Well, I'm working at three a week, but this week may default to two.
â€œI really donâ€™t think this is working.â€ Perfected Tears Upon Alabaster Sorrow sat back, wiping sweat from his brow, and considered his new nemesis. Across from him, perched jauntily on the simple wooden table, the clear white crystal gleamed back. Was it his imagination, or was there a tiny spark of Solar light deep within it?
Mnemon, sitting on one side of the room, had been thinking about different matters entirely, one of her motherâ€™s journals perched on one hand as she jotted down notes onto paper with the other, but she straightened at his words. â€œItâ€™s working. You simply need to master the technique.â€ She gestured towards the crystal. â€œYou placed two motes into it that time. Well on the way to the twenty-five that we require to enter the Imperial Manse.â€
Sorrow rolled his eyes. â€œI am trying to filter the taint of Oblivion out from my own necrotic powers. Why donâ€™t you just get a real Solar, and save me the trouble?â€
â€œBecause we donâ€™t have one.â€ Mnemon paused, then amended. â€œOr rather, we donâ€™t have one that I would trust with the Manse. You are a known quantity, Sorrow. Unless you believe I should do as my mother did, and slaughter every Solar I bring into the Manse?â€
â€œNo, butâ€¦ there must be one Solar out there who can do this. Fokuf, maybe?â€
â€œAbsolutely not!â€ Mnemon slammed the journal against the table. â€œI would sooner give access to Samea herself!â€ Calming, she stood gently. Sorrow watched her cautiously as she stepped towards him. â€œWe do not have a surfeit of Solars, Sorrow. Many of those out there do not trust the Realm, for some reason.â€ She smiled flintily. â€œThey work with us only with the greatest suspicion. Of those few that I can expect to not immediately try to turn the Manse against us, none are nearby, and I certainly donâ€™t know them.â€ She shrugged. â€œYou, I have worked alongside for years. I understand you. Besides which, you were critical in the destruction of the Deathlords, and you gave me my path to power. Most importantly, you donâ€™t have anywhere near the vast occult knowledge needed to use the Manse properly.â€
â€œOr to power one crystal.â€ Sorrow grumbled the remark under his breath, but made another attempt. This time, the crystal flickered visibly before guttering out.
â€œThere, see? Youâ€™ll manage. Keep practicing. I am growing close to finishing the comparisons between my motherâ€™s notes and those of the Bodhisattva. In life, I believe that his Circle controlled the Manse, so his notes are quiteâ€¦ detailed.â€
â€œThatâ€™s nice. I donâ€™t want to get destroyed by holy flame.â€ Sorrow sighed again, directing more energy towards the crystal, then sank back into his chair.
â€œIndeed. Of course, the Bodhisattva concealed quite a bit of information, quite cleverly in places, but I think Iâ€™ve uncovered all of his tricks.â€ Sorrow raised an eyebrow laconically, but there was sudden interest in his too-subtle response.
â€œThatâ€™s very nice. Are we moving soon?â€
â€œI hope so. I only have one more volume to check.â€ Mnemon gestured towards her cabinet. â€œAfter that, it will simply be a matter of how long it takes to make the preparations.â€ She glanced sidelong at Sorrow, who had avoided showing any interest in the cabinet in question. Take the bait. Letâ€™s see how far this goes. She shrugged. â€œBut I can finish tomorrow; I have to rise early. Keep practicing as long as you can?â€
â€œOf course, most Exalted mistress.â€ The quiet sarcasm was broken by a cheerful half-smile, and Sorrow bowed. Mnemon turned and slipped from the practice room, strolling down the hall.
Of course, the journal she had referenced, hidden behind a dozen layers of seals, was one of the first that she had studied. It detailed two points in the Manseâ€™s entry that which the Prince had written down incorrectly, with deliberate treachery in his aim. Minor things, but things where, if she made the slightest error, she would die. Most importantly, things which another might correct without her knowledge.
Worse, she knew that there were several traps on which she was relying entirely on the Princeâ€™s works. If he had layered additional misinformation of the same sort, she would have no way to test it. The only question was, why? He was playing a subtle game from beyond the grave, but she intended to be the one to win it.
She slept well, and attended the meeting in the morning. Afterwards, as she had discussed with Sorrow, she went to her cabinet and pulled out the first journal. She checked the wards carefully, and was surprised to find them entirely undisturbed. Her fears began to calm. Perhaps she had been mistaken.
When she checked the journal against her memories, and found that the information within had been undetectably altered, still in her motherâ€™s hand, to line up perfectly with the false information given by the Prince, however, she knew that she had been right. For whatever reason, Sorrow was working against her.
Very well. The Silver Prince may have been a Deathlord, but he had died like all the rest. If Sorrow thought that his true masterâ€™s plans would extend beyond the gates of Lethe, she would be happy to prove him wrong.