A map. She wondered if there were maps anywhere in this place.
The next couple floors proved not so helpful – informative, but not for what she wanted at the moment. There was a diagram of what a typical house would look like in the time of Kaelingrade Torrent-Step, which was remarkably accurate but made her wonder what people lived like in this day and age. They even had a couple different rooms mocked up. She was pretty sure the bedroom had come from Joaon’s home, the place he had lived before she had taken him in.
There was an explanation of potion-making that relied a little too heavily on the mundane properties of some of the reagents but explained, in detail she would need to go back and read, how certain inventions of the modern world had build off of the foundation of potion-masters like herself.
It was strange to walk up floor after floor of what she had built as, essentially, a barrier against the world and see her whole world laid out in details. What people ate. What people wore. What people did. Even what people defecated in – which was an interesting one, and she was going to have to discover that sooner or later.
This tower, she realized, had been set up as a monument not just to her, but to her whole world. It was an explanation of what had come before.
“That can’t be right.”
A voice on the stairs sent her moving for a hidden passage that appeared covered by a display on pottery. She moved as quickly as she could, finding the display pivoted the way the cabinet she had once had her did.
“It’s a museum, Halsey, I don’t think they’re just going to lie to you.”
“Not lie, no, but they might get something wrong. I mean look at this. That has to be some sort of error. Think about what they said in history class.”
The two voices sounded pubescent, one male, one female. Halsey was the female voice, the one who thought the displays were wrong.
Kael should get up to her potions room, but she stayed a moment to see what was “wrong” about the displays.”
“You know what Mr. Catalon thinks about the natives.”
“He’s a history teacher, Corin. He can’t go around lying about history!” What if I was wrong?
“I don’t see why not. History is in the eye of the beholder, right?” The translation spell was still working, because Kael heard a whispered take the bait. Corin, it seemed, was trying to prove a point?
“That’s beauty. History, what is it… oh, yeah, written by the winner.”
“That’s right! And we won the invasion! Right?” Come on, come on, don’t make me use the big stick…
“It wasn’t an invasion…” Halsey sounded uncertain now, a why wouldn’t it be? They were savages, right, but… lingering behind her words.
“We came in, we took their land, we set up our own government. So uh. We probably wrote history to suit us.” Now even Corin sounded unsure. “They didn’t have anything interesting, so they needed us, that sort of thing. You know.”
Kael knew all too well. Her own people had done that twice in her lifetime – in her first lifetime. The second time had been the reason she had retreated to a tower in the wasteland .
“Yeah.” Halsey’s tone was thoughtful now. “Do you think… do you think it’s really all lies? What else do you think is lies? I mean. If they lied about this, then they don’t really have to tell us the truth about anything, do they?”
“That’s, uh, that’s a little extreme, Halls. I mean. Yeah, they probably lied about the Red War, too. I mean, wouldn’t you? But that doesn’t mean, like, they’re making up presidents or anything.” What have I done?
These two, if they made it as far as her potions room, were definitely going to be interesting.
“Okay, so. Let’s look at this again. They’re not making up presidents here, they’re just saying how these people lived. So why’s it wrong?”
“You sound like Mrs. Hosmer,” Halsey complained. “Okay, so they didn’t have the sort of technology to build stone buildings. They lived in mud huts and they weren’t using steel or even iron tools yet. No mining, we’ve never found any mines.”
What? Kael should get upstairs. But she stayed to listen, wondering what other lies these children had been taught.
“So we haven’t found any mines. What about metal tools?”
“I… haven’t heard of any? There weren’t any found in the Kasfour dig, I know that. Some stone tools and some really nice glasswork. They were really good with glass.”
Kasfour? She needed a map. Why hadn’t she asked the nice young man down in the gift shop for a map?
“Okay, so that’s a start. We don’t know if they had metal tools. But isn’t this tower supposed to be pre-colonies? And it’s definitely stonework.”
Well, she wasn’t wrong.
“So? What’s wrong with doing things by magic? The warships and colony vessels we sent over were magic, too, weren’t they? And we had the mages. They just had potions-masters. I mean… How do you build a tower by potions.?”
Very, very carefully. Kael had far too much to do. She was going to need to find a way to leave the tower without risking getting “fired.”