Tuesday, October 28, 2014

After the Rain ep17 : Houses of the Blooded

08/24/2014
After the Rain

Episode Seventeen
"All the Pieces Are In Place"

Jaric Thayl is with Jalani Ballan when the two find a chance to discuss the events of the previous nights.  The two discuss the importance of Infinitum and how the children were meant to inherit lands.  But given the new titles begin rewarded, the two children now have their own lands to manage.  Jalani asks Jaric if this was his plan and he admits he thought it was hers.  He finally asks her when she was Blooded, and she admits she always had been.  They talk about how ever since he has been obsessing over the old world, he has been forgetting many things.  She admits she thought he always referred to her as Unblooded as to not make things uneasy for his friends.  "I have no friends," he admits in reference to Galeo, Seran and Nia.   She asks him why he seems to focus so much on Madelyn Yvarai and he admits he fears that if she is even a tenth of what the character of legend was, the danger on them all is far too great.  Especially since that means the Demon of the fall would be real.  "We have already destroyed one Shanri... again.  I just fear for everything.  Now that I know they are more than likely true...."

Jalani admits that she knows of the demon and that it stalks Jaric and his companions.  Jaric still feels that things don't make proper sense and that Haroun is hiding something quite deliberately.  He knows that Haroun has the most motivation to Murder the City Ven, so he does not quite understand why Sorio Rusu confessed to the crime.   Jalani suspects it was because he was asked to.   When Jaric admits he also fears of the matter regarding Count Kether, Jalani admits now the Count will have trouble infiltrating their lands now that there are four Provinces he will have to try to penetrate.  In the end, Jaric admits he feels he had put a lot of work into Infinitum and feels he has to still watch over the land.

"Just remember who your true enemies are," Jalani reminds Jaric.

The rescued City Ven garbed in yellow is brought up in the discussion and Jalani admits she has also seen Jaric speak to "someone" in the thin air, supposedly of someone garbed in yellow.  She asks him if the "man in yellow" is just someone in his head.  Jaric distinctly remembers seeing him on the ship and wonders if Haroun can verify it.  Jalani offers her arm to Jaric and suggests they go look for the man.

They find him in the City of Catan.

Jalani can see the man as well.  She asks Jaric who the man is, and he admits he is important but does not know for certain who he is.  They speak with the man and he turns to Jaric, recognizing him.   The man rushes forward to Jaric but the Riskmen hold him at bay.  Jaric asks if he knows where he is and the man talks of an airship, of orks murdering them, and of the winds of a spiteful wench. The man claims to be Gaius Mwrr.  Jaric formally welcomes him, remarking that even if Staniga is no more, he is welcome in his lands.  Gaius recognizes the place as the other Shanri where the Orks took the survivors of the fall.  Jaric warns him that Madelyn Yvarai is alive.  Gaius tells them he recalls Madelyn as the woman who destroyed the city, and when asked if Madelyn had anything to do with the demon, he responds, "What demon?"  The response puzzles Jaric, who knows the true Gaius Mwrr would have known of the demon.  When he tells Gaius that the demon is a red-haired woman, Gaius calls that woman instead Thalia Yvarai and that she visits him nightly.  To him, he is rose-haired... fair-skinned... beautiful.  He claims she calms the storm in his head.

Jalani however pulls Jaric aside and tells him the man cannot be Gaius Mwrr.  She admits to him the reason is because Gaius Mwrr is a Suaven now and that he has changed his name.  When Jaric asks what she means, she stresses that it may be best he speak to his mother.  She admits there are reasons her mother favored her the most among his many suitors, and why Nia always refers to him as "Brother Snake."  She also hints that he may have had a brother he does not know of.  One the family kept secluded.  Infinitum is made the second Province under the Marquese and will allow Jaric to watch over the Province and keep the man safe.

Meanwhile at Meridian, Haroun Q'n remains under arrest of the Vashna and is permitted to remain with Seran Thorne.   Seran had been informed by the Staff that Haroun had been keeping to himself a lot.  He answers the call for meals, but barely does anything else besides eat, bathe, and sleep.  She visits him in the room he has been allowed to stay in and finds her grateful for her generosity.  They discuss the confusion on whether or not Madelyn Yvarai is her Vassal or Maja Thayl's.  Haroun worries that Madelyn is attempting to take her land though Seran counters that she is certain the woman is serving loyally.  Seran mutters back that if Madelyn attempts anything, she would just kill her.  Haroun, however, questions how she is planning to watch over the land and keep her from stealing it.  Seran admits she is trying to arrange things in a way that she can find new land in Shanri and give it to Haroun.  Ultimately, Seran insists she will find a way for Haroun to have land, even if she truly hates how the Ven world works.  He starts addressing her as "Milady" and she finds it even more infuriating when he starts saying, "Venta.." whenever he does something that irritates her.

The discussion then shifts to the topic of Orks and Seran muses how much Haroun had changed since Nia helped him get past his fear.   Seran feels grateful that this was one of the better changes that happened.  "Everything always changes," Haroun adds, "If we didn't want things to change, we should have just become Bloodswords."   The topic then shifts to Havar Mwrr who threatened to defile the Temple of Althea Thorne but Haroun focuses instead on the fact that Seran seems to be trying to save the world.  He outlines how he is baby-sitting him, while protecting the Temple, while watching over Madelyn, while doing all these other things.  When the topic of watching over her own land comes into view, her having no Seneschal comes into focus.  Haroun offers to be her Seneschal. When Seran questions that direction given he used to be a Duke, he tells her that it would better be him than Madelyn who take that role.  She accepts it.

Madelyn Yvarai comes into the room, apologizing for having walked in on them.  She admits she noticed that the staff don't seem to be trained, and suggests that she may need a Seneschal.  "I have one," Seran tells her and Haroun bows his head as he tells them both, "Venta."  Madelyn realizes she already has one and excuses herself to go check out the market.  After she leaves, Haroun warns Seran that Madelyn is working on stealing the land.  He warns her that Madelyn is gaining the confidence of the Vassals and attempting to sway their loyalties to her side.  "Mark my words, Madelyn is planning something.  You will realize one of your Vassals will be dead before Winter ends."

But Seran is confident that her Vassals love her.

In Purenote, Galeo Silja has Maja Thayl visit her.  They discuss the matter of her secret name having been exposed to the Ven world.  "So Artemisia," Maja teases her and admits she envies Galeo how they all know her secret name.  She can only imagine how that feels.  She stresses how ven society was impressed how Galeo stood against Havar Mwrr.  "If an artist did not back down against a threat against the Ven, why can't the rest of us do that?"  They talk of whispers from ven society of the Merchant Houses would love to have someone like Galeo on their side.  Maja adds that she has heard that the Foxes wonder if they have the right Earl.   She reminds Galeo that puppets are only puppets if they don't know they have a hand in their ass.  She asks if Galeo's act in the Senate was her attempt to regain the spotlight which Cherno had stolen.  Galeo insists that true artists set trends, not follow them.  Maja asks if Galeo has seen any of Cherno's work and Galeo realizes she Maja knows something about Cherno that she has yet to admit.  Galeo admits to have heard that a new piece Cherno is unveiling is named Artemisia, and will be a dedication towards her bravery.   Galeo is to be told just before it is unveiled.  They discuss Maja's recent marriage and Galeo even compliments her on the size of the stone in her ring.  The discussion quickly shifts to Jaric, on how as a child he used to believe he was to be Blooded as a Serpent.  Maja muses it probably has to do with the activities that they were engaged in back when he was a child.  When Galeo mentions how Jaric obsesses over the old realm, Maja admits it may have to do with her bringing him to a Shrine back when he was young.  But quickly, she retracts the statement when Galeo tries to ask about the Shinre.  Maja just refers to it as a Holding and shows off instead her wedding ring, of glass with an obsidian core.

Maja asks Galeo something of serious note, so serious that she asks Galeo to swear a Blood Oath of secrecy if she is interested.  She mentions that there is a group among the Ven that very few are aware of and Maja admits she would like to tell Galeo more.  The Oath is to never speak of the topic to anyone, save one and only one whom she has chosen to share it with.  Maja stresses that she has now used her own Oath to tell Galeo about it.  Galeo agrees.  The ritual is then cast and the two swear the Blood Oath upon a quill with a green emerald.  The Oath is to expire when they break it, or when they die.  Maja tells Galeo that there is a Sisterhood among the ven and that she would like her to be part of it.  The Sisterhood's goal is the absolute protection of the ven from the threats that have attempted to destroy it since the time of the Sorcerer-Kings.  Maja even admits that Jaric was merely a tool to find another member, Jalani Ballan.  If Galeo chooses to join the group, she will be invited to be devoted to The Hidden Suaven, Gaius Mwrr.

Nia Jalan is at Ven Illudil, speaking with her wife, Janine.  Janine proudly wears the orkish jewelry she owns and patiently waits for Nia to start the discussion.  Nia however, is looking outside the window, as she tells Janine she feels she has strayed from her intended path.  She talks of how she feels the structure beneath her feet are crumbling and she is filled with disquiet and concern.  She stresses even losing her book that contained all the things about orks that she has learned.  She admits not knowing what to do.   Janine merely tells Nia that she should just throw it all away.  Janine stresses how none of that matters, even if they are hers.  They only matter so long as she holds them too tightly, and they only feel lost each time she finds her hands empty.  "That's what your hands truly are, Nia.  They are empty."  Janine then stresses to Nia that Shanri and everything she truly owns are inside of her.  While the world trusts her, or at least believes it trusts her, Nia has yet to truly trust herself.  When Nia asks what she is supposed to do, Janine tells her to just stop trying to be whatever everyone else expects her to be.  When Nia vents out her frustration on how even Haroun has changed, Janine admits she does not know who Haroun is.  Janine mistakes Haroun to be the man Seran (or her mother) was sleeping with.  Nia admits she feels she has seen to many Senates in a year.  Janine felt surprised that Nia showed so much attention on politics when she expected Nia to explore the Ork villages once she found an Ork Talker.  Janine then admits that Jaric's children have paid her a few visits to see the Volcano, claiming to have been given tasks by their mother.

They discuss the Ork salve and how it had simply killed the spy that they had caught lurking in their lands.  Nia hates how the ven seem to be paying attention to her lands now.  Janine stresses that spies are sent because of the people, not the land.  Nia considers ceasing to focus on political things.  Janine even asks who Artemisia is, not knowing why the name seems to be so important and Nia shares the events in the Senate and how Galeo's secret name was declared to all.  Janine then shares that Dranna Ru paid her a visit in Nia's absence.  They talked about how the Ruins are teeming with Orks and that Nia would be delighted to visit when she returned.  Janine admits they should count on the benefits they find each day, given this Winter had no Trouble.  Nia talks about it being time that her hands ceased being empty.  Dranna Ru claims that the Orks have a Festival come Winter, and that they were invited to attend.  Nia admits she is interested in going, but is not happy that the Duchess of the Ruins Beneath was in charge of hosting it.  Janine reveals an Orking thing that looked like a severed baby's hand in a cage which she is supposed to release if they are attending.   Nia opts to ask Bowen, the Ork Talker, about the Festival - not wanting to use the odd hand thing.  Bowen tells them that there is one, celebrating the Four Gods of the Orks: Keethdowmga the Mother, Gowthdukah the Wise, Bashthraka the Warrior of Storms and Pugg the Trickster.  Bowen explains the Gods are different from the ones they rescued from the falling Shanri.  He explains it is to celebrate the Orks that gain child and to commemorate the events of the previous year, and a warning to the four gods to bless them in the coming year or they will kill them.  All the Thraka celebrate in their own Tribes at the final weeks of Winter.  Bowen also admits that the House Ork is... foreign to them.  Nia considers going to Bowen's Festival instead of Dranna Ru's and Janine offers to watch over the Province in her absence.  "Already I can see the spark reigniting," Janine smiles.  Nia admits it is Haroun's fault that she found herself wanting to become a Senator but both agree Winter is the best time to end things.

In the Province of Rabbas, with its vast landscape of rolling hills and shorelines, Jaric notices one shoreline has a massive holding under construction.  Enroute to the castle, they see five individuals who hail the caravan to stop.  The five turn out to be Ork ven who are begging for food.  They recognize Jaric Thayl to be the man who has given them a second chance of life.  They call out that they were to be cared for and welcomed, but Jaric counters he never promised any such thing.  Snowballs are thrown at Jaric but Jaric merely commands his Vassal to drive on but Jaric deems them not worth the steel.  Enroute, Jaric sees a holding he does not recognize: a small Opera house.  He learns it is a theater from his Vassals and finds it thought-provoking.  He finds more Holdings in the region of the Castle.. a garden.. a park.. and realizes they are intended for the Veth. Jaric learns his parents are not in the Castle and its gates are closed.  They instead are directed to the City and are brought to the new Holding there: a public bath house.  He steps inside and finds his parents there, bathing with the veth.  Unthinkable!

Inside, he speaks with his parents who seem to be bathing happily with the veth.  Jaric expresses how bothered he is that they need to bathe in someone else's house.  He learns of Rips, a currency the Merchants use wherein they rip part of a contract as payment.  Jaric talks to them of the matters of the Senate recently, and shares how he is bothered that things were maneuvered without his consent, or at least without having him informed on what will happen.  Maja admits that she maneuvered things because she had to lest Galeo would have had her way, even if it was Nia who spoke during the hearing.  Maja admits she wanted his family to be ready and now that all his children has vassals.  Maja even admits her admission during the Althua was merely something she could not resist doing - and how she loved everyone's faces that moment.  Maja urges Jaric to focus on the true reason he has come to visit.  She then shares to Jaric how as a child, he overheard a lot of things that she used to discuss with her friends back then.  She admits that may have affected him and now made him obsess over things of that era.  She however admits she can only tell him more by bringing him "there."  Jaric wonders aloud if she couldn't have trusted him to take care of things, but Maja reminds him he was halfway across Shanri and she felt she needed to act quickly.  Jaric however feels he does not appreciate her meddling with his affairs, stressing not even Jalani knew of the plans.  She tells him this is the last time she will step in and interfere with his family.  Jaric even adds he is bothered that they seem to have been just products of a Romance.  But Maja shares it was a Romance that reached a fitting end.  Jaric, however, stresses that Maja admit what she is trying to protect them from since clearly Maja isn't concerned about Madelyn Yvarai.  Maja once more insists she can only say more if Jaric is willing to see what she wants him to see.  Maja gets dressed and heads out for him to follow.

Meridian receives another visitor.  At the gates, a man stays composed as he waits.  Lukas Q'n, known to everyone else as Errol of the Forgiving Hands stands outside.  Inwardly, he feels stressed at how no one in the Province he used to manage recognizes him.  When Seran comes to meet with him, Lukas struggles to stay composed.  Haroun is introduced to Lukas as the Seneschal and Lukas is unable to ask, "Were you not a Duke?"  When asked if they've met, Lukas repeatedly stresses they have not.  Seran asks why Lukas is landless and Lukas tries to explain that Galeo and Hero... and the land... Haroun leans close to Seran and admits that the man clearly seems too addle-brained to be a seneschal.  Galeo's letter explains that Lukas is trained to be a seneschal and is the vassal Galeo promised.  Lukas blurts out that it was volcanoes that destroyed his land.  That it was because of FOUR volcanoes that destroyed the land.  Lukas ends up asking what happened to Haroun's airships and again Haroun asks if they have met.  Seran insists that the man still needs to do his duty to fulfill Galeo's debt and Lukas offers to be her Swordsman.  Because they could speak more, a shriek pierces the air.  They hurry down the corridor and Lukas opts to stay in the room, confused with how to handle things.

Seran and Haroun find the dead body of one of her vassals, the Court Scholar: Waterscore.  And when Haroun inspects the body he deems it killed by poison.  Seran is aghast, and asks them what he had eaten last.  As they explain, Madelyn arrives, sees the corpse and gasps.  Seran realizes it was Madelyn who did it, but deep down Seran realizes she cannot admit it without this leading once more to a huge drama with the Senate's involvement.  But Seran can tell the rest of the Staff are aware that she did it as well. Madelyn suggests the wine be checked for poison, and Seran simply commands that the Seneschal handle it.  Madelyn then mutters how without a Court Scholar, the Province would be in danger. "Surely, there must be someone who can take the role..."  Haroun suddenly realizes and suggests that Errol (Lukas) can take that role.  Seran thinks it might be best to hire a new Scholar from the outside.  Madelyn offers to keep the things in order while she seeks for one.  Seran agrees and tells Madelyn to research a ritual she needed from the Scholar.   Haroun and Seran both share later in private they know it is her, but realize they cannot prove it.  Haroun wonders why Seran seems to be protective of the man Galeo sent her, but Seran explains it is merely an exchange of service.    They return to find Lukas sniffing a pillow.

"Errol?"

Lukas panicks and returns the pillow to the ground and admits he found it familiar... strange.  He found it strange.  Seran tells him of the household having a matter of Murder, and considers to have Lukas act as the beginning of the spy network for the Province.  Haroun mutters Seran handled things much better when her husband was around.  Lukas takes that moment to ask what happened to her husband and learns as far as Seran knows, Lukas had died.  Lukas learns for the first time what his wife knows of what happened to him.  Seran is uncertain why anyone with four volcanoes would call their land forgiving.  Haroun asks Lukas one last question: Where was this Province?  Seran draws out a map and Lukas explains it is no longer there.  He claims the land all went under when the volcanoes erupted.  Lukas tries shifting the discussion to the duties of the Roadmen or the Spy network and is confused why none of the Roadmen are still ready to be the Master of the Road.  Lukas agrees to be the beginning of the Spy Network and accepts it is a job he can fulfill.

Back in Purenote, Galeo uses her network to locate Miralia Yvarai, formerly Miralia Kether, is well-dressed in layered clothing and fashionable clothing.  Her clothes designate her as a member of House Merchant.  When Galeo tells her they have much to discuss, Miralia injects if the discussion will have anything to do with her dead sons.   Miralia reminds her of their discussion back in their Shanri and how this place was supposed to be a vast paradise of lands and how it was meant to be what is best for her family.  She stresses how it has been a few months since the city fell, and how she had to fend off for herself to survive all that time.  Galeo stresses there was no way to know who had survived.  Miralia counters however that their world had the Blackhand, while this world has spies.  Galeo reminds her that she was trapped in the middle of an interesting debate.  Miralia remembers more Galeo sneaking out of a prison, visiting her in her home, and confusing her with arguments after leaving, watching a storm take her sons away.  She talks of Orks emerging from the sewers to pull them away and how she never saw Galeo in the airship that carried them here.  Galeo tells her she was swept away by a greater force, and wishes she had other ways to have returned.

The invitation, Galeo explains, is for another reason and seeing Miralia among the Merchants is something Galeo is happy to see.  Clearly, from the many venomous words, it is clear that Miralia still finds Galeo to be very Cunning and manipulative, and how she and her family were victims of such traits.  Galeo tries to ask Miralia of what she knows of Havar, given Miralia was a very connected woman, and in doing so, Galeo hoped to reduce whatever negative views others have of their people.  "After all, we have not quite resolved the debate yet have we:  Are your people Ven?"  Galeo stresses it is not coming from a place of malice, but from something more important; Galeo claims to feel responsible for many of the other ven and hopes to do what she can to help.  Miralia simply wants more information on the man who threatened her.  Her voice raises as she reminds Galeo how much help she gave them back in their Shanri, risking both her family and title, and how now Galeo simply seems to be attempting to get more information from her in exchange for more help.  Miralia challenges her to state what Galeo has done to help them.  Galeo raises that she is protecting the Quill from falling in the hands of others, and staying subtle and quiet to hide from all the others that all of them signed the quill. Miralia finds the claims outrageous given the declarations that the quills were used in the Senate hearings of the past.   For Miralia these are semantics.  For Galeo, however, these are specifics.   Miralia asks if she has made votes, or given recognition towards them, but Galeo admits she had plans to do so but was not able to.  She even admits she was planning to recognize Madelyn to speak for them, but she dropped that recognition.  "I don't have an advantage now," Galeo stresses.

For Miralia, she feels they sided with the wrong team.  She asks Galeo to see come Spring how many of the 132 survivors will remain.   She reminds Galeo how when they arrived, they were given lands, given Food, given chances to cast their shadows upon others.  They showed Hospitality.  The Senate have yet to do the same.  Galeo asks if they would have done the same for 132.  Miralai admits they would have found a way.  Galeo feels however she judges them without judging their own actions with the same standard she uses on them.  But Miralia asks Galeo had taken any in since her return and she admits that no she was not able to as the people just separated upon arriving and went their own ways.  Miralia asks why she is here and Galeo admits she wanted to see how she is doing, and if she is doing well, and if she can feed her during the Winter.  "You wouldn't be here if I didn't care. Maybe I was slow and ineffective and I apologize for that."  Miralia mumbles in response that in this Shanri, the monsters are different... they smile.  She tells Galeo that she hopes that her daughter finds land and title some day.  Galeo offers to recognize her to speak in the next Senate hearing in Spring to argue as passionately in front of them as she did in front of her.  Miralia simply nods in response.

"Let us see come Spring then."  Miralia curtsies as she leaves, a non-verbal yet honest attempt to show she is giving Galeo her trust.

Flashback.   Galeo recalls her Oath with Maja.

Maja speaks of the Rain and the great Storm that destroyed the Senate.  Most recall the events as Legend because it is the safest way to remember it.  Madelyn Yvarai made a deal with Demons and they became the vehicle for her Revenge.  Maja speaks of Madelyn's dreams for her daughter, of her frustrations with her in-laws, and of her rival - the Bronze Inquisitor.  "We are Survivors of the Second Attempt upon our existence.  We are the ones who can know this to be true: We are all devoted to Gauis Mwrr, the Suaven of Secrets."  Jaric, as a child, was always with Maja when she visited the Temple of Gaius Mwrr.  He grew up remembering fragments of the stories as he visited the Temple.  Giaus guides the Sisterhood to wipe away all traces of the true history in order to hide the existence of the Demon for fear that others might seek her out and call for her wishes.  For the Sisterhood, there is one sin: They left the ones the Demon could still see.  Maja shares how fearful the Sisterhood was when Jaric shared the letter about their expedition to the Old World and they feared they would lure the Demon back.  Galeo admits the Demon may be the thing that had followed them back.  Maja admits she is telling Galeo this because it was the only way to ask her how they got back and expect an honest answer.  Galeo admits Seran's maid made a wish and the red-haired demon granted it.  The Sisterhood will have to do what it can to stop her.  Galeo admits getting the ven together is next to impossible; there will always be other priorities for them.  Galeo intends for the Merchant House and the ven who have been brought home to all be recognized at some point.  Galeo feels the Merchant House will find loopholes in the laws to use to their advantage and only by recognizing them would they avoid that from happening.  Maja admits that is probably what the ven need to survive against the Demon.  Something the Merchants can teach them.

Loopholes.

And the other ven are the cousins they had left behind to keep the Demon busy.  For Maja... for the Sisterhood, there was never a question if they were ven.  But the other ven will never know the truth.

Jaric and Maja revist the Temple.  Jaric's childhood memories slowly awake as he recognizes the halls.  He knows he had been here before.  He knows he grew up playing in these halls.

Nia visits Haroun at Seran's Province and is amused to see he has risen to the position of Seneschal.  During their conversation, Nia notes how Haroun keeps glancing out the window.  Nia asks him if he would want land once more but Haroun turns it down.  He even mentions that during his time as a Duke, none of them were ever invited to his Castle.  His focus was more on the freedom he felt exploring the skies and traveling far distances.  Nia laments that had the Senate allowed her to take him in, he could have had that.  Haroun then shifts the discussion to ask about Lukas, whom they all know to be Errol of the Forgiving Hands.  Nia admits knowing nothing of him which bothers Haroun more given he feels he has met the man before.  Nia considers the possibility Errol is from the other Shanri, given many are renaming them and placing them in their own households.  The discussion quickly shifts to Madelyn Yvarai, who serves as Seran's Court Scholar now and this bothers Nia given she had given Seran a Court Scholar before.  Nia is surprised to see Haroun still drinking wine given the knowledge of Poison in the household.  She asks what happened to him, bothered by how much she has changed in the past  months.  She expresses how upset she feels at too many things having changed including his former uncontrollable fear of Orks.  But given this is Winter, Nia realizes it is time to let go of a lot of things.  She mentions the Festival Bowen is about to attend and unsurprisingly Haroun knows of the event.  Nia laments she really is the last to know of these things.  They toy with the idea of defying the Senate and escaping to attend the Festival, but Haroun opts to stay safe and remain home.

The door opens and Seran arrives.  She asks Haroun about the need to maintain the Glider given it had been used during the last few weeks.  She even suggests Haroun take it for a ride and reminds him that his House Arrest is meant to limit him within the Province.  Nia sees the two playfully hitting each other again and when she playfully hits Nia as well, Nia complains that Seran has no authority to hit her!  Seran however states that she will not obey any orders unless they help Haroun.  Seran quickly rattles her logic that Nia can help Haroun regain a title since as a Baroness Seran has no shadow to cast upon him.  Haroun admits he found managing land such a taxing job.   Seran shifts the discussion back to Madelyn Yvarai having killed the former Court Scholar and Nia questions why Seran has yet to deal with her.  Haroun excuses himself, off to do his duties, and Nia and Seran take that opportunity to discuss Haroun's predicament.  Seran questions how anyone would get into trouble if no one knows about the actions Haroun take?  Nia feels however that given the Murder in her household, it may be best to keep Haroun close.  Nia does suggest to Seran that Haroun might be in a safer position if someone were to marry him.

Maja and Jaric stand inside the temple.  The walls are covered with murals of the falling City, of the Wolves, of the facing cliff.  The woman with her mark on the forehead and the children in her company.  And in the center of the room, a Suaven lies sleeping.  As Jaric tentatively approaches, he sees the markings on the side which name the Suaven:  Gaius Mwrr.

He sees a tome on a pedestal and finds it to be the very tome he had been searching for all these years.  The book that documents Gaius Mwrr's thoughts and feelings of what had transpired.  He reads the first page and finds written, "Let it be secret..."  The later pages speak of Thalia Yvarai, his views on Quan Wei and his suspicions on what she is, what the Dara might be, and of a red-haired woman called Lillandria, and of the massive worm-like thing that served as the mother of monsters.  Sketches of a child.  Of a Bloodsword.  A mirror.  "Here I write all that I know, all that I have witnessed, all that I wish remain secret.  Things that I wish others will remain safe by never knowing.  She hunts for her.  She hunts for Quan Wei. May we find a way to defeat her in the end."

"Do you understand," Maja asks him.

Jaric asks why it couldn't have been explained to him sooner.  Why she didn't say anything.  But Maja says now that he knows and understands, it is no longer a secret she needed to keep from him.  He knew of it without her telling him.  She explains to Jaric the Sisterhood, a group that was formed by Quan Wei's children.  The Sisterhood wipes away all traces of this truth when possible.  Maja explains both Jalani and Galeo are part of this Sisterhood.  Jaric asks why Galeo would be part of this, given her confused mutterings of being the Dara.  Maja is surprised and turns through the tome to show what Gaius wrote of the Dara, and what it states is that it was meant to be the Spiritual Counter against the Demon.  The markings on the page, however, do not match the markings that Galeo has on her forehead.   He shares how she supposedly claims to have the ability to speak with the Suaven.

Seran observes and finds Lukas to be good at his job, handling things pretty well... almost as if he was familiar with the people already.  She talks to Lukas about the new Court Scholar and how she most likely had poisoned the old Scholar.  Lukas is confused why she has not dealt with the woman.  Seran wonders if she should just stab her in the throat and let her die?  Lukas repeats her statement about how what the Senate cannot see then it did not happen, and Seran realizes Lukas was listening in on her with Nia and Haroun earlier.  He admits he was eavesdropping, being her spymaster.  She charges him to keep an eye on Madelyn Yvarai and he promises to do so.  She asks him if the secret he keeps is something that will endanger her.  Lukas is surprised she noticed he has one.  He counters however and asks why he has not chosen to deal with Madelyn Yvarai, and she admits that she finds it odd to have to deal with Ven in this way.  She thinks she will talk to her after this conversation.  Seran however goes back to focus on Lukas and asks if his secret will endanger her land, because if it will then he has to tell her.  He admits he cannot say anything about it, and mumbles even that he's accepted the fact that Haroun never liked him.  Seran catches the slip again and asks Lukas to explain.  Lukas finally admits that there are things he cannot tell her because if he did, Galeo never forgive him.  Seran realizes if ever, she will have to ask her instead then.  Seran asks if he is in an Affair with Galeo. He tells her that all he can say is there will be a time when there will be no need for secrets, and when that time comes it probably will be the last time they will ever see each other.

Seran admits he finds it very easy to talk to him, but given the secret she realizes it might be safer to just leave him alone.

Before leaving Seran's Province, Nia meets with Haroun to make a deal with him.    She is willing to trade him the airship in exchange for something all her sisters have wanted: a child.  Janine and Nia have agreed on this and Nia now has approached Haroun to make the offer.  Haroun is a bit confused, wondering if there is a Ritual for this.  Nia fights against her own shyness to bring this discussion further, as she explains that neither Nia and Janine are capable of having a child on their own.   Haroun is to help them consummate the desire to have another child.  Haroun wonders if he can have til Spring to consider this and Nia supposes he can.  She, however, admits she may lose her never by Spring.

"You are not suggesting right now?"

Nia admits they are here now, and there is no assurance when the Senate would set him free.  He knows the offer of the Airship is merely to make Nia's request feel more... acceptable.  Haroun accepts, so long as this is just between the two of them.

And from behind the door, Madelyn smiles having overheard it all.

And further down the corridor, Lukas sees Madelyn by the door and sees what she is doing.

Back at the Temple, Maja explains that the woman claiming to be Madelyn Yvarai cannot be her.  She shows an urn on the side, and explains that it contains the ashes of Madelyn Yvarai.  She was crushed when the Senate hall collapsed.  The woman claiming to be Madelyn is someone else.  Jaric asks how it was said she gave her name to the Storm.  Maja admits she does not know when the story diverged to have Madelyn supposedly giving her name to the Storm.  Jaric digs through the book and finds the entry that talks about how Madelyn Yvarai did die, crushed when the Senate hall was collapsing.  Jaric is confused how he can be the author of these many stories.  "Son, Demons do not have this power.  The Demon is a seductress.  She deals with temptation and illusions and sexual gifts.  Not wish granting."  Jaric wonders if it is the misplaced power from Suaven's Blessings that are twisted by the Demon, especially given the missing Suaven.

Galeo invites Seran to come to her Castle, and they meet in private.  Seran attempts to use the Ritual of the Rose to give them some level of privacy.  Seran of course shares how she learned this from Madelyn Yvarai, who had killed her Court Scholar.  Galeo questions why she took her in and Seran admits it was on a whim.  They also discuss Lukas, and Galeo just pushes that he does make a good spy master.  Galeo asks Seran to help her forget her own daughter's secret name.  Seran shows the Compact and admits that she is not certain how it works, but admits that when she tried using it there was some confusion on how it worked.  Galeo however admits it is necessary.  Seran opens the Compact and inside, Madelyn's picture can be seen.  She explains how if it contains something of someone, and then is closed, that person forgets something for a long duration of time.  Galeo gives Seran a strand of her hair and tells Seran she desires to truly forget it, for Casselanter's safety.  She will recall being her mother and having given it, but she will never recall what it was, and fully remember she had chosen to make herself forget.

Clack.

Thunder rumbles in the distance.
It sounded like the word "Doom."























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