Ascending Water, 24, Realm year 767
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
Scarlet Sky Conspiracy
RY 767 Ascending Water - Mnemon Aisa
Ascending Water, 24, Realm year 767