Thursday, August 19, 2010

326 - Thy Freedom's Sacred

I’d sent Gannara and Ili ahead of me, explaining that I didn’t want to let Joras get away.  Every Mahid, under 2nd Amitzas’s command was a danger to all Arko as far as I was concerned. 

The boy I paid off to let the Marble Palace know was herb-high but perfectly focused on both the copper I gave him and the possibility of gaining some of the reward chains offered.  

He vanished into the Black Gate to the Sereniteer's offices, as the feasting and dancing continued.  Chevenga, on the Presentation Platform, carved and sang and talked with everyone He served as I waited. I tucked myself into a group of Dyers, passing a drum around, under the Lakeside Arch, waiting to see if something would come of it and so saw Joras fall and get carried off. Whoever planned that, did it well.  And fast.  I hoped Chevenga would commend him, or them.

Immediately after that I decamped and thanked my fellow Dyers for sharing around their instruments, since I had not brought mine. I couldn’t make Gan and Ili wait so I went straight home to the apartment and reassured them I hadn’t been crazy enough to try and report Joras myself.

Jiaklem crawled into my lap when I had my arm around Ili and I found myself listening to the noise we could hear all the way from the square, and thinking about the second Ten Tens.


...the battle... it was no longer a battle... it was a massacre.  2nd Amitzas’s grandson... the kid in the black armour was laughing as he hacked at wounded on the ground... they couldn’t get away from him, he wasn’t aiming to kill but to torture. There was blood everywhere  “I’m 3rd Minis Aan you worm-sons!  You prostrate yourselves to me! You will! I am the Blackest Sun! How dare you defy ME!?”

I flung my hands over my eyes and was on my knees.  “Gods!  Please, no.  He’s doing that to Arko, to Arkans!  No! Can I stop him? Can I stop this?”

I’m in bright sun.  Standing on the Presentation Platform.  There’s a headsman’s block set up, and a... a... Mahid but one dressed in dark red, not onxyine.  It’s odd.  He’s calm but I can see traces of compassion on his face.  What kind of headsman is he?

I look up to the Balcony and Chevenga sits on the throne there, in the Imperial Robe.  He is weeping, I can tell, though if you didn’t know him, you’d not see it.  His voice in my ear... “You don’t need to do this, Minis.”  I consider it... and the battlefield and the screaming maniac torturing Arkans begins to come back like a corpse floating up out of deep water, gradually.

I know.  I realize.  I know what I must do.  I don’t want to die but the power to stop that madman from torturing and murdering the city, and the Empire does lie in my hands. I know it.  I know it down to my guts.  It won’t be me who tries to take the Empire back to my father’s vision, but a boy using my name.  No.  I am not worth more than all the people in the Empire.  My life is nothing against that weight.

My responsibility. Do I have the courage to do what is the right thing? The best thing?  Ancestors help me.

I woke in the middle of the roof garden of the apartment.  I was just sinking into the odd pose for Aras, as if I was practising the Ten Tens and froze.  It was past the middle of the night and there was no one to see me, from the tenement windows next door.  I wasn’t supposed to be up here... it was the landsera’s private space.  My hands... my bare hands... came up to cover my face.

I had the power to make the future, if I believed my dreams and the battle was all too real, too plausible for me to dismiss it as a fearful fantasy.  And if I did turn myself in, Chevenga would not want to execute me.  Knowing him, section 14 compartment 8, the law that called for my public death was probably struck from the books already.  I hadn’t checked.

I knelt down, still with my hands over my face, suddenly full of fear.  Can I do this? I must do this.  I have that responsibility. Even Ilesias the Great had something to say about it.  “Thee Imperator is nought thing withouten thee people. A good Imperator does remembern theese fact and is prepared to given Hymself withouten let and down to thee last drop of blood.”

“I hear, oh Ten,” I whispered into my hands.  I could not put off the decision. I slid down into the full prostration to the Gods though I could not stop a sob from pushing its way out of my mouth.  It was the best I could do for Arko.  It was the correct thing to do, whatever happened to me.  It was decided. I decided. “I will obey.”


In the morning I found this upon the table, in my handwriting, and had no memory of writing it.

I made thee with free and wild wings and thou didst almost flutter so far from Me that I could not save thee, wind’s kiss, soul flyer, gem of air and sun, and now… thou wouldst fly straight into the candle flame, eluding yet My love, that would snatch thee back… would crush thee, smear the dust from rainbow wings, destroy forever thy airy flight.  In sorrow I must watch, and cry, for thy freedom I must let thee die, for all My power, or what I will, oh child. Thy freedom’s sacred for good, for ill.


  1. oh Minis, please don't do anything stupid...

  2. Minis says: Sera, are you Yeoli? You sound like my adoptive brother Gannara. Rest assured I shall do nothing 'dumb' as he would say. I am, however, considering doing the right thing. Perhaps it is my Mahid side of the family coming out, to want to be correct and on the side of the right for once.