"You are correct," said Ionia, lifting Silva's hand in hers and wrapping her fingers around Silva's wrist. "You can see her bones and muscles are strong from working at some complicated task for years. But also, you can see the skin is a little loose."
"We have all lost weight recently," said Fedoran. "But Silva, the color of her skin and hair is paler than when first I met her."
"We should permit her to sleep until she awakens naturally," said Ionia. "I shall attend her, if you wish it, and have something nourishing waiting for her when she wakes. And medicine. Likely, if she suffers as Elemental magicians do, she shall awaken with an aching head."
"That will not be necessary, said Fedoran. "She is my wife. It is my responsibility to attend her."
"I wish I could permit it," said Eioth. "But we must recall the Synod to session. You, and my lady Halidan, must be seen. Halidan must be seen to have my approval, my support and my protection and I must explain Silva's magic to the rest, with the dome in the courtyard as my proof, and repeat my declaration protecting her. I wish no repetition of today's excitement. The archivist who sought your death must be found. Germancy was involved. I shall require he identify the one who carried out his will where you are concerned."
"Excitement!" Fedoran rolled his eyes at the term but kept his gaze fixed on his wife.
"We should have her drink some water," suggested Ionia. "If she takes it with no difficulty, then she might have something more substantial."
"I agree," said Lenneth. "I shall aid her to drink water if you would make your potion."
Ionia nodded, rising and crossing the room to her pack.
Eioth nodded, caught Federan by the arm when he lingered yet by the bed and drew his friend and his wife from the chamber.
The entrance was now guarded by a half elvan man on one side and Tormin on the other. Eioth nodded to both as he led the way into the corridor. Not far down the hall his secretary and long time assistant, Mitash Serpentine, awaited them.
“I have retrieved the … excuse me, my Lady Halidan … the execution warrants,” said Mitash, making no effort to place it in Eioth’s hand.
“Do not attempt to protect me. I am certain I signed it,” said Eioth, softly. “Forgive me, Halidan, Germancy presented me with an endless parade of pages and I signed without reading. I admit, I did not want to see the words condemning Chandri to death.”
Halidan gave him a narrow eyed glare even as she took his hand in hers.
“My love, difficult though it is you have a responsibility to look at each word of a death warrent. You owe it to your rank, your authority and mostly to the life you are taking away to do so. If you cannot read the words then perhaps you should reconsider action.”
“I am confident that Chandri earned his death. With the records distroyed and our people displaced and wandering we may never know the full number of those he killed. But, if I had read the warrants I would have found the order Germancy included the order for you and Silva.” Eitoh shook his head and straightened. “It will not happen again.”
“I am certain,” said Halidan. “Do we know why he did this?”
“Perhaps we should have a rule that another should read as well, to confirm the wording and no unwarranted inclusions,” suggested Mitash.
“You are kind to suggest it, Mitash, but the truth of the matter is as my lady Halidan says, It is my final responsibility and I will not shirk it again. At this moment I have more important duties for you.” Eioth reached out and took the bundle of paper from Mitash handing him, in return, a neat small, plain covered book. “Take this and study it well. You shall be joining those few people I entrust with the practice of sex magic. There is a ritual for you to review, I have inserted a page mark…”
Mitash blinked and stared down at the nameless book. “High King, I…”
“There is a ritual that will bind you to South EAst. I do not recall if you were in the chamber when I declared I shall be sending you to the South East to administer that demesne during this emergency.”
“High King, I am bonded to one Element only!”
“Do you see anyone performing Elemental magic here?” inquired Eioth, sorting through the sheets until he found the one he wanted. “Mitash, you are an excellent administrator and that is what is needed in the South East. You must overcome their isolationism. Their prejudices. Their anger and shame at having their High Lord executed for crimes against the empire. All that I place in your hands, in addition I require aid to be sent to the True South and South West. Do you understand why I rely upon you?”
“I know your mind, High King, and your will in this regard,” said Mitash with a slight bow. “I accept this duty and honor. I swear the South East will serve the people of the empire, elf and mortal.”
“I would recommend you speaking carefully with your lover. She might have objections to the practice. If she cannot bring herself to participate willingly then, I regret, I recommend finding someone from the South East who is willing.” Eioth stared intently into Mitash’s eyes. “It is not necessary, I hope, for me to instruct you on the consideration and respect owed to lovers.”
Mitash blushed and stammered and seemed to be about to speak but changed his mind, nodding his acquiescence.
Halidan laughed at that, confusing and distracting Mitash for an instant then he returned his attention to Eioth.
“High King, I… of course I need no instruction,” said Mitash. “Currently I have no lover so I shall consider the women of the South East to see if one can be found.” He paused then added. “Should it become necessary.”
“It is necessary, Mitash!” said Eioth, with uncharastic heat. “And the sooner the better. Each morning the members of the Synod engage in a spell for fresh water, or have you forgotten? And when spring returns we shall not be able to cast the ritual of Spring’s Rising with Elemental power. The Sex Magic spell contained in that book shall be necessary. Do not doubt it! And other rituals as events change. Study it carefully it is likely we shall be dependant upon it for a decade, at least.”
Mitash looked back and forth between the High King and the book. Eventually he inclined his head.
“It will be as the High King commands,” swore Mitash, as the tips of his ears turned pink.
It did not help that Lady Halidan chuckled at his discomfiture, nor that the High King blushed as well.
“Come now,” said Eioth, drawing a determined breath. “Now we have convinced Mitash we must do the same for the Synod.”
Pausing Eioth caught the eye of a nearby guard.
“FInd Germancy. I wish to speak to him at the earliest possilbe moment.”
The guard nodded and hurried away.
EIoth extended his arm to Lady Halidan. “I can only hope the Synod has gained in sense this half mark.”
Behind them a mortal and half mortal/elvan guard exchanged a glance. Tormin gave a sharp nod and the other guard hurried off in Lady Regent Halidan’s train
After the High King and that half mortal presumptive heir to True South abandoned the High King’s personal office in quite unseemly haste Germancy straightened his clothing and smoothed the sigils of his rank before climbing to his feet. He had served the empire for decades longer than any elf living. Inducted into the Archivist’s service, at the command of his ambitious relatives at the age of ten, Germancy had not sought testing for bond to any one element. His bond, to the bone deep, was to the ancient pages bearing the words of Law!
Law, ancient law, ancient tradition was far more important, more valuable than those transient beings who occupied positions of authority. More important than unmeasureable Elements. Indeed, Germancy could barely contain the rage that burned in his soul that his demand that the entirety of the Synod Archive be rescued from the rising flood was ignored in favor of food and people.
That above all things demonstrated that few outside the Archive Service possessed a proper understanding of what is important!
Both food and people could be replaced. EAsily replaced. Indeed, it was difficult to prevent the random breeding of people.
The fact that his precious Archive currently lay beneath foul and muddied water gave Germancy no peace by day or by night.
He could only pray the Elements blessed and magically protected pages would endure until he could lay hands on them again.
In the meantime, he could clearly see that Eioth failed as a High King, not that Chandri would be better, nor any other soul of Germancy’s acquaintance. A quarter year into Eioth’s service and the empire was in disorder to a degree unprecedented.
And the newly crowned High King was permitting the use of that foul mortal magic, Sex Magic. Nay, he encouraged the disgraceful practice to range free. Was teaching it to others, a concept that cramped Germancy’s stomach.
Obviously Eioth was not the one for whom Germancy held safe the archives, the laws, the central core of the empire.
Equally obvious was the fact Chandri was not the one either. To shatter the weather spells? To act, plan, to destroy the empire? No. Destroy Elemental magic itself which in turn endangered the great Archives? No. Very much no. Truly, where was the one truly destined to the be High King Germancy desired? Where would he find an elf who valued the noble Laws and history and heritage of their empire sufficiently?
He sighed and straightened. There was nothing for it. Germancy would have to find a youngster, someone to train up in the history, in the Law and traditions. Someone to restrain the spread of base mortal magic and return the empire to the pure service of the Law.
And the Elements, of course.
But most importantly the oldest Laws! Maintain the Laws, pure and perfect.
Rubbing at his face Germancy considered all the High Lords, their attendants and servants before shaking his head. The one he sought would not be found here. ANd, with Eioth as irrational as to consider foul magic the solution to problems facing the empire and rejecting sensible, legal advice then it was not safe for Germancy to remain while he searched.
Not the least of Germancy’s problems was this would not be the best environment for training the presumptive next High King. There was nothing for it. He would have to return to the northern city of Lightning Struck, that had been the capital of the empire, prior to the building of Hub of Harmony. If he was blessed there might be some of pure blood, pure history and heritage living their that he could trust, could train, could persuade to try the flood waters to retrieve the Archives.
Germancy gathered the trailing edges of his robes and hurried through the hall to the chambers set aside for the Archivist’s use.
The chamber, a long narrow room set toward the rear of Eioth’s House was dim, airless and chill, since Germancy would permit no open fires and no open windows this close to his precious papers. He would not permit the risk. One junior archivist suggested a test, with a small candle, on an unimportant now defunct law, to assess the persistence of preserve spells in the hope of convincing his senior to permit a brazier.
Germancy ordered that the junior be beaten before he was thrown from the House.
It may have been the degree to which the exercise warmed their bodies that inspired the other junior archivist’s to join in the beating. After this moment of insurrection no further word suggesting fires was heard.
Germancy glanced around the room, ignoring the thick robes and blankets wrapped around chill bodies, and frowning at those hands encased in gloves. He shook his head as he considered the clumsy script those gloved hands would inscribe and made a mental note for the records to be made over once the season turned and the rooms warmed. His assistant materialized at his elbow as soon as Germancy took up his place at the largest table in the chamber. A pot of hot tea was placed on a separate table.
“What holds their attention?” demanded Germancy, nodding toward a cluster of overdressed archivists.
“Ah. Them. They debate the inclusion of the order to execute the mortal women in today’s Synod record as the women did not, in fact, die.”
“Include it,” snapped Germancy, taking up his cup and warming his fingers. “They should have died. That is the important matter. The Law was correctly interpreted and the order signed. The execution will be completed in good time. Mark it as incomplete and we shall bring it to the attention of the next High King for his judgment.”