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Jul 03, 2020 12:38 PM
leareth and maitimo 5 years after the events of no promise
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Leareth sits in a library surrounded by boxes, a roughly-bound book of handwritten notes held loosely in his hands, open to the final page.

Sunlight streams through the window. He had to ask to move to a larger set of rooms, once he started getting ahold of his records from Velgarth, because there are a lot of them. Nearly eighteen hundred years worth; the first fifty years after the Cataclysm are still lost to memory. But not the years before it, not anymore. 

Outside in the courtyard, not far away, is permanent Gate-terminus that links Tol Eréssea to Vinyamar. The newer inter-world permanent Gate to Velgarth is more thoroughly secured.

With Fëanáro's new artifact strung from a necklace at his throat, this read-through should be the final one. 

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Excerpts from the diaries of Urtho, the Mage of Silence; Translated by Karna shena Tale'sedrin, Kal’enedral and Scrollsworn to Kata’shin’a’in

Final entry, several days before the Cataclysm

I wish there were magics that might let one take back the past, and do it over. 

There is no such spell; this is my bed, I have made it and I must lie in it. 

I think now it was a mistake to let King Leodhan push for war. Perhaps it would have ended so all the same, and with Tantara in a weaker position as the unprepared defender – and yet, I sometimes think that if it had, it might have been over more quickly, mercifully, and with less bloodshed on either side. 

What is wrong with me? War has left me so weary, I catch myself wishing that my worst enemy might have won sooner. 

I never wished to call Ma’ar my enemy. 

Perhaps I made a wrong turn sooner, and in some other world I might have salvaged my young student, and guided him to a kinder and less destructive path. Perhaps in some other world, we work together now, as allies and friends. I long to step out of this world and into that, and of course I cannot. 

I am a sentimental old man, it seems, and unsuited to commanding an army. 

This is not how I wished it to end, and I am sure Ma’ar did not wish for it either. Even now, he sends letters, and tries to broker an alliance that I can no longer offer him. He has strayed too far. The atrocities of this war are unforgivable. 

No matter what comes, he must not take the Tower, and the powers that lie within my sanctum. I am glad beyond measure that I never spoke of this to him, though I revealed far more than I should have. I trusted him more than I should have. 

And so it will end as it ends, as we tear apart each other’s armies in fiery destruction, and perhaps history will remember a foolish old man who misjudged his greatest enemy. 

I wish it were otherwise. 

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Leareth reads it through twice, even though he doesn't have to at this point. His vision blurs on the last words; he blinks away tears. They sing for Urtho every year in Kata'shin'a'in, Vanyel told him. It's not enough, but, well...

After a long time, he closes the book, sets it down. Slowly rises. It's been five years and he's not going to be any readier than this if he waits another five. 

:Maitimo?: he sends, stepping out into afternoon sunlight. :As soon as Vanyel is back from his visit home tonight, I am ready to have my magic back: 

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Oh, good. I'll ask Melody when she's next free. If you immediately betray us all I'll be so sad, though.

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Leareth chuckles. :I'll have to consider which of the payoffs for betrayal are worth that, then. Are you busy?: 

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No. He rounds the corner and waves at him.

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Leareth smiles and waves back, catching up. :I finished with Urtho's diaries, the translations Vanyel had. Anything new on your end today?: 

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Not very much. When Van gets back I have quotes for him from the Dwaves for more permanent Gates. And Findaráto wants someone to go check if any of the new humans have Gifts.

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:That is a good idea! I suppose I could help check, if Melody can successfully return my mage-gift. Assuming I am not horribly out of practice: Sigh. :I...am probably horribly out of practice. It has been ten subjective years now since I have actually used my magic: 

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Yeah. I think the necklace helps with skills not getting rusty, but probably only ones you've ever used while wearing it.

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:It should help somewhat that I have had mage-sight for most of the last five years. I hope: He hasn't been able to help Vanyel or Savil with any of the work they've done itself but he's checked it over for them sometimes. 

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We can plan another couple months here practicing, if you'd want to feel sharper before we go out and get into trouble. Not that there's very much trouble to be gotten into. The Avari have agreed that letting people come pray at the lake will probably not lead to its imminent destruction.

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:I think I will want a couple of days to assess it, and then decide? I would rather not rely on there being little trouble to be gotten into:

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Leareth walks with him in silence for a bit. 

:...I hope I am making the correct decision and am in fact ready for this: He glances at Maitimo. :You probably are still thinking that I could have done it a year ago: It's been eighteen months since he's had any nightmares where he projected by accident, and they had already been very occasional then. 

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- I really think that part of being you is doing things, and you aren't going to get all the way back to being you while unable to do things. 

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:I have been doing things! But...many things were excluded, I suppose: It’s difficult even to advise Vanyel on magical work when he can’t demonstrate what he’s trying to explain. :I am looking forward to it now, though. I...suppose it took a long time before I could really look forward to having more things to do:

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Yeah. And we didn't want to - put things on your agenda before there was anything you could do about them and before you wanted to be doing things.

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Leareth gives him a narrow-eyed look. :So you have been keeping things off my agenda, have you: 

This is not exactly a surprise; he’s guessed for a while, years really, that Van and a Maitimo are doing some background troubleshooting on something, likely multiple somethings, and sheltering him from it. He’s appreciated that effort from them, generally.

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Yes. Wondered when you'd ask.

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Sigh. :I suppose we ought to discuss it when Vanyel is back: 

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Hopefully he will return with a little more information, which will make the discussion more productive anyway.

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Leareth can't tell whether Maitimo is actually enjoying being mysterious on purpose. He shakes his head. :Very good, then. I was headed to grab something to eat now - you?: 

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Trying to hurry up the third linguistics guild - a fool's errand, of course, but I'd promised Findekáno I'd try. I could eat something on the way.

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:What do they need hurrying at this time?: 

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He wants approval for a Quenya word for the local humans. Everyone is calling them Aftercomers and that seems like entirely the wrong foot to start on.

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