Wednesday, August 25, 2010

330 - Why Does it HAVE to be YOU?


Kolkulas Ruren stared at me as I introduced myself as Minakas, as if I didn't know him at all.  He was the owner of the courier business that I had skated for as Sinimas.  “You look like your cousin.  You’re telling me he had to leave without notice?  Forzak.”  He was upset at all?

“M' families’ apologies, sor.  He were a good employee?”

“Wahl, he were a bit high in the kilt fer a fessas ... not good at bein’ humble, but then he were a fantastic skater and very fast.”  Oh. I had tried to be humble enough. “’S good yer lettin’ me know, an him not just disappearin’.  I had two fikken couriers do that just last week, pardon me language, young scholar.”

“Not atal, sor.”  I turned to go and he called me back.

“Oy, wait.  I’ll get his last paychains... ye kin send ‘em on home tah tha lad.”

He wasn’t just going to keep them?  Of course.  He was a good employer.

"I'll pass all'f it along tah him.  Thenk yeh, sor."

I wished I would be in a position to give him more business, but I was burning all my connections behind me.

**

Gannara, with Jia on his shoulder, since Ili was at school, just sat and stared at me when I told him.

“I thought I heard you say you did something really, really, Imperial-Statue-sized stupid.  But I really can't believe you'd be that monumentally stupid, so I hope you'll tell me what you really said."

I sat down, closed my eyes, and said it again.  “I put myself on the audience list, to turn myself in to Chevenga.”

He didn’t yell immediately, the way I expected. “You’re turning yourself in, after all the running we’ve done, after all the work you did establishing yourself as this... scholar person...  but... to Chevenga.”

“I... Gannara...”  That was when he interrupted me.

“NONONOFIKNO! BADIDEA BADIDEA REALLYREALLY BAD!”  It was somewhat disconcerting to see someone who looked so much like Chevenga... or a younger relative of Chevenga... telling me it was a bad idea to turn myself in to Chevenga... I suppressed a smile.  That would just set him off worse. Of course it was a smile as much against myself.

“I KNOW he's nice and he was your friend in the Mezem and blah blah blah but he lives by semana kra and that means he'd squish you fast as a bug under his foot if he thinks it's best for the Empire!”

 He went on in that vein for a while, getting up to pace, telling me in colourful detail how dumb an idea this was. When it seemed like he might be calming down a bit I said mildly...  “Then I get squished like a bug.  If I don’t turn myself in, Arko is going to see a lot of trouble for generations to come.” He turned around and stared at me again.  His mouth opened, then closed.  “I can’t, in good conscience after seeing the Ten Tens that Chevenga did, indulge myself in just disappearing.  Gannara, if the Marble Palace... if the government doesn’t know what happened to me, then anyone... anyone unscrupulous or evil enough, would be able to take my name... my supposed legacy... bloodline... whatever... claim to be a decendant of mine and rip the whole forzak country apart.  Not just in my life-time, either.  My name... my disappearance... is a threat to Arko for hundreds of years.  If I do this, that threat to Arko is gone.”

I hadn’t realized I could argue it quite so passionately.  He was just looking at me now, with his arms crossed, Jia quietly crawling down his back to go hide in his tank in Ili’s room... or under the bed.  He didn’t like it if people shouted at one another.

“And you figure that Chevenga... being a friend... won’t just kill you and be done with it.”

“Yes.  To Chevenga Himself.  I’m not going to hand myself over to any lesser person because they might get overwrought and ‘accidentally’ kill me.  Not that Perisalas Shefenkas seems like the kind who would try to curry favour with Chevenga by presenting Him with my head and an ‘oh oops’ but I want to be sure.  It feels safer doing it this way, and I’d be able to give Him the Imperial Book.”

I wouldn’t be able to carry the Imperial sword into His presence anyway, but He’d get that from the apartment anyway afterward.  The Book was more precious, especially since He was going to need some Imperial precedents from it, if He was going to set up a whole new system of governance for Arko.  The partial copy in Brahvniki was lacking in several crucial essays... and perhaps the first twelve pages would come to life for Him, the way they had for the fat guy.

“You know, you could let me give him the Imperial Book, if it's that important...”

“And they'd truth drug you and come and arrest me, let's save a few steps, shall we?”

“So we split up first and you don't tell me where you're going.  I should go back home anyway. I've been running away from my parents too long.”

“You have. But that doesn't solve the Arko problem... with some kid of 2nd Amitzas's claiming to be my grandson or some shen like that.”

"What if he just decides to lock you up and throw away the key?"

Semana kra.  Then he locks me up and I get to read and write from a nice cell the rest of my life—“

“You wouldn't be happy in that!”

“-- and write letters to my friends,” I plowed on, over his objection.  “The Empire would be safe and my conscience would be clear.”

“You...” His arms dropped and his eyes were full of tears.  “Why does this all have to be up to you? What did you do to deserve all this kyash?”

“I did nothing, Gan, it'll be all right. I'm sorry.”

“Why do you have to be the one to turn yourself in when the fikkers are your father and the Mahid and all those... fikkers....!”  It only took two steps and I folded him in a hug as he choked himself silent.  I could feel him shaking all over.

“It will work out for the best.”

“Why should you get punished now? When it's all over?”

“It’s all right—“

His yell in my ear nearly deafened me and I twitched but didn’t let go.  “NO, IT ISN'T FIKKEN ALL RIGHT DON'T GIVE ME THIS!” There was a scuffle and a splash from the bedroom as Jia hid again.

“I won't get punished... it's Chevenga.  He won't want to hurt me either.  He’ll argue I haven’t done anything wrong, and He’s the Imperator.”

Gan knocked his head against my forehead.  He was as tall as I was even though younger.  “Chains with velvet linings, then.” It was only a little bitter and afraid.

“I've got him on my side.”  Except for that little matter of my letter of confession about raping him.  Now is not the time to mention that.

“Why don't you just stay a dyer forever?”  Gan sniffled and said the thing wailing around in my own heart.  “You'd be happy.”

“Oh... I really really would like that.”  Jia stretched his rubbery eyes around the corner of the bedroom door now that it had gotten quieter.

Gan drew back a bit and looked into my face.  “Be a dyer forever and fik the Empire.”

I had to take a deep breath and hold onto him in my turn, rather than just comforting him.  I wanted so much just to do that, the rumble and click of my skates and the drums, sweet-chiming face jewelry and no care but getting across the city in record time.  Another deep breath.  Goodbye, Sinimas Akam... “But I can't Gan.  I can't throw the Empire away just for me to be happy.  I have that power—“

“Yeah, yeah, yeah. You follow him.”

“--therefore I have that responsibility.”

He turned his face way and I heard him say “Semana kyashin kra, muffled into my shoulder.  Then he looked at me and blinked away tears, trying to draw courage.  “Maybe... maybe it will all turn out okay... somehow...”  I hugged him close again and he squeezed me hard enough it hurt, but I didn’t say anything.

After a long moment, I said.  “The day I go in... I’ll put Ili with Ailadas and hope nobody asks about him.  Chevenga will want to know if he's safe and that will be all.”

Gan twitched in my grasp.  "FIK!"  And Jia scuttled back under the bed. “Fik.  I forgot about Ili. But they'll scrape you!  It's the same thing! If there's a danger that someone will claim to be your descendant, there's a danger that someone will claim to be his! He's still Aan blood!”

I sighed.  That was the thing that hurt worst about it.  I couldn’t smuggle Ili out of the city with everyone and his pet ferret looking for us.  I’d suggest Ailadas get him out... if he doesn’t hear from me.  Or more likely, the Marble Palace.

“They might not believe him to be a threat.  They’ll have me and I’m still technically the Heir in Exile...”

“But he'd be next in line.”

“And the government will know and be able to prove where he is and who his descendants are... I'll ask Chevenga.”

“AAAAIIIIIGGGGGHHH!”

I heave a sigh against his hold.  “If Chevenga thinks I’m innocent of any wrongdoing... he’ll think that even more of Ilesias.  He was the one who taught me how to love my little brother. He'll help both of us.  I’m certain of it.”  At least I hope so. “You'll be able to go home to your parents as you should.”

He clung to that hope.  “You really think so?”

“I do.” I hope.

“But I guess if he’s taking care of you, I don’t have to.  But I’ll miss you!  Fik. Fik. Fik. Fikkety fik.

Is that all this is? You're just looking after me?  Oh, I am so lost, Gannara, I would rather you were my friend than caregiver.

“Gan... you need to find out what YOU need to do all your life... not just look after me, the idiot who bought two slotted spoons instead of a dipper and an extra frying pan instead of a kaf pot!" The one who didn't know how to clean his own anus, at first...  "I'll miss you too.”

4 comments:

  1. It's okay, GG! It's okay, really!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wah, but they're such good people!!! I have to cry! lol!

    ReplyDelete