This was a really bad day. I’m starting to feel afraid, about so many things.
Cederic forced Vorantor to reveal his kathana. He was clever about it, put it in terms of “we’ll all have to understand it” and “don’t know how soon we will need it” so he sounded too reasonable for Vorantor to refuse. So Vorantor did—still smug, still completely affable, which made me suspect him more.
And it almost did what it was supposed to do.
Like Cederic said, it had no room for my kind of magic at all. Vorantor explained that, how my magic only exists because the original disaster created it, and therefore would just make the kathana unstable—he made it sound logical, but Cederic immediately countered it by pointing out that my magic was actually half of what had originally existed, and therefore his argument was invalid.
That’s when Vorantor became furious. He accused Cederic of undermining him at every turn, of insisting on pursuing research that was irrelevant, in short, of breaking his oath. And Cederic became completely expressionless and rose to new heights of sarcasm, claiming that Vorantor had abused his responsibility and misused the Kilios’s abilities.
The fight went on for half an hour while everyone stood and watched, terrified to intervene or leave. It ended with Vorantor challenging Cederic’s loyalty and insisting on a judgment, and Cederic saying he could take it up with the God-Empress if he wanted, and then Vorantor stormed off.
Except I was watching him the whole time—I already know how Cederic looks when he’s furious—and I’m certain Vorantor planned it all. He wants the God-Empress to make a ruling on whether the oath was broken, and who did it, and I know he’s got some plan to make it so Cederic is the one the God-Empress blames. Cederic is still angry enough that he won’t talk about it, though I think part of that anger is that he agrees with me and despises himself for being goaded.
The other frightening thing is that there was a message for me, in my room, my locked room, when I came back after dinner, sitting on my bed where I couldn’t help but notice it. It was in the same hand as the messages Vorantor received from Aselfos. It frightened me enough that, after I thoroughly checked my room to see if there were any secret entrances I didn’t know about, I went to the Sais’ common room and made up some reason for Cederic to come with me. It was dangerous, I know, but I can’t read and I didn’t want to wait for Cederic to eventually come to bed.
We went back to my room, and Cederic read the message silently, then set it aside and stared off in the direction of my wardrobe. “Tell me,” I insisted after it became clear that he might sit there like that all night.
“It says, ‘Three days from now the palace will not be safe,’” Cederic said. “It seems Aselfos is repaying his debt to you.”
“Three days,” I repeated. “No wonder Vorantor was transferring the war wagons. Aselfos is planning his coup.”
“The convergence could happen any day,” Cederic said. “In three days nowhere might be safe.”
“And tomorrow Vorantor will have prepared his challenge,” I said. “Anything might happen, when the God-Empress is involved.”
Cederic put his arms around me, and I held onto him and closed my eyes, wishing I could shut out the world that easily. “Why isn’t everything simple?” I said. “Why does Vorantor have to be jealous and the God-Empress have to be insane and Aselfos want to take over Castavir? I would like just one night where none of those things exist.”
“I think I can give you that,” Cederic said. “Go to my room and get into bed. I will return to the Sais’ room and join the discussion so no one remarks on my absence, and then I will come to you. I only wish I could find you wearing that dress.”
“Did you like it, then?” I said.
“I found the sight of your bare shoulders intoxicating. It was with great difficulty that I refrained from carrying you off to my bed and ravishing you,” Cederic said. “But then I have the same trouble when you wear nothing at all.”
“When I wear nothing at all,” I said, “I don’t mind being ravished.”
So now I’m waiting here in Cederic’s room, naked and writing all this down, and I feel less frightened. Whatever tomorrow brings, we’ll be able to handle it.