Leareth is lying in a stone room, and nothing in particular is happening right now, and he is mostly succeeding at not having any thoughts. It's a fine moment. He is not, literally this second, being tortured. This is not useful at all for predicting what the next moment is going to be like, of course, or for whether 'quiet stone room' has any particular resemblance to reality, but Leareth has gotten pretty good at not being curious.
"Sayshen says he hasn't moved. I have some mana again, not a ton."
"Is it going to wake him if I Mindtouch him to look?"
"I don't think so but I can keep an eye on it, I'm good on arts. I can also heal him now, he looks kinda... I don't know if that's useful for figuring out what's going on and it's not like it's hurting him right now but I can."
"If you are not worried about needing the mana more later, that seems good. He looks terrible."
Nayoki squats down on the forest floor beside Leareth, who up close is quite noticeably not her Leareth. "He is older," she says, baffled. "I might say by fifteen years, or more even."
And she rests her hand on his forehead and closes her eyes.
...And then makes an undignified squawking noise.
Bella was running through possible other things she might need the mana for and was about to heal him and is brought up short. "What?"
"I am almost certain this is Leareth, or a different Leareth, but it is hard to tell for sure because - his mind... I am not even sure how to describe it. It is very horrible."
"Uh, I'm reluctant to look too closely myself for all the usual reasons, although I guess of excuses to do so anyway 'his past self says it's fine' is relatively defensible if he'd like a second pair of eyes?"
"He was not sure you would be willing to look but he tell me to convey his permission for it. More checking is good, this situation is so odd."
So she has a look.
"...okay, this kind of confirms the 'Utumno or something like it' guess, similar stress patterns modulo him not being an Elf," she says. "Though I've never looked at, uh, Regular Leareth to compare."
"I am not sure what we do now," Nayoki admits. "It seems unwise to bring him anywhere in the north where important people are, for the same reason you brought him here. I am working on a research project for reversibly blocking Gifts, on the side of my main projects, but I do not have anything now."
"I could do an action block on doing magic? It's time-consuming but I know how. Would it just be magic or should I include more stuff?"
"I think mage-gift is most of what makes him more dangerous than other people? Maybe Mindspeech as well." She hesitates. "Might I watch you do it? It might show me an easier way to achieve similar things with Mindhealing. Oh, and also I am a mage so I can do compulsions. Which would be faster but - less neat, I think."
"They're reversible, though? If a compulsion would be thorough enough to let him go north and talk to us without exploding, we could save my all-day version for after we know what's what."
"...Oh, if it takes all day that is different, I had not realized it was so long. In order to be sure I have compulsions that fully block magic use, it will also be very obtrusive and block many other actions. I think I could do it precisely enough to still let him talk to us." Nayoki lifts her hands, lets them fall. "He could definitely do it."
"Well, you can do one, and then bring him back, and he can do a better one, and you can take yours off, and later I can do a better one than that and he can take his off?"
"I suppose that would do." Nayoki sits down. "This will take me about half a candlemark to do right."
Bella nods, heals the Leareth, and sits back down by Sayshen to wait, updating her Elf friends.
"I am finished," Nayoki says eventually. "Did you want to wake him up first, or just go?"
"If I wake him up will he be able to walk through a Gate? I'm not sure how else we do it - have Sayshen drag him maybe but I don't think we can get him onto her back -"
"He should be able to walk across. I can do the Gate right here just in case, so others could come through and help if he cannot."
"Uh, my Elf friend who was in Utumno says he might not be willing to do things including very innocuous things, we should probably plan on hauling him. I'll wake him up once he's there."
Grimace. "All right. One moment." She's quiet for thirty seconds. "Leareth - the other one - has evacuated most of my facility, it is the same place you were before. We can bring him there."
She raises the Gate.
"...Should we wake him now or swap the compulsions first?"
"Uh, maybe swap them first? If he's like - other people who come out of Utumno - then doing almost anything to him will be stressful and that's anything."