Sesskia’s Diary, part 54

13 Lennitay

This will have to be my last entry. I still have no new book and no way of making one.

I told Cederic the details of my nighttime adventure this morning, and he nearly killed me. Which is to say, he became so expressionless it was hard to believe he was still alive. He said, “How were you going to explain your presence to those guards when they caught you?”

“But they didn’t catch me,” I said.

“Because your God-given reserves of good luck are not yet exhausted,” he said. “That concealment pouvra is by no means a guarantee of security. It does not make you invisible.”

“They didn’t know to guard against it,” I said, “and you yourself said it makes you want to look elsewhere. Besides, that’s not the important part.”

“The wagons,” he said. “I can only guess as to their purpose.”

“Which means you won’t tell me,” I said. At this point I was starting to be annoyed, because I felt proud of myself and I wanted him to at least acknowledge that I’d done well. He may not like that I’m a thief, but he ought to at least appreciate that I’m a good one.

“I believe we agreed once that you prefer knowing the truth to conjecture,” he said, and he smiled.

“That’s true, but I would like at least some idea of what general type of thing they might be,” I said.

We were in his room, standing by the windows, and he took my arm and drew me to the center of the room, away from potential eavesdroppers and anyone who might be capable of seeing through windows one hundred feet off the ground. “Weapons of war,” he said in a low voice, as if those precautions still weren’t enough.

“War?” I said, matching my voice to his. “But who does the God-Empress think she has to fight?”

“She is preparing to bring order out of chaos, when the disaster occurs,” Cederic said. “What concerns me is that if we succeed in preventing the disaster entirely, she will have a large army and no one to turn it on. Which means we may be giving her the means to build her empire.”

“But we can’t just let the worlds destroy each other!” I said.

“No, and it is a risk we will have to take,” he said. “You said there was no way for the wagons to exit the room where they were stored?”

“Not that I saw, but I admit I didn’t look very closely,” I said. “And I can’t imagine she doesn’t have a plan for that.”

Cederic frowned, and said, “This is good information to have, but at the moment I don’t see what we can do with it. I wish I could ask Denril if he has trained any masters in the th’an you showed me” (I’d sketched it out for him, and he said it would make two things move in tandem with each other, but couldn’t be more specific than that) “but I think that would be…unwise.”

“You seem to be working well together,” I said, which was both a lie and a leading question, but Cederic chose not to respond. He just shrugged and said, “He is still committed to his solution, and does not believe the Codex will tell him anything he does not already know. I have been planning what I will do against the day he is proven wrong.”

“Do you think there might be a problem?” I said.

“Possibly,” he said. “Denril has convinced the God-Empress of the truth of his position, and she is not someone who takes well to looking like a fool. He might be in danger. But I am not in a position to warn him of that.”

“So what should I do?” I said.

Cederic smiled and shook his head, and said, “Is there any way I can convince you to stay quietly in your bedchamber every night?”

“If I did that, we would never learn anything interesting,” I said, and he shook his head again as if in despair. That ended our conversation, and we went to breakfast together, me in a better mood despite my late night. I didn’t tell him about feeling like I recognized the th’an because I forgot. No, that’s not completely true. I did forget, yes, but I also feel awkward about making a big deal out of some nebulous feeling that might or might not matter.

I’m embarrassed I wrote that. So what if I feel awkward? For all I know, this is the information that gives us a clue about how my magic relates to Cederic’s. I’ll tell him about it tomorrow, awkward feelings be damned.

The rest of the day was uneventful

Hah. I should never tempt fate by writing things like that. I just received a note summoning me to attend on the God-Empress tomorrow after breakfast, which means seven o’clock, far too early for a meeting with a divine avatar. No details, nothing saying that she was going to have me beheaded and disemboweled for discovering her war wagons, just a polite little note stamped with her personal sigil, a falcon with some angular characters below its beak. I suppose that excuses me from th’an practice, which is actually a disappointment—I did my twelfth successful shriveling of glass, and tomorrow I was to have begun practicing with fire. Terrael will just have to contain his eagerness. I hope they send the wardrobe servants again—the last time, I just wore my own clothes, and I’m not sure what I’m supposed to wear for this private meeting with a mad God-Empress. I hate

Cederic just came to my door to say goodnight. He also handed me a small book and said, “I thought you might need this soon. It is of course not the same as making it yourself, but I hope it will do,” and was gone before I could say anything. It’s a blank book, machine-made but with a beautiful leather cover impressed with stylized leaves, dyed dark blue. I don’t know how he knew I needed one, but it’s such a lovely gift I don’t care. I can’t believe I ever hated him.

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