Scarlet Sky Conspiracy

Welcome to the Scarlet Sky Conspiracy

“Are you sure you want to do this?” Nellens Ryo asks. The short rotund man sits across from you in this stuffy windowless room. Ryo reminds you of the thousands of mortal bureaucrats who make their way in the Imperial City instead of the vicious Anathema described by the Immaculate Texts. Ryo adjust his wireframe glasses with his ink stained fingers. He leans forward and waits for your response.

You say nothing, but hold your hand across the rickety wooden table. Now was not the time for doubt. Ryo places a small scroll of parchment, no larger than your pinky, in your hand. You take a moment of finger the fine grain of the paper and unroll the scroll. The oath is short, but artfully scribed in Ryo’s fine handwriting. “Am I the first?” you ask. No other names appear on the scroll.

“No,” Ryo grinds a stick of black ink on to the inkstone. “The other names will appear after you sign and the oath is sanctified.” He offers you the brush.

You hesitate. Up until this point, everything you have done could be undone. Now, after this oath, there will be no turning back.

When you hesitate, Ryo’s eyes dart at the door. “I have as much, if not more to lose by participating in this conspiracy.” Ryo reminds you. You did as much research as you could on this “mortal” Dynast. He has risen far in the past few years until he was appointed to the Imperial Court itself. He attends services at the local Immaculate Temple. Ryo is married and has two young daughters.

Before you could second guess yourself, you sign. You watch as your ink dries and disappears into the scroll. You make to hand back the scroll, but Ryo stops you. “You keep it. Everyone has their own copy. Do not lose it.”

Ryo takes a deep breath and steels himself for what comes next. He holds out his hand for you to take. His hand is cold despite the stuffy room. “Read the oath.”

We are bound by this oath until the Blood of the Dragons sits again upon the Scarlet Throne.

We are knowingly committing heresy by associating with allies forbidden by the Immaculate Order.

No conspirator shall call the Wyld Hunt on any member of the conspiracy. 

For the Wyld Hunt’s days are numbered and one day we all shall walk free under Scarlet Skies.

This I swear by the Dragons of the Earth and the Incarnae in the Sky.

Ryo’s hand warms as you read the oath. When you finish the oath, the mark of the Deceiver, no Eclipse, glistens on his brow. Ryo sits taller; his unease burnt away like dew in the morning sun. You glance down at the scroll and see the names of your other conspirators.

Nellens Ryo

Cathak Titus

Mnemon Aisa

Ferem Quelaana

Whispering Twilight

Ledall Catala Akashan

Contarini Carmela

The Oath gives you security, confidence in this group. Unless they wish to incur the wrath of Heaven, no one will break the conspiracy's trust.

Ryo squeeze your hand and gives you a warm smile. “Welcome to the Scarlet Sky Conspiracy.”

RY 767 Ascending Air - Nellens Ryo
Imperial City, Blessed Isle

The Third Day of Ascending Air, RY 767
Imperial City, Blessed Isle

Dear friends,

I hope everyone had a wonderful Calibration. Mine was thankfully quiet, besides the fact a stray kitten that found her way into our kitchen. Shu, my youngest daughter, has taken a liking to the kitten and named her Shogun.

The letter will go on to describe the antics of Shogun the kitten. Those in the Scarlet Sky Conspiracy will see the following letter: 

Though many of you already know me, the rest of you are strangers to each other. Since we are about to embark a dangerous venture, introductions are in order. My name is Nellens Ryo. I always had a good head for numbers, thus my family sent me to the Spiral. I graduated near the top of my class, ahead of the less motivated Dragonblooded students.

In hindsight, perhaps my pride in my academic achievements lead to my present predicament. Alas, even after seven years, I still have mixed feelings about my Exaltation. Though I no longer believe myself to be on the verge of demonic possession, I worry about my family if my Exaltation as an Eclipse was discovered. Escaping to the threshold is not an option, since I have responsibilities here. I console myself with the fact I have managed to stay hidden for many years, the past year in the Imperial Court itself.

This is why I brought you all into the conspiracy. I no longer hold out hope that the Scarlet Empress will return to clean out the corruption in the Imperial City. After a year of watching the incompetence of Tepet Fokuf, I wish for the fate of the Scarlet Throne to be settled once and for all. Do not worry, I have no interest in taking the throne for myself. My goal in instead to support the candidate that will end the Wyld Hunt and change Immaculate Doctrine. There is so much I can do for the Realm, yet I must hide my abilities for fear of the Wyld Hunt.

Yet there are some things I can accomplish in spite of my limitations. I am the chief auditor of Accounts at the Imperial Court. A very tedious position, but I have complete access to all the financial documentation. As my father-in-law always says, “Follow the money” and I have discovered some interesting goings-on in the past year. In addition, I hear all sorts of rumors and gossip at the Imperial Court, which I can pass along to you.

The Imperial Court was tense before the Calibration Break. I can’t put my finger on it, but the pall of grief lingered in the air. Similar to my old accounting office on the Jade Coast after it was announced the Scarlet Empress was missing. The Imperial Court will reconvene in a few weeks and I managed to get a seat in the viewing gallery of the Deliberate. I spent most of my time avoiding that place, but for the good of the conspiracy, I will brave that mad house. Titus says I will find myself entranced by the proceedings, but I doubt I will find anything fascinating among the gallery of fools.

May your new year be the start of many opportunities.

Nellens Ryo

RY 767 Ascending Air - Ferem Quelaana

The Seventh Day of Ascending Air, RY 767
Cherak, North

Salutations compatriots,

(A less impressive cipher than Ryo’s is used because it’s not supernatural)

Fear not, for I am Ferem Quelaana, Troupe master of the Shining Heavens Theatre. I, am also a practitioner of the Dreaming Pearl Courtesan, and as you know I have ties to the magistracy which will help us keep an eye on other big players.

I am currently in my home city of Cherak setting up for my next big performance, I’d invite you all but you seem just so busy, I wouldn’t want to guilt rid any of my friends. But on a more serious note I am helping this adventure for Cherak needs to have a voice, a real voice. Cherak is Realm and it seems criminal to ignore the Blessed isle’s first defense against so many shadow lands and Dragons forbid Deathlords.

In the inevitable Civil War I aim to rectify the Slave Coast debacle and ally with Inara to create a proper legion in the north. Such a legion would owe loyalty to our conspiracy and incidentally wound Cynis’ Economic power, who I doubt would back such a noble underdog. Who knows, maybe I’ll get lucky and be able to deal with the Bull in one way or another?

Ferem Quelaana

P.S. Just so everyone knows, I aim to scout out Roseblack since she is in such close proximity to me.

RY 767 Ascending Air - Mnemon Aisa

The Seventh Day of Ascending Air, RY 767
The Heptagram, Blessed Isle

Dear Nellens Ryo,

I had a wonderful time meeting your wife and children, and I hope you will not take it amiss if I keep in regular correspondence. Please say hello to them for me. My calibration was anything but quiet – I arrived at the Heptagram on the very last day, and was greeted… enthusiastically… by several of my friends who have not yet graduated.

(The letter fondly describes the antics of V'Neef Iphen, who is considerably more energetic than a kitten. Aisa seems to love flowery language. The true contents are as follows.)

First of all, I wish to thank you all for the immense faith you have shown to put your lives on the line by joining this conspiracy. It is my earnest hope that I will be able to live up to your trust. I beg your indulgence if I repeat information already known, but allow me to introduce myself for the benefit of those I have not had the pleasure of meeting.

I am Mnemon Aisa, Air aspect. My mother is Mnemon Myrel. My grandmother is Mnemon. My great grandmother is the Scarlet Empress. I exalted at the age of 10 years and five months, a mere 8 months older than V'Neef herself. I graduated the Heptagram at the top of my class. I am currently unmarried, and considered one of the most eligible and desirable women in the Realm.

I say these things not as a boast, but because they are true, and because they are relevant, and it is important that we know where we stand. For all of the advantages listed above, I am not a serious political player yet – few people owe me favors, and even fewer consider that I'm powerful enough to grant favors myself. I must prove myself to the Realm as a whole, but before that, I feel I must prove myself to you.

  1. I am not disliked, and there have not been decades or centuries of distrust surrounding my person. I have no notable enemies, and no ugly rumors. There is no one who would rather see the Realm torn apart rather than see me sit on the throne.
  2. I am young. This may not seem like an advantage at first, but consider – the reason Fokuf sits as regent is because no one fears him. The elders and the Great Houses will feel the same about me – though a disadvantage in some ways, my youth is less likely to stir opposition than age and strength would be. Remember, the Scarlet Empress was barely older than I am now when she seized control.
  3. My bloodline and social standing is impeccable. To those not raised in the Realm – as several of you have not been – this may seem like a minor matter, but I assure you it is not. Doors are open to me at a touch that would not budge for Tepet Ejava, no matter how worthy she may be.

If the Scarlet Empress returns, I will not place myself in conflict at odds with her, and I continue to hope for such a joyous event. Failing that, Mnemon would make the best Empress. This I say without uncertainty, having lived in her shadow all of my short life. She deserves it. However, she must not be allowed to let this fact drag the Great Houses into open conflict. I have the greatest respect for Grandmother, but none the less, I have placed myself in your hands for that reason. The Realm must not go to war with itself – this would be a disaster not only for the Dynasty, but also for Creation as a whole.

On a more practical level, I bring sorcerous talents to the conspiracy. I am a guest instructor at the Heptagram, and well liked by many of the students, extending my ability to deliver sorcery beyond my own person, including the foremost library in all of Creation. Many in the Realm do not take proper precautions against immaterial beings.*

*Did you see who delivered this letter? Did you check if my elemental was still here, watching you read? Ai'Zul is quite friendly, and has ensured there are no other spirits present, but please consider doing so yourself in the future. If you do not know how, let me know and I shall send a watcher to keep your secrets secret.

I am also one of Mnemon's agents – I have admired her my whole life, and it was only natural that she should recruit me when I returned from my travels in the threshold. I am currently awaiting my first assignment from her. I hope this connection will give me insight into her plans, as well as the ability to thwart them if circumstances should make it necessary.

— Mnemon Aisa

RY 767 Ascending Air - Whispering Twilight

The Seventh Day of Ascending Air, RY 767
Arjuf, South

Dear Readers,

I must impress upon you the interesting features of the typical plants that surround us in our daily lives…

The letter will go on to describe the quite boring features of the Realm`s most common plants. Those in the Scarlet Sky Conspiracy will see the following letter: 

I go by the name Whispering Twilight these days as my original name is unfortunately on the Wyld Hunt`s list of Anathema still at large. I am currently residing outside of Arjuf, in the encampment of the 12th Legion. The life in a camp of soldiers in peace time is quite enjoyable especially as my arrangement with my friend leaves me with plenty of spare time and a small apartment in Arjuf I can utilize when I need privacy for certain aspects of my undertakings. I am writing this while viewing the commercial bustle in the great market of Arjuf from my favorite restaurant. If anyone would want to acquire some rare good, do not hesitate in asking me, it seems this market holds almost whatever one desires.

Currently I am serving as the manservant of a good friend, a most promising officer, who is supportive of a change in Realm leadership and friendly towards other exalts, in the 12th legion with close ties to the general.

I joined this effort because the dangers facing creation cannot be defeated without the realm and the realm cannot succeed if it is to battle both Lunars and Solars while also facing the true enemies of creation. The need for a regime change is of utmost importance.

As our dear accountant, I am also a solar exalted, one of the Unclean ones as the immaculate faith so fondly has named us. In fact, I guess I live up to that reputation in one way. My forte within sorcery is namely the dealings with demons and especially the summoning of them. My lack of access to sorcerous knowledge have so far hampered my study of other areas, but my mastery within sorcery has still reached an advanced stage as I have mastered the celestial circle.

It has been a busy calibration as usual. It is an exquisite time to stock up on useful tools. My trunk`s assortment of tools grows and holds now a solid array of handy solutions to many problems.

My posting in the 12th legion is the first step of many in securing one or more legions that will serve our purposes when the time comes for such measures. I will be working with my close friend and ally on this and on securing influence and insight into the great house Ledaal who`s seat of power is here in Arjuf.

The bureaucracy of the Wyld Hunt and the House of Bells is also located nearby and I think both places should be dealt with in different ways on our path to transforming the Realm. If anyone have any suggestions for them, do share them.

Stay safe and vigilant, the times are treacherous.

Until next time.

RY 767 Ascending Air - Carmela Contarini

The Seventh Day of Ascending Air, RY 767
Danaa'd's Breath Bathhouse, Pahua Basin, Blessed Isle

Friendos! Check out what I wrote. It's a poem… about poems.

Let's have a look at this poem. Here it is, going down. You can tell it's a poem because it's swimming in a little pool of white space. That shows it's a poem. All the calligraphy on all sides has drawn back. The words are making room, they're saying, Rumble, rumble, stand back now, this is going to be good.

[Many, many lines of particularly atrocious metafictional free verse follow. Those in the Scarlet Sky Conspiracy will see the following:]


I'm the goddamned Carmela Contarini! I'm the hottest dragon in the southern isles, and people tell me I'm pretty, too. Being neither an Immaculate believer nor a Realmster, I am committing neither heresy nor treason for associating with you. which makes me a paragon of integrity and trustworthiness the likes of which have ne'er been seen by mortal eyes.

So let's talk about what I can do for you.

My great-grandfather is the Patriarch of Contarini, a merchant house of the Threshold and the proud home of many dragon-bloods. Well. I say 'many' but by your standards we're closer to House V'Neef than a House Mnemon. We are not Realmsters but we do a fair bit of trade with them (possibly we, being of superior draconic stock, are more palatable to deal with than the Guild, so we get nice deals). As a mercantile neutral party, this puts me in a good position to procure or smuggle in things that are needed for our nefarious plans, from cinnamon to arsenic. No slaves, though. The paperwork is killer.

Speaking of, I've had a very lucrative mercenary career so far, and several profitable ventures that other people take care of but I get to collect on. I have the dosh of a Dynast and none of the oversight. If you need it and it costs less than an actual estate or prefecture of your own, I can get it for you. That's especially relevant for those of you who might get audited.

My father is an exiled member of House Iselsi (keep that under your hat, would you?), so I know a fair bit about how the Realm works. Not many of his old contacts are willing to openly treat with me because, well, that's just a bad idea. But they're a bunch of sneaky fucks, and they get shit done.

I recieve about a dozen suitors every day. The fact that House Contarini makes a merry sport of poaching lost eggs and cast-off Realmsters for its own (and thus has a bloodline that would be considered "pretty good" in these parts) is something of an open secret. Thus, a number of of patrician families feel I could bring their star into the ascendant. Also, unlike a lot of Dragons around here, I don't turn up my nose at them. It's part of my charm! Their constant bidding for my favor could be useful someday, maybe?

I have both punched a Solar in the face so hard his head spun and slept with one. In a shocking twist for a story that starts like that, it wasn't actually the same Solar!

I'm a hop, a skip, a jump and a good hearty boat ride away from Chanos if I really want to mix it up; I've made the acquaintance of some of the Dragons and gatekeepers that normally reside there, and there are rumblings that it's going to be a bastion of support for the Roseblack, but I don't know how true they are. Out here is WAY nicer, though. Dad talks sometimes about 'plucking the dragon lines' where the really good stuff going on in a place is found elsewhere. That sounds like a GREAT excuse to hang out on the beach instead of traipsing around in the cities.

So now let's talk about what you can do for me.

Some sweet imperial monopolies for Contarini wouldn't hurt. I'm not actually asking to become an Imperial House because I'm 99% certain there are some logistical hurdles to the usual means of establishing us as one, which would be Aisa filling my womb with as many babies as it can hold. But even something like exclusive rights to the wine trade along the Yellow River would be a nice little boon to show good will.

The new Empress has to knock off the persecution of Iselsi. Welcome back some of the exiles. Not right away, that would be suicide. But it needs to happen, or else a bunch of your best talent is going to fuck off to the Threshold and not come back. In the short-term, that means our little conspiracy should help to shelter them where they can. You'll be repaid for that aid; they're good for it.

The new Empress is going to need new people, again, probably from the Threshold. New blood to refresh those stagnant bloodlines. I sympathize with Aisa's position, not wanting to see her homeland torn apart and set on fire. But from an outsider's perspective, seems like a lot of the grievances her people have against each other won't – and CAN'T – be settled through discussion and compromise, but will be settled with iron and blood. Scarley seems to have cultivated it. Woman thought she was going to live forever.

No one lives forever. So there's the last thing I want. Don't assume you're going to live forever. If we ever get a whiff of power, we need a plan so shit like this doesn't happen again.

Carmela Contarini

RY 767 Ascending Air - Cathak Titus

Ascending Air 17, 767
Imperial City, Blessed Isle

The Following letter talks about Titus’ success in the Gateway Rankings. But here is what it actually says: 

My name is Cathak Titus. I am an assistant judicial advocate in the Realm’s Legions. I make sure the Legion’s officers are not breaking any rules and causing trouble. Also, “Other Duties as Necessary” with is shit. Never accept a job that has that in its description.

Aisa, I would not worry about the Scarlet Empress returning. Some associates of mine searched all over Creation for the woman. Not one trace of her found and they were very through. We’ll probably find her corpse in the Imperial Manse if someone ever cracks that nut.

Ryo mentioned the uneasy mood in the Imperial Court. I can shine some light illuminate the cause of this mood. An old man collapsed in court before Calibration. He was in a coma for a few days and died without waking. The cause of death was old age, so no foul play involved. To be honest, I’m surprised the Court even noticed his death. I cannot tell you much about this man, but his death causes me to fear for the future of not only the Realm but all of Creation.

You won’t be hearing too much from me. I travel a lot with my work and will pass along any information I gain to Ryo. He has a better way with words. Even now, he is looking over my shoulder shouting “Eloquent! Use the word Eloquent!”

He may be Eloquent with his big Spiral Education. Too bad they didn’t teach him to play Gateway properly.


P.S. I’m glad Carmela around to keep all these Solars in line. Gods know they are a handful.

RY 767 Resplendent Air - Nellens Ryo

The First Day of Resplendent Air, RY 767
Imperial City, Blessed Isle

Dear friends,

After a warm Calibration, the weather has finally turned cool. I've gone on long walks to take advantage of the cooler temperatures. The few times my children have accomplice me, they bundled up in their heaviest furs. I tell them that winters in the Imperial City are warmer than the rest of the Isle. We have not had snow since before Zara, my oldest daughter, was born. Yet they still complain. Perhaps a visit North will make them appreciate the Blessed Isle's temperate climate.

The letter will go on to describe winter in the Imperial City. Those in the Scarlet Sky Conspiracy will see the following letter:

I cannot tell you how pleased I am that you wrote me back! I will admit I had some doubts, but Titus said I was being an idiot. Of course, you will write back. I once again thank you for your support. I have hope that one day I will be able to sit in a teahouse without the fear of the Wyld Hunt.

And now I have yet another reason to see Mnemon Aisa on the throne. In the month since Calibration, V’neef has be busy trying to get into the Imperial Manse. The requisitions for her exotic materials could fill an entire file room. Justification for all these requests is “Defense of the Realm”. Yet, it is common knowledge V’neef only wants the Imperial Manse for her own gain.

For obvious reasons, I try to avoid any interest in the Imperial Manse. However, when V’neef’s request for slaves came across my desk, I had an excuse to investigate. I find slavery a despicable institution. According to the Thousand Scales Code, all requisitions for slaves must include upkeep. If you bring slaves into the Imperial City, you must provide them with room and board. V’neef’s requisition did not and was flagged for audit. I denied the requisition and sent it back. I told my assistant to expect V’neef’s supply officer sometime in the next couple of days. An agreeable sort, I knew we could come to some sort of understanding.

After lunch, when my assistant told me V’neef not her supply officer, was in my office, I knew I was in trouble. At first, I hid behind the Thousand Scales’ convoluted procedures. The code was clear in this situation. No one, not even the Scarlet Empress’ youngest daughter, can defy the Thousand Scales. V’neef shrugged and ordered me to make an exception. The slaves will not be in the Imperial City for long, she explained. I searched though her paperwork and said I did not see a travel permit for the slaves.

“The slaves will not be going anywhere.”

I was still confused. “You said the slaves will not be in the Imperial City for long.”

“Both those statements are true.”

While I am intimately familiar with the impenetrable maze of the Thousand Scales, I am not a student of the occult. It did not occur to me Human Sacrifice was the fate of these slaves. If it did, I would have been better prepared for this meeting. I would not be sitting in my own office, blood boiling with the injustice of the situation. Prisoners of war, indentured apprenticeship, and simple bad luck. There were many reasons why one could become a slave. While technically legal, no slave deserves to die at a sacrificial altar.

I am ashamed to say, I lost my temper when V’neef lectured me on interfering with the affairs of the Dragons. I quoted the Immaculate Texts at her. A Dragonblooded has a responsibility to her people. To murder these people for power was unacceptable behavior.

“If you do not approve this requisition, I will replace these slaves with you and everyone you have ever known.” V’neef said this without emotion. As if she asked to borrow my ink well. The Dragonblooded Dynast slid the requisition towards me.

I remembered myself, my position both as mortal agent of the Thousand Scales and as a hidden Anathema. I could see my youngest daughter on a sacrificial table. With a shaking hand, I stamped V’neef’s request and sentenced fifty people to their deaths.

Once V’neef left my office, I set to work delaying her requisition in ways that could not be traced back to me. Titus and I are working on a more permanent solution.

V’neef is no longer filing requisitions for materials. We need to know where she is getting her supplies from and put a stop to this. I cannot show much interest in this matter after my encounter with V’neef, but I will do what I can.

Quelaana’s plan to get in close with the Roseblack is a good one. An assassination attempt would be easy to arrange in the Threshold. A Northern Winter is hard on a Legion, thus leaving her vulnerable to the Bull of the North. I do not think House Tepet could survive another blow by the Barbarian Anathema.

We need Tepet Ejava alive to occupy Mnemon. I have heard rumors in court of a plot to keep Roseblack away from the Isle. I tried to track down who sent the orders, but hit a dead end. We need to figure out who conspired to send her North. And how. I doubt someone walked into the legion offices and politely requested to send a potential Empress to the Icy Wastes.

Mnemon has been taking advantage of the Roseblack’s absence. Since the start of the year, Cathak Cainan has visited various house heads. Rumor is he asking their opinion on who should sit on the Scarlet Throne. Mnemon has set up a meeting with the Old Dragon. It took me a bit of digging, but the meeting will be held at the Heptagram this month.

Together, I believe we can take advantage of these situations. I will focus on keeping V'neef from breaking into the Imperial Manse.

May you find a warm welcome wherever you may be.

Nellens Ryo

P.S. Aisa, Zara would like to ask permission to write you. Your stories of the Heptagram entranced her and now she dreams of going there herself. At fourteen, she is of age to receive the Dragon’s blessing. I try to warn her not to put all her hopes on the Exaltation as her mother did. I am discovering that my words do not carry as much weight with her as they once did. It is a difficult balance between supporting your children's dreams and advising caution.

RY 767 Resplendent Air - Cathak Titus #1

The Second Day of Resplendent Air, RY 767
Imperial City, Blessed Isle

Ryo is an idiot. It wasn't V'neef, but V'neef Bijar, one of her daughters who plans to kill all these slaves.

Dragons, man. Learn to keep your Dragonblooded straight.


Resplendent Air - Ledaal Catala Akashan #1

Being the 5th Day of Air, Resplendent, Year of Our Realm 767
Dragonsmouth, Scarlet Prefecture, Blessed Isle

My most sincere apologies for the lateness of this letter. By way of explanation, though not of excuse, I can only offer an indictment of the state of travel between the Imperial Mountain and the coast in this sorrowful age of ours.

Regarding the fragmentary text recovered 19 Air, Ascending,
"Certainty is for Clockwork Logicians and Patricians of vibrant mascara who wear it on their sleeve."…

What follows is a brief statement that the phrase is nonsense. However, when the cipher is applied to the quoted text it produces a longer result. Repeated multiple times, it is revealed that the entire letter was compressed into that single sentence. Someone may be showing off.

No doubt an account of me at once less abridged and more entertaining can be found at your nearest house of salacious gossip. Being constrained by the limitations of a letter, know then that I am Ledaal Akashan. It is my honor to serve as the most junior member of the highest councils of my House, chief analyst in the archaeological investigations of the Catala family, First Artificer of Ledaal, and formerly as an adviser and sorcerer-engineer of the Realm for Her Most Highly Exalted Majesty. For what little it adds after such a litany, I also received the Dragon's Breath but 108 days older than my cousin Kes, am a certified graduate of the Heptogram, and command an earning power so great that I am individually listed on House Ledaal's condensed chart of accounts with the satrapies. You will have to forgive me if I take somewhat less pride in these than my various cousins do. (As a personal request, I would greatly appreciate if Whispering Twilight could refrain from causing overmuch trouble in the ancestral seat of my House. Whatever their failings, most dyansts and patricians there are my family and excessive reductions in their fortunes or influence could make my own position far more tenuous).

I write you from Dragonsmouth, here to meet a shipment from my sister marked as particularly aligned with my personal interests. However, I expect to soon be recalled to the Imperial City, at least temporarily, given a number of requests from House V'neef to discuss employing the savants of Ledaal for some project or another. My familiarity with such matters means I am often called to negotiate the prices of these services and must personally perform the most challenging tasks myself. Should the trip prove to be temporary I am well placed here at the gateway to the Imperial City to intercept many of the more interesting flows of goods and people from most of the Isle and the Threshold. If it become necessary, I have considerable sway with the Catala and can direct their efforts to particular sites or areas of focus. There are, after all, some things even money cannot buy.

Besides the skill, connections, and political power already alluded to, know also that I have earned my titles good and ill. Though not a graduate of the House of Well Flavored Aspect I am the only non-Elder known to have fully capped the most powerful demesne of Creation without resort to wasteful discharging of their energies. I have personally supervised the maintenance of key nodes in the Realm Defense Grid and am one of the few people able and by Her Most Exalted Majesty trusted to perform such work. Finally, I have filled the orders for newly constructed suits of dragon armor and greater works. Though notable in light of the above, I do possess the deficiency of failing to initiate into the Terrestrial Circle of Emerald while at the Heptogram, something attributed to my youth at the time, and have been unable to pursue it since.

It may appear surprising that one of my high position would join in this conspiracy that seams aimed at much of the basis of my prestige and power. Yet nothing could be further from the truth. I love the Realm and its people, and they deserve better than what we have managed to do for them. It was these sentiments that first put me at odds with Her Most Exalted Majesty, for much of the structure of Her Realm was designed and calibrated to ensure the security of Her Reign. Yet I am not content to spend the modicum of effort necessary to slay the twin troubles of ignorance and want. From investigations and my own work I know that this is an age of squalor. The luxury that my Exalted kin revel in as is the poverty of the former empires and they do not even know it. The Mandate of Heaven rests with the Terrestrial Host, and with it comes the responsibility to act as good stewards to what Dragons and Heaven have granted us, to properly cultivate and elevate Creation into the full flower of what it can be. Part of this is a change in our relationship with those who are other than we. I do not mean only the Threshold, though that situation is shameful and wasteful in equal measure, but the races with which we shared this world. Our Mandate is for all of Creation, and that includes everyone in it. We ignore or enslave those who should be our sisters and friends. All these are the true heresy against which association with Anathema is as petty as an argument over if Exaltations is of or from the Dragons.

In fire, faith, and blood,
Ledaal Catala Akashan