Dear Cathak Titus,
I wonder now if you are truly a Cathak. While noted for its military accomplishments rather than its subtlety, a scion of such a worthy house would surely not make the elementary mistake of confusing soft words for weakness. I've killed, and will do so again if necessary. I prefer to speak kindly, and I prefer to trust and and to be trustworthy – but I have claws. I smiled and shook a Lunar's hand while someone she trusted drove a knife in her back.
Who are your friends, Titus? Which of them carry knives?
I prefer to believe the best in people – a fatal weakness in a Dynast, my mother always told me.
I trust Nelens Ryu – he has put himself in danger, revealing his nature to all of us. His wife and children are the stake should we fail.
I trust Carmela Contarini – Iselsi may have been the Empress' whipping boy, but there are many who would love to finish the job. Her family is her surity. If we die, they will be dragged down with us.
I trust Ferem Quelaana and Whispering Twilight – while they are not on the Blessed Isle, it would be all to easy for the hand of the Realm to reach out and snuff them, should their nature come to light.
What type of Exalt are you, Titus? What do you wish to gain from our little plot? Who stole my book, and why did they do it?
To Carmela and all others who have expressed concern in your latest letters,
I find it difficult to commit certain things to paper. I find them difficult to say aloud even inside my own mind. Forgive me if I say less than I should. It is my fault, I am sure, for assuming we were on the same page merely by the act of calling ourselves a conspiracy rather than an alliance.
The analogy of yeddim circling seems a good one. On one side, my grandmother. On the other side, everyone who would rather see her die than take the throne. There is no figurehead for the second side yet – some brandy about the idea of the Roseblack, but I believe I can step into that role smoothly enough, and more gracefully than she. That is the first step – to build a network of reputation, alliances and favors so that there is no other possible candidate for the opposition than myself.
After that, we will have to kill Mnemon. Immensely powerful, resourceful and wise as she is, she remains human. A knife will work just fine if we can catch her off guard. If Mnemon is gone, there is no second yeddim against which we need butt our heads. Therein lies the key to the puzzle – Mnemon is the only one worthy of the throne, but she is at the same time too hated to claim it.
1. Become worthy.
2. Bring things to the point of confrontation.
If step three cannot be done with a knife, it will fall to the sword, and we will have our civil war.
I truly believe that Mnemon is worthy to be Empress, but supporting her leads to the certainty of war, while opposing her gives a chance to avoid it. And thus I do my duty to the Dragons and to Creation. You need not fear my resolve on that front, but please do not ask me to speak so bluntly again. It hurts to bare my breast so.
Yours in honesty and in duty,