“Why am I having dinner here?” Morgana asked. “That returns us to the issue I learned about tonight.” Trisha’s parents seem to think, Morgana thought, that their smartest and most sensible child is a complete idiot. There’s no way to fix that. “Joe. Janie mentioned she had a regular playing partner of that name, which is perfectly reasonable at her age. It’s a very common name. I didn’t connect with the persona who saved her a few years ago. I don’t think the geas — the one I just removed — would have misled me. I’m very good at spotting geases that try to bother me.
“However, the Joe who plays Janie seems to have been very careful to make sure that I never met him. After all, I’m the only person other than your daughters who knows what Joe-the-Public-Persona who saved your daughters looks like. I’m significantly impressed if this Joe, whoever he is, is actually as strong physically as Trisha, given that neither of them have strength as a gift…and Trisha would know if Joe had that gift. Two years ago, no one else got a good look at him. However, I would’ve innocently assumed that if Janie had run into the fellow who saved her, she would’ve talked about it. She did, except for not saying that they were the same person. Do Janie or Trisha ever talk about what happened to them, two years ago?”
Morgana kept trying to fit the puzzle pieces together in her mind. They refused to cooperate. Janie had this remarkable City of Steel innovation. She had this boy who had saved her, a boy with remarkably potent gifts. Someone was casting geases. Hopefully that someone was not Joe. The thought of a child who thought he understood fourth level work was seriously alarming.
Patrick and Abigail looked at each other. “We told both of them,” Patrick said, “that if they ever want to talk about it they may. If they want someone else to talk to, we can arrange that. They both said they were entirely comfortable talking with you. What I didn’t expect, though maybe I should’ve, is that Brian wanted to be sure he understood what his sisters went through. Janie shared mind to mind with Brian what she remembered. They all said that Joe’s mom did something, so that they remember what happened, but they don’t remember being frightened, and they are not frightened when they think about it. Or did you help with that?”
“I would’ve done that for them,” Morgana said, “but Joe’s mom did it first. She did a very good job of it.” Morgana looked down at the table. “Actually, she did a truly fine job of it, and I can’t imagine who she is, either. I could’ve taken care of their minds if they needed it. Goddess only knows I’ve had enough practice healing people with after-combat mental distress. What I meant to ask about was not those horrifying few hours, but the physical details of the persona combat.”
Abigail shook her head. “Trisha was out cold almost the whole time, and Janie said she didn’t see much except occasionally things got bright. She was busy shouting for help. She did pull Trisha over the edge of a sand dune.”