Spire: Chapter 104

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Jes and I lean against the edges of the crenellation staring at the falling snow, huge wet flakes which melt immediately when they land on the stone of the castle walls or the cobblestones of the street. I don’t worry about Canor or Flower, this is just an early flurry, and will cause no travel problems; the first heavy snows are weeks away.

“Do you think they will fit in with the tribes?” I don’t have to tell Jes who I’m thinking about.

“Yes. The Shaman will see to it.” He sounds confident.

“Why?”

“Because they helped Rage, and Rage made it unnecessary for the tribes to confront the swamp-wizard.” Jes goes back to watching the snow. “And I am not dream-talking again for a long time.” He thinks for a moment, “For a long, long, long time.”

“We will be snowed in for the winter soon, so nothing much should happen.” I deliberately don’t think about attacking Outlanders. Surely they learned their lesson last time.

The snow is beautiful—and wet—and cold. But the castle is in a pre-wedding frenzy that makes the wet, cold snow preferable. Alan is either hiding in his workroom or Mynar’s library since his own library-to-be is still in the planning stages.  My heavily be-pearled dress and long, wispy veil are ready, and all I need to do is show up at the appropriate time. For once I don’t resent being the pampered Princess. I really am going to have to think of something suitable to reward Daver; he has definitely outdone himself the last month or so. Or I could just ask mother.

“Princess.” One of Mynar’s guards waits until he is sure he has my attention. I get the feeling he has been standing there for several moments waiting for me to notice him, and I berate myself for my inattention. My training master would be disappointed in me.

“Prince Mynar has something to show you, in his library.” Once I look at him, he completes his message. I look at Jes. We are both clearly wondering what has Mynar gotten into now, as we turn without comment and head toward the library. It may take him the rest of his life to live down taking the disk from the vault.

Mynar, Lej, and Emrinalda are all leaning over a paper lying in the middle of one of the tables.

“This has to be the Clearflow and the Lesser Clearflow,” Mynar is pointing to a point on what I now realize is a map.

“We found a map, Adava. A map to the Warrior-sages School.” He ignores Lej’s soft ‘maybe’.

“It was Mynar who found it,” Alan adds from the side of the room. “He’s really good at this.”

“The false bottom of the trunk, that hid the carved out secret cache was itself made from two thin pieces of wood, with the map in between. It was,” Emrinalda looks at Mynar with approval, “very clever of Mynar to find it.”

“We have to mount an expedition, the original tablets may still be there—and would be much more readable.”

I move closer to my little brother forcing him to look at me. “You will not start any kind of argument, hassle, or uproar the day before my wedding.  Do you understand me. You will not go to Taver with requests for men to go on a major expedition, you will not ask Daver to start gathering supplies, you will do nothing but look at your pretty map.” I seem to have gotten my brother’s attention, so I move back a pace. “You can’t head into the mountains in the winter; you would be snowed in before you were a third of the way there—and you will never see the tablets if you freeze to death. After my wedding—and that means several weeks, not the day after—I will help you convince father (who you will ask before you talk to Taver, or Ekal, or Daver) to send out an expedition. You have all winter to plan.”

“At least Alan could try to scry the area, couldn’t he.”

“After our wedding.” This time, I did remember it was our not my. “If he wants to.”

“And I will want to only if Adava wants me to.”

“We couldn’t really get very far before the first blizzard.” Which is as close as Mynar is likely to get to agreeing with me. So I make him happy, and oh and ah over the map. It was very clever of him to have found it.

After a suitable period of admiring Mynar’s find, Jes and I leave, Jes to see if the snow is still falling and me to just be somewhere else. I’m surprised to see Alan following us, since he had his grimoires spread out on one of the tables, busily translating. We split at the courtyard, Jes going back to the wall, Alan heading toward his workshop, and me following Alan, because—why not.

He gathers everything he needs for his daily scrying and I move a chair over against the wall. Even my guards don’t mind me watching scrying, as long as I am out of reach of possible flying-boiling water.

No failed spells today, and I’m thinking no emergencies as I finish decoding Claire’s board: ‘no dreams’.  The second report is just as placid, but the third ruins my day. Not even the ‘nothing to report’ on the forth saves it.

“We have a problem,” I warn Alan. Oh how I long for the days of boredom interrupted only by occasional demon mess clean-up. “A massive thunderstorm hit one of our strongholds, with lightning strikes causing multiple fires. Most of their winter supplies were burned.

“Round up Taver and Ekal and bring them to the council room. I’ll get father.” So much for my quiet day before our wedding.

“This is good,” father keeps repeating. “We can have more supplies on the way to them almost immediately, before the worst of the winter.”  Lord Ekal nods in agreement.

“We need more scryers,” father decides.

“You realize that would mean more Sorcerers? Right?” Guess I have been officially designated the realm’s wet blanket.

“No. More Mages.”

I don’t even try to stop rolling my eyes, don’t care if I’m Princess, don’t care if he’s King. I can’t think of anything I can say that mother would approve of coming out of my mouth. Luckily the details of getting more supplies on the road mask my lack of response. I pull Alan out of the room as they start debating carts vs pack horses; the first best if no heavy snow, the latter if there is.

“I’m assuming you don’t have any weather predicting spells.”

“I might be able to tell if it is going to snow or rain today, inside the city, but a farmer’s guess would be better than mine. I know, I tested my spell against a farmer in Isal for six months. Have you ever met anyone else you thought was a Mage?”

“No.” my Sword answers, volunteering something for a change, and “No,” I echo so Alan can hear.

“Sorcerers don’t work well together. I’m surprised things are going as well as they are with Rage, probably wouldn’t be if he wasn’t injured.” Alan stops for a moment, and pulls me close so he can whisper, “Let’s take some supplies into our tower, so we can barricade the door shut and be all by ourselves after the wedding.”

“My Sword stays with us—on the top floor, where the bedroom isn’t.”

“And my grimoires.”

“That sounds like a plan,” I grin at him.

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