Warren eased the door open and poked his head between the jambs. “My lord?” He stepped inside and bowed as the door fell shut behind him.
“Warren.” Justus looked at him over a stack of loose parchment leaves. “What is it? Make it quick.”
“The prince, my lord, is he well? This afternoon— I went back to the room. None of you were there.”
Justus lowered the pages to his lap and a small smile turned his lips. “The prince is better,” he confirmed.
“He was pale. What—”
“The prince is new to magic and unaccustomed to the strain of working with it.” Justus paused, considering Warren. “Warren,” he confided, “the prince wishes to learn to control fire.”
“He should, my lord. The ceremony—”
“The Rekindling of the First,” Justus nodded. “You are a religious man, Warren, yet the Vatrins have survived more than one hundred years without a prince to complete the ceremony. Why should I risk my grandson for the rite?”
“There has been no king in the mountain to complete the ceremony for one hundred years, and those hundred years have not been good ones for the Vatrins. My lord, what if the ceremony can help return us to our glory? That was its purpose. It symbolizes or maybe renews the blessing of Vofa upon—”
“We do not know that it will help.”
“With all respect, my lord, we don’t know that it won’t. If you think it possible that the prince can find the strength—even if he must be helped—”
“There is no blood of his to help him with the rite.”
“You are his blood.”
“But I am not the blood of the kings.”
“But surely Vofa would rather—”
“And supposing, as you believe, that Vofa is real, what if he does not? What if something happens to the prince because he tries to improperly complete the ritual?”
“When you tried, nothing happened.”
“Nothing happened,” Justus nodded. The lightning would not come at his call. It would not strike the mountainside though the mountain’s height presented a target even without a Vatrin trying to call the electricity to its peak.
“So the prince will be safe, then, even if he fails. No lightning will come to his call if Vofa is displeased.”
“This advice pleases me, Warren.”
Warren bowed again. “Thank you, my lord.”
“I will remember it.”
“And the prince?”
“We will continue with his training. If he fortuitously wishes to learn to control flames, I will give him the chance to learn.”