Belrun is so close to getting this damned flu strain to calm down in this one egg. She copies the change across to a few more eggs' worth, iterates, writes everything down, and Fetches the egg that is getting scary into her pot of simmering water before it makes a break for it. It's getting on toward dark and if she keeps working she's going to have to do it by candlelight, and she doesn't like that - it's already too easy to bump into things when she can see them. She calls it a day and closes up the lab for the night and heads out to walk over to the university cafeteria. It's a nice evening, and it's Flatbread Night, and she's in a generally good mood.
"A few things. One is that I don't think that - unless something changes pretty dramatically - it would be a good idea for you to Choose again. I think it'd wind up either going the same way, or - picking someone who is not in fact equipped to serve as King's Own in the current climate."
"I think Dara was a really good pick. She was smart, she paid attention to things, she thought clearly and calmly about stuff. And it was exactly those good qualities which led to your fight, as I understand it. You could probably find someone who was - passive, indifferent, but they wouldn't be good at the job. You could probably find someone who would just agree with you about the topic of gods, but they'd wind up - given how things are going now - at odds with their King, who seems to have taken my point on the subject even if Sondra hasn't undergone an Amshalan-style change yet, and that would also make them worse at the job. You could find someone great - presumably not as good as Dara, because ultimately given a free hand you went for Dara and not whoever would be your second choice now, but someone who was still pretty great - and sooner or later someone who is pretty great is going to notice that the gods are not behaving in a consistent and moral fashion, and they will wind up in a disagreement with you on it, and you aren't as far as I know put together out of the right parts to bend on that no matter how logical the argument. At least you aren't now."
"The clearest one is - without several blatant divine interventions, I wouldn't be here. It required my lifebond, Vanyel's dreams, and Amshalan's Call. If you think all the gods are working together, and that you should do what they want, then it follows that Companions should not be mind-controlled to that very effect any more, because that's so inevitably a consequence of my being here. I think maybe revising how you work on the fly is expensive or something? Or that the gods are not in agreement. But I don't think it can possibly be that they're all on the same side and that side is pro-Companions-can't-think-any-which-way-about-gods."
"Well, that's more encouraging than the model I had of you before, I guess. I don't actually know the details of the contents of your fight with Dara, you understand, I've been working off guesses based on hearsay about you, this is why I thought we ought to actually talk."
:She kept saying that maybe we ought to free the Tayledras, even though I told her this was not the Heralds' job at all, leaving aside the fact that they seem perfectly happy with the arrangement. It was very frustrating. And then she would not stop insisting that she wanted me to convey messages, which is not what I am for, and - I was annoyed - I suppose we both exchanged some harsh words and then I - it was as though I suddenly was not in control anymore:
"Well. What are you for?"
"In what form, by what means -"
:Is this normal?: Belrun asks Amshalan.
:No?: Amshalan seems more confused than concerned.
Belrun scoots a little bit back from Rolan. It's not that she actually thinks he's going to suddenly kick her but she'd like to have the reaction time to Fetch his legs out from under him if he does.
"What are Valdemar's best interests, in your understanding?"
"I can tell you that Leareth is not actually angling at instability, warfare, deprivation, or lawlessness, even if the most obvious way of achieving his ends would tend to have some of those as a side effect - I'm here specifically hoping to reduce the side effects."
"On what time scale?"