Wednesday, November 10, 2010

379 - I Hope I Don't Have to Pee Soon

Sometime later, the door opened and Skorsas touched Idiesas on the shoulder.  Gan was close enough to hear him say “He wants you, Idiesas.”  The solas champion refused to get up, but crawled into the room on his belly.  But he didn’t come out again. 
Ili came wiggling through the crowd, with Jiaklem, and latched onto my one hand with both of his.  “Uncle Gan? What’s going on?  The class went home… Teacher Gian wants me to write a project… did someone get hurt? Someone said… someone said…”
As Gannara knelt down to try and explain quietly in Ili’s ear, the spokeswoman was called into the room. “There’s been an accident and Ch’venga was hurt.  He’s going to be all right, according to his healer.”  Ili’s eyes were white all the way around.  “He’s hurt?” His whisper was loud.
That was when the quiet-room door opened again and the Imperial spokeswoman stepped out, Krero with her. Did her face look more calm than when she went in?  She was met with another babble of questions and Jia started cheeping in distress at the noise, right in my ear.
“Is he awake?  What’s he saying, is he speaking coherently?”

“One at a time, please, gentle-sibs.  But let me speak to this first.  Yes, he is awake, he came off the drug fine.  He is in good spirits.  He asked me to pass a message on to you... ‘Thank you for your concern... my healer tells me I will be all right and I have all confidence in him as I always have.  It might be tempting to blame my sparring opponent, who happened to be Idiesas Firnean, but please don’t; I know he wishes me nothing but the best and he does not deserve your anger.  He and I remain friends and I hope we always will.  It was an accident, pure and simple.  I’ll heal, I’ll be all right, I’ll be back with you as soon as I can, I love you all.’  I am pretty sure I have every word right but I am certain I have the spirit of what he said.”

Well that sounds like him... He’d be careful of Idiesas, especially if it was a kevyalin accident.  But... an accident?  An accident?  Gan shook his head.  Chevenga just didn’t have training accidents.  He just didn’t.  Fikket... I’m close enough to family. He slid closer along the wall, with Ili in tow through the crowd. “Sorry, pardon me, so clumsy, so sorry, oops, sorry...”  
Krero glanced over at us.  “Excuse me, Guard captain?” He tried to be calmn and quiet.  “I’m family...” Gan swallowed, looking up not so far up any more into the guard captain’s face.  “If not in blood then in in pain.”  He ran his thumb down his cheek along the old scar.  “I really want to see him.”

“Yeah, yeah, everyone’s claiming to be family in some way.  You’re a tichevenga, so that makes you closer than most, but it doesn’t make you the people he needs with him right now.  He only just woke up... what’s the burning need?”

“I... should give him support... I can’t help the surgeons... but I can hold his foot if that’s all the space there is... I want to help.”

The guard captain’s face softened, but not entirely.  “Mostly he needs quiet right now, and if I let in one person who isn’t blood-family, the others will be calling for my blood.  Hang in there, lad, and send your good wishes through the door.”

“All right.  I’ll keep my wishes coming... Kahara help us.”
“Look, lad, everyone’s worried about him.  But he’s survived worse than this.  He’ll be all right, don’t worry.  And when the healer gives leave to let in friends, you’re in.  Maybe tomorrow, maybe the day after, we’ll see how it goes.”  Then Krero turned to talk to Tanmaras Jerum the guy who founded the “Marble Palace Talk” a new gossip pages.

Ili pressed up against Gan’s side as they shuffled back to the wall by the door and the two of them put their backs right next to the door.
“I hope I don’t have to pee soon,” Ili whispered loudly.

We were in the air going back to the city that same day, leaving part of the raid-force behind to bring the stolen Aitza and the livestock along more slowly.  The two men… I didn’t want to know who they were but I did anyway.  We came down in a pasture next to one of the road inns and set up camp there, the cattle keeping away from us all at one end.  Some of the inn guests and staff came running out to see our wings.
The flyers were used to people’s wild reactions to the wings and answered questions with calm humour even as they began folding wings and setting up camp.  All the prisoners where landed in the middle of the crowd and none of the onlookers got anywhere near them before they had all been hidden away in the tiny tents.
Joras’s unconscious body was unloaded from the wing and carried in under shelter, 1st Elsha, once she was released from the flying harness, followed after his litter and sat down just outside the tent.  She was obviously carrying now that I knew what I was seeing… It wasn’t that she was just wearing a loose, tent-like dress.
Kaneka had sent someone to buy dinner and beer for everyone and he and I sat down next to the keg the innkeeper had set up.  The tiny tents were set up all around now, in the new Empire flying-wing camp plan.  I bet there was a manual somewhere by now in the Marble Palace, written originally in Niah and Yeoli and translated into Arkan.  I’d have to look it up when we got back.  He and I turned away from the keg of beer and with stuffed bread-rolls in our hands, hot from the inn kitchen.
“You’re joking!”  I couldn’t help the exclamation coming out of my mouth when Kaneka told me.  “2nd Amitzas didn’t use his poison tooth?  2nd Amitzas… Ser ‘I am so perfect a Mahid’?  HE didn’t commit suicide as he was supposed to?” Kaneka picked up his mug of beer and drained it, satisfaction in every swallow.
“That kevyalin kyash-eating sheep fikker is going to go back to the Marble Palace into Ch’venga’s hands.”
I managed to swallow the bite of bread-roll.  It was stuffed with red-fish in pepper sauce and vegetables.  “I need to make sure Inensa eats something.”  He held out his hand with the empty mug in it to stop me. “You need to finish your own food.  She’s fine.”
Riryaena and Forlanas settled down beside the two of us.  They were both cleared for knowing who I was… and who Inensa was… as Kaneka’s second and third on this mission.  “Have another bite,” she said as she settled down.  They’ve only been with me a few days, how in hayel do they pick up on my food problems? Or did someone have a quiet word in their ear before we left?
“Lad… even if she does not answer, keep talking to her.  She’s your ma and she’s hearing you.”
“Thank you, Kaneka.  I will.”  I… don’t think I want to tell her that her husband is still alive, but it would be wrong… incorrect.  She is Mahid. Forlanas nodded at me and I took another bite.  It tasted very good but it was hard to swallow.  At least I could manage with my one hand, swapping bread-roll with beer mug.  I had a swig of beer to try and wash everything down and set half-eaten roll on top of my mug.  “I’ll go take her her food.”
She sat upon the bedroll in the tiny tent, as elegant as any posed statue, her head barely clear of the waterproof silk roof.  I had two of the rolls on a plate balanced on top of a mug of beer in my one hand.  As I sat down in front of her she gazed over my head.  “Honoured Mother.” I set everything down and sat cross-legged. She picked up the food but did not touch the beer.  I took a deep breath.  “I must inform you that your honoured husband was not killed in the fighting and he did not commit suicide when captured.”
Her eyes slid down to my face and I wondered if she would actually speak, but she looked down at the bread-roll instead. “Mother.  I hope you will consider staying alive.  I hope you will not think it necessary to follow 2nd Amitzas however he goes.  I am hoping to achieve the Crystal Throne.  I told you that, but I do intend to try.”  There was no one close enough to hear me so I spoke that openly.  

Everyone around us was far enough away but if she could even consider running – not that I thought she would, now that she had given her oath --- they would stop her.
“Mother…” She bit into the bread roll as if she were hungry.  “I’m glad you were able to fly.  I started learning on Haiu Menshir and if we weren’t in such a hurry to get back to the Marble Palace I’d want to get my flyer to let me practice on the way home."

No answer.  "Grandfather is keeping the lightning snake for me and there is a young Mahid, he is Ilesias Mahid… First Ilesias now. He's doing his duty as a guard in the Marble Palace.  I have my half-brother, Ilesias, with me… I should find out his mother’s name, so he may honour her properly…”
She touched the beer with the tips of her gloves but did not pick it up.  I thought I understood.  “Oh, I’m sorry, I will get you juice to drink.”  Beer and wine were less correct for Mahid.  She drew her hand back and sat still.  I so wanted her to speak, to say something.  Even if she cursed me, quietly and genteel, or hissed at me or showed me something, but she was Mahid and very proper.
I drew a deep breath and got up, managing to not wrench the broken bone.  I would act as if she had spoken to me, as if she and I had been having quiet conversation.  “We should be home tomorrow if the weather holds good.  Mother, I’ll be right back with your juice.”


  1. I am not sure what this means "Kaneka had sent someone to buy dinner and beer for everyone and he and I sat on next to the keg." Maybe the on is supposed to be down?

  2. After everything done to him Minis is really amazing and sweet, a son a mother could be proud of, as I am sure she is. I hope she will let some of that show through somehow.

  3. Thank you for spotting the 'on' that was indeed supposed to be a 'down'!

    I think Minis is sweet, but then I'm biased. I shall have to speak to Inensa and see if she wants to speak.

  4. No no no, not *IF* she wants to speak..*when* she wants to speak. I'm looking forward to her eventually denouncing the hell out of her husband, & her reunion with her father.

  5. Heh! They are Mahid... it will likely not be hearts and roses! But...

  6. ~shiver~

    Very proper... he's a strong one.