Friday, January 29, 2010

199 - Another letter confessed to flames

My dearest Ela,

As before, I cannot say where we are. However it is in a place much safer than our last camping place. Where we were before we were in danger from all kinds of things but it was by the grace of Muunas that we did not succumb to various and sundry.

The frustrating child I once taught has vanished in this harsh school; the Spark continues diligent in his studies, sometimes to excess. Should all my scholars push themselves to the point where I am forced to insist they cease their study for the day.

Our current domicile is far more comfortable than our last though it was acquired with unfortunate... hmm... perhaps I shall be careful of your delicate sensibilities, my dear sister, even if I do never manage to send this letter. In fact I will most likely confess it to Irefas’s Fires the moment it is finished.

If that is the case... let me say it was Mahid perfidy that arranged our living place. It opened up a crack in the unity of the Mahid and their commander, the First Second. He is as ritually oriented as the former Imperator... rest He where the Gods command... and neglected to perform correct funeral rites for two of his own fallen.

The boy is not only acquiring conscience my dear Ela, he is cultivating one that he apparently had in spirit before it was overlaid with years of contrary teaching. He is becoming convinced that he should, perhaps, vanish into obscurity once well away from his Mahid, just when he is proving himself more than capable of actually being a good Imperator. How unfortunate is that? My student is the most unfortunate of fortunates.

We have managed a number of plans for attempted escape. One for the place abandoned last... moons ago now. We have arranged for another attempt but in this valley the weather has not proven good to us.

We have had stores laid up, actually stolen from the former inhabitants of our stopping camp, with others bought, but the summer has been a maelstrom of wind and rainstorms and our prospective escape route washed out by a tremendous mud-slide that took out more of the mountainside than I thought possible.

Having read of the phenomenon I had no inkling of the actual power of earth and water.

We are now frozen into our place, with the snow early and deep. My student is now attempting to make plans for escape in a completely different direction, and attempting to incorporate travel over deep snow. I do not hold much hope for such schemes and fear he must settle himself to endure the increasing demands on him from the First Second.

Ela, that man gets worse as Minis gets better. As he becomes more like the man he wishes to be, 2nd Amitzas attempts to hammer him into the man he believes can take back the Empire. We are at the moment attempting to turn his attention away from the Coronet, pretending he is ‘slow’, so that the First Second is not tempted to begin training the toddler into a suitable support for his brother."
The image he must have of the two sons of Kurkas Aan is so gruesome, so awful I do not understand how he can sleep at night, cloaking his sweet dreams with Mahid duty.

Ela, they killed two innocent men to steal this monastery for us to live the winter in, in comfort. Muunas help me, I find myself not praying enough for them, while the wind howls outside. I have my books and my student... two even, for the Yeoli slave is attentive and learns more in one afternoon than some Mahid in ten years of teaching. And I am not aching. I have some company in the form of Binshala Ilberas, Aitza. A most sensible woman.

I hope to one day be able to write you true letters, Ela, not these ineffectual vanishing words that go up only to the Gods, much good they may do Them. But we are held hard in the two handed grip of a monster and the fear of having a man who fancies himself the apprentice of the Summoner on my old bone’s trail is enough to keep me sitting still within his grip.

We are all held in fear. It will take a miracle to deliver us out from under the weight of possible torment. In that, the First Second is very good at what he does. He informed me without the slightest trace of irony that, quote “Torture is one’s means of maintaining a stock-pile of obedience.” Unquote. Rather than make myself half mad with such speculations, Ela I will finish and burn this letter and go to be with the Yeoli boy and Binshala and the Mirror who is very soothing company while I read.

We will sit in what was once the rectory for the Steel-Armed Brothers and I will remind myself of their sacrifice.

Your loving brother,

- Twenty-first, “I am Mahid. The command of my senior is the will of the Imperator.”
- Twenty-second, “I am Mahid. The Imperator requires no impure substance enter my body.”
- Twenty-third, “I am Mahid. My God(dess) knows if I violate the will of the Imperator.”
- Twenty-fourth, “I am Mahid. I do not speak idly or to inferiors other than necessary orders.”
- Twenty-fifth, “I am Mahid. Showing reactions imply will other than the Imperator's. Show nothing.”


  1. >>I do not hold much hope for such schemes and fear he must settle himself to endure the increasing demands on him from the First Second.<<

    Likely so, but with the Mahid so lacking in practical skills, they'll keep losing people even if Minis doesn't manage a prompt escape. It's the torment that makes a war of attrition unattractive here. Otherwise it would be dandy to sit back and watch 2nd Amitzas hang himself with his own rope.

  2. Ah yes. Watching Mahid without slaves other than Gannara or any of the serving class is funny, but they *have* been trained, at least somewhat. They are kind of like the SS in their ability if... and its a big if... the First Second doesn't stifle their adjustment to doing their own practical work.

  3. "Twenty-first, “I am Mahid. The command of my senior is the will of the Imperator.”

    Has anyone ever noticed that this one could easily be used to foment rebellion among the Mahid?

    I love it that the position that the Mahid are 100% loyal and unturnable is the Arkan's, not the authors.