Pavel: GET BACK! Get away from her! Please!!
Pavel swings the lantern around, clearing a wider circle of floor that the ghosts crowd around the border of. He runs forward and drops to his knees at her side.
Pavel: MOM! Talk to me! MOM!
Vanna is a mess. Her jewelry and the yellow triangles on her robes are the only part of her with any color anymore. Their cheerful yellow and gold are out of place. She lifts her head, slowly, and manages a slight smile.
Vanna: Pavel…? Oh, my Pavel… Ha… Look at us… We MATCH a bit better now… Don’t we…? I didn’t know… How much it would HURT. How… How did you handle this PAIN…?
She reaches up and cradles Pavel’s face in her hand. Pavel reaches up to feel her hand there- as though to make sure it’s really there. Unshed tears rim his eyes. But he can’t look away from her. The cracks in her skin reach all the way to her fingertips, like a breath of wind would send her crumbling to bits.
Vanna: Gods… You were so small… Too small…
Pavel: Mom… Who… HOW?!
Pavel has set the lantern beside him and is focused entirely on his mother. She can’t lift her head, focusing on holding his cheek, and he wraps his small hand around her wrist to help her stay in place. The ghosts loom, watching.
Vanna: A Fata Morgana… She followed us-- her arrow took out our lighthouse… She could’ve killed me… but she did THIS instead. Whoever sent her… they don’t want us dead… They want us QUIET. Just like Garth.
She pulls her hand back and holds it to her forehead for a moment, spasming with the pain of the seabite. Her shoulders shake, but she doesn’t collapse. Not yet.
Vanna: I know it’s because of my work… It MUST be. But… I have no more time to think. I’m one of THEM now… They’ll take me soon.
Suddenly, with herculean effort, Vanna lifts herself up onto her elbows. Her whole body shakes, the cracks in her skin deepen along her arms and stretch up to her face. She grits her teeth, eyes shadowed by the way her hair falls against her face, but the determination is in every inch of her posture as she struggles.
Vanna: But I… won’t… let them… take… YOU.