21 Nevrine, continued
We talked some more about what he needed, and I told him something of what Castaviran mages are capable of, pretending I’d learned it in my exploration of the enemy camp, though I’m still not sure what battle mages can do that’s different from ordinary mages. Lightning, I suppose, and the fog Tarallan referred to, and fire.
I felt guilty about doing this, because there’s no guarantee the “good” Castaviran forces won’t come into conflict with Balaen’s, and then I’d sort of be a traitor. Not that I know for sure that there are any “good” Castaviran forces; even if Aselfos was able to control the army, he might be as bent on conquering Balaen as the God-Empress is. But I have so many friends among the mages that I can’t help feeling as if I’m betraying them. Even so, right now the threat is the God-Empress, and we’re going to need every advantage I can give us.
Tarallan was impressed at how much I’d learned and that I’d used the concealment pouvra to such good advantage. I could almost see him generating plans for espionage missions behind enemy lines. We’ll see if I decide to go along with them.
After he left, I explained what he’d told me to the mages and we yet again rearranged how we’re doing things. Jeddan’s dividing his time between teaching his group to understand the structure of pouvrin and helping those who’ve passed that stage learn to work the mind-moving pouvra. I was right that that’s taking them longer than did understanding how pouvrin work, but we have at least two mages achieve it every day.
I’m doing the same with my group, except we’re learning to manifest fire; I have a couple who are ready to learn the fire rope as well. Relania, who still isn’t a good teacher, is at least experienced enough with the see-in-dark pouvra to help those who have that one use it more efficiently. A couple of the more experienced mages volunteered to help those who’ve mastered the mind-moving pouvra improve their strength and dexterity with it.
I feel protective of our little army, which is trying so hard even though I doubt any of them has any idea what war is like, or what they’ll be doing. It worries me that I have no way of knowing if any of the fire mages will be able to burn flesh, or if the mind-movers could crush someone’s skull, and I won’t know until we’re in a position where it’s their lives or the other man’s at stake.
Just before dinner I got Jerussa to work with me on the flitting pouvra. She’s not good at describing what she sees, and I think it’s going to take forever before I learn it, but I’ve gotten glimpses—it’s very fluid, constantly in motion, unlike most pouvrin, and smells like lilac or possibly wine grapes, which I realize aren’t at all the same kind of smells.
After dinner, Jeddan and I conferred about the war. Jeddan said, yawning, “I feel like things are coming together, don’t you?”
“I feel less like I’m scrambling all the time,” I agreed. “I just wish we knew when the God-Empress’s army will be here. I have all these plans, but I don’t know if there will even be time for them. Imagine, for example, someone being able to flit next to a key officer and stab him through the heart, then flit away?”
“I can’t imagine any of these people stabbing anyone in the heart,” Jeddan said.
“I know. But it’s an interesting tactic, don’t you think?” I said.
“I think you’re bloodthirsty,” Jeddan said. “Good night.”
That brings me to now. I’m so tired, but I’m having trouble sleeping. I’d go explore the house, but I’ve already been all through it, and sneaking places is less fun if there’s no chance of being caught. Derria’s shop is too far from Fianna Manor, and it would be after curfew by the time I got there even if I left now, and she’d be closed. I think I’ll go sit on the patio rail and look out at the city. It looks different now that I’ll be defending it instead of stealing from it.