Dear Evie & Co


I was both pleased and surprised to receive your message, conceived as it was with so much circumspect urgency. When I became aware of it I did not hesitate to act nor have I regretted my haste. Had the Academy found Okothan's vault before us or taken its contents the repercussions would have been lengthly and severe. The Academy's ambitions are held at bay for one more day. For your part, you did not disappoint.

AT-88 and his docent Marty are curious ones, are they not? Filled as they are with loyalty and knowledge I often wonder, "how they feel"? Their creators often debated this problem: can an intellect bound to metal and stone be said to feel emotion? I think so, but certainly they must feel it differently than we do. We who are bound to flesh instead of metal must by extension experience the world differently than they. Therefore our feelings are not the same.

As one flesh-bound intelligence to another I offer you my memories of Okothan and perhaps, if my pen does not fail me, a little of how I felt.

I and my brood mates Augustus and Cooper spent most of a summer here, brought by our adopted father. While he attended his councils we three explored the bay and all of its surroundings. Okothan was never a great city, but it was beautiful and welcoming. From a sailor's point of view it quite literally shone like a gem. When the sun was low in the sky its light was broken into thousands of hues by the polished facades and their faceted glazing then spilled out onto the harbor as a great wheel of color. Our favorite place to be in the evenings was over the harbor, gliding in slow circles tracing the outlines of the wheel below us. This is my first and last memory of Okothan that summer: a sea breeze; the wheel of lights beneath me; my brood mates on either side.

Those were fine days for us. While the Locutor was occupied with matters of state we slipped away from our tutors to explore. The delta and its sweeping expanse of wilderness; the powerful updrafts of the badlands; the underwater city where mermen schooled fish; the crystal and fire caves. Although the druids would chase us away if they could catch us, we even penetrated the elemental sanctuaries. The eldest druid carried a heavy shillelagh, and we felt the blunt end of it more than once. We sank a smuggler's yacht north of the slide, then spent the rest of the day riding the great slide over and over again. We dug emeralds out of the mud off the banks of the Maschacket. We tried to plumb the depths of the Harbor and would have died in the attempt but for a watchful locanth. We hunted wild sheep in the hills, the kind with the sharp horns that aren't easy to catch.

Every day was a new adventure, but at night our playground was Okothan. The inns were full of music and firelight. The theaters showed plays from around the world. Very late at night the street vendors would trade us hot nuts and fried meats for coppers (they had the better end of the deal I'm afraid). Sometimes we would befriend children who would take us home with them and ask their parents if we could be kept as pets. We made lasting friendships with a few of them, and our father taught us to bring gifts when we were guests in a house. However far afield we went during the day Okothan was our home at night. Like a mother gathering up her bruised and tired sons, she welcomed us.

I can not turn back the clock, but I hope to see Okothan live again some day. It will never be part of my own realm, but the day may come when another will claim it and breathe life into it. Until that day I leave this wondrous gem in the care of its deep guardian.

Best Wishes,
H.