In Chapter 43, Dora performed psychometry on the bag of finger bones she discovered in the basement of Briarstone Asylum. She had two visions:

The first vision was almost too upsetting to watch. Not because of the content, but because Dora felt the emotion of its subject, and her emotions were beyond description, nearly beyond the ability of a human body contain.

She saw a worked stone chamber. Twenty feet wide, fifteen feet deep. Dark hallways stretched to the north, south, and east. Everything’s a little bit musty, and just a little bit damp, like she was underground. The chamber contained two large wooden shelving units on the west and east walls, holding a large variety of small chests, boxes, and a bunch of loose tools, liquids, supplies, and so on. It looked like a storage room of some sort. Pretty normal, in fact. Except…

In the middle of the floor lay a closed wooden coffin. A fairly large one, and fairly old looking. And well-used? It was dirty, a little banged-up, and there were smears of both what appears to be mud and blood on it.

At the moment, it was being used as a table, or a work surface. There was a simple black silk cloth draped over the top, covering maybe half of its surface. A vat of lye rested upon the silk, along with a small circle of red candles, providing a menacing, shifting, eerie half-light to the space.

There was a woman in black robes. She seemed to be her 30s. She’s tall, and slender. Warm metallic skin. Cold metallic hair. Blazing violet eyes. It was Dora’s body. But Dora wasn’t in it.

Thema sat on a stool in front of the vat of lye, in a state of grief so extreme that she seemed nearly crazed.

A small black and orange fox, sleek and smart, alert and protective, darted back and forth across the room, watching the entrances. Reynard was unflaggingly vigilant in looking out for his mistress. The work of a familiar never ends.

Thema pulled a small, severed hand from a pouch at her side. She dropped her daughter’s hand into the lye. She watched the flesh melt away. She extracted the bones with a pair of tongs, cleaned them, and applied a sealer from the nearby shelf to them, crying through clenched teeth all the while. Dora watched as she did the same thing with another small, severed hand.

And then, mercifully, the vision ended.

The second vision was also overwhelming, nearly too intense to actually experience. Most of what Dora saw was a cloud of white-hot rage, pierced only sporadically by hazy glimpses at what was happening in physical space at this point.

Thema was there, older this time. Much closer to Dora’s current age. She held the brown leather pouch as Dora knew it, and Dora knew it contained the bones. Thema clutched her left hand around it so hard she was gouging bloody wounds into her palm with her fingernails.

A man was there: Gulliver Vatticus. He’s also close to the age he died at. His salt & pepper hair was long, and he was bearded now, but neat and well-kempt, not like the mess on his face when the party watched him die.

They stood outside, in the rain and fog. The sound of water lapping on a shore could be heard. The air smelled of rotting fish. They stood in front of what looks like a boarded-up building of some sort. An old mansion, maybe?

Dora could make out, amidst the white-hot rage of the vision, only a single bit of the conversation between Thema and Gulliver. He talked a lot. He always talked a lot. But this one bit… it was the only bit that meant anything to Thema… the only bit she remembered… the bit that stuck… the bit that already had her deciding to make arrangements with Melisenn.

Gulliver leaned in and whispered in Thema’s ear, “I just want you to know… it was Brayden. He did it. He killed her.”

But he meant something else. And Thema knew what he meant. He meant, “It was US.”

First Reference: Chapter 43
Other Notable References: Chapter 72, Chapter 73

 

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