Jalinda found to her astonishment that Harlwstyr retreated to the back of her mind, all control of her body returned to her, with the old mage idly waiting for her to speak and act as she pleased.
After a moment of starlement, she burst out, "Thalric, what're you doing? You idiot!"
"Harlwystyr," the young mercenary captain snapped, glaring at her, "don't try to trick me! I know it's you speaking, not my Jalinda! Let her go! Get out of her, and stay out! Or I'll destroy what remains of you!" He waved the torch near the coffer menacingly.
Harlwystyr took control again, so swiftly that Jalinda barely had time to act.
"Oh," he made her lips reply, this time in the unmistakable drawl of the Old Meddler of Daggerfall when he was being mildly curious. "How?"
"I'll destroy these ashes with the... fire."
Thalric voice fell as his anger faltered into confusion.
"And? They're ashes, dolt! What do they teach the young men of High Rock these days, I wonder?" Harl replied, now sounding for all the world like an arch and mincing baroness of elder years.
"I-" Thalric's blade sank a bit, swaying back and forth and then thrust toward Durana. "Well, I can still..."
Jalinda strode forward to plant herself right in front of the mercenary captain's face, her hands on her hips. He winced and flushed.
"Thalric," she spat, her voice very much her own again and full of all the disappointment she felt, "you broke your word, didn't you? You gave your word, did you not?"
"I... I did. My word is my honour and that of the Camlorn Blades. But, my lady, I discovered something here last night. I-"
"What could you possibly discover," she said, eyes flaring in anger, "that pardons you from breaking your word?"
Thalric reddened even more but he kept his gaze steady on hers. "I discovered," he replied, "that when you are endangered, I will sacrifice my honour - and everything else, by the Divines - in an instant. I did this for you."
Jalinda trembled, tears welling up, and before her voice might fail her, she rushed out the words, "You struck down one friend so you could better threaten another? Why? Are you mad?"
"I- perhaps I am. I know not what to do. I don't know if I'm talking to my beloved or to Harlwystyr holdng you captive in your own head... or facing something more sinister. Illusionary magic wrought by some otherl sorcerer, of which there's no shortage of in High Rock."
Jalinda sighed out fresh frustration and took a step back. "I am myself, thank you, Thalric. Though I have no idea how I'll be able to prove it to you."
She started to pace, and then she stopped and shot a venomous look past her shoulder as she added, "Can you take nothing on trust?"
The young breton gave her a crooked smile. "Evidently not."
She took an imploring step back toward him, reaching out - but he raised his sword again, adding in a grow, "I dare not."
Jalinda glared at him, tears spilling over, and whispered, "I need you to trust me, so what will you have me do, Thalric?"
They stared at each other for what seemed a long time, as the torch crackled.
Thalric's face hardened, "Trust? Trust? Hah, you don't fool me, wizard! It's you in there, Harlwystyr, and you have my lady ruined or bound in tyrannical silence. She's a mask you put on when you seek to deceive me!"
He sliced the air with his sword, weaving a glittering wall of steel as he took three slow, menacing steps forward, forcing the redguard back.
She looked so hurt, through her eyes...
He growled, swiftly reminding himself that this was really Harlwystyr, just using his Jalinda's body. "You must cease this foul practice of riding living folk! This instant!"
"Or you'll - what?" Jalinda asked, regarding him sidelong. "Carve me up, Thalric? Kill me, your loyal companion that you call your lady and say you're doing all this for? And what when you've slain me, and I'm lying soaked in my blood all over the floor, what then? How will you stop the wizard you so misjudge then?"
Baffled anger was rising in the leader of the Camlorn Blades. She was right, Dagon smite! How could he strike at the wizard without harming Jalinda?
Thalric realised, as she reached the far wall of the cabin's lone room and sidestepped along it, that his advance had taken him far from the coffer. Hastily he shuffled back the way he'd come, trying not to stumble over anything inconvenient on the floor as he retreated, without taking his gaze off her for a moment.
Magic, she might weave magic.. he needed something to throw and another hand to throw it with. Ah, his dagger, of course, but-
Oh, damn and blast! Why was life always so difficult?
Harlwystyr quelled a sigh. Captain Camry was growing wild-eyed, apt to do nigh anything - and becoming truly dangerous.
Oh, Jalinda's body was nimble enough to quickly seize up furs and blankets to shackle the blade the young fool was waving about, or even hurl them over his head to momentarily hinder his sight, and smite him cold - but Jalinda was naked, and Durana might as well be, and that sword was sharp. Someone was going to get hurt.
And it was all so unnecessary.
The coffer young Thalric was threatening with burning was empty, until Harl departed Jalinda - and Durana could just as easily scoop the ashes that weren't him at all from the floor and store them down the toes of her boots, if the angry young fool was intent on destroying something.
Ah, Durana was awake, the paralysis having worn off. Through her glossy fall of black hair, Harl saw the gleam of one eye opening a trifle, for just a moment.
Which made his role clear. He had to keep Thalric talking and all of the fighter's attention locked on him.
"Thalric," he said in his best imitation of Jalinda's gravely earnest manner, going to his knees and spreading his arms wide, "what can I do to convince you? I am your Jalinda, and... and you're frightening me. I don't know how to prove anything to you!"
He had to keep his eyes from straying to Durana and thus draw Thalric's attention to her - but at the back of the mind they were sharing, Jalinda had seen that eye open, too, and had instantly become interested in watching her.
Unthinkingly, she attempted to gain control of her eyes. They wrestled mentally for a single moment, until Harl ruthlessly won that battle by shaking the redguard's head violently and making her look away and down at the wooden floor.
"Thalric?" he sobbed, not daring to let Jalinda look up.
"Jalinda," Thalric snarled, "if you are Jalinda and not the wizard, please believe me when I tell you I'm just as scared. And baffled about how to be sure you are... well, you."
Harl managed not to smirk. Would he have been any more eloquent, at Camry's age? Likely not...
Behind the mercenary captain, Durana had set about freeing herself. Thalric knew his work. His belt was stretched tight, cutting deep grooves in her arms. Durana stretched like a sabre cat from Skyrim, arched herself even further, then relaxed, having tested the limits of her bonds. Which weren't much.
Yet it seemed she'd learn enough to decide on how to act next, without any second thoughts or hesitation at all. As Harl fought not to watch, with Jalinda providing no help at all, Durana made her move.