Brother, thank you for seeing me on such short notice. I didn't know who else to turn to, and ironically, since you rejected my appeals to join the Movement, I now consider you a safer choice to discuss my dilemma than all those who have sworn to me their loyalty.
In essence, you were right. I'm not sure I'm myself any longer. Word reached me just yesterday that Saatvik and his companions were returned to Videha and the news was accompanied by instructions to gather the most powerful of my people and lay a trap to slay them. I see your reaction, and I understand it. Did I not reach an accommodation with Saatvik? Do I not like and respect him? What reason might the Movement have to kill him and his companions?
In the moment, it all made so much sense. After all, our friend in the Wizard's College Arenvald himself gave the order, and as you most critically pointed out, I've become somewhat enamored of him of late. But his reasons seemed good at the time. After all, Saatvik continues to consort with Tavi the Terrible, a criminal kingpin who has STILL not been brought to anything resembling justice, not to mention the various crimes against a fair and equal society committed by his other companions. I didn't blink. I gathered my best people, and when Saatvik contacted me by sending, I told him where to walk into the trap.
I waited there, at the Scarlet Market, but right before he was due to show up Arenvald sent word that we were to stand down, that Saatvik and his friends were to be given another chance. When they arrived to speak with me I was relieved that I wouldn't have to kill them and yet I never questioned WHY I had so readily determined to do so in the first place.
Do you recall, brother, when I told you that the Princess Draupadi was an Archdevil in disguise? I was most relieved when she departed the city in Saatvik's company some weeks ago and thought little else of it. It would seem, in truth, she never left, but through a variety of guises has spread her mind-influencing charm over all of Videha. I have been in her thrall, all unknowing, and the Movement has been her pawn in some contest against the King.
I was floored, and for the first time cast my mind back over my past actions with a critical eye. I could not gainsay what I was being told. I have no interest in being the pawn of a demon, and yet I also cannot give up my genuine belief in the rightness of the Movement's cause. Fortunately Saatvik and his companions had some advice for me. Vinihata suggested I procure for myself a… bodyguard? companion? from his monastery as the monks there develop the sort of mental focus that makes it harder for them to be controlled. I was also directed to Videha's nascent Temple of Ravana in hopes that the god might provide aid against demonic influence. These things I have done. Most importantly, though, they arranged a private conversation with the King himself.
I see your surprise. You'd think I would have trumpeted such a coup from every street corner, that the King has finally deigned to treat with the Movement, but the meeting wasn't about that. It was about two people setting aside the public personas for a frank and candid conversation.
I'm… still processing what he told me. But between the meeting with the King and what I picked up in the company of Saatvik and his companions I begin to think that changes are coming to the Whorl far greater than a more fair and equitable political system in the Kingdom of Mithila. If an Archdevil ordered Saatvik's death, and then changed her mind, what hope have I of untangling what's really going on?
Very little, I fear, and yet I can continue doing what I believe is right. I would value your input, brother. And I apologize for the harsh words I gave you when last we spoke.