When silence returned Eioth continued.
“For the practice of sex magic there are only we, the High Lords and our chosen partners, who know of it, and for Light Magic there is one, one - do you hear? - one user in all of the empire! And with these few resources we must carry the burdens previously born by thousands of Elemental magicians!”
Halidan raised her hand but Eioth gestured wearily her to wait and she subsided.
“The people of the Empire have desperate needs that will not wait for the Elements to return to us,” Eioth continued. “They need food, shelter, water, safety, medicine. They need to know their leaders have resources to direct toward meeting these needs. The only historical reference we have for this disaster was one town in one demesne and for that area it was necessary to wait for months to reunite it with the greater spells. Our issue today is, I do not know the spell, the weather spell. I do not know how to restore those ancient magics. Can anyone here answer they have this knowledge? Can anyone here lay hands on the knowledge of the creation of that great magic? Is there a record in any demesne of where and why and by what means were the Great Weather spells cast?”
Horrified silence answered him. He waited. Of course someone had to say it.
Eioth did not so much as turn his head to seek whomever spoke.
“Perhaps indeed, but I think not. Even Chandri admitted he had not expected destruction on this scale.”
“No, he did not,” interrupted Veranti, the High Lord of the South West. “He admitted to me last night, when I attended him in his solitude. He was horrified to discover Hub of Harmony drowned. Nothing he said to me last night suggested he knew how to restore what he destroyed. He would not believe me when I told him the extent of the damage. I told him of the flooding. Of the loss of life. Of the drowning of our fields and food stores. Instead he to me boasted of his great achievement. Of his great ambitions. You may wonder in the privacy of your own minds whether he could have put matters to rights but I tell you, even if he could he would not want to. Remember, he came to us a prisoner bound by this Light Magic. If he held magic, if his Element answered to him as he claimed, if he had protected the masters of the South East, if he and the South East were spared by the destruction, if his Masters were spared, surely they would have taken action before now. The long silence from the South East assures me they are as confused and powerless as ourselves.”
“I agree. Those troops who attempted to invade the True South brought no magic with them,” said Eioth. “Even if he did have some plan for the restoration of the spells then his magic users in the South East must have his books and we shall ask them if they know where he placed that knowledge. They know the spell for destruction and they shall explain to us the steps they took to bring down the spells and from that knowledge, we must hope, that we can rebuild. But know this, what weighs upon my mind is, I cannot find a hint in my readings, in all my education, of how the weather spells were originally cast. There is nothing in my vast library to the point. Nothing was said to me by my tutors regarding that event.” He stared about the room, meeting the gaze of each HIgh Lord, each Elemental magician here gathered in turn. “Do any of you recall it? Is it a matter of family pride for one of you that you were involved in the casting? If not that, do you know which High King ruled when that gift was given to us? Which millennia was the one where the world changed and rain came to our call? Surely that magician should have endless statues raised to his honor. Children without number would bear his name least he be forgot! But no, he is forgot! There is naught by silence.” Eioth turned to the only Water priest permitted in this chamber. “Lenneth, the Water priests maintain the spells. Do they have any hint in all their rituals and history of the creation of the weather spells?”
“Indeed not, High King,” said the healer, with a rapidity that astonished some of his audience. “I have spoken to a few of my elders in Element who dwell nearby and they declare that the Water priesthood was granted the responsibility to maintain the spells some time after they were cast but have no idea how to create it.”
So the Water Priesthood were already seeking a solution, thought Mitash, then his stomach cramped and head ached again. Searched and returned with empty hands. If the Water Priesthood did not know, who could? But, then again, the Water Priesthood forgot their role in the fertility of elvan magic users. How much more was forgot?
“No. No,” groaned High Lord Trevan, slumping down in his chair and covered his face with his hands.
“There it is, the truth we must face, no matter how terrible,” said Eioth. “So much was lost when the plague struck us the origin of the spells and their casters may have been lost then as well. It is likely that the knowledge was lost far earlier given that there is no hint of it in all my readings. Perhaps it was the working of one great adept, working alone and in secret and no such record exists.”
“If it were one,” interrupted Trevan. “I do not understand why we do not know him. There should be a record of him being rewarded.”
“If there is a record it rests under flood waters at Hub of Harmony, if it does, indeed, exist,” observed Federan. “Out of our reach until the waters recede.”
“But this speculation is irrelevant,” continued Eioth. “The horrendous truth that faces us is firstly, we do not know when the Elements will return to us. It may be next month, which I doubt, or next year. Or next season, or, as I fear, it may take years for us to return to that level of strength we have previously enjoyed. Secondly, when it does we shall be, as we are now, subject to random weather and all the chaos that unmanaged weather brings.”
At that Trevan cried out and slumped into his chair, sobbing into his sleeve. Eioth hurried across the room to comfort him, kneeling beside the thronelike chair and taking Trevan’s hands in his.
“I know, from my scrying,” continued Eioth, urgently, “that True South and True North and that part of the empire which joins them through the center and over the Hub of Harmony suffers more than any other demesne. The flooding in True South is extensive and Senoia reports the waters have not yet crested but in True North there is snow. Snow to depths unprecedented.”
“Snow that is crushing houses,” interrupted Trevan, his voice trembling. “The weight of the snow is so great that trees are splitting, roofs are collapsing, crushing the families within. People cannot leave their homes unless they tunnel through the snowbanks. And how can they tell the direction of safety? In some places the snow is higher than the roof of the tallest house. Whole townships, farms, are buried and the bridges and roads completely impassible! If aid does not reach them - but how? How can we help them?”
“Then your scrying has viewed the same destruction as mine,” said Eioth.
“That is one gift this Sex Magic grants us,” said Trevan, bitterly. “Accurate scrying at a distance in this instance is both blessing and curse. High King, we cannot continue the morning rain. My people die under the weight of the snow. No more, I beg you.”
“And others will die without clean drinking water,” said Halidan. ”I regret the necessity, Trevan, since the True North suffers undeniable consequences, but the whole empire is in the balance. People will die without clean water to drink. To cook with.”