posted on Jun, 1 2018 @ 01:18 PM
151 - A Special Request
The Royal Palace of Aavelae sprawled over the top of a gentle hill in the southern quarter of the capitol city. This area of the city was much more
upper class than the area to the east where she had found Heili and Maerteil. Shops were cleaner and better maintained. Houses were made of finer
materials – tile or noblethorn shakes instead of thatch on the roofs, stained glass in some of the windows instead of simple shutters or nothing at
all, brick and hiran instead of getli’al or telgar. The roads were broader, and paved with cobblestone or slate, as opposed to
the dirt and mud of the tracks in the eastern quarter. There was a cohesive feel to this Palace Quarter, where the eastern quarter was more haphazard
Poliara loved visiting the Royal Palace – its graceful towers and balconies combined with polished marble and granite gave it a strange mix of
elegance and implacable strength. It was as though the Palace was a beacon of beauty in a dark world, that would stand strong until the last.
She was a frequent visitor to the Palace, so there were few guards that did not know her on sight. She was waved quickly through when they approached
the outer gate, and again inside the portcullis of the inner bailey. The coach trundled up the crushed rock and gravel of the drive, around the
fountain and pool beneath a statue of Queen Isaera I, the founder of the realm and the city of Avaanse. She held a sword in one hand, and a rose in
the other – the same mix of strength and beauty evidenced by the Palace constructed in her honor so many hundreds of years ago.
The driver hopped quickly down to lower the stairs and open the coach’s door. He was quick enough to beat even the Palace footmen – no small
feat. Perhaps he would be an adequate regular driver. She made a note to herself to find out his name in order to request him in the future.
Gathering her robes, she crossed the drive and headed into the Palace. She forced herself to at least acknowledge those who greeted her as she strode
through the halls and corridors of the Palace, winding her way to the great iron-bound oak doors of the library. A footman opened the door for her as
she approached, for which she was grateful. It was so unseemly for her to struggle pushing it open herself, and using tamborae for such a task
was unworthy of its glory.
Circling the depression in the center of the circular main repository, she turned off down a short hallway at the back of chamber, rapping sharply on
the noblethorn door she came to at the end. The door creaked open and she was greeted by the surprised face of Uwen Braeghe.
“Oh hello!” he exclaimed. “Father, Elder Poliara is here to see you. Please, come in, Seeress,” he stood aside and gestured into the office.
“Mm?” she heard the distracted voice of Master Ithan. “Oh, hello Elder,” he said distractedly. “Do come in.”
Most men would get a stern reprimand for such inattention to a Seeress of her station, but somehow Ithan’s habit of seeming completely lost in
thought had become endearing to her. She harbored a secret fondness for the man and his son, who had a similar bent, albeit tempered with the
exuberance of youth.
She entered the cramped chamber, with its shelves and tables laden with piles of books, scrolls, and parchment. A carefully corked inkpot and several
well-used quills sat on a small table off to the side, an incongruous island of tidiness in the otherwise cluttered room. One of the lanterns seen in
the main room – specially designed both to extinguish and keep from spilling their oil when knocked over – was hung from a hook in the wall, and
another stood on his desk.
Ithan was balding, with wisps of once-brown hair clinging desperately to the back and sides of the smooth skin of his skull. His squinty dark eyes
focused on Poliara as if seeing her for the very first time.
“What brings you to the library?”
“I need your help. Both of you, if you please,” she nodded to young Uwen. “You are both skilled in research and versed in ancient texts.”
“I see. What is it you seek, Seeress?”
“Several things. First, I need every prophecy that references or relates to Kei’arai, even auxiliary or apocryphal sources. Focus particularly
on any confrontation with demons, and anything that links Kei’Arai to Seiua Laes.”
Uwen looked at his father. “Certainly the Book of Voices. But also Chronicles,” he said, referring to Chronicles of the Aomman
Temple. “And I imagine we look in The Revelations of Tunyan, yes?”
Ithan nodded. “The Prophecies of the Seeress may also have something, as will perhaps the writings of some of the prophets not in the
Book of Voices, and maybe Tsurani Geletuthina as well,” he finished, referring last to a First Millennium codex – nearly
three-thousand years old now - that expounded on a mysterious order called the Tsurani, apparently a military organization of some kind related to
“Very well,” she said with approval. “Next, I need the history of the Royal Palace, anything at all, even plans or ledgers.”
“That should not be too difficult. Uwen can handle that without my supervision. In the Royal Archives section, boy,” he said to Uwen’s
“Excellent. Finally, I would like to see any histories of the Temple, particularly plans for its construction.”
“Are you referring to the First Aomman Temple, on the site of the Covenant of the Gift?”
“Not exactly. I am referring to the Temple here in Avaanse, but if you find designs or plans for the First Aomman Temple I would be interested in
those also, yes.”
“I see. Well, I believe there are some sources we can investigate. However, not to put too fine a point on it, but wouldn’t you be better suited
to your final request? You, I assume, have access to the Temple Archives, which are far more likely to contain what you’re looking for.”
“I have neither the time nor the expertise, and I cannot rely on the Mistress Archivist or her Bearers.” She handed them a pair of folded
parchments, both bearing her white wax seal. “These will allow you access into the Temple Archives. Show them to the Mistress Archivist. She is
to come to me with any questions.”
Ithan’s eyes widened in surprise, and Uwen’s mouth hung open in shock. Lay people were almost never granted such privileges.
“You will, of course,” she continued, “be bound by an oath of secrecy through your kirs. There are things you may have access to which
are not to be divulged to any outside the Temple should you come across them in your research. Are you agreed?”
They both consented without hesitation. She had hoped their thirst for knowledge would override any reservation they may have had about taking an
oath of secrecy, and it appeared she had judged correctly.
Having settled the details of how they would report their findings to her and administering the oaths of secrecy to them, she took her leave and
headed back to the coach, boarding under the watchful eye of the statue of the first Queen of Aavelae. I am protecting your legacy, Majesty,
the thought came unbidden into her head. For a moment, she wondered if she were becoming unbalanced, giving in, however fleetingly, to flights of
fancy that a statue could watch her actions and hear her thoughts.