Scarlet Sky Conspiracy

RY 767 Resplendent Water - Mnemon Aisa #2

Dear friends,
Marriage is something much on my mind recently, brought to the forefront by a recent ball Mnemon invited me to. I met several suitors there, eager to begin negotiations in earnest. I can hardly blame them – with the Empress missing, all is cast into doubt and confusion. There is reassurance in marital bonds, and in the alliances and friendships that come with them.

Ledaals, Cathaks, Mnemons and Sesus, oh my!

(The letter contains Aisa's polite impressions of her various suitors, all complimentary and gracious. The mentions of Cathak Nadrian seem slightly strained, however. Members of the conspiracy will read the following.)

With Ferem and Contarini's approval, I shall set the plan with Tepet and Cynis in motion immediately. It will take some doing, especially since the slave coast's rebellion seems to be gathering steam with or without us.

Ryo, your apartment was invaded by a pair of men. They performed a very thorough search, but as you say, seem to have failed to find what they were looking for. Shogun made noise and spooked them before they reached your office, and they dropped everything they had taken before fleeing.

The Heptagram seems relatively untouched by the growing troubles in the rest of the Realm – I both commend and blame the hand of its current dominie for keeping it completely aloof from politics. This will have to change soon. Mnemon Duhalva, the heir-apparent, is far more easily manipulated and friendly to our interests. But for now, at least, the Isle of Whispers remains a stable and neutral base of operations.

My alliance with V'Neef is going well – we performed one of the final steps in a truce-dance, an exchange of vulnerabilities. I revealed to her my involvement with Anathema during my travels in Nexus. While dynastic literature is full of villains who misused trust of this nature, it is the foulest of deeds. V'Neef did not betray me, and revealed a potentially damaging secret of her own. I will not repeat what she told me here. It is her secret, shared in trust, and I will take it to my grave.

-————————————————

Now, the ball! Truly, no event more important in a young lady's life than her marriage. But I shall be brief, so as not to bore you with the posturing and posing and betrayals and… well, you all know what goes on at this sort of event.

Cathak Nadrian is Cathak Cainan's son. He is handsome, ambitious, pious and charming – everything a dynastic woman could want. I hate his guts. I may marry him anyway, given how perfect that match is otherwise, but his smug smile will be extremely unpleasant to wake up next to.

He and V'Neef Iphen nearly challenged one another to a duel. I defused the incident, but now they see each other as rivals for my affection. Men(a blotch of ink mars the otherwise perfect calligraphy) My affection is not a prize to be skewered on the tip of blade.

The real event of interest occurred when Mnemon slipped away with Cathak Cainan and Titus. Light as a feather and silent as a shadow, I followed them. Forgive me if I spoil part of what you wished to reveal, Titus, but I hope you can shed further light on some parts of the story I remain curious about.

Titus' master and Mnemon's spy mistress were present, and they briefly discussed the northern rebellion, believing it to be the word of the Gold Faction, rather than something thought up by the locals. (Who are they? Should we allow them to continue to take the blame for the rebellion, or reach out an offer of alliance?)

Cathak Cainan claimed he is waiting for a candidate who "can unite the Realm again. Who has the best interest of the people at heart. Humble enough to listen to their advisors, yet strong enough to destroy their enemies. And most importantly, they must be a shining example of what it means to follow the Immaculate Dragons. We can not win the Realm's security, only to lose its soul." I admit, the description made me smile, and angered Mnemon. I was very pleased to learn that he is throwing his weight neither behind either her or the Roseblack. I shall be reaching out to him in the coming month for certain.

Now comes the bit that our not-yet-chosen conspirator can not report to us, because he left while I, hidden behind a book case, remained. You are a hostage, Titus, held against the good behavior of your teacher. By threatening you, Mnemon – through her spy master, who I have no need to remind you is chosen of the stars – maintains her hold over your teacher.

Tread warily, Titus. I will not act on these matters, since you are better informed about heavenly politics than I, but remember that you have powerful friends who will offer you sanctuary if you need to step off the board for a time to free a more powerful piece.

Yours in devotion and in cunning,
— Mnemon Aisa

P.S.
I nearly burst out laughing at your response when you asked not be forced to marry me. I last heard that tone from a child objecting to chopped liver – while I share your desire to remain unbound, I should hope that the prospect of sharing my bed is not that unappealing.

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RY 767 Resplendent Water - Carmela Contarini

Resplendent Water 7, RY 767

What in the actual fuck, Realm.

What in the actual fuck.

I have been on this island for this long and nobody told me about ice cream?!

I've been tearing my hair out with worry for weeks and it takes a bunch of kids to introduce me to ice cream? WORDS will be had.

The rest of the letter goes on an entirely harmless tear about hitherto-secret frozen confections.

An awful lot of people needing funds now. Loans to Aisa, mercenaries to Quelaana (still waiting to hear back from the company I sent overtures to), now exotic material components for Akashan? I said I had money, not that I was a national economy unto myself. Still, I'll see what I can do.

So, let's see. My attempts at tracking down the source of my Magistrate's assassin have hit a dead end. But, I've got a symbol that might be something significant – a golden crane, made of paper. I found it in what was supposed to be a clandestine meeting place – an inn which turned out to have been abandoned for years (really, I checked) and devoid of anything helpful for magical communication (hearths, trees, coins, beehives, mirrors, charcoal, locusts, bird's nests). Too well abandoned for years; if it had really been so, even if the squatters had left it alone, birds and bats would've started moving in. Everything about this stinks of Titus' friends in the dark, so I guess I'm happy to have merited attention above my station.

On the other hand I'm not entirely sure what to do about an enemy that can run to Heaven when endangered, and might be directing all this from there without ever leaving.

On to things that don't relate to a slowly descending pendulum aiming for my neck: so, Fate must have a sense of humor because a metric fuckton of refugees have started to show up on my doorstep, families and all. Apparently "Magistrates won't declare you outlaw and have the Houses take all your stuff because you're in the way" and "you might actually be looked after if your father died fighting for the Realm" is a huge step up from the surrounding regions, because haha, it turns out that the ideals that Realmsters hold so dear are mostly just words once you stop being rich and peaceful. Turns out you're just as barbaric as everyone else! Honestly, it's kind of gratifying to see; outside my tents is a scene that wouldn't be out of place in the dirtiest, nastiest parts of the Threshold. So in spite of how much of a national embarrassment it probably is to the dragons next door, I'm sort of in my element! I just executed a slave trader for trying to kidnap one of the kids I'm looking after (hey, remember how that sort of thing Absolutely Did Not Happen On the Isle?) Feels like home already!

Anyway, long story short I don't have the manpower, the expertise or the resources to take care of these people, so I'm allying the Legion Magisterial with the local chapter of the Immaculate Order to handle the crisis. They're in trouble too; most of the Dragons with dynastic ties have been taking 'leaves of absence' that conveniently place them near or within their family's lands (see again: ideals being just words), and lost eggs are pursuing spiritual matters (keeping gods in line, ancient wards in place, that sort of thing). So the Order that I'm working with here is a collection of enthusiastic but underfunded mortals who have been desperate for help for some time now. They won't be easy to bring under my sway, but they seem to have their shit together.

So the relevant part of that is that I'm shaping up to acquire religious power, military power and legal power. I will leave Aisa to enumerate the things you need to be an Empress; what I seem to be developing are the things you need to be a Queen. If I avoid getting beheaded (by no means certain), I… have basically accidentally started to create a splinter kingdom?

That'll be fun, I'm sure. It's quite a fixer-upper as it stands.

Cheers,
Carmela Contarini

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RY 767 Resplendent Water - Ferem Quelaana 2

Resplendent Water, 5, Year of Our Realm 767
Amber River, North

Salutations friends,
Apparently I’ve become a minor celebrity amongst Realm mercenaries for my plays.

The Rest of the letter goes on to describe how being minorly famous has changed her daily routine in Amber River. Members of the conspiracy will read the following.

I’ll start off with that I did finish that play inspired about my Uncle Helkar and invited him to watch. At the end he told me he liked it and that the immaculates that forced the Lunar into hiding never stopped pestering my Uncle. Using a pestering of my own I found out they suspected the man of conspiring with the Lunar he called the Wyld hunt on. I’m not sure how he knew but I stumbled upon Darkest Dawn and he would not accept my plan of a scape lion. I’ll spare you the details and say we ended up ambushing them and Darkest Dawn can really take a punch.

The bout of business was me making sure this alleged assassin didn’t get Roseblack and an assassination attempt did come. Seemingly, a severely mortal wounded Roseblack and then ran away to eventually be caught in an ally way for a knife to catch his heart (not me or Angora whom was also with me). Turns out the Bookdealer (turns out he actually deals in art) was the actual culprit and I managed to catch him with a timely thrown rope dart. What happened next is a series of odd events I never saw coming. Not only did this art dealer claim that he had never truly wanted to assassinate Roseblack, but that Angora was Roseblack the whole time! Roseblack did confirm that Angora ever existed with one of her sorcerers was casting a disguise spell on her. The Art dealer Vanished out of thin air after also telling us there still a true assassin waiting somewhere out here. The Silver Lining is we’re talking to each other more plainly now.

Since the Cynis army also loves my work, spreading empathy to the citizens of amber River wasn’t actually all that hard since I already had a play about “The Fifty First Hearts” designed to get people talking about the slave issues to begin with. This is more of a measure to weaken morale and make the poor Cynis troops stuck in this from making this too bloody if we can stand our ground.

Aisa, your plan pretty much falls into place with what I was already planning. I presume land is more of a starting negotiation thing instead of an ultimatum. I was already planning on taking a large sum of Amber River’s treasury and giving it to the Realm to show they’ll still be getting the money that makes most of them care about the north at all. If I can spare the elder to smooth relations I will but no promises.

Finally, I was trying to spread some anti-slavery Propaganda (most of it was true) when a radical new idea came about. I think it was being called communism or something. Somehow along the way Rei and I stumbled upon a Yozi cheese cult that was trying to make Malfean cheese to create Sympathy for demons. Not only does infernal essence instantly make cheese inedible, but there were a few inept demons that took on the qualities of cheese. I gave them a warning and let them be. I eventually followed the Pamphlets afterwards to a massive gathering talking about how everyone was sick of Dragon-blooded leadership. Had I left them to continue pondering there could’ve been a massive third movement. Luckily I was there with strong rhetoric and compassion to steer their frustration to my goals of a greater “slave” coast.

Next month the Revolt is surely to reach its climax. If this ends up to be my last letter, be sure that Roseblack is sure to follow my stead soon with so many dangerous players up here.

“A very fancy Signature of Ferem Quelaana is here”

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RY 767 Resplendent Water - Mnemon Aisa

Dear Ryo,

I must say that Zara is fitting into her new life as well as I had hoped. She has been rising early in the morning to make everything ready for my day before I wake, then dashing off to listen in on one of the first year classes in thaumaturgy. Do not fear that she is neglecting her normal studies either, however – I have arranged for one of the Patricians I aided last month to serve as her tutor, teaching her mathematics and history every afternoon before evening classes end…

(Members of the conspiracy will see the following)

Honored members of the Scarlet Sky Conspiracy, it is time we make our first coordinated move. We can, in one stroke, free the Slave Coast, place House Tepet iredimibly in our debt, and stake my claim to the moral authority so many elders of the dynasty have forsaken. I have a proposal to place before you all.

It begins by throwing the Slave Coast into open revolt.

Or rather, somewhat less dramatically, it begins with me meeting with the remaining leadership of house Tepet to see if they are interested in backing us, and extending subtle feelers to house Cynis. If the great houses are not interested in playing their parts, then no one need risk their lives.

But assuming a level of cooperation, the next step is convincing house Cynis that their best bet is to abandon the project, rather than crush the northern revolt with much bloodshed. This is where house Tepet comes in. With the Tepet legions destroyed, most of their satrapies are also in open revolt – but some of them could be brought to heel with no more than a show of force, which Cynis can muster easily but Tepet is incapable of.

I can mediate a trade – the Slave Coast, a slowly exploding powder keg, in return for some of the rich Tepet lands of the south-east. I hope that house Cynis will be only too glad to make the trade. House Tepet I will have to convince the hard way, that it is an opportunity rather than a trap, but it will help that this is easy to cast as a moral move as well as an expedient one. It keeps the Realm strong, maintains peace in the Threshold, and, truly, the members of the Dynasty are not as insensitive to plights of other nations as we may seem. It is only seldom that we are given a chance to act on our sympathies without compromising our politics.

With the region no longer under Cynis control, we can move the new Legion Magisterial north, where it will prove completely effective at ending the revolt. A magistrate, if given the support of the ruling house (as Tepet will give him), has almost unlimited authority – enough to end the revolt simply by granting its demands. The Empress' justice can be served, order restored, and the Slave Coast granted permission to change itself for the better on the condition that it pay tribute.

That ought to make Carmela look damn good. It will also grant her men their first taste of combat, for surely not all the revolutionaries will be happy to remain under the Realm's guidance, even if the drug induced stupor over the country is lifted. The northern coasts will remain under Realm control, but in return for continuing to pay tribute, they can be granted a great deal more autonomy by their new overlords. Tepet is in no position to make unreasonable demands. House Tepet will owe us a great debt. They are in vital need of a change for the better in their fortunes. A tribute paying satrapy is not enough to return their power, but it is enough to grant them hope – and for the purposes of gaining their gratitude, that is even better.

Such a radical move will require everyone's support, and temporarily at least, place on opposing sides of physical violence – Ferem Quelaana and her people against the Realm. It is dangerous, but I believe the potential is worth the risk. What do you all say? Can it be done, and should it be? I will not set anything in motion without your approval.

I have much other news to share this month, but wished to present this possibility immediately, rather than waiting while I decide which new secrets of mine I can share and which I must hold in trust for their owners.

Yours in leveraging right into might (might it be possible?),
- Mnemon Aisa

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RY 767 Ascending Water - Ledaal Catala Akashan  

Being the 28th Day of Water, Ascending, Year of Our Realm 767
Steady Foundation Pagoda, Imperial Mountain, Blessed Isle

By the grace of the Dragons, my friends:

Ledaal Mockshanta, a beloved elder cousin most enlightened in the Immaculate teachings and called to serve as a monk, and I recently sat down to discuss philosophy over tea. She gently chastised me for my secularism, especially when I confided in her regarding my worries regarding my essence. Had I been a more attentive student I might have recognized the gift of the dragons far sooner. At her advice, I have made the journey to the Imperial Mountain to make the pilgrimage up the Spine of the Amaranthine Dragon…

The letter continues describing the conversation, subsequent journey, and various spiritual insights Akashan has had. Members of the conspiracy see the following:

I regret that this last month has primarily involved consolidation. I must thank my dear cousin Aisa for settling my worries. Now that I know what is going on I have been able to secure time for other projects. Even if the event was not holy, the increase in power it brings is significant. My peers on the leading council were glad to pick up some of my slack to ensure that I do not risk losing the enlightenment I am chasing with mundane distractions. I do not mean to make light of the experience, for it humbles and awes me every hour of every day.

Most of my time has been spent in meetings, mentoring some of the bright up-and-coming members of my house. Most of it was technical, providing assistance for some of the planned manse upgrades, their commissions or maintenance duties, and their research. Of particular interest was a thread of most impious… envy let us call it that ran through many of those conversations. There is an unvoiced belief, a true one I might add, that our creative magic is not the equal of our combative gifts. Much of this I attribute to a lack of interest. War brings glory and riches far faster and more broadly acknowledged than labor.

To be blunt, we are decaying. Our ability to service our existing stockpile of wonders is barely adequate and we consume them faster than we can produce replacements. If the trend continues the balance of power is going to shift against us, and we may find we are spending for more Exalted blood and mortal treasure to hold what we already if we are not thrown back across the Inner Sea entirely. Once we have the throne, we shall face an equally great task of holding it even without considering politics.

But all is not bad. I have begun working with the Folk of the Mountain on something which may prove decisive when battle comes. A method by which enlightened noncombatants can transfer the Dragon's Breath to those in the thick of the fighting. If my testing is successful, our warriors will be able to utilize their charms more frequently and freely than our opponents. This could do much to counter the numbers we will no-doubt lack.

A final note, but perhaps the most important, I believe I know how the Scarlet Stone could be made to work for us. Their commander would or could not divulge the nature of their oaths directly. At my request, I was invited to participate in a prayer ceremony to their craftsmen god. The room in which it took place contained a complex mechanism entirely covered in writing in the tongue of the Old Realm and another I recognize as native to the Folk. Prayerful acts involved chants, which I believe incode operating instructions, an labor with the device. The belief is that as god of machines, their "Maker" receives worship from machines being operated with votive toil. While I could only read half of the device and understood none of the chants, I was able to divine the operating principles. Through the use of my essence applied in precise ways I caused the central prayer-gear to turn so rapidly it produced a loud "Om" a sacred sound to the Folk as well as us. This was apparently a sign of excellent devotion and they were less, though not entirely non, hostile to my presence.

Later, the commander and I played a game of their homeland while I relayed the news, having just been there myself. It involves a number of tiles stamped with ideographic glyphs. The game is played by using the existing lines on the board to represent arguments, historical events, or other complex chains of ideas graphically. I noticed as we played that the Scarlet Stone's tile was placed in obligation to the tile of the Scarlet Throne, which was not the same as that of the absent (Her Most Highly Exalted Majesty) Scarlet Empress. I believe this means that they serve the possition of empress rather than the person of Her Most High Exalted Majesty. If we can convincingly place Aisa on the throne and declare her empress they should follow us against alternate contenders and their armies.

In Fire, Faith, and Blood,
Ledaal Catala Akashan Ledaal 

Added to the end of the letter itself
P.S. I see the Postal Carriers have acted with their usual alacrity. I arrived home to find I had beat my letters in transit.

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RY 767 Resplendent Water - Ferem Quelaana

Resplendent Water 4, RY 767

The following is a brochure about Quelaana's theatre playing in Amber River and where they'll be setting up

I greatly appreciate the concern my friends. I will admit things have been going faster than I'd hoped. Turns out when money is involved people get violent fast. In honesty, I would be more tolerant of slavery if it wasn't executed in such an appalling way up in the north. This is literally pseudo-lobotomizing your workforce with opium and whomever is left with a will is left to tear each other apart. These are not prisoner's of war or guild bought slaves but the very citizens of the satrapies that serve the realm. Surely you could drum up some sympathy as to why Revolts of this nature will continue until the system of this slavery is changed. I'd prefer it shattered to the ground instantly but if it needs to be slow so be it.

As for things other than abolitionism, any supplies or manpower would be greatly appreciated. Stopping trade with the realm is not what the ongoing slave rebellion is about. In fact, the sheer amount of drugs used to coax people isn't nearly as profitable as is claimed. Interesting as to the only ones making any real money off of this system is the Cynis even though they don't own any of the satrapies. 

Speech over,
"A very fancy signature of Quelaana Ferem is here"

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RY 767 Resplendent Water - Nellens Ryo

The Third Day of Resplendent Water, RY 767
Imperial City, Blessed Isle

Dear friends,

Since my last letter, I have taken up the responsibility of the Spiral Alumni Association chairman. After being harassed yet again for another donation, I decided to attend this month’s meeting. What I found was a bureaucratic nightmare. You would expect graduates of the Realm’s premier school on the Organizational Arts to be able to manage a simple social club.

Ryo goes on about the failings of the Alumni Association’s Executive committee. Members of the Scarlet Sky Conspiracy will see the following…

I don’t know how these things happen to me. I just attended one meeting and they put me in charge. Insane.

Aisa, yesterday I sent Zara off to you. I trust you to keep my daughter safe and out of trouble. I hear your grandmother is putting together a ball. All the eligible bachelors of good breeding are on the guest list, if my sources are correct. I believe the ball will be used as an opportunity for other political maneuvering besides marriage alliances. Cathak Cainan himself is rumored to attend. 

Quelana, fears of a possible slave revolve have reached the Imperial City. This may be why a Cynis Elder is being sent your way. I imagine house Cynis was trying to keep the situation quiet, but now the entire Imperial City is worried about their Northern exports. The popular notion is the Roseblack and her legions should put down any rebellion. Among the war hawks, Tepet Ejava needs to prove she has the jade fist to handle uppity slaves before she can even consider taking the throne. 

Carmela, I fear that you were the true target of the assassination attempt instead of the magister. A clumsy attempt to assassinate a Magister in front of his guards and troops seems doomed to fail. A clever attempt to discredit the Fire Aspect making best use of the Deliberative Funding Initiative seems more likely. Someone wants the Pahua Basin destabilized. I will send a letter to my wife to see if she knows of any happenings you and I are unaware of.

If someone wants the Pahua Basin destabilized, I fear my little speech at the Deliberative may have attracted attention. Shu and I came home to find our house ransacked. Yes, Aisa, I keep meaning on increasing the security of my house, but I keep putting it off. If you could talk to your elemental and see who broke into my house, I’d be grateful. 

As far as I can tell, nothing was taken (http://dice.brainclouds.net/Result.aspx?ID=DEWLMJX6). Fortunately, I don’t have any physical evidence of my Exaltation, though Titus jokes about gifting me an Orichalcum letter opener one day. These letters are kept in my office mixed in with the rest of my correspondence. It will take longer than a Dragonblooded lifetime to comprehend both my filing system and sort through the large quantity of mail I receive. 

I did managed to recruit my father-in-law, Ragara Amado, into assisting me with the Spiral Alumni Association (http://dice.brainclouds.net/Result.aspx?ID=WLDGEG2A). He was appalled at the state of the organization as I was. I imagine the situation stirred his pride as an instructor of the Spiral. 

Stay safe my friends. Trouble is brewing all around us. 

Ryo

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RY 767 Ascending Water - Carmela Contarini

Ascending Water 27, RY 767

My face! It's stolen my face! Is this my punishment from the Dragons?! You have to help me! I'm sending a number of copies of this letter so that even one might get to you…

What follows is a nigh-hysterical letter written in a trembling hand, addressed to a member of the Heptagram, a one Mnemon Aisa. It is long on speculation, short on detail and even shorter on actual knowledge, but the gist is some mishap of mistaken identity which Carmela is very sure is a Lunar Anathema infiltrator at work. Members of the Scarlet Sky Conspiracy will see the following:

Okay so! Hope that wasn't too bad of a slog to read through, 'coz someone really has stolen my face. In the sense of impersonating me very closely. Not in the sense that a fae has literally removed it. Here's the breakdown:

-Getting more troops for the Magisterial Legion
-While presenting the troops for a surprise inspection, one of them tried to stab my good friend the Magistrate with a poisoned blade. Obviously I jumped in and took the knife because that's how I do things.
-Cantigaster venom still hurts like hell. Definitely wasn't from the behemoth itself or I wouldn't be writing this letter, but it felt like second-generation. Eastern, rare, expensive, good at killing Dragons. Don't worry about me, I'm made of stronger stuff than that.
-Tracked down where it came from and who bought it. Turns out I did! Or someone making use of my contacts who has obtained an absolutely impeccable disguise of me.
-Found out who hired the assassin. Turns out I did! Or someone working in my name, anyway. Since I haven't been brutally murdered by a Lunar (that I know of), I'm pretty sure this is my sorcerer antagonist at work.

Now, when the Magistrate pursues his own investigations, he's going to find out that I bought the poison, and then made the arrangements to have him killed. It's flimsy, but it will be enough to separate him from his shield and get him brutally murdered and/or put under the sway of some patron of wealth and means who can protect him (who isn't me). This would actually be a pretty nasty trap!

It would be, you know, if I were just a simple Dragon instead of a member of a Realm-spanning conspiracy including some of the highest levers of power and multiple sorcerers. I'd like some advice on what's going on here and what I can do about it. I could have asked Aisa through Wind-Carried-Words, but I'd also like to see who, if anyone, tries to prevent or influence a reply to this letter. If it turns out that, I don't know, the Headmaster or Mnemon or that sultry professor down the hall suddenly has very strong ideas about Threshold Dragons and the tall tales they tell, things could get very interesting. A little trap. We've been sending these letters for a while, might as well start making real use of their special properties.

Quelaana, things seem to be heating up for you quite a bit, and damned if I don't feel like I should do something to help. Any particular need for jade, merchants or mercenaries? I'm not watched as closely as Aisa is, and my contacts can be discreet.

Cheers!
Carmela Contarini

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RY 767 Ascending Water - Mnemon Aisa

Ascending Water, 24, Realm year 767

Nellens Ryu,

My dear grandmother has been most kind this month, finally granting my longstanding request to choose a handmaiden for myself. I will be very pleased to welcome Ragara Zara when she arrives – it has become increasingly difficult of late to find enough time to keep up appearances while also teaching the students here and attending to other matters of importance. I trust she will not find me too burdensome a mistress, given the meager size of my wardrobe and…

(The letter goes on in some detail explaining Aisa's daily routine and what she expects from a handmaiden, and also how she plans to keep up Zara's education while she stays at the Heptagram. Ryu will find nothing to complain about. Aisa seems… well, excited. Members of the Scarlet Sky Conspiracy will see the following.)


Ledaal Catala Akashan, there is nothing to worry about with your taste of lightning, and, indeed, a great deal to be proud of. You feel the stirrings of the Dragon's Blessing preparing to emerge more fully. The Immaculate Texts have some excellent advice – I suggest the Book of Pasiap 4.35 for some exercises which will help ease the transition and strengthen your mastery. A more spiritual take is available in the Book of Hesiesh 2.14, where he meditates upon his visions, if you are interested in that aspect of the transition.

Cathak Titus, your apology is accepted. Thank you for trusting us, and I assure you that the chosen of the stars do exist. My best friend succumbed to despair after her own promised destiny was snatched away by time, and do not wish that upon anyone. She will never be Dragon Blooded but I wish you luck with your own exaltation if there is still hope.

Quelaana Ferem, I am most interested in any further news you may come across of house Cynis, and congratulations on your close escape! I am too closely watched at the moment or I would send you a squad of sorcerous bodyguards along with this letter. If you expect violence to continue escalating, please let me know and I will arrange something despite the difficulty.

-—————————-

This month has been rather more relaxed than the past one was, and a good thing too. I needed the breather. Next month promises to be frantic.

My main goal this month was to leverage the attention gained by Grandmother's visit last month into a real reputation for power. Ryu, I hope you will not mind that I have taken credit for killing that hunting bill you opposed. I too dislike glorying in violence, and it seemed a good occasion to demonstrate influence. Though it seemed to have no real opponents, an easy vote in the Deliberative, I made public my disapproval. That cousin of yours ignored my letter announcing that it would not pass and he should drop the issue. When he ignored me, and when your attempts to quietly strangle it in committee succeeded, he looked like a fool indeed. Smiling and deflecting questions as to how exactly a young Dragon's reach extends into the Imperial City and into the Deliberative has been a pleasant pastime.

Spreading my wings in such a way has not been perfectly smooth. One complication came in the form of a patrician family here on the Isle of Whispers. The docks they manage were heavily damaged by a winter storm, and now that the weather is improving, they called on me for a loan. I am unsure if this was a dynast testing me or if they truly thought I was their best option, but either way I could not refuse. What sort of dynastic power player does not have a spare talent laying around, after all?

I do not, of course. My stipend is barely adequate to maintain appearances. What to do? I said yes, of course, and loaned them the money I did not have. Thus ensued a brief game of financial chicanery, involving promises, a personal visit to the contractors to assure them that they could start work without payment up front, and a rapid exchange of Wind Carried Words with Carmila Contarini asking her to make good on my promise. The Jade arrived yesterday, by the way, and I am happy to say that the matter is successfully concluded. They have their loan, I have my reputation, and you have my sincerest gratitude.

The three pillars of dynastic power are political, economic and military. I have demonstrated two of these, and for now people are convinced. I have been invited to an extremely exclusive party, asked to join a sorcerous cabal, V'Neef regularly corresponds with me and at least two spies have been assigned to watch my movements. A success.

-—————————-

The other commotion this month was around the issue of a handmaiden. Having been back on the Blessed Isle for some seasons now, it is unusual that I have not had anyone to help take care of minor tasks. And it seemed, in conjunction with above events, that everyone on the Blessed Isle was suddenly in a rush to offer their daughter, younger sister, niece or ten year old maid-assassin for my service.

I wish I were joking about the last one. Peleps Tamara was quite scary. I beg you all to be careful of any dark-skinned green eyed waifs you may see.

Ultimately, the choices boiled down to three – Ragara Zara (a charming girl indeed), Mnemon Sara (offered by Grandmother) and V'Neef Senna (V'Neef by her father's marriage, not by blood). Choosing Senna would have pleased V'Neef greatly, but I had to beg off, claiming quite truthfully that it would upset Mnemon and I am not yet ready to break with her publicly. Mnemon Sara would have pleased Grandmother, but I simply cannot have a spy so close to me. I mollified my head of house with the promise that I would neither accept V'Neef Senna as a handmaiden nor would I consider any of that family for marriage. Both promises will be easy to keep – one was a convenient excuse to turn down Senna, the other a thing I was already planning on for other reasons.

Despite once again placed between elders tugging in opposite directions, I am pleased to have my own way without bowing to either. The choice of a handmaiden is a small thing, but a personal one, and I am grateful that Mnemon did not care enough to press the issue.

Yours in friendship and in service,

— Mnemon Aisa

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RY 767 Ascending Water - Ferem Quelaana

Ascending Water, 23, Realm year 767
Cherak, North


Oh I’ve had the craziest hunting trip this month friends.
The letter goes on to describe how Quelaana and her Uncle found a Lunar and had to run away for their lives. Members of the conspiracy see the following.

This has been a hell of a month for me, and I fear you might hear of my exploits before these letters in the upcoming months. I did in fact go on a hunting trip with my uncle Helkar looking for a rumored Snow lion; Turns out that was a lunar’s totem. I managed to save the Handsome Lunar by telling him where to hide with wind carried words. I met him at that hideout and he told me his name was Darkest Dawn.

My second task was learning more about this mystical Golden Paper crane. Naturally I ended up going to Peleps Hideki (the northern Magistrate spymaster) and surprisingly he had never seen anything like it before. Hideki ended up sending me to a Book collector. I’m honestly having trouble remembering much about it him even though he seemed to know something about the crane and even gave me a tip about the next upcoming assassination attempt on the Roseblack.

Through the noble efforts of our very own Titus I’ve found out who’s moved the Roseblack to the north. Apparently it was Cathak Cainan trying to split up the candidates and keep them busy to avoid the Civil war we all fear. Titus did say he wasn’t 100% sure it was all Cainan but he definitely was a big player in this. Titus, feel free to correct me on this as letters can only convey so much information.

With these two revelations I demanded an audience with Roseblack and things went well at the start. I don’t know what happened but when we planned to counter ambush the assassin he flat out wasn’t there. I don’t know if it was a bad tip, the assassin had spies, or some weird stealth magic got him out of there but it made me look stupid. I know he’s still out there and I’m worried my next warnings will be ignored.

I saved the biggest news for last; I sent Xiuhcoatl to spy on the Cynis to find any information I could about them. Xiuhcoatl is not nearly as good a spy as I thought apparently. I was sent his ear and managed to contact him with wind carried words. Xiuhcoatl lied about escaping and lured me to Amber River for an ambush. I took the bait for I needed his information either way. I ended up in a grueling fight with five dragon-blooded at once. The bastards were trying to wear me down with attrition tactics but they simply couldn’t track my weighted robes so I eventually defeated them. Out of essence and breath Xiuhcoatl was saved and told me how a Cynis elder was headed to Amber River. In an attempt to clean house they’re planning on murdering everyone with a hint of suspicion for working with the Bloody hand. The Rebellion may have to happen quicker than I was hoping.

With Regards, a very fancy Signature of “Ferem Quelaana” is written here

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