Letter 10 - Gin to Kei

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Dearest Kei,

I'll have you know that despite having widened the shaft to four inches,
not a single speck of trouble has gotten through it to me! In my own view,
of course; I'm sure my parents would consider the sweetfruits (for which I
thank you deeply!) a contribution to my delinquincy. 

This is not to say that I have been untroubled, merely that my tribulations
enter through the front door. In this case, my parents, to take me to the
Thorough Cleansing. I considered forcing them to drag me bodily, but the
Coat of Penitence, though as lovely and comfortable as burlap, has none of
that material's durability, and I felt no pressing need to move the moment
of my humiliation forward. 

As you have never been Thoroughly Cleansed, I'm sure you're dying to hear
the details, but I am not minded to dwell on them. Suffice it to say that
involved the rending of my garment, water both steaming and with chunks of
ice still in it, and brushes much too stiff for the tissues to which they
were applied. Finally, mottled in blue and red and aching in quite
unmentionable places, I was tested for cleanliness. The presumption being
that I would claim to have been purged of my wickedness whether it was true
or false, I was subjected to an "objective" test. Of course my touch turned
the scroll black; scent alone told me that it had been soaked in the juice
of a certain fungus that darkens when warmed. I attempted to demonstrate
this (speech being impossible during the Cleansing, of course) by pressing
the scroll against the Archprelate's face, but he showed remarkable speed
for such an aged and sedentary personage. 

Now I am back in seclusion, with a less comfortable Coat of Greater
Penitence, and even less diversion than I had before. Fortunately your
letter (and sweetfruits) arrived before insanity had fully blossomed; as
always, you have come to my rescue, albeit in an indirect fashion. I don't
know what I would do without you. (Other than be locked in a small boring
room with inadequate clothing and worse food, of course.) 

But my situation is of little moment in the mess we are all entangled in.
According to Omin, the Archprelates of Fire _and_ of Stone are considering
correcting Prince Auron's lapse of metaphor in person. I don't know whether
they believe he no longer holds sole power over our peace, or simply no
longer care, but appeasement does not seem to be their aim. 

Keeping in mind your observations on the nature of political ambition, I
must wonder what it is they hope to gain. It has been many lifetimes since
our domestic struggles embroiled the outside world in this fashion, and the
results then were not such as to make anyone care to repeat the experience.
If their offices did not render that impossible, I should think our
esteemed Archprelates had entered a second childhood. (Or, from the rumors
about the Archprelate of Stone, a second adolescence, but that is too
loathsome an image to dwell upon.) 

I am uncertain as to whether Omin and his band of rebels believe that the
Prince can build a starboat or merely feel that the questioning of the
established wisdom that his attempt produces is worthwhile in and of
itself. Most likely, some fall into each category. 

I can think of several books here that might be of aid to the Prince, were
I to escape my confinement here and then be allowed anywhere in their
vicinity, but I do not trust my memory of their contents entirely, so I
shall forbear to waste your time. 

If this leads to some doubt in your mind as to which camp I am in, so much
the better! 

I regret to report, however, that Adda is most likely not enjoying his
visit home. On the other hand, he is being interrogated about your lapse
into heresy by familiar faces, and I doubt they can bring themselves to
bully him too fiercely. Also, Omin's people (and is that not a frightening
phrase?) are making sure he is not too deprived. 

I must close now, as Omin will be here soon (and in any event I have used
the rest of the paper already), but I encourage you to seek out the
Princess as soon as you have the opportunity. If nothing else, I am sure
she can provide perspective on the situation at the palace. 

Write soon (and send more paper!) to,
Your Immured and Abused Gin
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