My grandson steeled himself under the gaze of my daughter and the once Mirror of the Radiant Light. The women – were very similar in spirit. It would be intelligent of my grandson to realize this. But given that he just had surgery, however minor, perhaps I should remind the women of this.
“Daughter. Serina… Ilesias has made an excellent suggestion.” I turned to my acquired Grandson. “Young man, you may have one more cream cake. Minis. Take more remedies if you are feeling light headed enough to suggest bed. It is barely past Dinner.” Alchaen would smile when I wrote him about this tiny incident. My grandson would be campaigning by the time I mailed my next letter to Haiu Menshir so I would be free to tell my friend about all of it.
My hips ached fiercely, sending spikes of ice and obedience radiating up my back and down my legs. I ignored it though I would not be moving quickly, to not betray the weakness that would show if I did.
If I had a sense of humor… which, as Mahid, I did not, since it was not required… I would have noted that it was almost funny the way they all scattered away from each other the instant the two females released their mutual struggle of wills. My daughter moved to a chair out of the way where she might see and observe without being obtrusive.
“Yes, Grandfather.” Minis reached to take the drops, percussing them properly, I was pleased to note.
“If I may be so bold to comment upon the situation,” I said. “My grandson – in my biased and certainly unacceptable opinion – would make an excellent Imperator.”
The Yeoli boy peered at me. He was understandably nervous. I blinked and looked away from him. It was uncertain if he remembered, but I had been part of his transformation into an obedient slave at the Imperator’s command. I would not threaten what stability he had attained since. “So… Amitzas…” he said, and froze.
“Yes?” I looked down at the handkerchief over my clasped gloves, turned slowly and settled down into an overstuffed chair, gently settling my sore bones.
He made a choking noise and coughed. “You think Minis would make a good Imperator.”
“Yes. I, however, given my history, would be a very bad advocate to most Arkans.”
The brown female… Farasha her name was… laughed. “That is an understatement so dry I would suspect a sense of humour, if I didn’t know that Mahid have none.”
“You are quite correct, young serina. I shall, however, assist this campaign in every way I am allowed, since I am concerned with the efficiency of the modern Mahid. My direct descendents are the most efficient, in my entirely unbiased opinion, and their success and survival gains paramount importance to my function, second to the will of the Imperator, of course.”
“Of course,” Serina Liren said, taking up her cup, her eye skimming over Inensa without a flicker. “This way one would never accuse a Mahid of having any kind of familial feeling.”
“The serina is quite correct. A Mahid never admits such human failings.”
Minis was looking between the girl and me and his mother. “I cannot begin planning a campaign until I am revealed,” he said. “And that is entirely dependent upon the Imperator’s health and strength.”
“Yes,” Gannara said. “And yours, bone-head. But planning the campaign can be started because we know you’re going to do it.”
“Kallijas needs to be here and he is with Ch’venga tonight. He and I have a rough plan worked out but we were not expecting so much help.”
Kyriala rolled her eyes. “I suppose I should expect you to think you had to do it all by yourself. Minis, you have to realize that the way you’ve been taught… that you are by yourself… is just your sire’s plan.”
My daughter spoke up. “Serina, you are perfectly correct. My husband had a specific plan intending to make the Spark cleave to him. Unfortunately it required a less intelligent boy for it to have a hope of working.”
As Farasha had brought paper and pens and writing tools, Gannara cleared the vase full of domoctopus off the round table, and the young people chattered and began compiling their various notes, Ilesias came over and sat next to me. I should not unbend. The boy is quite comfortable sitting so close next to me. I choose to place my arm around him as he leans into me.
Next morning the reduction of soreness in my clavicle made me want to test the sling, but I did not. Had I dreamed the night before? My Grandfather, my mother, my Yeoli brother of the heart and his love and Kyriala all in the same room?
I waited outside the Lesser Office, waiting for Ch’venga to be finished his latest interview. There is a minor commotion and Kallijas opened the door and scanned all of us in the waiting room. Is he more agitated than he is showing? “The Imperator has overdone his work time, I’m afraid.” Binshala showed up at his elbow.
“Yes, Ser Itrean is correct. If everyone will please come with me to re-schedule?” And he led the group to his office. Kallijas caught my eye and jerked his head at me to come.
“What happened? He didn’t just overdo, like He always does?” To most people Kallijas would look calm… I had a lot of practice reading blank Arkan faces. He was upset.