Sesskia’s Diary, part 182

28 Nevrine, night

Mages doing very well. I wish the army would move out, because we’re getting to the point where they’re going to lose their edge if they don’t have some new challenges. Jeddan and I have been trying to figure something out. Asked Mattiak for suggestions, and he said maybe it was time for them to train with the regular army. Maybe not tomorrow, but the day after; tomorrow I have to get some sleep, even if it means staying behind while they all go practice.

Dinner was tense. Mattiak still fighting with King and Chamber. Says Crossar is speaking in favor of Mattiak’s strategy, but Jakssar doesn’t want to interfere and the other two are as scared as the King. Hasskian fell on 25 Nevrine and the God-Empress’s army is on the move. I asked (obliquely) what would happen if Mattiak just ordered the army to move out, and he said, “If I survived the conflict, I’d be executed for treason.”

“That seems unfair, if you saved the country,” I said.

“An army more loyal to its general than its King is Garran Clendessar’s worst nightmare,” he said. “With the control I have over the army, I could easily take the throne, and if I went against the King’s express command, it would be a sign that that’s exactly what I had in mind. It wouldn’t matter that I have no interest in ruling Balaen. The King would have to send a message to anyone else who might think to do the same thing.”

“But he’s in more danger if we wait until the invading army is at our door,” I said. “Why doesn’t he see that?”

“He doesn’t understand how warfare is conducted, and he is afraid,” Mattiak said. “And that’s all I can say on the subject, Sesskia.” I knew his abruptness covered his frustration at not being able to speak freely words that would also be considered treason, so I didn’t take offense, but it made everything awkward between us, and I was glad to escape early, with Nessan’s grueling instruction as my excuse.

I have about twenty minutes before I have to join the others, so I’m going to talk to Jeddan for a few minutes about tomorrow’s training schedule, which I won’t be attending because I need to sleep eventually. I almost wish I had Cederic’s ability to survive on four hours a night, though I doubt he does that when the fate of the world isn’t in the balance. I hope not, anyway. I don’t think I’ll enjoy sleeping cold for half the night, once we’re finally reunited.