Before Trevan could rise and rage at Halidan Federan rose and raised both hands.
“Wait. Perhaps we could exclude True North from the morning ritual?” Federan suggested. “The North needs no more rain as they can melt snow and drink it.”
“I agree,” said Eioth. “True North is exempt. We shall see how matters progress. Tomorrow, Trevan, you may may use the raised power to scry while we summon rain for the other demenses’s and see if redirecting the power is sufficient to spare the North.”
“As you say, High Lord.” Trevan subsided and seemed to shrink down into his chair. His attendants fluttered about uselessly, trying to offer comfort.
Eioth rose from his knees and resumed his pacing.
“The Elements do not rise to our call but we are fortunate at this time to have other magics. Sex Magic and Light Magic. The adept of light magic was to have been presented to the synod in the morning, instead she rests after the scandalous actions of Chief Archivist almost conspired to rob both her and my Lady Halidan of life. You cannot have the honor of an introduction now, but I shall tell you of her abilities and then you might adjourn to the courtyard to examine the dome she created to protect herself and Lady Halidan.”
There were general murmuring and some confusion but the High Lords sat straighter.
“A practitioner of sex magic?” inquired one, in a voice heavy with suggestive inflection … and speculation.
“With me,” said Federan in a heavy, threatening tone.
All heads turned but only Eioth spoke.
“The Adept of Light Magic, Master Silva of True South, is wed to Federan, Heir to True South,” declared Eioth. “The ritual witnessed by a Water Priest and by myself and High Lady Senoia via light ribbon.”
“What is this Light Magic?” inquired Adarh, the High Lord of True East. “I have wondered since you first told us of it, and can find no one to instruct me. There are no references in your library, High King.”
“I am pleased to know someone is making use of my library,” said Eioth as he gave a heavy sigh at this proof that so much he said was ignored by the Synod and folded his hands in his sleeves. “Observe over there, the brazier giving warmth to this room. You see that it does not burn but holds the wood and coals encased.”
“I have seen such things before,” observed Trevan. “Mortals in the north use them to cook and warm their houses.”
“I have seen similar used to cook when on a progress,” said Eioth. “But this one particularly is not made of metal or stone. It was created, made from light alone, before my eyes only yesterday.”
After a moment of stunned silence the High Lords rose in a rush to examine the device.
“It looks like metal,” said Veranti,, touching a leg then running his fingers up to the rim. “It is yet cool despite the burning coals.”
“It does not ring as metal,” said Adarh, flicking his fingernail against a decorative rim. “Of course, if my bond with the Earth element was awake I could tell you what it is.”
“Unlikely,” said Eioth. “As it is made of Light not Earth nor Fire nor Air your magic will not sense it. I witnessed its construction. It is made of Light and Light alone.”
“Astonishing,” said Veranti, scowling. “That such a magic should appear so suddenly. Is this where our missing Elements went? To make this new magic?”
“No,” said Federan, sharply. “It is different entirely. It is far older than Silva. The facade of Eioth’s House had decorations made from Light. In addition to that, Silva is a trained weaver. She has been making threads and ribbons of light since her childhood. Her ability predates this disaster just as does the facade of the High King’s House which she drew down to reform into the dome which protected her.”
“Not sudden, nor unprecedented. Nor Elemental! From what Germancy said,” Eioth stopped and frowned a moment before continuing. “There have been mortals with Light Magic before. The family legend which stated that my own House was brought forth by an Earth Magicians would be proven untrue by today’s events. The removal of the facade of my House this afternoon in response to a summons by Master Silva may be taken as proof Light Magic is old. Very old.”
“This Master Silva, what do we know of her?” said Veranti. “Can she be trusted? Is she an agent of Chandri’s?”
Veranti turned to stare at Federan, who scowled and replied. “You would know better than I.”
“No quarreling,” cried Eioth, stepping between them.
“Where there is change there will always be cowards who cling go the old rather than accept what is useful about the new,” said Federan. “Germancy was one such coward. In this time of loss, of disconnect from the Elements, we cannot disdain any thing that will aid us. Light Magic can create such small things as ropes and buckets or such great things as bridges. One such bridge currently reunites East and West two leis south of the drowned Hub of Harmony as well as bridging streams and rivers from here to the True South.”
There was a few moments of general muttering then Veranti rubbed his chin. “It is unfortunate that this ability is confined to one mortal woman, weak as she is. She must be compelled to teach this skill to more experience magic practitioners.”
“If you mean elves,” said Federan. “She has attempted to explain her skill to me several times and I cannot see light the way she sees it.”
“She may be deliberately misleading you.”
Federan clenched his hands and moved toward Veranti.
“Enough,” shouted Eioth. “I have met with Master Silva and believe, nay, I know her to be sincere. Since the rains first began she has, with a generous heart and sincere wish to be of service, given all that she has in the service of the empire. I will not have her insulted or her loyalty questioned! Am I rightly understood?”
Silence answered him.
Whether this silence represented agreement or argument postponed Mitash could not determine from his place in the rear of the chamber. While the strange brazier was of interest it was nothing to the fascination he found examining the book he’d received from Eioth.
The Use and Complexity of Sex Magic, by an adherent.
The book cover was plain and the words within neat but obviously hand inscribed. Given the content he should not be surprised. What printer would permit this subject to pass through his presses?
Mitash glanced about the chamber and noted that similar books rested in the sash belts of all the High Lords. He blushed, the tips of his ears burning red as he considered all of these elves reading the same matter as he just examined.
The interest in the brazier continued to hold the High Lord’s attention. Some were expressing their astonishment that the Light brazier did not become warm and others were remarking on its lack of weight. Another produced a belt knife and pressed it against one leg. Eioth observed without comment, his arms folded and expression distant. Mitash, who knew him best of all gathered, could sense his impatience.
Eventually Eioth returned to his seat which was the signal for the exploration and gossiping to end and the High Lords straggled back to their places.
“When she has recovered from this morning’s unwarranted attack,” said Eioth, and the room fell silent, “I will require you all to acknowledge Silva of the True South’s Master of Light with all the honors attendant to Adept status.”
Veranti appeared to be about to speak but Eioth raised a hand.
“Fear not, she shall provide a demonstration as is required by,” Eioth coughed, “ritual.
There were general nods.
“The True South pays her stipend,” said Federan, staring at Eioth as if in challenge.