World of Magi > Divine of the Light
Divine of the Light
And Jacien Ciakare was not about to be the first.
She was cognizant of the socio-political situation in the world that her people had adopted as their own, of the delicate balance struck there between man and god, between divine magic and the mortal machinations of the Magi. She had even worked to foster trade relations with the nearby Kingdom of Dalmacia, which was more than any of her foremothers had thought good and proper.
But to answer a summons? Especially a summons from a trumped-up, too-big-for-his-britches, charlatan like Abraxas — the thought was appalling to Jacien. She knew well the power that the so-called god showed on the field of battle, and the power he held over his people. But there was no room in her faith, no place on her Path, to bow down and worship physical beings, literal gods that walk the earth like men.
The Dantrath had known beings like that in ancient days — the Faits — Anox Vi that had passed themselves off as gods and had certainly fit the bill well enough. The White Way had come to rid them of that scourge, however, and Jacien was not going to be the Prophetess who allowed her people to fall into idolatrous worship of beings such as Abraxas.
There were those who thought that the Faits were literal gods, even to this very day, and believed as well that this belief could be reconciled with this Path or that Path of the White Way. They formed mystery cults and tried to usurp the power that the Prophetess held over the church, but in the end they would fail.
The White Way is truth, it is pure and undeniable, and the Prophetess is its mortal voice. For her to acknowledge the ascendency of such a being as Abraxas flew in the face of everything she believed in, everything she knew to be true.
And still, the Conclave wanted an envoy.
They thought her weak because she had agreed to the trade relations with Dalmacia, had even betrothed her son to a princess of that nation. But she had done none of those things for them — she had done them for prophecy, for the dreams of the White Way had shown her the path she must walk and the things she must do.
The Conclave thought that she could be pressed to send her daughter — not yet a light-forged Priestess of the Way — to answer Abraxas’s summons, to bow down to the god-king of Divine Empire.
Jacien’s daughter — a girl who would one day herself be Prophetess, Divine of the Light, Seer of All Things and mortal voice of the White Way. A girl hardly sixteen, not fully trained in her art, who might yet remain at the Cloisters for decades, learning and teaching, and safe from that which Jacien feared might befall her outside those hallowed walls.
What Jacien knew would befall her.
The Prophetess finished writing her letter with a little flourish, sealed it with a drop of golden wax and a press from her signet ring, and signaled her retainer to take it.
The bent old man took the letter from her hand as she pushed away from the desk and stood. He was a hideous thing, bent from deformity as much as age, and a Darcmots to boot. But he had served Jacien’s mother loyally for years and had been by Jacien’s own side since girlhood.
“Take this to the court runner,” she said, removing her comfortable dressing robe and slipping the cumbersome, ostentatious robes of her office on over her shift. “It will be delivered to the Cloisters by way of a Deep Knight — and one well trusted, at that. I want this in the hands of Abbess Edena before eventide tomorrow.”
The crooked little retainer nodded. “Yes, Holy Mother.”
“Now, does this look straight, Evanezzar?” She turned from side to side in her full length mirror — the Conclave was waiting for her in her own audience chamber, no doubt to discuss this very matter. And she had to look just so when she announced that she had outmaneuvered them, the orders for an envoy more suited to her Prophecy already well on their way to the Abbess.
“The seam must go left,” the little man said, his hands going to her robe and helping to straighten it. “Might I remind you of one thing, however, Holy Mother?”
Jacien smiled at herself in the mirror — and it was a brilliant smile, if she did say so herself. She was a woman in her prime — the prime of her beauty, her power, and other things as well. Soft, dark curls piled high atop her head, woven-through with the gold-lace tiara of her office, pulled back from the curve of her long, pale neck and square shoulders left bare by the heavy, velvet robes. She almost didn’t hear Evanezzar’s request, waving at him to speak.
“There is the matter of the armies of the kingdoms, Holy Mother, and in particular the Zone Knights. I have learned that the Conclave plans to press you on this issue — have you given thought to a Seneschal to take these commands? Or perhaps a suitable match that you would be pleased with?”
Jacien scowled at that, the expression adding creased lines and ten years to her face. “You always seem to have a way of knowing these things, Vane.”
The little hunchback shrugged his shoulders awkwardly.
“There is no true danger of war, and the Knights of the Deep have policed their ranks without fault these years since my dear husband’s death. If the need rises before my son is old enough to take his office as Cognate General, I will appoint a Seneschal.”
Evanezzar offered his palms in supplication. “Your wisdom is without parallel, Holy Mother. However, the Conclave will press you on this. You would do well to have an answer for them…perhaps one other than that?”
He cowered a little as if he expected her to strike him for his insolence. She liked the crooked little man though, for his insolence just as much as for his loyal service.
“Do they have a match selected, Vane? Is that what this is about?”
He nodded. “I feel it is certain, Holy Mother. There seems little other reason that my nuncle would have arrived at court just now, as the Conclave calls an emergency meeting. I fear they expect to spring it on you.”
“A Darcmots?” Jacien hissed. “At court? And I wasn’t informed?”
“He arrived by way of Deep Wyrm, Holy Mother. I myself learned only because a favorite niece of mine has found work at the Darcmots palace here in the Holy See. She washed his feet on his arrival and then ran to me immediately afterwards; then I came to you.”
Jacien ran a finger up and down the soft, ermine border of her robes and softly chewed on her lip. “This nuncle of yours, Vane. Does he have a name?”
Evanezzar nodded. “From my dear niece’s mouth to your ears, Holy Mother. He is Wladrik Thawstone, Guardian of the Northern Waste, Keeper of the Jet Path Mysteries, King of the Darcmots. And I believe he means to take you to wife.”