“Well. It’ll be easier to explain if I start with what I know for sure,” Badger says. “Now, from your story, Marian suggested that the slime was containing some kind of power. Something that couldn’t really exist.”
“That’s the forbidden magic, then?” you say. Then something strikes you. “Or is it the slime itself? She thought it was creating a space where the power could exist, or something like that.”
“Yes, so you’ve said. As it turns out, there’s a lot of phrases in the story which implied the forbidden magic to be ‘unnatural’, ‘not of this world’, that sort of thing. More to the point, there was a heavy focus on an urn, which the spell was said to be held in.”
“So you think the slime is playing the part of the urn here, and whatever was inside affected her,” you muse.
Badger nods in response.
“And because that spell doesn’t follow the rules of our reality, by interacting with it, Marian has become a little unmoored from them. She can be asleep and fully conscious at the same time. So the essence of the remedy is that it is necessary to dispel the last traces of the forbidden magic.”
“Which is why you’ve got to know what it is,” you say, in realization. “But we don’t entirely know that, do we? All I know is that the priest and Arlene were acting funny and I’m pretty sure that spell was the cause.”
“Indeed. So let’s go back to the story. The forbidden spell there was said to control the oceans. Perhaps the idea of this one was to control the land – which would mean it wouldn’t affect merfolk.”
Or you, evidently. Marian said something about your heritage protecting you. She also said there was something unnatural about the air. If she knew this same story, maybe she realized the same thing was happening…
“All right, that sounds like a decent guess,” you say, putting that line of thought aside for the moment. “So we take the remedy from the story, and adjust it to a form that relates to the land? That’s what you’re thinking?”
“More or less,” Badger agrees. “So now I can start going into some detail on what that involves.”