'It is the ideal time,' Caranthir points out to Randolf, 'because I suspect her existential quandary is involved in all of this. Study the map.' he adds to Valette. 'Feel the ground under your feet, roll the placenames around your head to see if they spark memories, see the hills and valleys. Think of place and sense of place, and I will follow that trail and piece it together- you will not be conscious for this.
I will need to reach in too deep, to things you perhaps do not want to remember, you will drift into a fugue state and Doctor,' he adds to Randolf, 'I presume you will bear witness?'
He adds something to Rav which Valette can't quite catch- a very obscure subdialect from a native speaker, but she can interpret tone, hostile, and by context, it probably means "interfere and die."
Then (and if anyone interferes we'll backtrack to this point)- the magic begins. it is effectively a running ritual- a complex, composite act of magic in an improvised, nonspecific arena. Several of the powers woven together are specifically elvish political-ecological magic, difficult for a healer to follow the symbology or the logic behind it, more of the rest comes from the druid who is assisting with the powers of the old faith-
Valette sees a blizzard of images, more streets than fields, a handful of faces that seem to focus in and out of vision- smells and shapes of patterns, the markets and houses, boats, a city by the water, on the water, power and pagentry and damp, smelly cellars, the taste and smell are the most enduring clues, overlapping and overlaying each other, blurring.
The watchers, on the other hand, get a much more coherent picture. "A child in the Giants' Hall- the canals make it unmistakable. Mother living, father dead and gone, if she ever knew in the first place. Brother, playmate? Childhood in a thieves' kitchen- no, this is wrong, there are too many gaps, too much patchwork and thin places.
I'm not missing something, she is. Someone's been in here already removing memories, some of those that are here seem misaligned- there has been an attempt, and it smells like Shaper, to demolish the contents of her head and build a false personality in place, on the bedrock of the muscle- memories learned in a life on the wrong side of the law.
That is not easy, and anyone who could do this would not come cheap, anyone who can pay for this kind of work to be done would not have small objectives in mind. I was right, it is political after all.
Bearing in mind that the false memories seem to be the ones richer in texture and tone, but also the most impressionistic, what seems to you to have been the object and aim here?' he asks the druid.
'This is an ugly, ugly business.' the druid says.
'a great crime was committed against her, certainly,' the elf says, 'but it was intended to facilitate a greater still.'
'I think you're wrong about the muscle memories,' the druid says, 'some of them are false too...they, and they were damned good, tried to take a fatherless street urchin and make a noblewoman out of her.'
'Are they good enough to have deliberately left it looking unfinished? Because that flashbulb of the tower, we are meant to think she escaped before they could complete the conditioning process, which comes close to incriminating the Culiean of Oremedda?'
'Why is it, for a seeker after truth, you seem to inhabit a world full of lies?' the druid asks him. 'No, that...that has the smell of reality about it. She was being conditioned to be used as a political pawn, and escaped before it could be completed.'
'Why, it is in virtually everyone's interest to lie to me; even my own on occasion...reconstruction is going to be a long and difficult process, and someone out there, we know which way the evidence appears to point, tried to make a lost princess out of her. I wonder why her, why she was chosen?'
At that point, Valette starts to come out of it.