Thursday, July 1, 2010

300 - Adieu, oh Light of Stars

Gannara made me stay in bed and left Ili with me the first day with orders to sit on me if I tried to get up.  He brought a Haian in to see me, telling inn staff I had contracted a chill, having been silly enough to get my feet wet.

The young Haian asked me what had happened and sniffed when I told him I’d fallen off a bridge into the canal.  “And you are not going to say who helped you fall off the bridge.  I understand,” he said.  “You are lucky I was able to straighten your nose somewhat and needn’t worry about having any difficulty breathing through it, once I take the packing gauze out of it.”

Gan sniffed.  He had Ili and Jiaklem both on his lap.  “Thank you, kere Haian.  Minakas, you listen to him!”

“I always listen to a Haian!”  I said a little nasally.  Ili giggled at my packed-nose tone.

There were no questions asked about my smashed glasses and torn robe by the lock bridge, or perhaps one of they young hooligans came back later and threw them after what they thought was my corpse.  My teeth settled back into their places in my mouth and I stayed out of sight the rest of the eight-day.

Gannara bought me another pair of glasses with the same subterfuge we’d done to get them in the first place… then went back a few days later to get a second ‘clear glass’ lens to ‘replace’ the broken one.

I didn’t replace the scholar’s robe and considered digging the Hyerne men’s veil out of the bottom of my pack but decided against, since it would be even more striking and out of place in Yeola-e than my slightly dirty blond head once I went out again.  I told Ili I’d had an accident, the same story I had told the Haian, so as not to upset him.

I kept telling Gan it was like a bad training session with Ice Eyes, but he kept not believing me, making me convalesce a lot longer than I wanted to.


“I am very, very displeased with you, young man!”  The voice I hear is female. “My Superior is upset with you as well.”

“Your Superior?  Why can’t I see you? Who are you?”

“Terribly unscientific thinking.  Sloppy.  Adolescent nonsense.”  The voice sounded annoyed and precise and just a trifle petulant.  “Young man.  You have not been using the brain given you.  Inexcusable!  It is a good one, if I do say so myself.  And you have not noticed more gentle hints, so I shall have to be crude.”

“What?  I don’t understand.  Who are you?”

A heavy sigh as if she were frustrated.  “Take a look at what could happen if you continue to indulge in your pubescent fantasies and continue to send supposedly anonymous gifts to Kyriala Liren.”

The haze in front of my face fades and I am looking at the Hall of Serene Justice.  An Arkan… a solas but not a mere sereniteer grandly gestures Kyriala to a seat.  Her face is a mask, showing nothing, as if she faced the fat guy.

“Serina.  You lied to us, telling us you had had no contact with the former Spark of the Sun’s Ray, as evidenced by our most recent session, which included truth-drug as per the Imperatrix’s policy.  You will be charged with the obstruction of Imperial justice, your sentence to be decided by the person wronged, the Imperatrix herself.  This could be as lenient as thirty lashes or as severe as death, at her discretion.”

“As She Who is the World’s Intelligence demands, Ser,” Ky said quietly, elegantly and with poise as she did everything.  “Surely She will understand I have not encourage the Spark –“

“—former Spark,” he corrected her and she inclined her head gracefully acknowledging the correction.

“Former Spark of the Sun’s Ray’s continued attention.”

“That will be up to She Whose Choice is Universal.”

And the haze shifted to show a whole waterfall of things that could happen, everything, all jumbled together.  Ky stripped and flogged, publicly.  Ky displayed in a kind of pillory, under public eyes.  Ky impaled in Presentation Square. Ky on a table. Ky stripped of her citizenship and sent out of the city.  Ky made okas. Ky sent in disgrace out of the city to a distant province...

“No! No!”  I yelled.  “None of that is fair!  I’ve been sending her presents, yes but she doesn’t know where I am, she’s not obstructing them looking for me!  Not really…”  I subsided.  She was holding secret that I was sending her gifts.

I was putting her in danger.  

"Now you see, foolish boy.”

“I have to stop.”

“If that will be enough.”

“Yes.  I have to convince her that KB is someone else, not Kefas Bear.”

“If you can.  Her mind is a good one as well.  One I am very proud of.”

“You’re not her mother.”

“No.  But I am part of what makes her.  The stuff of life that I make is intricate and delicate and stronger than steel in its way.  Life is a more worthy substance to create with than stone and metal and bone and wood.  Or even the chemical changes to dead things that create other things.”

I don’t know what reminded me of Ailadas’s drunken soliloquy but I said, hesitantly, “You mean like wine?”

“Enough of that!”  The voice sounded miffed… I’d guessed right, I felt.  “You, young man, have got to start paying attention!  How Many have to strike you on the head to knock the incorrect theorems you carry so carefully, out of them?  How many mortals?

“Wait… wait… you’re…. You’re a…”

I reached up to feel if my eyes were open in this fuzzy dream of faces and whiteness and sharp smells.  “Heal up, boy.  If you… as I said before, I shall be crude… get your head out of your ass, you will see Me again.”

I snapped awake, drenched in sweat that smelled of all kinds of strangeness and my swollen eye opened all the way since it had squeezed shut, just in time to see a white rat upon the window sill of the inn.

It stood up upon it’s hind legs, pink eyes gleaming in the moonlight… wait, it was dark of the moon.  I blinked and looked again, there was no rat upon the sill.


“Dearest, most beautiful Serina,

I must, in sorrow, reveal myself and bid you adieu without ever having spoken to you.  I am Kerias Burien and I saw you from afar at your re-coming out fete.”  I read this out loud.  Mama said “Oh!  The admirer, sweetheart… but why must he bid you adieu?”

“I’m just getting to that, mama.”

“I saw you, radiantly beautiful and could not make myself approach you, and had to express my admiration for you somehow.  Alas, my esteemed father has found out why my allowance has been so early spent and has forbidden any more such unseemly and forward gifts, since I am a betrothed man; to the daughter of his dear friend, almost since early childhood, so there is no question that I should even think of addressing another lady, however smitten I have been.”

“How tragic!” Kara cried.  “How noble!”  Personally I thought it sounded like he was reading too much of Shirmiras’s Classical Love Advice for Young Men, larding his words with sentiment.  I think I know why you are doing this.

“How unfortunate,” mama said.  “He might have otherwise offered for you, dear.  However obscure an Aitzas family, he certainly had an abundance of gifts to offer you.”  You’re getting older and need to think of someone's wealth, in other words.

“And because of my profligate and public gifting, father had decreed I must return to our estates in Irinina…”

“That’s almost as far away and wild as Outer Kurkania!”

“There to reside until my planned wedding day.  Adieu, oh Light of Stars!  I shall cherish a chaste and pure image of you in my heart!”

Kerias Burien, Aitzas

P.S. Enjoy the gifts, I’ll make good with father and needn’t ask for them back…


That… could it be Kerias Burien really?  Instead of Kefas Bear?  That… last line.  I was so sure it was M. But he is devious.  Oh Minis, you try to make me doubt you.

A reminder that tomorrow (rather, later today) is a Canadian holiday, so I won't be posting.


  1. She was holding secret that I was sending her gifts.

    I think 'secret' should have an article. It sounds simplistic otherwise.


  2. That was good, but I think since I've passed 300, I need to return to reading PA for a while.

    I'll be back, don't worry.


  3. I used the archaic construction quite deliberately.

  4. Not a problem! I quite understand. I'll be here, still.