Friday, June 5, 2009

57 - Hiding in my Bed

Misahis’s office and rooms were a tiny chip of Haiu Menshir embedded in the body of the Marble Palace. It was off the administrative wing but high enough that his windows looked out over the lake and the green forest. He had gotten the glass frosted so that when they were closed the blues and greens blurred and one could imagine it truly was Haiu Menshir outside. The windows were open a few hand-breadths to let fresh air into the rooms.

It smelled like him, the incense peculiar to him and most Haians. There was a desk and chair but most of the furniture in the room was low. Cushions and a low, backless couch on grass matting. Grass in the Marble Palace. I smiled at the thought. Like a grass hut.

The tapestries to warm up the stone were island scenes and he had a brazier inside a stone guard carved like a big prickly apple. It was warm as summer. Warmer than usual in the Marble Palace because it was usually such a cold building, with damp in the depths. He set me down on a cushion and wrapped my soft fluffy blanket tight around me.

“Is this really what Haiu Menshir is like?”

He sat down on the cushion opposite me. “No, not really. People who hire us on the mainland have an odd idea what the island or the university is like. They try to give us their best approximation. I am very pleased that my contract ensures my privacy.” The shell wind-chimes rattled softly in the cool, fresh breeze from the open windows.

“I’d like to see Haiu Menshir someday.”

“Perhaps you will one day. Would the Spark of the Sun’s Ray like tea?”

“Umm. Yes, please.” I slid down on the cushion and watched him put a pot of water inside his prickly apple brazier and set out the tiny cups and whisks and paraphernalia. I blinked and blinked again and yawned. It was so peaceful. “Misahis, I don’t want to just go to sleep on you. I already did.”

“If you doze while the water heats, I will not be offended. You are welcome now in my rooms, Spark.”

“Thank you. Just in here… could you… could you please call me Minis?”

“All right, Minis.”


For the next eight day I stayed mostly in bed. I spent a lot of time just falling asleep in the middle of things. At night I kept waking up dreaming of the feeling in my hand, dreaming of murdering people. It was Shefenkas a lot of the time… sometimes it was my own face. Sometimes Father. Sometimes it was my new little brother.

The murder of the Yeoli didn’t make things better. I could hear and feel that Father was not settled. I dreamed that the Marble Palace was the hard coating of a seed and Father was the larva inside it bursting out to splash out over the whole empire. I sent for Ailadas to read me some of my lessons, while I huddled in the bed, to give me something to think about.

I had people coming in to see if I wanted anything and I realized they were really looking for a refuge in my rooms. I found all kinds of things for them to do. I even sent my companions to help dust the Heir’s Library to keep them in a place Father wouldn’t think to go.

The Pages were a welcome distraction even though the ink got all over my hands and sheets. FLOODING IN MARSAE, and TROOPS IN YEOLA-E PUSH INLAND. The war news I tried to read but just couldn’t bear. Instead I went to the gossip pages and read all the wild lies about Karas Raikas, the boys who swore he’d hired them and his privates were the size of a fang-lion, or a bull; the stories about the new crop of Mezem sword-bucks and speculations about this one or that one. But not many of those because I kept thinking that I knew what it felt like to kill someone now. And that brought back my shaking or I’d have to go wash my hands and arms at the very least, even my whole body if it were bad enough.

I was able to read the Serpent’s Tale things and avoided last fight-day lists of kills. I read one columist I always liked, Diferas Beram, who wrote about all kinds of things but mostly funny. I loved his stories about his stupid dogs, a great hound and a lap-dog who were phenomenally dumb.

Binshala stopped pretending that she wasn’t holding me at night when I had bad dreams but I didn’t object and neither of us said anything.


  1. Hah! I remember that show. It was . . . oddly appealing. The episode that made the largest impression on me was the one in which the lap-dog encountered the Personified Spirit of Electricity.

  2. I'm confused. Did I reference a show I didn't know? I was thinking I was channelling Dave Barry with his dogs Ernest and Zippy?

    Which show are you thinking of?

  3. A cartoon from the early Nineties, which I think was based on those very same columns, called, aptly enough, "2 Stupid Dogs."

  4. I'll have to check it out. You learn something new every day!

  5. I thought of '2 stupid dogs' when you said that too.

    RavenRux (the other Michael)