She had fought alongside Eldrad in battles and debated his cause in counselling Chambers across the galaxy, but never before had she been welcomed into his sanctum. The Opener of the Seventh Way hated the feeling that she was privileged in some way, that this act was a recognition of her status and importance. Even so, she could not help but feel she had been allowed to look upon something few others could, so she took the opportunity to examine her surroundings in some detail, memorising every piece of furniture and ornament, every artwork, in the hopes of deciphering meaning from them later.
The farseer’s tastes were eclectic – if one was too polite to say random, gauche and prolific. At least, such was Yvraine’s initial thought as she sat on a long couch, the trail of her immaculately tailored Commorraghan court dress heaped around her. She was reminded of the throne rooms of archons that had tried to woo her – romantically and politically – laden with trophies of conquests and subjugations, declarations of power and prestige.
Except that Eldrad barely glanced at them. And his displays, such as they were, had been confined to a set of three chambers that would barely qualify as an archon’s cloakroom. In fact, it was the lack of space, except for the high-vaulted ceilings customary in aeldari architecture, that reinforced the meandering, unkempt nature of the collection.
‘It is just…’ began Eldrad, sensing Yvraine’s thoughts as her eyes roamed the room. He searched for a suitable aeldari word and found nothing that quite fitted and so settled for one of the few perfect human words instead. ‘Stuff.’
Yvraine realised immediately what he meant. These were not heirlooms or trophies, treasured possessions or valued research materials. They were cultural accretions. The accumulation of a life that had spanned five generations of his people. They had been placed with no consideration at all, simply fitted into whatever space had seemed right at the time, and never given a second thought.
He had not even spared them the mental effort of how to discard them.
She stood and gracefully paced to the adjoining chamber for a better view, her long gown sweeping across the red floor tiles. Alorynis looked up from his position on the back of a couch, one eye open, and then settled again, uninterested in her exploration.
The room beyond the archway was almost full with miscellany from a hundred different cultures across a dozen races. Most of it was piled like the spoil heap of a museum, the effluvia of fashions, trends, fads and philosophies as old as Ulthwé itself.
‘Why?’ She did not turn as she asked the question. ‘What is the point of having so much…stuff?’
‘Badges of allegiance. Patronage of artists. Objects of psychic significance I used to trace the fates. Bequeathed artefacts. Ambassadorial bribes. Grave goods. The gifts of suitors. Items absent-mindedly left by visitors. Borrowed objects, equally forgotten.’ The farseer shrugged, his heavy robes barely moving with the gesture. Yvraine caught a tiny flutter of pain, of ancient aching in the body and soul, attuned to his mood and thoughts through their mutual contact with Ynnead. ‘I have another tower, a dozen rooms filled with such detritus of my long life.’
‘I forget how old you are,’ said Yvraine. She sat down again, flicking open her fan in the manner of a kabalite courtier. She regarded the seer over the serrated edge, her smirk hidden. ‘How very old you are.’
‘Old enough to know better than trade quips with the likes of you,’ replied Eldrad, humour in his voice.
[Excerpt | Rise of the Ynnari:Ghost Warrior]