September 30th, 2007
Today makes two months of writing everyday. I’ve gotten go much done, I think if I add it up it’s over 55,000 words. I finished Enchant the Dawn, Visions of Sin, and I’m about a third done with Portrait: A Home for Lir Morgan (the current working title). Here’s today’s efforts!
So, in between searching for the roots of Nephos’ unusually long life-span and seemingly endless reserves of power, she’d also looked for information on alternative means of preserving – not life – but existence. The Spell of Rihon a few weeks ago had been a major discovery. Rihon Rastik had lived over four hundred years until an avalanche had wiped out a village in the Fringian Alps of Rastik-indentured miners on the edge of the dark side of Tyral, some thousand miles from the main Rastik estates. The same day, Rihon had been found in his workroom, a dried husk eaten from the inside out. It was a famous story.
One of his sons had written down an account of his father’s experiements, and although it did not give specific details, Iona, with help from Lir’s strategic mind, had managed to piece together the kind of spell that must have been used. Now their task was to understand how it was possible to force multiple people to host nanites that had been adapted to live only within their chosen host.
The question turned out to not be so different than finding out how nanites could survive outside of any biological being, but within oil paint and canvas. Somehow, Rihon and certain others had found the code to put the nanites in a state of dormancy, performing only a few key tasks. For the Spell of Rihon, that task was draining the energy of non-Talented humans and feeding it back to the host to sustain life long past anyone had a right to live. Not at such a price. For the portrait, those who put store in superstition seems to believe the nanites retained a part of the soul of the subject. Iona could not quite bring herself to believe such a thing, rather putting the behavior down to the ability of the nanites to take a snapshot of the thought patterns of their host, and keep that alive when the host themselves had passed away.
It was a kind of immortality, such a portrait. One that seemed a bit questionable, but did not involved the moral cost of the Spell of Rihon. It would preserve a kind of life, possibly for millennia. It was probably the height of self-aggrandizement, thinking that she could do something Nephos had not, but her goal was not the attainment of immortality or power. It was to save the soul, or the memory, of someone she loved. To give Lir’s spirit a home, should her dream somehow play out in reality. According to all the copious research she had since done, a portrait was merely a moving picture until the death of the person portrayed. The last download between linked nanites would be a capture of the very essence of that individual. A Portrait was a home, a vessel for a piece of soul to reside in that called, irresistibly, to its subject upon their death.
If she could create a strong enough program, increase the homing signal strength enough, Nephos would have no power over Lir. She walked across the sandy expanse between the common hall and the young women’s dormitory. Iona would wait for the height of the night cycle, when she was sure she could act freely. Then she could obtain that final ingredient, and make a home for Lir Morgan.
* * * * *
The Season of Dawning, 3rd month, 16th day
Year 2372 Post-Landing
Iona still couldn’t quite believe she had the nerve to do this. She waited in her room for the sounds of the compound to sink to only the quiet rush of the surf. Risa was likely still in the common hall, as she wasn’t . And all the other girls were off on the other side of the island with Tongon, Romol or the other Sorcerers who had taken on training the young in the use of Talent and the capabilities of their powercasters. The trip was a bit of a “camping adventure” to test survival skills. Most of the younger boys were there too. Leaving Lir and Rajan, the normally mentors in that dorm, quite alone. Only Rajan was most likely sneaking down to the firepit as usual to meet Risa, the only way either of them could really get to sleep. Iona had planned this all very very carefully.
Iona tugged her dressing gown over her otherwise naked body and wished she was brave enough to simply climb into bed with Lir every night, rather than come up with elaborate plans of seduction. She wished that this was only because she loved Lir, and wanted him, rather than having another, darker purpose.
It had been easy to collect most of the other ingredients she needed. The lopaseed oil, the lapis and carnelian…even the titanium oxide…crushed jewels and metals that create the vibrant tones of great art since the days of the ancestors on Earth. The enzymes of dormancy, those had been much harder to find. They were considered dangerous for anyone of Talent to touch, for fear of harming their own nanites, but Iona knew that it would take a very large amount to truly harm a young Talent like herself. Romol’s brother, Medla, was easy enough to bribe. He had a misshapen scar from a battle that none of the healers had time or skill to rearrange to his specifications, and he had a tremendous number of underground contacts and unsavory connections. Such a surface wound was easy enough to heal, though his lecherous looks down the neckline of my tunic as I bent over his lower thigh were something she would rather forget.