To Walk Unseen
On the other side was a world in constant motion, filled with a cacophony of sounds not entirely unpleasant, but impossible to ignore. Impossible that is, except for one chamber in the back. Kadon’s private workshop didn’t entirely shield its occupant from the din of the factory cathedral at work, but it did reduce the volume to little more than background noise. As Mnemia crossed the threshold she suspected that if Kadon truly wanted a dead quiet work space he could have accomplished the task easily enough, meaning the sounds of manufacturing were welcome in his sanctuary.
“If I’m not interrupting, could I speak with you for a moment Kadon?”
Kadon turned away from the large sloped writing desk he was working at as if surprised by Mnemia’s arrival, glowing figures and formulae trailing out into open space behind his fingers. The Tya supposed such a thing was possible; the amount of essence at play in the cathedral was certainly extensive, and he might well feel safe enough here to lose himself in his work; but he was still a very observant man. It seemed unlikely.
“Should I step out?” Nessa asked.
“No, it’s nothing of that nature. In fact, your insight would we welcome.” Mnemia confirmed.
This brought a smile to Nessa’s face. For years she had dealt with being the only mortal in a group of exalted. Sure, there were other mortals that interacted with the solars regularly, but Nessa’s connection was much more intimate. She had been welcomed into the inner circle, a privilege that had not been granted to any other mortal since Anna. And though she was a strong woman, it wasn’t difficult to see that truth weigh upon her. She had since exalted, but she still enjoyed being useful. Most people did.
Kadon banished his work to the two dimensional surface of his drafting board with a flick of his wrist, and leaned back against its edge. “We haven’t seen much of you down here lately Mnemia.” he began, including Nessa with a sweep of his hand. “I suppose you are past due for another addition to your arsenal, though I’d have thought…” he trailed off as he pretended to count the weapons secured about her person, a grin touching his face, “…an even dozen might have been sufficient.”
Mnemia wasn’t sure how a circle of solars was supposed to act, but the way the three of them all went after each other was not what she had in mind. It wasn’t a bad thing, they could count on each other when it was truly important, but they constantly played off of each other, looking for any advantage they could exploit. And here in the factory cathedral Kadon definitely had the advantage.
“Apparently not. Zuko is talking about learning a charm that allows him to steal attuned artifacts, so my only defense is to have so many swords that he can’t physically carry them all. If he drops one on his foot and loses a toe, well that would hardly be my fault.” Kadon chuckled at that. His fingers flicked, apparently without conscious thought, and a glowing note scrawled itself on the surface of the table behind him. “But that’s not why I’m here.”
As Mnemia continued her voice took on a more serious tone. “I think I’ve become too recognizable. I think I’m putting my family into far more danger than I should and I…” She trailed off at that point, the words she needed to complete the thought escaping her.
“Would like to find a way to hide your tattoos without betraying your heritage?” Kadon finished.
“How did you know?” Mnemia asked, the surprise on her face unmasked.
“Come on now, do you think this is something I haven’t considered as well? I have to imagine the idea has crossed Zuko’s thoughts as well. You have always been the easiest of us to identify, and have the most to lose should someone wish to take advantage of that fact. To be honest, it wasn’t a matter of if we would have this conversation, but when.”
Mnemia nodded. “So, then, you have an answer?”
“I have the beginnings of one, yes.” Kadon nodded, reaching behind him to summon up his notes and diagrams.
“And an elaborate one at that.” Nessa cut in, intercepting her lover’s train of thought before he could launch into an explanation she knew would be lost on his audience. "Such a weighty problem requires a truly spectacular solution, as he sees it.”
“Just whose side are you on?” Kadon queried, his face a mask of mock hurt. "Nevermind, I don’t want to know. Suffice to say, yes. I have a few ideas that I think will work here, but there are a number of options at our disposal, and you will have to work with me to set the parameters of the project.”
“If you want something simple," he said with a role of the eyes towards Nessa, “we can certainly do that, but I’d really encourage you to consider the breadth of the possibilities before us. Big damned heroes that we are, it’s only fitting we put on a show.”
Mnemia smiled. It wasn’t even a question. With the challenges they had laid out before them why would she even consider going half way? “Show me what you’ve got.”