The Fifth Day of Ascending Water, RY 767
Imperial City, Blessed Isle
I have been fending off visits from the Spiral Alumni Society. Ascending Wood is the time of their yearly fundraising drive. The Society has been bugging every student who has ever graced Spiral’s halls. I have given them a donation, but that was not good enough. They want asked me to go door to door to harass other alumni. As if, I do not have enough to do.
Ryo goes through an exhaustive list of the complaints he has with the operations of the Spiral Alumni Society. Members of the Scarlet Sky Conspiracy will see the following letter:
Titus, I have no idea what was going on. And I thought I had issues with my own Exaltation. My friend you have my sympathy and if you need anyone to vent to, you are always welcome. Yet, your position gives us opportunities that you have not realized. Yes, you will be able to spy on these “Exalted of Maidens” but you also have access to the gods of the Celestial Bureaucracy. Having godly allies will improve our chances of a peaceful transition.
Carmela, many Prefectures have fallen to the way side since the Scarlet Empress vanished. The situation grows dire each day as the Dynast Houses squabble over the Realm’s resources. It is why we need a strong new Empress to take control before there is nothing left of the Scarlet Empire.
Akashan, while I still hold out hope of a peaceful transition, I am glad you are taking the effort to recruit the Scarlet Stone to our cause. I also hope my assistance with your manse bill was useful. Unfortunately, a distant cousin of mine noticed my assistance. I was conned into assisting him with some despicable hunting bill. I think importing animals into the Realm just be killed by bored Dynasts is a waste of resources. I have been trying to slow down the progress of that bill while seeming helpful.
Quelaana, I am distressed, but not surprised, that the Guild has an interest in the Scarlet Throne. However, the Guild’s interest may be to our advantage, if they can be persuaded to support our candidate. We need to find out who the Guild is supporting and what this candidate is offering them.
Aisa, news of your Dance with the Mothers has reached the Imperial City. You may have more suitors and students in the future. I have already spoken with my father in law about offering Zara as a handmaiden. He seemed agreeable, especially since you and Zara already have a correspondence. I do wish to send Zara away from the Imperial City in case Shu and I’s situation deteriorates here.
Some unexpected events happened with dinner with my father-in-law, Ragara Adamo. He sent a messenger ahead to relocate our dinner to my home instead of his. My cook was a bit of a shock for having a Dragonblooded guest, but he managed to put out a respectable spread. Adamo’s offering to the meal was a fine bottle of Lookshian Sake. I never know how he manages to acquire such items, so I spent most of the meal trying to draw out his source. Adamo did not yield his source, but poured out a measure of sake for each of us.
Now, I have not had a drop of alcohol since I became Anathema. At first, I was afraid to lose control to the demon. Later, I realize Alcohol is a tool best used to lower the inhibitions of others. Now, one does not turn fine sake offered by your father-in-law. Over the years, I have learned to master such small manners. If I act as if what I did was perfectly normal, no one will notice the Faux-paus. I thanked Adamo for the cup and set it aside. Adamo drank from his cup and continued the conversation, as I did nothing out of the ordinary.
Zara and Shu were present for the conversation. In Nellens households, we do not shield our children from adult conversation. As we were talking, Shu picked up my cup and drank from it. She spit out the bitter drink, covering the table in spit and sake. I stared dumbstruck at my youngest daughter’s behavior.
Yet, Adamo simply wiped down his side of the table and continued the conversation, as he did before. I made some passing comment about youth and spent the rest of the evening considering the implications of Shu’s actions. The Immaculate Texts say children of Anathema may gain a measure of their power. This thought preyed on my mind all during Saveria’s pregnancy. What was I to say to my wife in such a situation? “Sorry dear, maybe we should consider an extra dose of maiden’s tea instead of having a baby?” Coward I am, I said nothing and hoped this curse would pass Shu by.
After Adamo left, Zara came to me and confessed everything. Both she and Shu were aware I was a Solar. How Zara has been covering for Shu’s behavior. How they have been using Shu’s abilities to make things easier for both of them. Shu spent the entire conversation staring down at her feet. I explained to both my daughters how dangerous this situation was. This Anathema power was not a toy to be played with. I forbid Shu from using her abilities and sent them both to bed. I spent a sleepless night questioning the entirety of my life decisions. I woke up in the morning in a better frame of mind. Though she is only six, Shu is a smart child. She will not endanger her own life.
There is an ink blob here.
I need to learn not to tempt fate. The monk at Shu’s school just arrived at my door, dragging Shu in by her arm. Apparently, she usually spends her lessons on the Immaculate Texts questioning the monk. After a long painful conversation, I sent the monk on her way, with assurances I will talk to Shu.
And talk we did. Shu had been using her abilities to get away with questioning the monk about a great many things. I’m ashamed to say I raised my voice. I tried to impress upon her that there was some wisdom in the Immaculate Text. Shu declared, “I don’t believe in any book that says my papa is a demon.” She stared back at me with a wisdom beyond her six years. “You aren’t a demon, papa. Don’t let them tell you that.”
Shu and I came to a compromise. She will not argue with the monks anymore and play along as a good Immaculate girl. I tried to get her to agree to only use her abilities after I have given her permission. Shu countered with “What if I am in trouble with the monks at school? Then they will come talk to you. You don’t want to talk to monks, right papa?” We are still discussing this arrangement.
And I am not allowed to think I am a demon anymore. I thought I was long past that point, but sometimes it takes a six-year-old girl to uncover the lies you tell yourself.
May your cares grow lighter,