After Arthur speaks to Oak, and when he is going back out of Oak’s tree, Caudraí is there, sitting in the dappled shadow of the trees.
“Sir Arthur,” Caudraí says in his voice that broadcasts ease, but hides the tight knots of uncertainty, “I wonder if you might have the strength for a word?”
My tiredness has not dissipated, but I cover my weariness with a smile and nod.
In the twilight of a thick grove of redwoods, only ferns for company, Caudraí says, “If there is any way you could assure the solitude of our conversation …?”
I shake my head regretfully. “There is some charm for that, I believe, but sadly, I have not learned it.”
“When we go to the Court of the King in Perambulation, we are going to present the legal case to arraign the false knights for their crimes, but moreso to indict their superiors for crimes against the Realm, the King and the Light… and, the Church.”
Caudraí looks off into the forest as if looking for a dream.
“My sense is that with everything that has passed,” and unspoken lost St. Tarran lies between them, “we must also impress upon the King and the Court the nature of not only the great rising Enemy, but the nature of Salvation to the assembled Court to give the King the necessary strength and impetus to act on what needs acting upon.” If any of the Light lingers with Arthur, there is the tingle of a lie on Caudraí’s lips – or not quite a lie, but a missing truth.
I merely nod my head in understanding, letting this pass.
“I have seen the miracles you have worked, and witnessed the Sanctuary you created. I wonder if you would be able to coordinate with Cael and project a miracle of the Light such that all those present might not only see but also experience as Cael seems to experience the state of the souls of those present. Is that something you could manage, do you think?” And there is fear in Caudraí then.
I hesitate. “I am … not certain. Would you require that all present see? If it were just one or two, I believe that if I were touching the person or persons that we wished to experience this, it could be effective. As to an entire room? … Maybe … maybe if I Ascended? I’m …”
I trail off, thinking.
Caudraí’s fear is replaced by his almost ever present eagerness. “Yes it is something I would need everyone in the room to experience – the salvation of the Knights and the revelation of all our souls.” A leaning-in. A hinging of hopes.
I gaze off to the side, contemplating.
“Hmm. I think it can be done, though there is one potential difficulty: It could be fairly dangerous for me. It can be … tricky … returning to the mortal realm after Ascending. With no express purpose to the Ascension, the mind can wander and be lost to the Light.
“Conceivably, I could have some pretext for the use of the Power, but I’m not sure if that would suffice. Also, the pretext might backfire, in that the use of the Power for an unimportant purpose is … well, I might be better served taking my chances with finding my way back without it.”
Unconsciously, I drum my fingers against the side of my head.
“Alternately, if it wouldn’t hinder your plan, we could try to convince the Mystics here to come with us. As you’ve seen, their divine radiance is ever present. Their combined power might be able to achieve what you desire … without Ascension.”
“I think the ascension would have a purpose,” Caudraí responds. “I am essentially wanting to draw the light down in that moment and open the eyes of some of the most powerful people in Shanria to the possibility of redemption and the lure of the Dark. Is that not something that Ascending could accomplish?”
A beat, then, “And as for taking the mystics with us, well, we certainly could. My intent was to go to them and inquire what their purpose was here in Rhiannon’s Pool and why they were not walking creation spreading the Light.”
“Regardless of the specific circumstances, I’m willing to give it a shot. If you think it would be sufficient to get the King to begin moving against the Church, it is certainly worth taking a risk.
“Regarding the Mystics, I was of a similar mind, though I was hoping to talk to you, Sir Cael, and Oak first.” He nods and smiles at a raven that is lurking nearby. “Since it seems we all may have had some … things happen to us last night.”
“Anyhow, you can count on me, Sir Cawdry.”