Spire: Chapter 73

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I am in a good mood, almost a week of uninterrupted sleep and a lack of new problems seems to herald a period of boredom, and this time I am not complaining. I leave Mynar and Lej plotting over breakfast, Germins looking glum, and go looking for Alan.

He now has a second duty as Royal Mage. Father had been busy while we were in Blythe, and there are four locations posting daily reports in code on large white boards, three on borders and the fourth with Celeste. Father explains the need for code because other Sorcerers also have scrying spells, then has to correct himself to say because Sorcerers as well as Mages… I don’t think Alan hears him, he has left the room to go somewhere in his head, planning something; I grew up with Mynar, I recognize the my body is here but my mind isn’t gaze. Since then, he has been sending daily copies of the four messages, but is otherwise ignoring everyone to work in a storeroom off the outer bailey.

I pick up a plate of food and go to make him eat breakfast. A loud whooshing noise comes through the door as I arrive, but I don’t even flinch; I recognize the sound of a failed scrying spell.

“It worked,” Alan grins at me as I walk in.

“Looks as if it failed from here.”

“Not the spell, I wanted it to fail.” Alan points with pride to a metal five sided box with the sixth side covered with a pane of Stormborne glass missing from the outer window of the room.  “Of course, since I wanted it to fail, I succeeded more times in a row than ever before.”

“Ah.” I finally understand. The scrying bowl, or what is left of it, is inside the box. “Good plan.”

“Now I need someone besides me to test it.”

I can hear my guards shuffling behind me, but can’t tell if they want to volunteer, or if they are taking a step backwards.

“And how dangerous is it?”

“Not very. I just need to know if anyone besides me can see the scrying image.”

“Eat,” I command, “And then we will ask for volunteers.” This time, I’m looking at my guards. They are interested. Probably only their iron discipline keeps them from waving their hands and saying ‘pick me’. I nod at my Sergeant, “Sort it out, then.” And shoo them out of the door.

“What are you up to?”

“If it is safe, and if this experiment is successful.” Alan stops for a moment. “I wanted to be sure I could do it before I said anything. But if it is safe and works, I could show the Queens her children’s resting place.”

I can’t decide if I want to hug him or cry, so I do both. “You are brilliant.”

“We still don’t know if it will work,” he points out. “Or what your father will say.”

“Yeah, that could be a problem,” I think, but don’t say aloud. “Find out if it works, then I will ask father.”

#

It works; three different guards write out the messages from the site in Styfe. Now I get to go talk to Father, while Alan experiments to see if his box can contain an exploding mirror. On my way, I send one of my guards to summon the priest on duty so there will be someone available to pull pieces of glass out of Alan if his containment box fails. (He did promise me he would only use the scrying bowl for mother.)

“I will not have your mother near Sorcery.”

“Of course not,” I agree. “But this is magery.” Huh, wonder if that is a word? If it isn’t it should be. Father just glares at me. “Is this really worse for Mother than her pinning because she can’t visit their resting-place? I don’t think there is any danger, but even if there is, it will be worth it.”

I don’t know if I am lying or not. Will seeing a watery picture satisfy Mother, lift her spirits, or do I just hope so because I can’t think of anything else to do.

Father keeps glaring, but doesn’t say ‘no’; I guess he can’t think of anything else, either.

So Alan’s box is lugged into the wall chamber we used when the disk was uncovered, with both fireplaces putting out heat until the room is overly warm, and Mother is ushered in, looking mildly excited.

The box has been place on the floor so Mother can see into it without standing. And she can see, tears running down her face at sight of the four urns flanked by vases, and one of Lar’s daughters arranging fresh blooms. For a moment I’m confused, ‘four’, then remember Bard Dekker’s ashes are with the family’s.

Mother watches until the image fades, ignoring the tears running down her face. When there is nothing left to see, she nods to her ladies and leaves, stopping only to kiss Alan on the cheek as she goes back to her rooms.

And the rest of us are left standing around, not knowing if we did the right thing or not.

#

The next day I watch Dryn and Alan threading fine wire through holes in his containment box which will ultimately form a fine mesh between the mirror on the bottom and the clear glass on the top.

“The grid will decrease the force on the clear glass,” Alan explains, the chipped window leaning against the wall serving to explain why they want to do this.

“And, when the mirror breaks, how will you get a new one in?”

They both look at me, then look at each other in disgust, so I decide to leave and let them redesign without my accompanying snickers.  My lack of charity toward my beloved and his blacksmithing mentor is almost immediately punished. I am summoned to meet with Father and Taver.

“We want you to offer Germins the opportunity to watch Kels making flint weapons.” Father is smiling, clearly making a point by having me make the offer rather than Mynar or Jes. For a moment I act like Mynar and let my thoughts wander off on a tangent. I have not seen Jes for two days now, and that is rather long even knowing he was going to ‘dreamtalk’. I decide to check on him, and then start paying attention to father again.

“Kels knows, and is going to offer him a flint nodule to take home with him.  Maybe, if he thinks he owes us, he will share something with us if he has his great vision.”

It might work, he has shared more than Clairvoyants usually do, first because he pretty much had to explain why he entered our Realm under a false name, and then because he was caught off guard by being offered sympathy when at a low point.

“And,” Taver adds, “It will be interesting to see how eager he is.”

I tack down Germins at an Inn just outside the secondary gate of the outer bailey. I find him easily, I just ask two or three people on the street if they have seen the Clairvoyant, and within minutes I know exactly where he is. I may complain about our gossip, but that won’t keep me from using it.

My guards try to keep me from entering the taproom, so I have to waste a few minutes glaring at them before I can sit uninvited at Germins’ table.

“Princess?” He seems to be questioning his own eyes. Why are people just fine with me fighting demons, but have problems with me entering a not-at-all-lowclass tavern.

“I have been thinking; since you have little to do for the next few weeks, would you be interested in watching Kels, our chief armorer make flint weapons?”

“The King would allow this?” Germins doesn’t even try to hide his surprise.

“Of course, the more people who know how to kill, or at least hurt, demons, the better.”

He is eager, very eager, jumping up from the table, leaving far too large of a coin. If he had drunk that much, we would be carrying him back to his bed, not escorting him to the armory.

“A Clairvoyant eager to learn how to kill demons. That is just depressing,” I mutter way under to my breath as I leave Germins with Kels, and go to share my depressing news with Father and Taver.

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