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Keish- March 5, 2005

March 5, 2005
Dear Arri,
Taty’s latest letter hints strongly at the possibility of Malia returning to Rousha with her.
Since I refuse to do without Malia, Jace has hit upon an excellent idea--  could Mendel draw up the Pren townhouse?  I know he has finals coming up too, but it’s not terribly large.  Especially if he only did the public rooms.
Malia was there with us in July, of course, but if Mendel drew up the blueprints for Taty then she and Malia could use them as a reference and design to Taty’s heart’s content.
What do you think?  What does Mendel think?

Euan stopped me in the courtyard yesterday.
“Keish!” he exclaimed as though running into an old friend.  (Clearly he’s delusional on that score.)  “Are you ready to give up teaching to become my model yet?”
“No, Your Highness.”
“Oh?  But of course, you must be wondering how much time I could have for painting as Prince Regent.”
“Actually, no.  I hadn’t heard that King Menion had made an announcement,” I said innocently.
Euan laughed lightly.  “Well of course he hasn’t.  He’s waiting for my 21st birthday, naturally.”
“I see.  Then I guess we’ll all know soon enough.  Good day, Your Highness.”
I fought to control it, but I was laughing by the time I reached the tower library.  This meant I had to explain the encounter to Jace and Caden.
“Euan’s delusions know no bounds,” Caden said, rolling his eyes.
“There would be advantages to us if Euan was made Prince Regent-- he’d leave Adya,” I pointed out.
“Yes but his poor subjects,” Jace responded, shaking his head.
I agreed.  I don’t think I could subject anyone to Euan that way.  Even if it would get rid of him.

Caden was in the library to explain that the science museum will be closed on March 17th.
I frowned.  “Liop will be disappointed.”
Jace laughed.  “Not at all, my dear.  Let Caden finish.”
Caden grinned broadly.  “The museum will be closed to all but a private party.  My private party, to be precise.”  He considered.  “Well, Jace’s.  I had to use his name to avoid suspicion.  After all, I can get myself in without anyone taking notice, but it would be hard to smuggle the rest of you in.”
“Yes, I suppose it would,” I said with a laugh.
“A whole day.  Tish has already promised to come.  Liop can chatter away in whatever language he pleases.  I expect the boys will run the rest of us ragged.”  He sounded positively gleeful.
“You seem to have developed quite the passion for science as well,” I pointed out.
He nodded.  “I admit, I’m fascinated.  Tish has the most interesting ideas… not to mention the inventions and equipment!  In fact, I have a favor to ask.”
Jace raised an eyebrow.  “Oh?  And what is that?”
Caden seemed suddenly less sure of himself.  “Well it’s…  You see, Tish and I have agreed to an exchange of sorts.   I want to learn more about reflectagraphy and science in general and she wants to write articles for scientific journals.  So she said she’ll teach me if… well, if I teach her to write articles like that.”
“That sounds like a brilliant idea,” I said, “but we’re still waiting to hear the favor.”
He squirmed a little.  “We were hoping to use your drawing room as a classroom.  People are already beginning to ask about how much time I spend in her labs.”
Jace shrugged.  “I don’t see why not.  It’s not exactly being used.”
“Of course you’ll have Keaton begging to stay for every science lesson,” I pointed out.
Caden grinned.  “But of course.”

Having performed every experiment he could think of on eggs from the kitchen-- we’ve had to lay in a good supply to keep up-- Keaton declared that he wanted to visit the palace chicken coops.
Master Zart agreed only after Keaton studied the basic biology of eggs and the lifecycle of chickens.  Keaton completed that assignment this morning, so off they went.
As a result of their adventure, Keaton has decided he wants to try raising chickens himself.
He raised the subject with Jace and me over dinner this evening.  (Though thankfully not over the chicken course!)
It certainly caught me off guard-- I had no idea what to tell him.  Jace seemed equally speechless.
After a few moments of stunned silence, Master Zart (who dines with us when pressed) cleared his throat delicately.  “Perhaps, if I may make a suggestion, perhaps Master Keaton could do some research and write up a proposal as to the details of raising chickens?  Then a decision could be made based on that?”
“I think that’s an excellent idea,” Jace responded.  “Maybe Tish and Caden can help you, Kea.  It would fit right in with their lesson exchanges.”
Rather than seeming discouraged, Keaton’s eyes glowed at the idea.  It was rather like Liop with a new spell or alchemical trick.  The idea of writing a serious proposal certainly isn’t going to deter him at all.
Which probably means there are chickens in my future.

Mar. 6th
I have your letter, as well as a letter from Brynn.  Of course since it came by regular post it has no more information than what she told you.  Hopefully someone can make more sense of that dialect now that they can look for the Senum glyphs.  At least they’ve been able to use the names to learn something from Bradford.
Tish promises to look through all of her old copies of Troilubus Iconetha to look for more clues for you.  She did suggest focusing on something specific, such as air, and trying to prevent it from entering the cell or being absorbed by it.   I don’t know if you’ve tried that or not, but I thought I’d pass it along.  Tish says she’ll write you herself with ideas but that it will likely be after finals next week before she can do so.
I suppose that will suit you fine also, since Master Grant has put off further work until the next term.  It is disappointing, but with finals you’ll certainly stay busy.
If the anti-dust spell only worked on non-living particles, could you modify it to be an… anti-bacteria spell?  Can you banish the bacteria from the microscope slide?  I suppose that might not be useful, but still.
I’m sorry it’s so tedious.  I shouldn’t like to repeat anything that many times.  I do understand, though.  Spells can be the same way, depending on their complexity.  That’s the main problem with the Bellington ward, after all.
I shall be very very interested to learn what Nysa makes of Gretel’s magic.  It sounds so different from what we’re used to, and I’ve no idea what limits there would be to a purely aural magic.  From what Trena said, though, Gretel has likely gained a healthy measure of Brio magic in the bargain.  Who knows what that will do to her natural abilities.  We Brios are nothing if not unpredictable.
Caden is taken with the idea of taking a reflection of a cell.  He and Tish both came to lunch today and I told them about it.
Tish is doubtful-- something about the lenses interfering with each other-- but Caden wants to try it.  Tish agreed reluctantly, but only after finals.
Caden and Jace are both highly amused by Mendel’s intelligence test idea.
“I have serious doubts about Stacia’s ability to pass such a thing, though,” Caden said.  “What about you, Keish?  Would you pass?” he teased.
“Well it’s too late for Jace either way,” I retorted.
Jace grinned at me.  “Who says I didn’t have a test of my own?”  He touched my cheek.  “Of course you passed with flying colors, love.”
Caden rolled his eyes and said he would like a copy of Mendel’s test, if only for his own amusement.
Tish was not at all impressed by our explanations of why “no young lady in her right mind” would marry Mendel.  I don’t think that kind of inheritance system holds as much weight in Iconei.
As for Mendel’s treatment of his essay-- it was certainly creative but I sincerely hope no student of mine ever thinks of it.  Essays are difficult enough to grade as it is.

Your father’s pocket watch should be perfect.  Since it’s another item your father wore or carried regularly, the harmonics should vastly simplify any divination.  Even if Imato has carried it too, sorting out his influences should be easy enough.  I’ll have to track down the most detailed maps of the area I can find to use as well.  It’s one thing to use a location spell to locate something Blaze has made off with; it’s quite another to divine the location of something in a large desert I’ve never seen.

I’m sorry the Chronicle is not providing you with more useful information.  I’m afraid I have no advice to give.
If there’s nothing in there that you haven’t tried, is there anything that springs to mind that they didn’t try?
(Never mind, that’s not only unhelpful it’s downright nonsensical.)

It does seem to always be a gamble registering for new courses.  Your second choices all sound very useful though.  Tish says if you take Iconese she’ll write you simple letters in that language to help you practice.

Jace finds the kinds of details Gretel wants very funny.
“Does she realize that those are probably exactly the kinds of details he doesn’t write for fear of sounding frightfully dull?” he asked with a smile.
“I doubt she does, but I’m sure you’re probably correct.  Perhaps it’s a case of no news being good news?  If the food were awful I imagine he’d have commented on it.”
Jace laughed.  “Yes I’m sure he would have.  Maybe I’ll suggest he give more of the mundane in his letters the next time I write him.”
If it makes Gretel feel any better Imato doesn’t write about any of that to Jace or me either.  The magical theory in his letters is enough to make one’s eyes cross usually though.

Keaton is also counting down the days.  He’s even made me perform some basic weather divination (after I told him it was too advanced a spell for him to try himself) to ensure that no unexpected storm will delay Liop’s arrival.
Have no fear-- the weather looks just fine.

I want to hear all about Beagan’s knighthood, of course.  Brynn has been too busy to deliver the shield to him personally, but she sent it by messenger.  I hope he liked it.  It would be impractical for the battlefield, of course, with the decorative edging and shape, but a jousting shield seemed appropriate under the circumstances.

One more week before finals.  All of my tests are created and Cass has worked out all of the testing schedules.  My finals are the 14th-16th, Jace’s are the 14th, 16th and 18th, Tish’s are the 14th, 15th and 18th.  Math and history finals are the 16th-18th.
I’m just glad I’m not the one who has to keep all of that straight.  How Cass does it I may never know.
All of this means, of course, one more week of extra lessons, tutoring and general last-minute panic.
Then three days of finals (well, for me), grading finals, and starting our last term of the year.
Oh, and then Master Byra wants to start talking about long-term sustainability and next year’s curriculum.  With Lord Salazar no longer interfering it is almost certain that the King’s Council will vote to continue our program.
Such news is exhilarating and exhausting all at the same time.

There’s just not much else to say today, Arri.  Unless you want to hear all about devising questions for finals, which I rather doubt.

Love Always,


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