Saturday, March 27, 2010

237 - Saying Goodbye

And it was Ili who saved us again. He tucked Kefas bear under his arm and marched over to the donkey keeper, ducking under my grab. “I want to pet him!”

“Exalted young ser, of course the high one may pet the donkey.”

“…sorry about that, Honourable Marble Palace servant…” I nearly fell over my tongue and called him by title but managed to put something else in place as I chased after.

“I’m a Public Chamber Sweeper/Driver Second Level, Honourable Scholar.”

“Thank you for letting the exalted boy pet your adorable animal.” Ili that’s enough. Come ON.

“Ahem. Yes, Ili he’s very cute but he’s also a working animal… ahem… as I read to you the other day.” Ailadas showed up and began lecturing so smoothly I almost believed him myself that he’d taught Ili all about it. The Public Chamber Sweeper’s eyes were glazing over already at Ailadas's fruity tones describing in detail about the donkeys. 

He was probably quoting from some text that I’d never read.
Still lecturing, Ailadas picked up Ili who put his head on his shoulder and we walked out of the Marble Palace with no one calling after us. He kept it up, a monologue to Ili and to me, so I must pull out my noteboard and take notes and Kaita and Gannara attending Kyriala, all the way out to where we could receive control of our animals from the Palace handlers.

Ailadas put Ili on his donkey and handed Ky and Kaita up on theirs as well. He and Gannara and I chose to walk, leading our animals in the crowded city. I had Ili’s lead-rope in my other hand as well.

We headed past the Fire Fountains, aiming for where the Liren manor had been, without talking much, letting our hearts settle down. Yesterday evening we had discussed what to do, in the city, once we were released from our guards.

Ailadas would take Kyriala home and the rest of us would wait in the park that used to be down the street from the Liren Manor. Ailadas and Kyriala would see if the house was still there. Or if it had burned and been rebuilt. And Ailadas would knock and inquire if the Lirens still owned the property.

If so he would be Kyriala’s rescuer and would see if they welcomed her in. If not, then they would both rejoin us and we’d think of something else. She was paler than normal but that was hard to see.

The little park at Silfashas boulevard was still there, and the horse-trough and hitching rail so we could let the animals rest while we waited. Ky got down while her horse drank, and stood next to me.

“Serina...” I dropped my voice almost to a whisper. “Safe home.” Selestialis I didn’t want her to go. I didn’t want to say goodbye. “We'll leave you here then... home safe... and if there's trouble you can always get a hold of Aimondes Hirin your old uncle… we’ll send a note for when we get him settled… since you can now read such things for yourself.” My eyes hurt as if there was pressure behind them and I had to blink hard to keep them from watering. My chest hurt too.

“I… yes.” Her voice is huskier than usual, and her eyes are red too. “Any you will wait here in case father… in case it's not my family any longer?”

“We’ll wait. And Ailadas will be with you.”

“I know… I know…you cannot tell me where you’re going…”

“… I’ll write to you. I promise. Can’t tell you how often…”

“… someone could track your course if you wrote even every week…”

“… I will write…” We were both breathless.

“Thank you.” She said. “This park is very dusty, don’t you think?” She pulled out a kerchief and pressed it over her eyes.

“Um. Yes, Kyriala… Ky…”

“…Muunas and Selinae keep you and bless you… Keep you safe.” she said from behind the kerchief.

I cleared my throat that was full of moisture somehow. She was right, this park was very dusty. “Thank you.”
I almost missed her whisper. ‘I’ll… I’ll miss you.” I bowed down all the way in a fessas bow to Aitza, with all the respect I held for her. 

“I will always remember who you really are,” she said in that same low voice, taking her handkerchief down. “If I may ever dance again…” I could barely hear her as I rose from my bow. “… may it never again be with Mahid!” I had to grin at her, my face fire hot, and she managed a giggle. “Because they stink at dancing.”

That made me grin despite my eyes being full of water. “They certainly do…” I backed up another step or two and said in my best fessas “M’lowly God protect yeh, Serina. T’ exalted is too kind. – Muunas and Selinae keep you safe too.”

She hugged Ilesias and both bears goodbye and Kaita, who cried. She nodded at Gannara and he grinned at her. “Bye, Ky,” he said… a lot more like the free Yeoli he should have been. “This won’t be forever, I’m sure. I’ll make sure he writes you.” He tilted his head at me. That made her smile a little more even as she cried, teardrops on her cheeks and eyelashes as she turned to courtesy to Ailadas, exactly properly, and he patted her on the back, a little awkwardly.

“Ahem. Ahem… Well said my dear… Ahem. Shall we then… ahem…”

“Thank you, Ailadas.” She got back on her little mare and Ailadas and she rode off down the street. It wasn’t perfectly straight up here, so near the palace, curving gently to match the Rim walls so I watched them out of sight around the curve.

I turned away and scrubbed my filthy, watering eyes with my gloves and Gannara didn’t say anything. I had to draw a bit of water from the horse trough tap to wash my face, to clear away the dust making my eyes tear up.


  1. Having worked with donkeys, horses, and ponies of various sizes, I'm just continually amused by the concept of mini donkeys in the Marble Palace. *grins*

  2. Aaigh, cuteness and a cliffhanger

  3. I aim to please... and tease...

  4. lol, you do both very well. I very much enjoyed catching up.

  5. Glad to have you back Greenglass. I should put Gian back in...