“The Shining Hand failed,” Leifsson replied. “Before they even began, really. A loyalist to the throne learned of their plan, and the Akademier put a stop to it. The mundane authorities never knew; the Akademier never told them. It was thought to be a bad bargain. The conspirators were executed, the loyalty of the magiker assured. There was nothing, the thinking went, that the throne could do that had not already been done.
“That is what the Shining Hand means to magiker: rebellion against the Rike, usurpation of power which is not ours to take, and death for treason against the throne. To most of us, at least. If there are magiker out there showing the palm and making the sign…”
Sif sat back, head spinning. That was just about the worst case scenario, in her mind. The Shining Hand was a conspiracy after all, almost certainly. “If there are enough of them that they can meet in the open, then they must be pretty far along. Do they want the same thing as last time?” she wondered.
Leifsson lifted a shoulder and went back to the informal register. “I don’t know. There are people I can talk to about this.” He tapped the table. “I haven’t known you for very long, Sif Hrothgarsdottir, but I know you want to dig deeper. Don’t. Leave this alone. If you happen to cross paths with the Shining Hand again, bring the evidence to me.”
Lilja half-raised her hand, then blushed and lowered it quickly. “Why not just tell the mundane authorities this time?”
Leifsson shook his head. “The Thanes’ Moot would take it as evidence that the Akademier foster disloyalty and push to bring us fully under their control.”
“Aren’t we fostering disloyalty, if we’ve had two conspiracies, now, to overthrow them?” Einar asked.
“I suppose,” Leifsson allowed, at length. “They have no real understanding of what we do, though. They would send us all to the front, and we would either fall to the ontr or tear the world apart. If we magiker don’t stand apart from the thanes, we’ll all fall. Not just us; the Rike altogether.”
“That’s good enough for me,” Sif said. Einar and Lilja turned in unison to look at her. She endeavored to put on an honest expression. The other two exchanged a glance, then nodded to Leifsson.
“I guess it’s good enough for all of us,” Einar said.