William spent the next few weeks establishing himself in the castle. Jordan handled many of the matters such as arranging living quarters for officers, but William still had plenty to do. Among other things, he was the only one who could modify the defenses. Though their actual functionality was sufficient, he had to make sure it wasn’t easy for the enemy to bypass them. They could have left hidden deactivation methods.
He also spent time disabling all of the magic formations in the hidden room. It was already empty, but there were a number of valuable materials that could be re-used. Previously Lorelei and he hadn’t had enough time to thoroughly investigate the formations, and had merely managed to enter the room safely. As he disassembled it, he spent the time to study it carefully, not just for the sake of safely disarming it but also so that he could better handle similar formations in the future. No doubt whoever had set it up would have some similar formations defending their own castle.
William heard a knock on his study door. “Lord, you have visitors.”
Visitors… William expected reinforcements, messengers, or attacks… but visitors wasn’t exactly on the list. “Have them wait in the receiving room. I will be out shortly.”
The receiving room was about as plain as it sounded. Besides the grand hall, most of the castle was that way. Though it was plain, it was still outfitted with a number of fine chairs around a table. By the time William arrived refreshments had already been brought out. Though the servants here weren’t necessarily thrilled at William’s takeover of the castle, they still took care of it and the normal duties servants performed. William didn’t even imagine that they were at all loyal to him, so he watched them carefully. So far they hadn’t done anything, but he couldn’t have them trying to open the gates if there was a siege or something similar.
William didn’t recognize any of the visitors. He found that strange, as he felt he should have had some idea of who they were. They didn’t wear the finery of lords, and they fit none of the descriptions and matched none of the portraits. They also weren’t from a mages academy… at least none of the leaders. If William were to put them in a category, though, it would be mages. They didn’t look muscled like warriors or rugged like farmers or commoners. Their dress was also decent in quality… but not ornamental. William felt like he should have known them, and there was even one of them that gave him a nagging feeling in the back of his mind… but he could not recall any name or anything useful. “Greetings, gentlemen. I was not expecting any visitors.”
William hadn’t expected any significant reaction to his generic welcome, but William sensed both surprise and concern in their body language. He wasn’t sure why. Should he have expected them somehow? Had they sent a message ahead that he failed to receive? Their next words, however, denied that very possibility. “That is understandable. We just chose to show up.”
The feeling that he should know them was now undeniable. However, William wasn’t sure when they would have met. In fact, he had the feeling they hadn’t met. He would have remembered them at least somewhat if they had. He certainly hadn’t met them in a previous life. Outside of battle, the only gevai he’d interacted with was Lorelei. That thought brought him onto the next. He hadn’t seen these people, but had heard them described. The giveaway was the symbol they wore. It was placed subtly, and looked like it could have just been a pattern on their clothes. It was merely two straight lines on either side of a circle. It represented horns and an eye. “So, why have the diviners come to pay me a visit?”
“We have come to stay at this castle.” The expression on the leader’s face was nearly unreadable.
William waited for more… but that was all that was said. It sounded like he was stating a fact, but he could have been asking for permission. “Why?”
“We must be here to observe events.”
That didn’t tell him much, but it was an oddity. William hadn’t been to see the diviners, but from what he knew, they generally remained isolated. They only concerned themselves with the Eternal King and his return. They had answered Lorelei’s question about possible locations for his return because of that. From what Lorelei had said, that was almost the limit of what they did. Even when the Eternal King was around, they didn’t seem to much support for him in terms of divinations. Lorelei wasn’t sure how long they had been around, but it was as long as she remembered. Some of their members changed, but the current head had been around almost as long as Lorelei. “I see. Might I ask what you are here to observe?”
“Speaking of it could interfere with the course of events. Even our presence might alter it, but we have calculated the risk is small enough to discount. We must be here to observe events as they happen for recording. Second hand information will not be reliable enough.”
“You record histories?”
The head of the diviners nodded. “Our business is the past, and the past that has not yet happened.”
“I heard much of the histories have been lost.”
“Not by us.”
“Is it possible for me to visit your library?”
He shook his head, “No. Outsiders are not permitted. Even speaking of it places it at risk.” He held up a hand, “Typically at this point people will ask what the point of histories that no one can see is. It is our intention to keep the histories until a time not yet in the past, when it will be safe from destruction.”
“Can you make copies?”
“We are occupied with recording and preserving the information. We do not plan to greatly influence events, and even if we did, you would not likely be able to select useful information without occupying all of us for some time.”
Upon realizing he didn’t intend to say more, William thought for some time. He reached his conclusion after some thinking. ”You are welcome to stay for some time.” He wasn’t exactly sure that the decision was best. After all, though they said they would observe, he couldn’t guarantee they wouldn’t interfere with events. Offending them wouldn’t do him any good, though… and having them stay could be convenient for his plans. If they caused trouble, he could deal with them at that point. He thought the risk was worthwhile, though he wanted to discuss it with Lorelei. Kicking them out after telling them they could stay wouldn’t be optimal, but he had to make decisions on his own.
“We appreciate your hospitality. We have very few needs, and do not intend to be a burden. We will not interrupt your normal functionality here.” All of the diviners bowed, then left the room. William wondered what events were so important they had to witness them in person. He wondered if it was related to the declaration he was working on.