Sesskia’s Diary, part 180

27 Nevrine

  1. Forty-two mages with the fire pouvra, minimum range 155 yards, maximum 600.
  2. Thirty-nine mages with the mind-moving pouvra, range 729 yards (way to go, Saemon!), minimum weight 65 lbs. “maximum” 425 lbs. (This number increases every day.)
  3. Eight mages being trained as spies, minimum time insubstantial 1 min. 48 sec., maximum 3 min. 26 sec. Still working on the non-magical skills. Rutika continues to need greater challenges. I don’t know if she realizes how good she is.
  4. Two mages with the flitting pouvra. It’s incredible. It feels like flying.

Dinner with Mattiak again. He wasn’t as excited about our progress as I thought he’d be, but then I learned he’d had an argument with King and Chamber today about moving the army toward Hasskian that had ended with the King accusing him of disloyalty and Mattiak storming out without being dismissed.

I expressed my concern about what the King might do to him, and he said, “I’d have to attempt to assassinate him before he’d do anything truly punitive to me. They don’t have anyone else who can command the army. Not that it takes much skill to tell soldiers to sit on their asses and do nothing.”

“Is there any more news of the G—the invading army’s progress?” I said.

“Hasskian must have fallen by now,” he said. “I expect a messenger tomorrow. And there’s nothing I can do about it but continue to press my case and try to convince the King that moving the army will do more to protect him than having it camp outside Venetry’s walls.”

“It’s too bad there isn’t a way to get news instantaneously,” I said, remembering Lineta and her talk about the “Firtha th’anest” communication.

“Are you sure there’s not?” he said, and I laughed before I realized it was a serious question.

“Sorry,” I said. “It’s like I’ve told you before, Mattiak: there could be pouvrin to do anything we can imagine, but nobody knows how to create one. We have to depend on people either spontaneously manifesting them when they become mages, or finding them in old books. And there’s just no time to do that.”

“I know,” he sighed. “I don’t want you to think I’m not grateful for what you can do, Sesskia. It’s hard for me to do nothing, and I start groping for anything to keep myself from feeling helpless.”

“I understand that feeling,” I said.

“It must be difficult for you, unable to continue your search for your husband,” he said.

“Well, you made a good point about it being easier for him to find me if I stay put,” I said, “much as it makes me impatient.”

“I’ll keep you informed about the situation to the east as I receive information,” he said, “which I realize isn’t much, but it’s all I can do at the moment. It really is dangerous out there right now.”

“I appreciate it,” I said. I really do. If the God-Empress has captured Hasskian, and is on the move again, our communication with the east will really be cut off. And, as I told Mattiak, I am so impatient, all the time. I throw myself into training so I’ll be too exhausted to think about what might have happened to Cederic and my friends. I wonder if Terrael has come to terms with the loss of his magic yet. I wonder how he and Audryn are bearing up under what must be the terrible stress of her still having magic when he doesn’t. I wonder if anyone’s trying to fix the locator kathanas.

Time to meet with my spies. Mattiak sent Nessan back with me after dinner. That strange uniform he wears? It means he’s a member of an elite military force, the White Squads, that are trained for infiltration and assassination. Nessan is going to put the spies through the training course his force uses. I’m afraid he might kill them by accident, but with the knowledge that the God-Empress is advancing, I think the time for coddling them is past.