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Keish- April 13, 2005

April 13, 2005

Dear Arri,
We’ve had Brooksby arrange a schedule of when Caden is Here, and when he is merely here.  It seemed the only way to keep it all straight.
And naturally this means I have to make adjustments to the little glamours that have kept people from noticing his comings and goings.
He is to make his first report tonight.
“What do I tell them?” he whined.
I rolled my eyes.  It was at least the fifth time he’d asked.
“They can’t expect you to have learned much yet,” Jace put in sensibly.  “Some simple piece of information should be enough.”
“You can tell them I commune with water sprites at every quarter moon for all I care,” I responded, a little more sharply than I’d intended.
I find I am already tired of this situation, which does not bode well for the coming weeks.
“Now, Keisha,” Jace said soothingly, “you know he’ll have to take them reports that at least seem useful, or they’ll change tactics.”
I sighed.  Jace was right, of course.  I closed my eyes and tried to think of something innocuous that the Gresteans could see as helpful.
As often happens when trying to clear one’s mind, random thoughts crop up relentlessly and after a moment I found myself half-consciously trying another calling spell to reach Imato.
Of course it didn’t work, but it did give me an idea.
“Tell them I’m frustrated my spells won’t work to reach Imato.  Make them think I’m giving up.  Maybe we can lure someone into a false security and the magical protection around Imato will ease up enough for me to get through.”
Both Jace and Caden thought this a worthwhile idea, so we were agreed.

I think Master Byra, excuse me Sir Byra (King Menion has made him a full member of the King’s Council-- he tried to make him a lord so that his proper title would be Lord of Education, but Sir Byra insisted that an old palace tutor was certainly not a lord) anyway, I think he is starting to feel run ragged.  He’s brought in another teacher to take over his classes as he’s in administrative meetings all day.
When he pointed out yesterday that this is all my fault I replied that it couldn’t have happened to a nicer person.
Better him than me.
Cass has begun training Meg, our other student who lost her position some weeks ago for refusing to give up her classes.  She’s been doing whatever random tasks Marta has set for her, but she has just turned 17 and has become out first “graduate” having taken our skills test.  Cass has decided Meg is just the person to take over most of her own duties since she will not have time for everything if she is to teach full time next year.

Keaton continues to be fascinated by his chicks, though Thor lost interest when it became obvious that a) he was not allowed to chase them and b) they don’t do much of anything anyway.

Caden told Tish all about how you healed your father and she’s anxious to discuss it with you when everything with Imato is settled.  She doesn’t want you to be distracted by letters from her under the present circumstances but hopes to hear from you once things are resolved.

April 14th
I have your letter.
My first thought was that Mendel being taken seriously about dragons was very concerning.
Then I decided that thought was too hasty-- Liop and dragons was clearly the far more worrisome combination.
Does Uncle W. know that Liop has taken to carrying iridium about with him?  I hope he just had it with him for the quest-- the idea of his pockets being constantly lined with the stuff is somewhat terrifying.
Is it normal for Great Greens to be so near Rousha?  And a gomorph?  It seems strange to have encountered either so near the city.  I guess Mendel got his dragons, though.
Maybe now he’s learned to be careful what he wishes for.
Naturally you handled Nuicui with your usual talent and skill.  I’m often grateful that it is you that gets into these situations and not me.  I would never know what to say.

If Gretel, who survived all of Vanessa’s wedding plans and even wore that horrid dress with a perfectly sanguine attitude, doesn’t think her nerves can handle Vanessa’s current condition how does she think I feel?!  She came here to tea earlier to make her own divination request.  It took a lot to convince her that I could do my best to divine the date, and possibly find out if it is a boy or girl in the process, but all of the details she wanted were simply too much to ask of anyone.
I keep praying King Menion will find some nice estate for Euan somewhere… preferably far far far from Adya.
As to any divination regarding Gretel’s child, Imato can ask all he wants but I won’t do it unless the request is from the mother.  Besides, an angry Gretel is far more worrisome to me than an angry Imato.  Imato angry stopped scaring me years ago.

Caden agrees with your father that his task is not as useful as he had hoped.  “I wish I could find out about H’ma for Sir Quin,” he lamented the evening.
“And so you shall,” Jace said confidently, an amused glint in his eyes.
“It’s not as though I can just ask,” Caden responded, frowning.  “I suppose I can do some research to see if the man was ever caught.  Macario keeps track of those kinds of things.  But if he hasn’t, what good can I do?”
I rolled my eyes.  “Nothing simpler.  You tell them I divined the name and see what you can learn from their reactions and what they’re willing to tell you.  Honestly, what good is pretending to spy on me if we can’t use my divination to learn whatever we wish?”  I frowned.  “Are we certain H’ma is a man, though?  Arri doesn’t specify.”
Caden shrugged.  “Aren’t spies usually?”
I stuck my tongue out at him.
Jace laughed.  “Maybe we only think that because the women don’t get caught.”

“Was White a Narl, do you think?” Jace asked as we pondered your father’s theory.
I shrugged.  “It’s possible, though it seems equally possible that others have used the same spell.  There are certainly enough horrid people in the world who aren’t Narls.”
“That’s true.  I wish we could ask him, but the last report didn’t indicate that he’d been found.”
“Perhaps Caden will have something new when he returns from interrogating Macario about Grestean spies.”

I am sorry if my attempt to feed memories into your father made him lose some others.  I didn’t think of that.  Now, though, I can give him whatever he wants.  Birthdays, weddings.  Perhaps a few memories that will help him understand the current family dynamics.  After all, some of those are bound to amuse him.  We should let him read our letters too, if he wants.

April 15th
Today proved very interesting, Arri, and I wish I could send this letter as soon as I have recorded the events of the day, but as Caden is off to meet his Grestean friends and won’t return until extremely late, it seems silly to send this off without hearing how they react to the name H’ma.
So I shall be brutal-- I will write what happened today and go straight to bed.
After my classes and dinner, I decided to attempt to call Imato again.  I didn’t have much hope of success, but I figure I may as well keep making the attempt every couple of days.
Interestingly, while I could not reach Imato I did feel an odd sort of tugging, pulling at my spell.
When I focused on that, I suddenly saw Queran Aoweir.
“Sir Queran?!” I said in surprise.
“Lady Keish, thank goodness.  I’ve been trying to find a way to call you all day, but my talent is in hearing calls, not casting them.  I finally managed a spell to listen for you to call Imato and hoped fervently you would try to do so.”
“An ingenious solution,” I responded, “and one with interesting uses, I imagine.”
“Yes, Imato and I played with the idea of intercepting calling spells, but the important thing now is to relay what I must before we lose this connection.  I have great faith in your ability to sustain it, but less in my own.”
“Very well then.  What has happened?”
“We found White.  He was in a small cave near here, restrained and rather worse for wear when we got to him, I’m afraid, but food and a little rest brought him around.  This morning I was able to speak with him at length.
“It appears that he was lured out near the camp by a note, supposedly from Imato, asking to meet him.  Imato, I believe had had a similar note, supposedly from White.
“When White arrived, however, he was held immobile by a spell, and layers of magic were stripped from his mind.  At least, that’s how he describes it.  He claims it was similar to what your friend Darius did in trying to help him but that these Gresteans seemed to know exactly what they were looking for and how to find it.”
“And so he remembers his past now, is that what you’re telling me?”
“In part only.  He knows he’s Yugliv.  Some of what he says I would like you to test for yourself.  Can you use a scrying spell to see him here with me?  And can you feel and find magic using such a spell?” Queran asked.
I nodded absently, momentarily forgetting that he could not see me.  “Yes, I should be able to do that.  Give me just a moment to make the adjustments.”
I called Jace into my study as I rearranged my mirror slightly.  When I was satisfied I told Queran that I was casting the scrying spell.
“White is right here with me,” he responded.
I cast my spell and was startled by what I saw.  “But White has no magic!” I exclaimed.
White apparently could not hear me (which made perfect sense) because he didn’t react.
Queran answered.  “Apparently the same spell that took his memory and left him wandering alone also wrapped up his magic and kept it entirely hidden.  He says it isn’t much magic though.”
I was studying White.  “No, it isn’t.  And it’s very specific.”
Queran nodded.  “One of the older soldiers here knows a bit about Yuglicov.  He says they don’t have innate magic the way you or I do, but rather magic is endowed from objects bit by bit at various stages of training.  Part of that magic will always depend on the object, but some becomes an integral part of the person.”
“And the nature of the magic follows the nature of the training.”
“Exactly.  All White remembers is that before Greste attacked Yuglicov he was in his early stages of apprenticeship-- to be a healer.”
“T’ay,” I breathed.
Queran nodded again.  “White does not remember precisely, but it seems likely.  It would explain what the Gresteans want with him.  Apparently they were supposed to take him also, but he says his master gave them quite a bit more trouble than they were expecting, even though they managed to distract him and block his magic before he could cast a ward.”
This last was said somewhat smugly.  I think Queran is rather proud that his son-in-law gave them a fight.
“But why leave White?  Or why not return for him?”
“When Imato didn’t return within the hour, I had patrols out searching.  I think we prevented them from coming back for White.  He says it wasn’t a large enough party to grab them both with Imato struggling so much.”
I pondered this a moment.  “And he’s telling the truth?”  I felt inclined to believe White’s story, but knew I had to be sure, if only for Gretel’s sake.
Queran was silent for several seconds before responding.  “I feel he is.  One aspect of aural magic is often an ability to sort out a lie.  It’s been very helpful in my profession on many occasions.  I feel no lie in White.  I’d like more qualified magicians to see what they make of his magic and such, of course, but for now I’m ready to believe him.  He wishes to remain in the camp until Imato can be rescued.  I’m assigning a man to keep an eye on him, but I’ve granted that request.”
“Thank you for this,” I told Queran.  “It puts my mind at ease on that score, if nothing else.”
He smiled briefly.  “I’ll write to Gretel, of course, but you can get the information to them so much more quickly.  I hope you’ll do so.”
I promised to send a letter off to you as soon as I could and we let the spell fade.
Jace is glad to hear that White is not likely a villain or traitor after all.  I hope Gretel will feel at ease now too.
“Do you suppose the Gresteans took White along with T’ay?” Jace asked.
“I don’t know.  It’s certainly possible.  If they used a similar spell to that of the Narls it would all make sense.  When they lost T’ay they would no longer have found him useful.  Either they turned him loose or were lax about keeping him under their control and Darius ended up finding him.”
“We may never know the whole story.”
I shrugged.  “Perhaps not.  Though Arri has made several breakthroughs in that area of healing-- perhaps she’ll be the one to restore White as well.”
Jace smiled broadly.  “We should tell her to put aside the idea of clearing people’s lungs as a job and set her to fixing fading memories instead.”
What an interesting thought.

There, now that I’ve related the whole of it and of course there’s no sign of Caden, I’m going to bed as I’d promised.  I shall bully an account out of Caden first thing in the morning and then send this off directly thereafter.

April 16th
The reactions to Caden’s report, I think, are very interesting, and I’m glad I waited to send this letter because I’m anxious to hear everyone’s opinion.
When Caden introduced the name H’ma, he was greeted with laughter.
Of the six other people in the room, five found it hilarious that my divination was chasing “a ghost”.
When Caden asked whatever they could mean he was told that H’ma wasn’t a real spy, but rather a story that had kept Elcaran authorities busy for months, taking their attention away from the “real spies” at work.
In short, they explained, H’ma does not exist and never has.
At this point in Caden’s retelling I was ready to scream.
Jace was paying more attention.  “And what did the other person have to say?” he asked shrewdly.
Caden grinned.  “Nothing at all.  Cobbles just watched me carefully as though trying to judge whether or not I was believing what everyone else was saying.  He certainly didn’t laugh, but rather seemed thoughtful that the name had come to my attention.”
“So he didn’t confirm that H’ma is a ghost?” Jace asked.
Caden shook his head.  “Telling, isn’t it?”
After some discussion, Jace and I are in agreement with Caden that the reaction of Martin Cobbles is the most telling.  He’s the highest ranking Grestean here, after all, so if there were more to the story he would know before the others.  Caden hopes to gain his trust as time goes on and learn more.
As I said, though, we’re anxious to see what you all think, and so I will close and send this off with all speed.

Love Always,

PS Any other names or details your father remembers would be appreciated-- after all, I must keep “divining” things for Caden to report on.

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