Sesskia’s Diary, part 187

1 Seresstine (continued)

I wish we had some way to communicate. The Castaviran mages do, or did, so I’m sure we could too if we had time and space to figure it out. I don’t like not knowing what’s happening back in Venetry. And I’m used to being able to go over the day’s events with Jeddan. I can talk to Mattiak, and do, but it’s not the same because he doesn’t understand magic, just as I’m sure he feels I’m not the best conversational partner when it comes to warfare. These days we mostly talk about other things, like our childhoods—his childhood—and my travels.

I wish I hadn’t lost those other books. I feel as if I kept my memory in them, as if by writing them down I’ve made it impossible to call those events to mind. I wonder if I will ever find them again. Do location kathanas work on objects, or just people? Cederic might be able to help me find them, unless they were destroyed in the convergence; the Arabel Mountains did more or less appear on top of that barn where I left them.

Having Cederic here would make things so much better, if only because if he were here, the war would be over, since I can’t imagine even Mattiak being open-minded enough to let the most powerful mage of Castavir roam freely through a Balaenic military camp if we were still enemies. If I miss having Jeddan to talk to, I can’t express what I feel at not being able to tell Cederic everything that’s happening, or get his opinion on training the mages or creating new pouvrin.

I try not to talk about him very much to Mattiak, because I don’t want to bore him, but sometimes Mattiak brings him up, I think to try to cheer me even though we still don’t have word from the east. He assures me that as soon as things are more settled, he’ll send messengers specifically to hunt for Cederic. It’s a sweet gesture, and I feel bad about not being able to tell him why they aren’t likely to do much good. I don’t know what he’d think if he knew my husband is a Castaviran mage. Still, he’s a good friend, and it makes me feel warm inside to know he cares.

I wonder why Mattiak isn’t married. Maybe he thinks he has too many responsibilities in the army to be a good, attentive husband. I don’t think he’s attracted to men, and he doesn’t have a woman in the camp, but whatever his reason, it’s a mystery I won’t pry into.

Time to put the light out. Tomorrow the army separates into divisions, I don’t know why and it doesn’t really matter to me, because the mages stay with the main army instead of being dispersed. We ride in wagons because walking all day would exhaust us, and only a handful of us can ride horses. I don’t think I’ve said that a couple of our mages are upper class, though not noble, and they’ve been as quick to follow orders as anyone, but they did bring their own horses and like to tease those of us being carried.

I suggested that maybe I should learn to ride, that it might be more dignified since I’m the leader of my own “division” and all the division commanders ride, but Mattiak said riding for seven hours every day is not the best way to begin. So I sit in the wagon and we practice pouvrin, or I work on flitting to improve my recovery time between flits.

It really is the most amazing feeling. It’s like the walk-through-walls pouvra, except there’s no uncomfortable sensation of bones and muscles sliding through matter, more like becoming air shifting through air. I think I’ll start teaching it to the other mages; Jerussa stayed behind, and she’s teaching Jeddan. I don’t think the Castavirans can do it any more than they can become immaterial, which means it’s one more weapon we

I can’t believe I just thought that. I’m turning my pouvrin against the God-Empress’s army, yes, but this is the first time I’ve thought of a pouvra as a weapon first and magic second. I wish this war were over already. I want to get back to studying magic for its own sake instead of figuring out how I can use it to kill.