Mother sat, by herself, in the solar with the sun shining through the glass, almost bright enough to be blinding. She was working a tapestry of a Solar Phoenix. I set the tray on a table, pulled the napkin off and set out her cultlery.
“I realize I don’t need to do this but I want to. I don’t know what you like to eat, or if you were ever allowed to develop tastes for things. I know. I know. Food is fuel, but I’ve learned that in a sense you dishonor the chef or the cook by ignoring their art and skill. In that sense Mikas is dishonoured if we shame the work.
I would think,” I said as I stepped back and she set her needle into the holding cushion and sat back away from the tapestry frame with her hands folded in her lap, staring past me. “That Muunas wouldn’t be terribly happy with any of the Ten being dishonoured. That kind of arrogance eludes me.”
I pulled a chair around and sat on it backwards, gazing vaguely in her direction, looking past her as she gazed past me, but I didn’t shut up. I just leaned on the back and kept talking.“There’s Black-stripe fish soup. Twice fried potatoes with salt-cream and smoked bacon pieces. The meat is a stuffed coronet of roast lamb and roasted honey/cumin garlic carrots and parsnips.” The fragrant scents of the food wafted out into the room. Was that a twitch in her face? Was she appreciating the magnificent aroma? Please, don’t wait. The soup won’t be nearly as good cold.”
“I took Ilesias out with me for a ride today. Sinister Malevolent Glory –” That was Nasty’s official name. “—is working well with me.
“I shall be announcing my candidacy for the Imperatorship when the current Son of the Sun returns from Yeola-e. I am going to be consulting with the High Chamberlain about what would be appropriate wear for a campaign… then I shall be removing to a manor house in the city if I may rent one since continuing to live in the Marble Palace will certainly be seen as partisan.” Was that the faintest shadow of a nod?
“As you know. I am considering renting the Liren manor if that would be appropriate since the former Mirror is well known for her abilities as a hostess and I hope to ask her for her assistance with the social aspect of the campaign.” I turned to look at the stack of Pages on another table. Mother was certainly reading now that she was allowed.
“I will be bringing more of your meals for the next few days, Mother.” I got up. “I hope you like something here. I’m going to be talking to the chef to see if we can figure out what you actually like.” I was still getting used to even having a mother… I was stopped by my thought.
I needed to buy her a mother stone. Every son normally bought his mother one on his first threshold and I had had no idea who she was then. I nodded to myself. Tomorrow. I would buy her her mother stone tomorrow.
“Until tomorrow.” I bowed properly to her silence and left her alone to eat.