Tuesday, June 16, 2009

65 - I am disappointed

My secretary, Tirias, came in after she left, looking harried. “Spark of the Sun’s Ray, this lowly one is abjectly apologetic… the slaves’ papers…”

He looked more than harried… he looked sick. I finally realized. “Mil Loran, don’t worry. The papers are in my keeping. Sit down. You may have a cup of kaf if you like.”

Tirias blinked at me. The Winter Palace was less formal, but I had never been so informal with him. Then he sat, so abruptly it was as though his knees failed him. He must have believed I was enough like Father. “Try one of the rolled griddle pastries…” I saw him visibly take hold of himself, before reaching for a cup. “There are no additives in them, or in the cream cakes.”

I waited until he’d added the foamed cream, cinn and chocolate to his cup before I continued. “Mil Loran, I’m going to need a very special bureaucrat to administer my new estates. Preferably a young and ambitious one, with the courage to go into newly conquered territory. One who will be able to get the most out of recalcitrant slaves without stirring up their resistance.” He nodded quietly. “Oh, and I’d like to interview them myself. Father wishes me to learn more about administration.”

He sipped his kaf and nodded. “With the exalted one’s permission, this one will summon candidates from the city for tomorrow morning.”


After the young men began showing up, lining up to sit and wait for me to interview them, I decided that I would give Mil Loren a bonus. On no notice at all there were eight within a bead of Dinner the same day, apparently ready to wait on my attention overnight if they had to.

Since they were there, I invited them all in to dinner and to have a glass of wine afterward. I told them all I wanted no ‘interview’ this evening but for them to mingle, to introduce themselves. I excused myself for a few minutes and slipped out to knock on Ancherao’s hut door.

“Come in…” I had caught her eating as well.

“Ancherao. Hi. Sorry to interrupt.” She’d set her bowl down and gotten up when I came in. “Would you like to see the candidates so far for administrator? I’m having an impromptu gathering with all the candidates who’ve come for interview already.”

“Yes,” she flipped her hand. “But why would I be there?”

“Oh. Um… could you hold a tray of hot hand towels? That would be easier on your shoulder than carrying wood in for the fireplace. In the tunic no one will look twice at you.”

“All right, I can do that.”


I flung myself back into my chair, disappointed. Binshala had closed the door on the young men. Diligent as they were, with impressive credentials, carefully dropped into the conversation, there was not one I wanted. It was more a feeling. They were all ‘too’ diligent in a way.

Ancherao sat down without waiting permission. Yeolis. Hmph. “I’ll interview the whole lot and send them politely on their way,” I said. “I guess if my secretary needs help he’ll have his pick of them.”

“I think you might be right,” she said. “It was very odd, being invisible. I could look at them all I wanted. You shouldn’t be upset that you haven’t found the perfect clerk right off.”

I sniffed. I hadn’t thought I was showing it so clearly. “I guess. I think I will do this again for the next lot. You want to do this again?”

“Yes. If I’m working with the man, I’d like some measure of him.”

I nodded. “All right. Do you know how to skate? Faibalitz?”

“No. I don’t even know what it is.”

“I need to skate some. The track… is out there. If you want you can come out later.”She didn’t say if she would or not. I was more disappointed than I let on. She wasn’t a friend.

No comments:

Post a Comment