Inifra still has yet to visit, for which I am strangely disappointed. I am still confined to my bed for another day, hopefully no longer. Dionus has taken the time to speak of the expressionists we have encountered, including what he saw in Inifra beyond what she did openly on the riverbank.
The Breaker, he said, was an easy identification to make. Elemental expressionists are always clearly identifiable. The other expressionist, he said, was far more difficult. It could have been Mentalism, except for the sheer number of people impacted by his efforts. There was something else going on, he said, something more subtle than control and completely unattached from the volition of the KoraKora.
There was some way their passions were stirred. It would have been far more efficient to have simply influenced us if it was Mentalism. I can tell it disturbs Dionus that he cannot pin down what he felt, and it frustrates me that I cannot offer any aid. It happens on occasion that we come into contact with a magic user who belongs to no known expression, and it is always a disturbing if not terrifying experience.
It all comes down to one fact: You don’t know what you’re dealing with.
When you encounter someone from a known expression, like a Breaker, you know their limits, their weaknesses, basically what to expect. If you come across a new form of magic that has never been put to a formalized expression, you are dealing with an unknown. It could be the most dangerous thing you’ve ever come into contact with, or the most benign. There is no way to be certain until it’s too late. It’s the same reason I keep my own power hidden unless necessary.
As for expressions, Inifra seemed at first to be a simple Hydra, albeit an extremely powerful one. But he said there was more to her than that. She put the water at her disposal to use with impunity. But at numerous points, when Dionus stopped his retreat to watch her, she was using the water as a mask for something else.
Her power was far greater than that of any master Hydron he has ever met, he said, and that leaves him more disturbed than the rest. She truly does have ties to some sort of strength beyond herself, whether that is the goddess she is said to incarnate or something else, he could not even guess.
All we know now is that we are under the begrudging protection and hospitality of a woman that poses us the greatest threat we have yet encountered.
Her people, however, seem oblivious to her hostility towards us. I think some of them are from the village we saved, come to see us made well. The women here cover their elbows, much as we have seen in every other village, but they also wear simple jewelry. One of my caretakers speaks some of the common tongue, and she says that the blue and green stones they wear are reminders of the blessings of their faith.
Each blue stone represents some aspect of the goodness of the water goddess, Infiri, while each green stone represents one of her incarnate chief priestesses. By my count there have been twelve such priestesses. Each time a priestess dies, she told me, she is replaced by her most loyal acolyte.
Inifra, she said, is the name they all take to remind themselves that they are of a higher state and station now. This chief priestess has only been in office a few years. I asked her if all the priestesses are as powerful as Inifra is, and she giggled. No, she told me, only Infiri is so powerful, and the woman she inhabits.
I am left as intrigued as I am mystified. Of course I have heard of the Swift and Dread Gods of old. I am in fact a believer in them, as I have seen the One-Winged Angel on the battlefield myself. But I never thought to encounter any others in my lifetime. I didn’t think any still existed.
I want to see Inifra even more now, although I find myself nervous at the thought. Starlark tells me that none of my companions have seen her since she appeared at the river. I hope that once I leave this hut I can find her to thank her, and to ask her my own questions.