Log Entry: Surface Day 149

Tomorrow we set off for the Wall, then we're headed north of there for the first time.

I am nowhere near ready for this.

At this point I've effectively exhausted all the knowledge resources available to me in the south; everything that Al or I have deemed relevant has been scanned, translated into usable text and dumped into the memory banks to simmer. When all's said and done I've got a summary of everything Westeros's brightest know and remember about the Long Night.

It's a depressingly short summary. Worse, there doesn't seem to be anything new and useful in the huge mass of text. A specialized team of blueshirts could probably glean some critical detail. That would be nice. And while I'm wishing for shit, I'd like a functional warp drive and a pony. You know, nothing special.

Moving off that depressing track... onto another depressing track! I'm just a font of cheer today apparently. The weirwoods haven't tried to reach out since that last time with George, no matter how I fiddle with the translator rig. I guess they weren't kidding about the link being weak. They left some sort of indirect connection behind, though: ever since they tried to speak through George I've felt a... let's call it a certainty that I need to find a specific spot where the weirwoods are stronger if I want to talk face-to-phloem again.

I'm also getting the sense that time's starting to run low, and I need to stop faffing around in the capitol and get my ass up north right now. I haven't heard from Brynden in several days—that's another thing that's changed since George, I remember a lot more of my dreams than I used to—and I'm not sure if that's good or bad.

So, north I go, beyond the Wall to the land of giants, wolves, giant wolves and barbarians. Thankfully I don't have to go north with just a pocketknife, gumption and a loyal gardener. I've got all sorts of neat little toys to bring on this expedition, not the least of which being Carefree Victory herself. I've also dug into my autofac reserves to crank out more drones, bringing my total count to two dozen. That should be enough to provide total sensor coverage and security if I need to be away from the ship for extended periods. Mr. Zappy's powerpacks are all charged, same with the emergency deflector belt. And I've added a couple special toys just in case we need a lot of heat.

Remember wildfire, that incredibly nasty chlorine-fluorine-nitrogen azide compound the local alchemists somehow managed to discover without dying instantly? Thoros has a supply he uses to coat his sword with when he's in the middle of combat. Which admittedly is way crazier than I thought Thoros was capable of, but that's a side issue. Anyway, he didn't have a lot of it, less than a hundred grams total, but I don't need a lot. Long story short, I have three incendiary grenades that will burn down literally anything that can burn outside of a fusion reaction. So if there's a section of the forest that offends me, I can make it go away. Fear me puny mortals, I am become Trogdor, burninator of worlds!

Right, okay. Calm down Jade, put your nascent arsonist tendencies aside and focus on the job at hand. So I am equipped with many things that will hopefully make this job more efficient if not easier. The next step will be to stop at the Wall, to drop off a communicator with the Lord Commander (well, Maester Aemon really) and maybe pick up a couple extra troops for the job. Highly detailed satellite photomaps of the region are nice, but having one or two people who actually know the land would be helpful.

I'm probably deluding myself if I consider seeking help from the local nomads, but you never know, right? It's an option worth pursuing if it comes up. I guess we'll see.

So that's pretty much it. I've said all the goodbyes I need to say in King's Landing. I've finally gotten used to the place, so it's a little weird to be leaving. As long as it's still here when I get back, I don't suppose it matters much.

Besides, like I said to Thoros, we've been on the back foot for too long. Others, Unbidden... whatever the hell is lurking up there where my sensors can't penetrate, it's time we found out. I want to know what's got a powerful psionic network like the weirwoods so goddamned afraid, what Brynden's up to, and who the adversary really is.

Huh. Maybe I'm more ready for this than I thought.

Operation COLD MISER begins at dawn. We're heading north, and we ain't coming back until we got what we came for.


The Grand Maester

Every other evening, the Grand Maester preferred to spend the evening after dinner with a skin of wine and perhaps some companionship from the Street of Silk. This evening, his companion awaited him in his bedchamber whilst he went through another report from his spy in the master of magic's camp.

Young Alleras had proven an apt pupil and an effective agent, though how much of that was down to his skill and how much to the witch's own looseness Pycelle wasn't sure. His reports arrived on stacks of perfectly cut fine white paper lined with neat handwriting and occasional sketches of things inside the sky-ship or described by the master of magic herself.

Pycelle considered himself a wise, learned man, and he could only barely make heads or tails of anything Alleras reported. Some of the mathematics made a little sense: Alleras's notes on the forms the witch called algebra reminded him of something some savant in the Free Cities had developed for handling complex numbers. Likewise, some of the geometry Alleras passed on could revolutionize any number of disciplines at the Citadel. He imagined monuments like the Hightower or the Wall, built without the need for magic, only the pure simplicity of mathematics and the iron will of man.

And yet, other parts of the reports were considerably more troubling. He flipped through the maginificent white paper, coming to a particular point:

"Lady Jade disagrees with the Citadel consensus that magic is dead in Westeros, and events appear to justify her conclusion. Though she is loath to call it 'magic,' instead using the word 'psionic' which is apparently a term her people use to describe such things. She also uses two aphorisms quite a bit when discussing magic. The first she calls Clarke's Law: 'Any sufficiently advanced science is indistinguishable from magic.' The second she called Heterodyne's Law: 'Any sufficiently analyzed magic is indistinguishable from science.' In so far as I understand it, the lady means by this that anything that can be studied by science becomes science."

Pycelle thought that it was an interesting way of looking at things. Most of the conclave would disagree, perhaps murderously, to the idea that magic could be studied the same way the earth and sky could be. But perhaps that was the problem. If the maesters—save that rogue Marwyn—considered the thing beneath their notice, was it not possible that it could cause difficulty if left unchecked? Alleras's reports all tended to end on the same note, maddenly vague hints that something dark was emerging from those places the Citadel pretended didn't exist. Pycelle could feel the initiate's frustration with the situation through his handwriting, along with the second-hand frustration the master of magic no doubt felt at the same time.

The maester's reveries were interrupted by a gentle cough. He looked up from his writing desk and beheld his companion for the evening standing naked in the door to his bedchamber. She was quite the prize, a golden-haired beauty from... somewhere, he didn't quite recall where exactly, and by some miracle the king hadn't caught wind and claimed her first. "Are you coming to bed, milord?" she asked shyly, batting her lashes in just the right manner.

He smiled fondly at the display. "Only a few moments more, my dear, please make yourself comfortable," he said. She nodded and vanished back into the bedchamber. Putting aside the report for now, he picked up a letter bearing the seal of the Citadel. He broke the seal with a swift motion and went through the contents. Like most communications from the archmaesters, it was short and to the point: Our observation of the skies agree with what the initiate had passed on. The seasons are beginning to change; expect the white raven at the new year if not before. Archmaester Vaellyn believes the coming winter may be long and harsh as the witch predicted. The conclave is still skeptical about the other information passed on, but if the witch is correct about the seasons it is not impossible she is correct about other matters. Continue your observations.

The old maester snorted. The archmaesters were all like him, wise, learned men completely out of their elements dealing with this matter. Even Marwyn and his obsession with the occult had little to guide him here. Pycelle wasn't better than any of them, he'd admit that freely, but his position in King's Landing gave him more perspective on the matter than the old men safely hidden away in Oldtown.

"Bloody fools, the lot of them," he mumbled. The damned witch was right about the seasons, old Vinegar Vaellyn himself agreed with her on that much. Was it really such an impossible thing that she might be right about other things as well? Her people built ships that could fly, using science beyond the Citadel but not so far beyond that the younger generation like Alleras couldn't learn it. Even if the conclave ignored everything they had learned about the woman and her people so far, they couldn't ignore the possibilities, the potential in learning this entailed.

Pycelle reached for a scrap of parchment. Lord Tywin needed to know about this, he decided. A storm was coming to Westeros, and the old lion's hands were the only ones capable of steering the realm through the gale. Pycelle wouldn't shirk in his duty.