The Marble Palace is pleased to announce the funding approval for the statue of the former Imperator, then Fourth Shefenkas Shaeranoias, now Shefenkas Aisheresas, to be erected at the head of the Avenue of Statuary. The proposed plaza surrounding it will become part of Presentation Square, once the University Buildings “Philosophical Arts” and “Religious Studies” are removed, and the first third of the statues of ‘Solas Muster’ are moved, to an, as yet, undecided location.
All protesters and sundry citizenry concerned about the eventual relocation of the Muster needn’t be. A proposed location has been suggested and feasibility studies should begin shortly about making the boardwalk along the lake the revised location for the various solas statues.
Feliras’s Glory, a once fine dining location of the city, is considering new locations and options, the owner considering retirement. “The location of the new statue would have the restaurant’s view largely obstructed by the back of the statue, and thus one of the fine cachets of the establishment would be lost,” the manager has said.
The incredible statue proposed will be twenty paces from base to highest point of the head, with the raised arm and sword rising another six, and entirely of bronze upon a marble plinth, of rare Nirisian blue and green marble. It will show Shefenkas in the victory position, arms upraised, with an actual steel copy, in large, of the famous Yeoli sword in his one hand. Though the statue will be bronze, the wristlets upon the figure will be palladium and it will have gilded leaves in the hair. All harness fittings shall also be gilded with gold, the loincloth, the softer Yeoli style, depicted flowing in the wind, will be palladium. The top filial of the column under the sandaled bronze feet will be glass and gold.
The artist, Tujiras Oren, is very proud of being commissioned to do the work and speaks glowingly of how magnificent it will be, how imposing against the white buildings of the core of the city. “It will be an astonishing presence in the city itself and spoken of for hundreds, if not thousands of years to come!”
The head of the ‘Commemorative Statue Committee’ Inatalla Shae-Krisa is quoted as saying “We are very proud of this design. It properly reflects the significance and stature of our beloved and often revered former Imperator and chiranyerai and ensures that his place in Arkan history will never be forgotten!”
The Imperatrix has not commented upon the proposed statue save to say that “My brother deserves his credit and his due.”
Construction on the bronze figure is expected to begin in the foundry Faraiksas in the fall and is expected to be finished two years hence. Demolition of the University Buildings is to begin after the summer term, Anae 30, 51st year of the Present Age.
It will be a statue to rival the greatest ever conceived or made and will surely become one of the wonders of the art world. The miniature model produced by Oren to win his commission is available for viewing in the Golden Gallery of the Marble Palace, daily from rim sunrise to rim sunset.
All Arko surely rejoices at this magnificent example of artwork about to grace our city, as much as we do, a masterpiece equal to, or beyond any other artwork upon the Avenue. We look forward with anticipation to the beginning of construction.
I laid the Pages down and stared blindly out of the inn window. Gannara was letting me up and the Haian was telling me he would remove the packing from my nose tomorrow. I had joked to Ili that all I wanted for my eighteenth birthday was the ability to breathe through my nose.
That statue was not Chevenga’s idea. I was sure of that. It was the sort of thing that self-aggrandizing, insecure kings and Imperators did, not him. The idea of some kind of looming behemoth of a bronze statue, towering higher than the glass eagle, as high as Feliras’s Glory… which--was implied--would have had the statue’s ass right outside the main window… I rubbed my almost healed up face with my hands, gently. Oh, whose brilliant idea was that?
I leafed through the Pages and read little stories here and there about protestors sitting all along the edges of the proposed new plaza and at the feet of the solas statues to be moved. The women. Mothers and Grandmothers and little girls, all sitting. And if anyone asked they would answer they were keeping their son or grandson or father, or their brother company. Many were completely silent and could not be said to be ‘making a disturbance’. Others talked to and fussed over the statues as if they were living men. People were saying they couldn’t be touched because they were obviously crazed.
In a supposedly unrelated story, a rash of vandalism was sweeping the city Itself, horses being painted upon the homes and businesses of the Yeoli hawks and Aitzas seen to be collaborating with them in any way.
Chevenga, I understand why you gave us the vote. Did you have to do it this way? In such a way that we lost you, who understood us? ‘You set us free’. Your sister does not know us at all. She is listening to the Hawks and they want to crush us all under their sandals to their profit. The foundry listed as getting the work for that damned statue is owned by a Hawk, Faraiko Terero, as if no one is going to notice that.
The protesters had begun with solas only. Now there were Aitza also ‘sitting with the dead’. Sinimas. Please ask the Gods for me if you would… Chevenga, who did the Ten Tens, who gave Arkan women this sense of power… how could he walk away from this job half done? How could we have voted him out? How? It was unlikely that his sister, Artira would put down the protesters but the Hawks wouldn’t care if they arrested every woman out there, filled the dungeons to bursting, for fear their crazed disobedience would spread to the rest of society.
We have enough freedom to cause a lot of chaos, but haven’t learned yet how to judge our own limits of that freedom. We don’t know how to choose effectively yet.
I picked up the Pages again and turned to yet another story about the breaking down of my society. Gangs of young people… barely children… hanging about in kaf houses and smoking herb, adopting the savage drums of other cultures, the man-high ones of the Srians that could, en mass, apparently shake houses, the hand-drums of the Hyerne high and sharp as a scream, the two-note A-Niah drums and the mid-bass rumble of Haian beach drums… And sporting hair dyed any colour BUT blond, as if they were Mezem fans or even gladiators, denying their Arkaness. They declaim their subversive poetry, or sang their subversive songs or danced their lewd dances on street corners, outside Jitzmitthra, and vanished before they could be arrested by the Sereniteers.
The Pages were calling them ‘Dyers’ and saying they were an Anti-Arkan cult out to destroy society, with their declaiming of subversion on the streets, their encouraging of unsupervised association of young men and young women.
This latest article was ranting about how they were starting to include body jewelry pierced into their ears and noses and cheeks and tongues as if they were slave gladiators. “How is a young girl, properly raised and betrothed, who runs out with these Dyers and comes home with a glass ornament hanging from a bloody lip, ever going to marry her affianced? He would reject her in an instant for having so defaced herself!”
For an instant I imagined Kyriala with a sapphire in her perfect nose, or a fringe of bells on one ear. I cringed, thinking of how much that would hurt her, then thought… I’d marry her in an instant, nose-ring like a savage or not. Then I found myself hoping she actually would do such a thing, if for no other reason than to discourage a proper Aitzas suitor. What am I thinking? I released her! I will never, ever be able to approach her as a suitable candidate for husband… oh how I wished I could have talked her into running away with me, however wrong that would have been. I couldn’t give her children anyway, only if they were raised as ‘Akam’ and never know who I was.
Who was I fooling? I wasn’t even physically capable of engendering children. I no longer tied my genitals down so hard because I seldom rose at all and my perversion was confined to my dreams. Even if I dampened my sleeping shirt occasionally, that was fairly safe. Neither Gannara nor Ili were threatened by that.
These were all madness. She was safest if she married someone else as quickly as possible. I flipped to the Pages of betrothal announcements, suddenly convinced I’d see the notice. My eye snagged on the name Liren and I almost crushed the Page in my hand before I realized it was a cousin of hers, not her.
I wanted to go home so desperately I could taste it. But it would be best if I never did.