Cathak Damian looked down at the missive, and rubbed his forehead. The accusing paper sat mute on his desk. After a few moments, he looked up at Twice-Breathing Millia, who shrugged helplessly. â€œThis was on your desk?â€
â€œShoved into a pile of reports.â€ Millian shook her head. â€œItâ€™s dated the 11th of Resplendent Earth, but I donâ€™t think itâ€™s been there a whole week, yet. Maybe three days.â€ She sighed. â€œI almost passed it straight to the Bureau of Battles, but then I remembered that Cathak Citrios was one of your projectsâ€¦â€
â€œYeah, heâ€™s supposed to take over the house in a decade or two.â€ Damian read over the battle report again. â€œIâ€™m in trouble.â€
â€œYou are?â€ Millia raised an eyebrow, and leaned over. â€œBecause his concubine Exalted?â€
â€œHis concubine that I provided.â€ Millia turned to stare at Damian, and he sighed, rubbing his forehead. â€œShe was one of those mortals that has an instinctively connection to the Loom. Saw hints of the future, and I figured that dream manipulation could help him both in seeing real threats, and in us pointing him in the right direction. Only nowâ€¦â€
â€œNow heâ€™s vanished.â€
â€œYeah.â€ Damian read the missive a third time. It stubbornly refused to change. Cathak Citrios had taken part in a Wyld Hunt against his former mentor, and in the middle of the fighting, his slave had Exalted as a Solar, beaten back the hunt, and fled with the mentor. As soon as he had healed, Citrios had gone after them. Alone. â€œWhat the hell is he thinking?â€
Millia patted him on the shoulder. â€œHeâ€™ll be alright.â€
â€œNo, he wonâ€™t.â€ Damian closed his eyes. â€œEither heâ€™s going to fight them, or join them. If itâ€™s the former, heâ€™s dead. If itâ€™s the latter, heâ€™s gone. Cyrus is going to murder me.â€
â€œWellâ€¦â€ Millia sighed, and flopped into a seat opposite Damian. â€œYou have backup successors, donâ€™t you?â€
â€œOh, yes. One dead, oneâ€™s a monk.â€ Damianâ€™s jaw clenched. If Cyrus decided to look into his other projects based on the disaster that was this one, he might find Fokuf. And then it would all fall apartâ€¦
â€œMm.â€ Millia sat thoughtfully. â€œThat is bad. Sounds like you need a new house leader, and fast.â€
Damian opened his eyes cautiously. â€œYou sound like you have an idea.â€
â€œMaybe a little one.â€ Millia grinned suddenly. â€œAlthough itâ€™ll take some fancy footwork, and I swear I wasnâ€™t planning this.â€
â€œWhy do you feel that you have to swear that?â€
Millia tapped the table nervously. â€œI sort ofâ€¦ already know a member of House Cathak. In Greyfalls. Heâ€™s pretty capable. Give him a few years, he could start organizing the house really well, andâ€¦â€
â€œCathak Tyr.â€ Millian smiled innocently as Damian frowned thoughtfully. Then his expression turned from thoughtful to disbelieving.
â€œTyr? The manâ€™s practically a heretic! Didnâ€™t he almost get disbarred for letting an Anathema slip through his lines? If theyâ€™d been able to proveâ€¦â€ Damian trailed off, suddenly remembering an earlier conversation, and his eyes narrowed again. â€œWhy Tyr?â€
â€œHeâ€™s a good man, earlier things or not. He just made a little mistake.â€ Millia glanced down. â€œAnd, uh, he sort of already knows about Sidereals, so he might co-operate.â€ She looked up to meet Damianâ€™s level stare. After a moment, the older Sidereal sighed.
â€œWhy do I get the feeling that Iâ€™ve walked into a long story?â€ He waved a hand. â€œNever mind, I donâ€™t want to hear it. I doubt it has any bearing on whatâ€™s going on right now.â€ He sighed. â€œAlright, Millia, you can arrange for Tyr to get assigned back to the Imperial City, and Iâ€™ll start trying to twitch things his way.â€
â€œGreat!â€ Millia grinned widely, and stood to leave. Damian raised a hand.
â€œBefore I forget â€“ howâ€™s the Iselsi thing doing?â€
â€œOhh.â€ Millia stopped. â€œUmâ€¦ Master Cyrus told me he could handle it.â€
â€œDid he.â€ Damianâ€™s jaw clenched, and then he sighed. â€œYeah, he would. Millia, Cyrus always says that he can handle things. He canâ€™t admit that heâ€™s got too much work. Track them down anyway, just donâ€™t mention it to him.â€ He paused. â€œActually, no. This Tyr thing is more important. When youâ€™ve got that settled, start tracking the Iselsi. It can wait a few months.â€ He sighed, rubbing his forehead. â€œToo much work, Millia.â€
â€œI know, sir.â€ She smiled again. â€œWeâ€™d just get bored, otherwise.â€
â€œOh, probably.â€ Damian sat back in his chair as Millia left. Frequently, he found himself thinking that boredom probably wouldnâ€™t be nearly that bad.