I tell yah, Nuni, life just doesn’t get much better for a writer, ‘less its workin’ for the Pages at their pay rates. But the Donkey’s Mouth gets better n’ better with all the women and okas readers. I got good stuff outa the new Imperator Regent and Imperator elect’s campaign... lots of odd and wild women there... cross castes... cross jobs. The conservative Aitzas are gonna be screamin’ that the world is coming to an end. Dyers of all castes and glass ornaments pierced through lips and eyebrows and ears and noses.
Just between you me n’ the button on the door, one boy showed me other piercings... privately. They... well... let’s say they are not painful even if they look it.
Anyway, Nuninian, I have to tell you... you need to buy the next two issues of The Mouth... I have a couple of really interesting stories in it. The one about the Mahid horses... it got held till now, for some reason, ask the editor... it’s his choice... And I got an exclusive talking to the Imperator Elect’s little brother. Mostly about his exotic pet but he’s a talker that boy.
My strangest story... I swear on my best kaf pot... I got on the roof of the Marble Palace, with the Imperator Elect’s mother. Yeah. Her. AND her father... The White Snake himself. The new Imperial family is going to be giving me fodder for the Mouth for YEARS and that’s without any word of scandal at all at all!
Take a creepy, weird Mahid or two and tell them they have to be normal, without head injury. It’s like watching walls get smashed down and you’d expect to hear screaming and see burning... it’s like watching a city burn but all behind their eyes... You don’t want to know why Mahid did’t usually keep pets.
The old man... the old white snake... he had a tiny gold kitten that sits on his neck or his lap, digging under the cloth he throws over his hands... very old school. “A gift from young Ilesias... First Ilesias that is, not my titular grandson.”
See, the new Sparky... Ilesias Aan... was the throw from another line of Mahid... he’s really a fourth cousin or something... I’ll be checking. His mom killed herself in the sack with the others.
Sorry about the kaf ring on this letter, I’m drinking a kind that I think only the Marble Palace gets. Rho grows it, did you know? Very exclusive stuff.
Anyway, the two black dogs of the Imperium, the new Imperator Elect’s acknowledged family... were just sitting there, drinking wine and even taking herb under the awning and under the flagstaff that announced to the city that Blusher and Sparky had won the election. Being the shy, retiring person that I am – you know me, Nuni – I stomped right up and asked if the chair across from them was taken. She gave me the fishy eyeball and very properly deferred to her father.
His face is very mobile for a Mahid, especially an old Mahid and one eyebrow went up at me, clearly questioning my sanity for approaching. “No, the chair is unoccupied, should you care to sit.”
“This one thanks the exaulted Ser.” I set my note pad down and in the midst of the party going on here there’s a servant right there offering me wine or other hard stuff... so I asked for kaf, of course.
“You do not indulge in alcohol? I must express my approval.” The Imperial Pharmacist said this with a completely Mahid face as he raised an elegant little herb pipe to his lips. Honest to the Ten, the welcomist wasn’t joking when she said he joked... I wasn't quite sure what to say to this.
“Ser... might this one ask for the exaulteds’ views on tonight’s happenings?” I made it clear I wished to hear her if she wanted to open her mouth. You can see the resemblance between her and the Imperator Elect strongly, once you know to look. The young man favoured his mother rather than his father. It also seemed obvious that she had more going on behind her eyes than his dear old dad... I mean... she’s the White snake’s daughter and Sparky’s been showing that he can think better than the old anal wart on the Crystal Throne ever could, right?
They exchanged that creepy look that Mahid do where they communicate a ten or two of things without saying anything and she turned to me, smoother than a doll automaton. “I, Ser Writer, am very happy that my son has won the Crystal Throne. My deceased husband – Second Amitzas, had a mandate to see Minis upon that throne and this has now happened so his spirit may rest in Hayel --“ Obviously no love lost there “—but I am even happier that my son achieved this in his own way and with minimum of bloodshed.”
A Mahid not wanting bloodshed? Was she nuts? Or just saying what a normal person would say? Because they’re supposed to be more normal now? “Of course, Sera.” She sipped the glass in front of her and her hand came up to touch her motherstone. Sparky’s given it to her of course and it’s big enough to choke a horse. Beautiful but still big.
That’s when this little kitten climbed down off the Imperial Pharmacist’s shoulder, sauntered across the table, stuck her nose into my kaf, sneezes and then stuffed her face up my nose practically so I had to rear back and nearly fell on my ass. “Come back here, Aurum,” the old man said sternly, blowing out smoke. The cat ignored him completely and lay down on my notepad so I couldn’t take a single thing down.
“A reason that Mahid are traditionally not enamoured of felines,” he says. “The stunning lack of obedience.”
Nuni... the party was all being asked to go downstairs and continue in the Grand Hall behind the Steel Gate.... more later...
Farasha tasted... I didn’t know how to describe it. Salt and hot and it was tangy and there was sweet there too and it made my mind just go away again it was so good. So hot. I kissed and felt the urge to suckle on her and when I did she made wonderful noises and got wetter. I licked and she moaned and it was like dancing with her.
I felt like she was riding my mouth and I had my eyes closed so when Gan touched me it was startling. I jumped, Farasha jumped and I opened my eyes. I had my arms around Fara’s thighs so I was only holding myself up and his hand was between me and the wall and the bubbles... I didn’t want to take my mouth away and ask him if it was all right...
I found myself taking his touches and rocking to them so she felt them off my tongue and it was as though they were making love through me. I didn’t have time to be frightened and when she arched her back and leaned back on her arms, pushing her hips, rubbing herself against my mouth I could moan and feel her climax pulsing against my lips and tongue and the water and...
She slowly pulled back a little, sitting up, with this wonderful smile on her face, whisps of hair outlined in steam droplets like a Celestial messenger’s crown. I was so hard I hurt but Gan hadn’t let go of me. I was quivering on the edge of coming. “Please.” I asked. I wasn’t sure what I wanted what I needed... I needed to finish myself off and perhaps that shouldn’t be... in the pool...
Gan let go of me and stood up behind me. He was going to be a big man once he filled out. Fara scooted around and sank back into the pool. “Minis.” His whisper was right in my ear. “I have an idea...”
“Please... yes... Yes... whatever you want, Gan...” I was practically whimpering with need. He laughed and hoisted me up onto the edge of the pool, standing on the stone bench. My penis was pressed against the spot where Farasha had just sat and then I could feel Gan behind me, pressed against me.
“I don’t have any trouble taking pleasure, Minis,” he said, his voice husky. “But... you...”
“Take me.” I turned my head and saw Kyriala’s eyes locked on us. “I give myself to you.” It wasn’t a matter of who served whom... it was... it would make him happy and... me too.
I laid my hands out on either side, palms flat on the heated stone, my legs still in bubbles and I desperately wanted him. “Please.”
He rubbed himself up and down against me and then I gasped. He put his fingers into me first. I thought he would split me open with one but he was so slow and gentle I found myself wiggling on his hand and the stone demanding more... at least I think I was demanding. Perhaps I was begging him... then I had no words, no objection, no fight. I wanted...
Fara and Ky both had moved in front of us and were hugging each other close and Ky... Ky's eyes were closed and she had hold of Farasha with both bare hands... where had her gloves gone?
He slid himself into me slowly and I wiggled against him. It didn’t matter that I was giving my self to him... in front of Farasha and Kyriala, except that I could show them... if they liked seeing it... if it... I gave up thinking anything, feeling him all the way inside me.
He was strong and put one hand on my shoulder to pull me closer to him and then half pulled me back into the pool so he had me on him and wrapped his one hand around my penis. I heard a soft gasp, high, one of the girls... He pushed me so hard we were half out of the pool once more. “Yes! Yes! Oh yes, Gan... please... yes...”
I think I cried out but Farasha... no... it was Ky... it was Kyriala kneeling in front of us, and she was kissing me. She was kissing me... and the world splintered into shards that had the scent of roses and the taste of the pehaka.
When I realized I was still in one piece, I was lying boneless, bundled up on the edge of the pool and I was holding someone in front of me... it was Ky I was hugging and she had a wild look in her eye, though she was relaxed and Gan was lying face down behind me with his face in Fara’s lap and her hands on his shoulders. “Shhh. Gan... it’s all right. You didn’t hurt him.”
“Oh Ten,” I managed to gasp. “Gannara that was... awe inspiring. You didn’t hurt me. I... heart’s brother...”
He was laughing along with his tears and got up on his elbows to kiss Fara again and Ky stretched across me to touch his shoulder. “I have this idea,” he said finally, gasping. “We have a good chance of making this work for us.”
Ky snorted in my ear and I giggled and then all of us were howling with laughter, on the floor of the pool room. “If... if... we can keep our senses of humour...” I gasped.
“We’ll... we’ll be all right...”
“And no Minis, before you ask... the fluid that came out of us cannot crawl off the stone and get either one of the girls pregnant!”
“I know that, you wool-knot.”
“Not a wool-knot after all that washing...” he snorted.
Fara shook him and us. I could almost feel her eyes rolling up toward the ceiling, as Ky smacked my shoulder. “Boys,” they both said, almost at the same time.
460a We Deserve Not to Die
I open the door of the room and stare down the hallway of the changed Mahid quarters, my toes on the line between inside and outside and the hallway is inside the greater outside. And the Marble Palace inside the city and the city inside the greater city. Inside the Empire.
Outside the line that marks Mahid from not Mahid... people are recovering from a celebration. They celebrated the election of my son to become Imperator. My son... steps across edges. He is Aan. From me, he is Mahid.
I cross the threshold, my foot crossing that line, stepping across the line and softly press my sole on the stone floor.
It still holds me up as it always did. We step. We step. We keep on. As I did after he was taken from me. As I did when I was Second Amitzas’s wife. As I am now. I am required to cross lines. All Mahid are being required to do so in this new world, this new Arko.
The Yeoli Imperator, the one who allowed me not to swear to him... who allowed me to live and be proper the way I have been trained... gave me room to think. His words to me, on the roof, echo in my mind as I pace down the hallway.
The Mahid... are like the Yeoli semanakraseye … or... they could be. When we had a good Imperator... we were good. We were allowed to be good. We were allowed to... serve. I said so. He said. “My thought is that the Mahid should be what has always been best about them, and leave behind what was the worst.”
Our worst. Our worst was our obedience and our very struggle to do what was right. The old Imperator... We were made to obey. Our obedience, our excellence was turned against us. This child I carry... what will his future be? Or hers? As First Wife... or First Widow... or Dowager... whatever I am. I have a responsibility to the family.
We are re-creating ourselves. Do we deserve to? As the Mahid of the former Imperator. And his father. We were supposed to be monsters. We were tortured into being monsters. The... aggressor against children often becomes the revered one and emulated. We were taught that the only way to be safe, was to be like the one who owned us.
So... we are taught to be monsters... there was nothing else for us. All Arko has been taught we are not human. We were reflections of a man... we had to revere as divine... who was a fiend. Arko would be safer, better served if we, as a family, had not been restrained to be the reflection of one man.
I stop by the plant that father had carefully placed under the sun-tube that brought light to the deep and dark places. We would all have been better if we had been reflections of the whole Empire. We would have not be deserving of death. We would not have been dragged into sin, deserving of such punishment.
Perhaps there is something different... a different pattern for Mahid. A different honour... the stories of the most excellent of Mahid are all old. How did...? I reach a properly gloved hand and draw a hand along the edge of the leaves, gazed at the damage the serrated edge under the beautiful flowers left on my glove. How did the Aans... steal us from our higher purpose? Did we have one? I’m certain to my bones... down to the bones of my child inside me... that we did have a higher purpose, an honour, a glory, at one time.
We, as a family, deserve to... serve. Under the eyes of the Ten... we deserve to serve. We deserve not to die. We deserve to live.