149.2 \ 341

“I may not need to tell you that visions of today’s battle with our father are still alive behind my eyes.” Soleil blinked slowly, while they both knelt facing an invisible audience. “It’s as repugnant to me as it may be to others. That was not my dream of how things should go, in life.” She placed a bite of food in her mouth and cleared it. “I also went down with everyone else in this, and I’ll be an easy target for the animosities and frustrations of radical change.”

“Whereas I…” Mireille offered.

“Wouldn’t have nearly as many of those particular problems.”

“They’d see me as more uncompromised, would believe that I continue to have the Imperium’s interests foremost in my heart.” There was room for a silent sob from both of them, who knew little else could have driven Soleil to such lengths.

“Perhaps there should be an official liaison. Someone that the newly acknowledged and re-acknowledged people trust primarily, if not solely. That might already be me.” Soleil sighed toward her sister. “I really do think you’ve been learning the right things, in your pursuit of study. While we were just catching up on current events in the other room, your mental picture of doings and goings-on was penetratingly precise. I’m not sure I could get one past you if I was trying. But, I’m not.”

“Yes, well – from my cold, hard armchair, my mind’s eye may travel far. I’m aware that I’m not invincible; also, that I’m only nineteen, which in our way isn’t very highly ascended. It’s not the worst of situations. I’ve always been informed to be prepared for succession. Whether or not I expected it, I will handle what affairs are bestowed upon my responsibility. We lost… nearly everything.”

“Has a Dragon stepped forward to be Councillor?”

“As of now, no. Though I’m not formally dragon-taught like yourself, I am open to some instruction for communication.” Mireille washed down a nibble. “I heard from Draig.”

“Did you?” asked Soleil tentatively. “I wonder where he’s been, and what he’s done.”

“Whatever it is, he’ll be facing a process with the Imperial military. Though, he may still have some broad loyalty.”

“He is already a historically exceptional figure, and any possibility of reinstatement would make him even more so. In my realm of experience, he has comported himself honorably, though there may be more to be said.” The sisters turned to study each other’s faces. “His perspective may be as valuable to you as that of a Dragon Councillor. You may want to keep him around somehow. His understanding is indispensably unique.”

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