Letter 9 - Kei to Gin

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My dearest immured Gin,

What your parents have done is unconscionable.  What Prince Auron has done 
is merely ill-advised.  I hope you do not mind, but I read Adda portions 
of your last letter, and forced a long overdue confrontation with the 
eunuch.  I think he's always had a soft spot for you, and he was 
horrified.  He does not like the palace.  The women scare him, the men 
confuse him, and he says that I am grown more distant with every day.  He 
wanted only to communicate his impressions honestly, but as he was not 
honored with the chance to attend the prince as I was, his information all 
comes third-hand, and was mostly inaccurate, I believe.  You are the only 
one I have told of my true feelings in the matter, or the true words 
spoken by the prince.

I have some idea of what tales Adda has been spreading, and it is pure 
embellishment, I assure you.  Unless you yourself have been 
over-enthusiastic in relating my confidences to you, this should all blow 
over by the time Adda returns (with this letter.)  

I have also written to your master.  I am asking for his support in 
consolidating the Prince's favor in true Rombellian fashion, though I was 
sufficiently vague as to what the Prince is to be convinced against.  I 
pointed out that from a purely practical standpoint, it is unwise to 
alienate the one political entity that can shatter the peace of our 
enclave, or preserve it in perpetuity.  I do not think the Archprelate of 
Fire will refuse my request.  His old rival, the Archprelate of Wood, is 
the bosom counselor and tutor to the Prince, and as was confessed to me 
recently, the inspiration for this mad scheme he intends me to carry to 
fruition.

It is my hope that he will send one of his Deacons as support for my 
intellectual wooing of the Prince, or perhaps one of the Lesser Mages who 
attend him.  I furthermore suspect that shortly after the time this letter 
reaches you all misunderstandings caused by Adda will have been cleared 
up, and you will have a bit more liberty.  Adda himself is determined to 
campaign on your behalf.  

In case this is not so (or takes longer than I anticipate) I have appended 
a quantity of blank sheets to this missive that you might return a letter 
on fresh paper.  If you are still confined, I have left it to Omin's 
judgement whether or not to supplement your rations with the preserved 
sweetfruits I intend to send along.

My one comfort during this time was thinking happily on how little trouble 
can crawl through a passage two inches in diameter.  But, knowing 
you, that was sufficient.  What new trouble have you found?   

Whatever Prince Auron's notions, the resources for his scholarship are 
sublime, and I have been given full liberties to roam his collection.  It 
is hardly his fault that he has been monkey-led through the garden of 
learning, seeing only what his guides have pointed out to him.  His 
library has fascinated me.  Moreover, he has fascinated me.  The 
Archprelate of Wood has an able (if naive) student in Prince Auron.  

Thus far, I have found no support in the Prince's library for the actual 
existence, or even the practicality of a star-flying boat.  I suspect that 
this scheme is the Archprelate of Wood's political ambitions attempting to 
find a hold on the Prince.  He chose an item from myth that particularly 
sparkled in Prince Auron's sight.  By proposing to recreate it he can both 
distract the Prince with scholarship and divert a goodly amount of 
resources into a project that will not suffer from skimming a little off 
the top for the Archprelate's own benefit, and meanwhile, use the 
unpopularity of this vanity project to break Auron's hold on the hearts 
and minds of the people, taking the mantle of "most favoured" onto 
himself.  See the inanity of political ambition?  It is never about 
creating worthwhile things, or doing useful good.  All politics is vanity, 
except where that vanity is used as a mirror up to the people's desires to 
better serve them. 

I have held myself aloof, thus far, but Prince Auron confides that he 
hopes "Woody" and I can coordinate our efforts on this project.  (I do 
hope his nickname for me is more dignified.)  I managed, with all due 
respect, to convince the Prince I needed more time to study his source 
materials, to gain ideas on how a star-flying boat might be created.  It 
is my hope that I will find enough material that contradicts the 
Archprelate of Wood's assertions, and proves without doubt that Terra's 
Boat is pure allegory, and impossible to build.  

However, time is of the essence.  I have spent all of daylight and two 
candles of evening each day since I last wrote you working in the Prince's 
library.  He wants an answer by the Day of the Unshriven Posts.  There is 
to be a small, somber ceremony in an internal courtyard, after which he 
has granted me an audience.  I am to report my "progress" by then. 

I do not disagree with your assessment of the generational divide.  Ever 
has it been that the youth wish to prove, and the aged wish to disprove.  
If I had you with me, I am sure your scholarship could rival even the 
Archprelate of Wood's for hopeful tone and fragile threads of proof.  I 
simply cannot see any way that accepted magical theory could account for a 
craft attuned sufficiently to the starry void to draw itself there.  Too 
much of the sky is void, and the craft would be drawn in equal directions 
at once, as soon as the sun's magnetism is hidden beyond the veil of 
earth.  Were it not so politically dangerous, I might even enjoy 
postulating what kind of world would have to exist to create a ship's 
affinity to stars.  It is a wonderful romance, to follow in Terra's 
footsteps more closely than reenacting her pageant on the Fell Day. 

I cannot say I have not been swept up in the grandeur of the dream, but at 
least I recognize it for the improbability it is.  Tell your confederates 
that they should not confuse desire with possibility, and to guard against 
excessive credulity.  It ill-behooves tomorrow's leaders to believe 
everything they hear with such a ready ear.     

Alas, I have not seen the Dowager Princess.  She avoids the Library as 
though it held the ghosts of wronged lovers, and I have not been near her 
garden except for a few moments as each day I walk to and from my 
self-imposed exile in the Library's confines.

I do hope your confinement leaves you with no ill affect, and that your 
write quickly back to your affectionate,
Kei
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