World Tree

For the dedicated administrator, there was always something to do.

Privately, Shiezma Vlande knew that an administrator was what she was, at heart. She delighted in making things happen, things that no one person could ever have accomplished alone. She took joy in efficiency. The politics of the Legeriat were mostly a distraction to her; at best they could show her where things needed to be done better, but more often they were in the way.

Still, if she wasn’t ideally suited to a Legeriator’s mantle, it was the post she held, and she wore it better than some of her colleagues did. And some aspects of it did appeal to her; enough to bring her to the Red Chamber even today, when no council was scheduled, to do some research and make plans. Truth be told, it was actually kind of restful, getting the chance to do this work without a whole muddle of politicians pestering her and getting in her way.

Which made it that much more of a surprise when the door creaked open and admitted another person. And all the more so when that person was not one of her oh-so-esteemed fellow Legeriators at all, but a short Orren man whose fine, dark robes made for sharp contrast against his pure-white fur and ice-blue eyes.


Two days ago for the Herethroy protector-adventurer I finish the talisman of immortality.

She is the useful enough bug, the longtime companion, the quite reliable Herethroy that mostly I do not mind doing some favours for, such as the very long time doing no other enchantments. It is her share from the time we adventure together that pays for this talisman. Partly it is the carved statuette of ivory, the very detailed robed Cani forever leafing through a book with lifelike animation, the glory of Kvarse, that pays for the talisman. The work is long and difficult with many setbacks, but mostly I do not mind.

Today the krango-striped Rassimel says that he does not want such a talisman, not even if only my stash of wealth pays for it.


Weak, they’d called him. Sickly. Ill-favoured, if they were feeling kind; ugly, otherwise. The Duke’s son he might have been, but his brothers and sisters were Duke’s sons and daughters and hadn’t seen any reason to include an unhealthy little boy in their games and activities. It wasn’t as though an unhealthy puppy like Wreffen was likely to live to adulthood, never mind inherit their father’s title, so why cultivate loyalty with him?

Oh, the rest of Wreffen’s litter hadn’t been so harsh – they were all Cani, after all, and they were around him enough to know he had a keen mind and a good head for magic. But outside of that immediate circle, it wasn’t Cani who made up his associates – the children of a Rassimel legeriator here, young Orren guildsmen there; he’d even chanced to do an early favour for a very unlikely friend, a Sleeth on the cusp of becoming a mastersmith – the right word in his father’s ear had eased that appointment along.

Ironic that he’d survived through adolescence and into adulthood, while the same healthy children’s pursuits he’d been excluded from had killed Trust and Nastrothon.


Selrendarr shifted on the sloping roof, claws poking into view with the stretch of his paws, then relaxing and retreating. He gazed down at the bustle of the city, watching the crowds go about their business. Apart from him – always.

Well, it wasn’t as though he didn’t know the reason for that. Usually it didn’t greatly trouble him. Maybe it was the Sleeth in him that cared little for the opinions and esteem of all the people on the branch. He could consider it critically, and know that one of the reasons people might not care to have him mingling with them was that he did look like a Sleeth, currently – four broad paws, long slender tail, whiskers, emerald eyes, fir-green pelt dappled with a paler brown that gleamed with good health and cleanliness under the guttering sun; all of it. Sleeth. They wanted nothing to do with it, and that was fine; he didn’t want much to do with them, either. Noisy and intrusive, the lot of them.

But part of him did crave a little company now and then, and knew they wouldn’t want much to do with him as a Gormoror, either.


The door opened; the door closed. A murmured spell from the Keeper of the Chamber sealed it shut for the time being while the last of the Legeriators shuffled over to her place at the table and sat.

Civilitat Rivvem Damarrie spent a few moments considering her expression; then, without preamble, he said, “No luck, I gather.”

“None,” the Rassimel sighed. “The Guard’s best mages have done what scrying they could, and it’s enough to suggest Scathie might be telling the truth, but it hasn’t turned up any solid leads for them to investigate.”