Thursday, October 14, 2010

360 - Will He Die of Shock?

Min was up on the Marble Palace roof this morning, training with Kallijas Itrean again.  They'd talked yesterday... most of the day actually.  This morning... they were going to be training most of the morning.

I thought it was perfect.  It felt like the perfect solution.  If my Arkan brother could quit beating up on himself long enough to notice, he’d probably make a kyashin good Imperator.  I couldn’t tell anyone yet, until it was announced, and it was like having red ants in my loincloth.

I let the mist from the Fire Fountains cool my face.  Shadowmama liked Farasha a lot… and was holding her tongue about what she thought about Minis.  Shadowpapa liked both of them.  Fara should be here soon… she wasn’t teaching anyone this morning and had agreed to meet me for kaf early this morning.

Specifically to talk about Min.  I wanted... I needed to throw some possibilities out to her... and to him, I suppose.

I had seen so much of the city of me... inside... on Haiu Menshir huge blocks of Mahid wall in my head came tumbling down.  And being home... almost every night... it was like I was sitting in the main square of me... looking at the re-construction of me.  

I could sit in the sun and the mist of the Fountains and pretend that I was all me with no holes with painful edges.  People had thrown enough bridges over the wounds so they weren't quite as big, weren't gaping so raw.

I looked along the pavement toward the Lion Bridge, then across the square.  Farasha wasn’t there yet.  Min had been knocked on his rear by whatever happened in the Imperial Chapel and said he couldn’t talk about it yet.  Chevenga had said he would speak to Kallijas after he left us and Min’s training with Itrean this morning was certain to be interesting.  And then my brother had to go see this Surya person this afternoon, before setting off to this Mahid raid tomorrow.  It was crazy how everything was happening piled on top of one another—There she is!  I leapt to my feet.

“Farasha!  I threw my arms around her and kissed her hello, her mouth tasting hot and sweet. “How are you this morning?  Have you recovered from my weird family yet?” She was so beautiful this morning in her people’s embroidered tunic and trousers, the butterfly-like sleeves making her look like she could fly away in a heartbeat without benefit of a built wing.  Her smile was bright white against her creamy dark skin, that skin that was so soft and smooth, like silk.

She laughed, “I like your family a lot!  They’re very fun to be around.  And so happy to have you back again.” She sat down and I sank back down to my bench next to her.

“So… what did you think of my brother-in-adversity?  He was very nervous to meet you.”

“He seems nervous in general,” Farasha answered kindly. “He looked like he was afraid your family was going to bite him or something.  But was he nervous about me too? That’s sweet.”

“Well, he has a problem figuring out whether people like him or not... and you’re a girl and he’s an Arkan...”

“Well, I do like him.  He is a very traditional Arkan for a would-be Dyer,” she giggled.

“Oh.... um... he’s not really a Dyer... and... umm... I can’t say... umm...  Farasha... can you keep a secret?  Oh hayel... I can’t... ummm... come on... can you come up to the Marble Palace with me and talk to him?”

“Of course, Nara!  You can’t say just that about Minis and leave me so curious,” she teased and got up with me to cross the square.


“Wow... Gan...” She gazed around the halls after I passed her in with me through all the guards and guard posts on the other side of the public offices.  “I’ve never seen anything like this.”

“I’ll take you on a tour soon, all right?”  I wanted to show her the whole building but that would take days… and I still had to pretend that Min was Minakas, at least outside our rooms… I wanted to start campaigning for him right away but I couldn’t even think about that until I found out what Kallijas had said, whether he’d agreed to run with Minis.

“Min?  You around?” I called as I opened the door and I heard Minis groan and laugh from his bed.

“In here Gan.  I’d get up but I’m too tired.”  He sounded happy though.  I peeked into the room.

“I’ve brought Farasha to talk to you.  Are you all right?  Too tired?  What did he say?”

He wasn’t joking about being tired… he was lying naked, spread out flat on his bed, his wet hair spread out on a towel, over the pillow, an odd look on his face, like he wanted to grin but wasn’t sure he was allowed.  But he wasn’t too tired to pull a quilt over himself.  “Farasha?  Gan!  Oh, hello Fara… how are you?”

“I’m fine, thank you Min.” I sat down on the settee next to Fara and she took my hand, she looked at me.

He had the quilt pulled up almost to his nose and he looked as if he wanted to tighten up but somehow couldn’t.  “Gan.... what’s going on?”

“I want to tell her.  I can, can’t I?”

“What?  Oh. um... Gan... it’s... oh hayel.  Serina... Farasha... will you swear silence, please? Sorry to go so formal on you...” She raised an eyebrow looking between the two of us, obviously wondering what we were talking about.

She was unusually solemn and placed both hands, palms flat against her chest, crossed under her throat.  Her people’s oath-taking posture. “Whatever it is you want to share with me must be very important to you both.  Of course I swear to keep silence, second fire come if I lie.”

Minis sat up slowly, pulled his knees up and, still a satin-covered lump, put his chin on them.  He didn’t say anything.  Since I had said I wanted to tell her, he was going to let me. “Farasha... I told you Minis’s first name... he’s Minis Aan.  The old Imperator’s oldest son.  He was Spark of the Sun’s Ray.”

She tilted her head to one side the way she always did when she was thinking.  I held my breath.  “What little I know of the Spark of the Sun’s Ray does not match you at all, Minis,” she said at last, a little smile on her lips. I let the air out of my lungs. Shadow papa knew I was hoping Fara would fit into the family.

He’d told me that it was kind of obvious. I was young for thinking about marriage but I was already hoping she’d start dropping hints.  I’d be willing to wait for a few years but I was sure I loved her.

Min smiled a little, looked a little sheepish which was nice instead of the shame.“Well, yes.  I was a repellent brat when I was much younger.”

“You?  I can’t imagine it!  What did you do?”  I had to grin.  She turned to me.  “You knew him then!?  What was he like?” I shrugged and Minis answered her.

“He knew me after I was becoming reformed, Farasha, he saw me when I wasn’t peeing on people’s heads from balconies.  My father had the tiChevengal made and gave him to me.  I was about thirteen...”

“Yeha, and then he didn’t do what the fat guy wanted and hurt me... he started helping me recover from what the Mahid did to me...”

“Mostly by giving him to my nurse for her to look after... and leaving him alone...”

“Moron.” I teased him and he smiled at me.  It looked so good to see him smile like that.  He’d learned to open up like that on Haiu Menshir.

Idya,” he said almost reflexively.  Fara was looking back and forth between the two of us, listening to us bouncing back and forth between us, her beautiful face brightening with her laugh.

“You two… are just being so silly!” Then she giggled again. “No wonder you two are so close!”

“Yeha,” Minis said. “Then... well a bunch of stuff happened and the fat guy took him away from me then gave him back right before I got rushed out of the city with my Mahid... and it was sort of him and me against the Mahid.” She nodded and signed chalk, glancing at me sideways. 

“So now I’m glad to see him home to his family at least and he can wait for some nice Yeoli girl to ask him to marry her...” I nearly fell off the couch.

“MINIS!!”  It was so strange to hear him just say such things straight out.  It was like whatever had happened in the chapel last night had just unknotted something in him.  He was letting himself be more like himself as a Dyer.

Farasha just laughed, thank goodness but I could feel my cheeks just flooding with blush.  Minis had made me blush instead of me, him. “She could I suppose,” she said.  “But since she’d have to fight me for him, maybe some Yeoli girl needs to ask you!”

I could feel the cool air on the inside of my mouth, where it just fell open on me.  “Fa...Fara... you’re... don’t be silly... you haven’t asked me to marry you!”  Minis swallowed, paling at the idea of a Yeoli girl asking him such a thing.  She had a smile on her face that I couldn’t call anything but wicked and delighted both. “Not yet, we’re too young.  But I reserve the right, obviously!”

“Oh.  Um... of course!  But...I’d want to make sure my brother and I could marry together...”  I had been thinking that for a while, but I’d never said it out loud.  It wasn’t the way I’d expected to break my hopes to him, but it had kind of come up.  “…and... um... and... but... he’s Arkan...”  Minis suddenly found some energy somewhere, tried to stand up, got tangled in his quilt and fell off the bed onto the floor.  She answered me as if he wasn’t floundering on the floor, gulping like a stranded fish.

“Of course, I assumed so,” she said.

“What?”  Minis had a look on his face as if he’d just fallen out the window and landed on a balcony instead of falling.  “But... but... but... Gan. But Gan... but...”

“If this is what he’s like when a boy proposes to him, I think a proposal from a girl might make him die of shock,” Farasha said.  “Would you die of shock, Minis?”

He started coughing. “Farasha... Gan, that’s not FAIR she doesn’t know what’s going on!” He climbed up off the floor, wrapping himself up tight in his quilt.  “Farasha... you swore second fire come and you’re talking like you’d be willing to…” he choked on the words.  “If… when I come back from a short trip… this thing I have to do… I... I’m going to be entering the campaign to become Imperator... among other things to save my life... if I don’t win, I’m subject to execution under Arkan law... and... once I win... I’m... not... I mean... I’m not sure I’d be a good marriage partner... Gan--”

I was sputtering, half horrified, half laughing.  He threw up a hand to stop me interrupting him, such a Yeoli gesture. “This is not more ‘I’m bad/evil/wrong horseshen... this is real... especially for someone considering being that close...”  He sat down like a collapsing tent.  “I... will need to court Kyriala again... or...   sorry.  I’m just realizing...”

“Fara, in Arko it’s the man who asks the woman...”  I said while Minis muttered to himself realizing all the things he’d just blurted out.

She looked between the two of us again but concerned this time.  “Minis, you can’t marry in a four like the previous Imperator?”

“My father wasn’t... oh... you mean Ch’venga.  He’s still Imperator for a few more moons... I... could.  I just never thought... once I released Kyriala... I quit thinking of marriage at all!  Ever!”

She glanced at me to see if I had anything to say first and then turned back to him.  “Minis... do you not see that as a both lovable and powerful person, you have many options open to you for marriage, should you want them?”

He stared at her like he stared at Ch’venga sometimes.  But he was really listening to her.  I moved over beside him and put my arm around him, I could feel my grin pulling at the scar on my cheek I was smiling so wide.  I was just so proud of him.  What had gotten into him?  It was a little like he’d gotten all the tightness knocked out of him. Was it something that Kallijas had done?  Or said?  He’d obviously said yes so maybe that was it.  Having two men like Ch’venga and Kallijas willing to back him up had to have changed him.

“I think he’d make a really good Imperator... and he needs people like us to keep him from chewing himself to bits!”  I said.

She smiled and shrugged. “Sounds like... a lot of fun!” She flung her mane of wavy hair back off her face.  Minis stiffened in my arm, looked at her, panicking suddenly.

“Oh... shen,” he groaned. “If you ask him to marry you… and he still wants to marry me…I’ll have to meet YOUR family too...! Don’t ask him to marry you!  Please, Fara... don’t ask him, don’t ask me...!  Kyriala... she’ll NEVER say yes to such an arrangement!  Oh Ten!  Oh my Great God!”

“Minis...” Fara sat down on his other side and threw her arm around him from the other side so we had him between us.  He twitched and then looked from her to me and then back again.

“‘s’all right, Fara... he’s used to Yeolis!” I said and shook him a little. And then I turned to him.  “Do you realize what an idya you’re sounding like right now?  This is all just possibilities... got that?”

“I would never want you to do anything you don’t want to do... and neither would Gan,” Fara said.

Minis looked at us both and pulled in a deep breath and I suddenly held mine, feeling like something was looming… I had no idea what was coming but he was about to do something wild, I knew. His grin startled me and then he turned to her and said… almost as smoothly as if he were Yeoli, “Farasha... you have very, very nice breasts and I was very jealous of Gan... excuse me for being so forward.  Please don’t think my panicking means anything about you... all right?” She giggled at him. “I’m not your typical Arkan...  I didn’t expect all this... could we go to the Lesser Baths so I can soak my head – again?”

She smiled at me around Minis. “I wouldn’t mind.”


My thanks to GreenGlass for playing Farasha in this scene.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous said...

    Please, oh pretty please, all-powerful Author, write what happened from Minis' pov since he left the presence of Muunas until this!! Please oh please lest I die of curiousity!!

    Ann O
    October 7, 2010 10:59 AM
    Vryka said...

    You mean the session between Minis and Kallijas? The training session? I will...
    October 7, 2010 11:37 AM
    ViraVera said...

    October 8, 2010 1:22 AM