The Wall of the Lost
By Minakas Akam
There is an unconsecrated, forgotten graveyard in the Marble Palace. In the hallway leading to the Imperial Burial chamber, towering up to the gallery above, where the public passes by to proceed to the Crystal Throne room, there is a wall with a number of carved images on the marble tiles.
There are no names carved into the stone and people pass by, without consideration, every day. Behind the marble tiles, each one four handspans across and perhaps five high, there is a body.
The Imperial Family has been burying its failures in public view, without rites, without regard, for at least five generations. The Aan Imperator, if a member of his family failed him, would have that person executed and their memory excised from the public record. Birth certificates and all record of the existence of such a person would be destroyed.
It is possible that the latest resident of the wall is the once Spark of the Sun’s Ray, Seventeenth Kurkas Aan, who was Heir when the Spark in Exile, Minis, was the coronet, so that it is possible that there are those who could be encouraged to recall the older son…
I looked up from my rough draft of the piece I’d sent to Intharas before leaving Arko. It would probably be a while before I was able to get caught up with the Pages to see if he liked it.
Gannara was just showing Ili how to swing a stick in tight quarters, after having asked the sailors if he'd be out of the way enough on that particular chunk of deck.
The rain had stopped and the wind picked up so the deck was bounding up and down in the waves, the sails bellied out tight again. Gannara had Ili holding a stick across both arms in a horse-riding stance trying to stay steady as the ship went up and down. He was giggling.
I supposed I should do some kind of standing practice while we were onboard… or I’d get soft and pudgy again. I was starting to have ‘being fat’ dreams again for some reason, along with the ‘somebody calling me’ and ‘everyone searching for me, while I hide' dreams. I guessed there was a reason for the last two, since everyone and his dog was looking for me.
I tucked my papers away and went over to join Gan and Ili. “Heya, tikere,” I said in Yeoli, meaning ‘Hey, little brother.’ Then continued in Enchian which he had not had a lot of practice in. “Let me borrow your stick?”
“Ummmm.” His little face scrunched up as he tried to figure out what I had just asked him. “Yes?” He offered me up his stick.
“That’s good, little brother,” I said to him in Arkan. “I won’t have to tickle you until you remember!” He squealed and tried to tickle me and I fended him off with the stick. “See? It doesn’t have to have a pointy end to keep you safe from attack!”
He pushed against the end of the stick, giggling and I turned sideways to grab him around the waist as he stumbled forward. “Here. Can you climb on my back?” He was very glad to be the extra weight on me and for good measure put his hands over my eyes so I had to find my balance by feel.
In the darkness caused by his warm little fingers I said. “I think you are working hard enough that we need to buy you your first knife to practice with, Ili. Maybe in the next market we go to.”
“Minakas, what kind of knife? A real knife? A BIG knife. I want a sword! I want a sword!!!”
“No, Ili. For a sword you start with a stick, like Gannara’s given you. You start with a knife as true steel.”
“That’ll be in Hyerne,” Gannara said. “Maybe we should wait and get him one in Yeola-e, when we get there?”
I peeked out between Ili’s partly open fingers and grinned. “Yeha, that's a good idea. I’m not sure I want to be treated like shen and have to wear a veil.”
“Hey, maybe we should buy you a veil and a parasol so you quit getting so sunburned!”
“In Hyerne they’ll probably let me buy a gag!”
“And just who are you talking about, needing a gag?”
“Who do you think, idya?”
“I’m not the idya!”
I put my nose in the air as best I could with Ili on me and in my best Yeoli said, “B’ru, mi amimya idya!”—‘No, my friend’s the idiot!”
He giggled and tickled Ili on me, so he giggled and wiggled and I lost my balance. Gannara steadied me under one elbow.