Being the 15th Day of Water, Resplendent, Year of Our Realm 767
Dragonsmouth, Scarlet Prefecture, Blessed Isle
I may have stuck my neck out too far this time. I sat down with the matchmaker of House Ledaal, a great aunt of mine, the other day to give her my opinions about some of my students and assistants. Yet no sooner had I sat down when she began to rake me over the coals about my own wedding, or rather the lack thereof. When I assured her it was merely that there was no eligible young lady I was aware of who seemed a suitable match she completely mistook my disinterest for ignorance and shyness. Now I am scheduled to attend several parties. Parties! As if I don't have enough to do.
Thankfully some good did come of it. She insisted I call on my cousin Ledaal Kes who apparently had similar problems finding a woman to his satisfaction. I had meant to talk to him soon anyway…
What follows is the notes Akashan took at the meeting of the women he is supposed to make the acquaintance of. Several of the entries have unusual notes such as "Has a handsome brother" and "Frequently away with her Claw Strider breeding society." Conspirators see the following:
Mockshanta may have been on to something when she said I was too secular. I convinced Bijar to allow me to to do some subtle testing on the Imperial Manse. Under the pretense of a prayer for the dragons, I had five choirs led by Terrestrials of auspicious aspect each sing a hymn to the appropriate Dragon. Each acted as a source of essence which my instruments around the court of the manse were designed to detect. As it passed through, or around, the structure the way it was changed conveyed information. Most of it was of little use, the defense of the manse is nearly impregnable. But it does radiate essence upward with similarities to fire and earth. Ryo's is the closest to it I have ever encountered, nearly an exact match. If my guess is right, and I think it is, this is a form of prayer. The term Palace of the Anathema in the oldest records and this seem to confirm that it is the work of the Solars. A pity I can't publish the results, the position that it is Shogunate work has a great deal of support among scholars.
Ledaal Catala Chemalma, our resident expert on prehuman civilizations in the East continues to vex me. She gave me samples of artifacts, true artifacts and not merely potsherds, from the region. They are, no doubt, among the least of what she has found yet they could prove useful if we could replicate them. They are, each of them, a highly cultivated variety of plant. One filters out dust, smoke, even water while fully submerged to allow clean and free breathing. The other two are a suit of armor and a weapon. The sword, though somewhat brutal in appearance, is roughly equal to a reaper daiklave yet my tests suggest it required only half of the mystical components to produce. I lack the necessary skill to reproduce them, but we may be able to use them as a tool for better relations with V'Neef and their Wood blessed gardeners.
The proof of concept of the remote essence reservoir worked flawlessly. I do not have the resources to put them into production at this moment, but that should not be a problem long if Ryo is able to help me with a certain delicate issue. Peleps Hiro, whom I am sure he needs no description of, is squatting in the shell of a First Age Atelier-Basilica. I had cause to visit as part of the Isle wide geomantic program and the fool does not understand a fraction of what he has, only enough to be obstinate. Intact Crucible-Stupas that refine metals of even spiritual impurities in the fire of zeal, an entire bank of Signature-Anthanor that could produce alchemical products so concentrated any spill risks enchanting something! But I digress.
If I can get it repaired I could equip our entire conspiracy and all its forces with such wonders as would take up half the stories of Aisa's ascension by themselves. Ryo, I need this manse.
One final anecdote that may be relevant. My elder brother, Zhan, and I have never got along well. When he visited me on leave recently he provoked me into a friendly duel. Zhan is a graduate of the House of Bells and no one expected much of a match. He received not a little disapproval for his actions, but I understand he did not act out of cruelty. What followed was ten rounds of stalemate before, in frustration, he invoked the grace of the dragon's to finally break my defense. This caused him to forfeit, as I have no such gifts their use was forbidden, but the wound to his pride was far greater. Later, when he came to apologize he asked me how I, barely trained, managed to keep pace with him I explained more fully the artifacts that kept me alive as an infant which are still part of my body. What followed was, without question, the most respectful and honest conversation we have ever had. At his insistence, he served as a test patient for some of the refinements I have been working on. On the last day of his leave, he got into a fight with three of his comrades who had insulted me in my absence. I left an important meeting to watch him on the dueling field and must say I am a little afraid of what I saw. He exhausted all three, moving like wind and striking like lightning, without exhaling even a wiff of the dragon's breath. When they surrendered all three were the heart of a storm of earth or fire yet he was the calm eye between them.
It would behoove us to begin identifying those of our allies or champions who might benefit from the same refinement.
In Faith, Fire, and Blood,
Ledaal Catala Akashan
PS: Aisa, I may have an opportunity that should interest you greatly. I could soon be in a position to produce a copy of Mnemnon's Emerald Thurible. If you wish me to pursue this, any information you can get me on the item would greatly ease the task. I doubt Mnemnon has anything like the yantra-schematics or instructional-gohonzon, but anything would help.
Regarding the revolt in the North, the agricultural artifacts may be of assistance in this as well. Cynis is also an arboreal House, and the locus of prehuman activity is in the Southeast. I do not know if I would be able to convince them to exchange territories, but perhaps Ryo could furnish me with the appropriately tempting words. If we can get they to make the arrangements it might open a second channel through which I can gain access to the information and artifacts I have been looking for, and gain their gratitude and dependence since they have no one able to make proper use of the discovery. I do not like the thought of putting something so potentially potent in the hands of another, but if it is for the best of the conspiracy then it is not a great sacrifice.
Beyond this, please let me know what I can do to help.
PPS: Chemalma will be hosting an expedition into the prehuman lands next month, and I have resolved to attend. Not only will the disruption upset her marvelously, a fitting repayment for the annoyance she has caused me, but it will let me see if what I am seeking can really be found. If any of you have covert aid you could send along as well it would be greatly appreciated. They need no go as my retinue, my House will see that I am not alone, but I have several cousins who swear by secret allies when doing this sort of thing.
Scarlet Sky Conspiracy
RY 767 Resplendent Water - Ledaal Catala Akashan
Being the 15th Day of Water, Resplendent, Year of Our Realm 767