Since we returned from liberating a magical artifact called The Rule of Law, I have not been able to sleep soundly. A healer, Belinda the Wise, told me to write a list of my worries. Putting them on paper will take them out of my mind, she says. I do not see how this could be true, but I promised her to try it. So.
1. Revolutionaries are being kidnapped off the streets of Far Harbor by a mysterious Secret Police. They are imprisoned in the Red Manse and subjected to a powerful, magic-boosted brainwashing. Sid discovered that you cannot even get close to the prisoners without being brainwashed yourself. He left feeling convinced that he was a loyal servant of Jerricane Scitha! The charm took days to wear off.
2. I rashly promised a favor to a god, and I don’t even know what god it was! The situation was so urgent, I didn’t try to negotiate. We had gone to so much trouble to retrieve The Rule of Law, a magical gavel that allows Solars to remake the world. The God of Lost Things had it. To get his attention, we threw a huge party and sacrificed something precious (Darius’s future sexual adventures, until he marries—an unconventional sacrifice, yes, but if you would have heard the women wailing you too would accept its magnitude).
We traveled for days in a rickety boat captained by a morose minion named the Least Unusable. Near the edge of creation, we arrived at a tower encircled by lightening, home of the god—and all the lost things. We managed to trick Least into helping us break through her master’s security traps. We won at riddles with the big crows, resisted the temptation to reclaim our own lost things, and made it through a lava trap. At last we could see the gavel, growing like a single horn out of a dragon’s skull, an elemental that kept this corner of creation stable.
Sage figured out a brilliant way to remove the horn, and trapped the god beneath the throne, but unfortunately he could not stop the ocean from rushing into the tower. We raced back through the perilous rooms. Sage insisted on incinerating all of the lost things; I still don’t know if that was wise. Brist narrowly avoided injury; Darius was injured, but we managed to escape the tower—only to find that we were trapped on a little platform with no boat, surrounded by a waste of waters at the very verge of the known. Can you blame me for rashly promising the god who answered our frantic call a favor of his choosing?
3. The Least Unusable is not very stable. We were able to restore her memories and desires, but she is torn by a terrible conflict, contradiction of intimacies, subjection to her drowned master and simultaneous hatred of him. I worry about her. In addition….
4 We didn’t manage to find the Man in the Mist’s daughter’s lost mind. I think we should have tried harder to look for it. We had mixed feelings about his request, but we did accept it, and we do need all the friends we can find, make, beg, borrow or steal.
5. When scholars were helping me do research in the university library, I was chewing on a chocolate honeycomb to lessen the boredom, but I sneezed from the dust and it dropped out of my mouth onto the pages of a book. Someone was coming so I shut the book, but later it turned out much worse since several pages were stuck together and ruined. I hope no one will ever need to look at those particular pages. Surely, out of all the books in that library, no one will happen to need just that one. It’s a little thing, but it worries me just the same.
Will I be able to sleep now, Belinda the Wise? We shall see.