised an eyebrow. "You all know what I can do, I can take the places of others. Besides just redirecting pain, though, I can also make spells happen to me, unless they kill. I can't take the place of the dead."
Raeza nodded mutely, her eyes sad. "Avalyn?"
"Elemental, specializing in air. I can seperate out the water from the air and make a most or a fog or something."
"Do your powers work in here? It's supposed to be bound, but J.A. did her whole thing in the first place, so..."
Avalyn concentrated. "It's like there's a fence between my and my magic," she said finally, "Only there are holes in it, like the binding spell has been tampered with. Yeah, I can." A ribbon of steam billowed from her left hand, then vanished.
"That's good, then. We can use that. What about you, Seth?"
"I..." He closed his eyes and pretended to try to concentrate. "I can't seem to use it here."
Raeza, J.A. and Avalyn each raised an eyebrow. He was going to have to bluff better. Thankfully, J.A. didn't tell them the powers he was supposed to have, and no one pressed.
"Seth, was there anyone else in your cell?" Raeza asked abruptly.
"No, just me."
"And was it closer or farther from the entrance than this one?"
"Closer," J.A. answered. "Four cells to the left."
"Okay then." Raeza nodded. "Avalyn, make the weirdest, most suspicious smoke you can billow from this cell and out to where the guards will notice it." She held out her hand, and J.A. passed her the key card. A quick reach around and the cell door was open slightly.
"Now, as soon as you hear them coming, into the passage and close it behind you. J.A., I'm guessing you're the only one who knows how to do that, so you stay with Avalyn. Seth and I will go to the other cell and come from behind, hopefully locking the guards in? Or maybe just some of them." She frowned. "Maybe we'd better do something else..."
"I can't think of a better idea," Avalyn said simply, and the others nodded.
Raeza and Seth waited and waited in the other cell. Raeza had a cloth over her nose and mouth to keep out the stench of the thick greenish-gray smoke, but Seth didn't seem bothered.
"Do you suppose there even are any guards?" he asked.
"Course there are, there've got to be." As time ticked past, though, Raeza was less and less certain. She was about to go back to the first cell and ask Avalyn to stop, there was no point, when she heard the heavy prison door open. The heavy door, of course it would keep the smell out. The guard in front gagged at the smell and called to his companions.
Almost immediately after Raeza and Seth left, J.A. Started gasping with pain, a bead of sweat appearing on her forehead. "I'm fine," she said, and Avalyn didn't really believe her, but she didn't know what she could do about it other thn keep working. Nearly fifteen minutes passed before J.A. relaxed. "It's okay," she said. They'll be bringing Homer back to his cell and they'll definitely smell it then."
"Nice old bloke, low-ranking Sanctuary official, I forget his exact job, been here for almost the entire war. Do you know him?"
The two of them ducked into the secret passage as they heard the footsteps approaching, and J.A. reached for the lever that would close it behind them, when the breath went out of her and she gasped for air.
Raeza and Seth slipped out of their cell and behind the guards, that much went according to plan. What they weren't expecting, though, was their friends being dragged out, J.A. looking as if she'd nearly choked to death. Another guard was dragging the body of a man Raeza didn't recognize, and dumped him to one side as he saw them.
"There are more!" he shouted, and Raeza dodged backwards. Seth, not so lucky, was hit over the head with a large mallet and dragged over to the others.
The remaining four guards converged on Raeza, and they were about to knock her out as well when one of them yawned. The other guards, including the ones with Raeza's friends, were soon yawning as well, and within a minute, they were all fast asleep. One was even sucking his thumb.
"Hello, darling," said the voice from behind her. "You called for my help?"
"Aevil." Raeza said coldly.