Sesskia’s Diary, part 102

14 Coloine, an hour before midnight

It hasn’t ended yet. I’m sitting in a corner of the kathana room, writing while the mages change the kathana’s configuration yet again. There’s a diagram of the original kathana, the one that caused the whole damn mess, drawn on the northern wall in thick black inky lines. The paintings that used to be on that wall are propped below the diagram in a long row. Most of them are landscapes of the same hilly country in early spring. I hope they’re of a real place, because I look at them when I start to feel overwhelmed and tell myself we’re doing all of this to keep that place from being destroyed.

Now I’m wondering why I’m not letting the thought of saving millions of people motivate me. I feel guilty about that, but not much. Millions of people is too much for me to keep in my head; I can just about manage a picture of a grove of trees surrounded by daffodils.

The diagram is there so the mages can refer to it when they reconfigure their kathana. Terrael explained it as being like a puzzle: they have most of the elements of the original, but only one arrangement of those elements will do what they want. So they start putting it together until it becomes clear that the direction is wrong, and then they start over. It’s not something I can help with, and writing keeps me calm. So that’s what I’m doing.

Vorantor was right about one thing—the original kathana needs to be inverted. Cederic says they can alter the key parts and get the new one close enough that it will be effective. He didn’t sound convincing.

Terrael is in despair because he blames himself for not being able to read the minds of those long-dead bastards mages and produce the missing th’an. Cederic had to lecture him for a full minute until Terrael felt he was properly chastised, then told him to take a walk for five minutes to give himself a rest. It’s funny to remember when I resented Cederic’s ability to command, and how I’m so grateful for it now.

They’ve gotten a lot further than before. Looks like they’re ready for me to take part. I wish I’d realized sooner what the connection between th’an and pouvrin is. With more time we might have been able to translate that th’an he gave us into a pouvra. Cederic is certain part of the kathana must be performed using my magic, but that’s as much as he knows, and at this point we’re just experimenting.

Right now I’m going to sit in the circle, in a spot that’s been marked off by th’an, and go insubstantial when I’m told. It’s difficult, because I start to fall through the floor, and of course I can only stay that way for about two minutes before I need to breathe, but the hard part is all on them, trying to scribe the right th’an in that two minutes. No guarantee that it will work, but at least it’s direction.

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