Monday, May 9, 2011

479 - Recovery and the Mood in the City

Tanifas had my problems out of me, mostly, in that first session, and sent me back out of the kennels, to the rest of the Marble Palace, reeling. I felt as if I’d had my insides rinsed out, fluffed and put back.  It was enough to make the rest of the palace seem as unreal as if the stone were somehow made out of water or something else equally fluid.

It was unsettling, still raining, still daylight.  The heat wave had broken and cold rain had poured over the north rim, now it was still raining but the temperature was going up again, the steaming rain much more typical.  Just long enough to have me get a cold soaking.  Ten Gods, you have a weird sense of humour.

I ended up in the suite, with my wet clothes still in my hands, sitting on the bench at the end of the bed, with my mind empty.  A different feeling.  Erl lifted the clothes out of my hands and I barely noticed, still running through my mind what exactly I’d told someone else.  Not merely someone else but an okas dog keeper.  “I’ll take those things for you, Minis, shall I?”

“Oh, yes, thank you, Erl.  Oh… this robe… it goes back down to the kennels.”

“We’ll see to it.  There’s a new suit lying next to you.”

“Thank you.”  Everyone knew me well enough now that they were being very accommodating, leaving me to dress myself.

I felt as though some very deep cuts in me had been addressed, just looking at them.  Exactly as Surya had done, but in an Arkan way.  Tanifas understood some kinds of things on a gut level, a bone level, just like the dogs.

I was a member of his pack and we’d actually talked about why Arko could codify trauma and control in terms of dogs and dog packs; why Mahid responded as ‘The Imperator’s Black Dogs’ and how it de-humanized  people in their own minds and everyone else’s.

I realized that I’d dressed and was thoughtlessly buckling my belt, and realized I needed to eat. Then Assembly would be convening after the meal. Part of my training was going to be sitting and listening to the brand-new debate, even as Kallijas did, up on the Crystal Throne.


Dear Editor,

While I sympathize with the prior letters and petitions, I feel they are missing the point, addressing the symptoms of the disease wracking our fair nation rather than the cause.

You see, there is a pattern to the dire reforms plaguing our once-great society. Every instigator of this canker, from the Fenjitzas to Shefen-kas himself, has something in common.

A striped or spotted cat.

The new Aan will surely follow his ancestors in recognizing the menace of these demon beasts, and reinstate the laws that kept me employed until that midnight-headed ailurophile usurped the Crystal Throne. Though my cohorts laughed, thinking their positions mere sinecures, indiscriminately approving all cats as "tabby" or "mottled" instead of routing and drowning the Hayelspawn among catkind as is right and proper, I kept on, even without Imperate authority.

My crusade was relegated to the shadows, but I perservered, and in my patrols I have noticed the pattern writ of above. Now, I did not espy wicked stripes or spots in every courtyard of power in our City, but many devil cats are cunning, forcing their "masters" to keep them out of sight of we the vigilant. I am still convinced of their presence and vile influence. The pattern is clear.

We must unite to cull this menace! My stealth and sacks and bricks are insufficient to stem the tide of bespotted evil! I therefore call for holy-minded men of all station to seek out and destroy this slit-eyed danger to mankind!

Yours in Righteous Indignation,

Tatthanas Mil Ferran, Aitzas
Last of the Cat Inspectors


Dear Editor,

I am Abupella, daughter of Umfilenna, warrior lancer, I came to the City as part of the invading army and won myself a stake in a house in the Aitzas quarter and am now of that august rank and so I can say no withered, dried up old man is going to tell me what to with with my daughters or even my own self.

I think that purification should be done, only it is clearly the men who need to be purified! There is no rape in my home country but here in the land of milk-pale and milksop men who are too weak to control themselves! One can tell right away not to trust a man with piss-colored hair and with eyes as blue as the sky and twice as empty. Clearly it is the inferior men here who need excising.

The High Priestess… Fenjitza? She’s a perfectly sensible woman, with perfectly well trained midwives.  And who with any reason at all would want a man present at a birth!? That is clearly and plainly the purview of women, men can wait outside to be told if it's heads or tails!   What would a man do at a birthing anyways but be a nuisance… fainting at the sight of blood and everything.

How dare you impune the might and right of Imperator Chevenga who in his infinite wisdom originally put a stop to the sheer barbarity of cutting women. He has restored rightful honor and justice to Arko by making all his subjects literate and giving them a voice in their governing and you complain that you would rather have back that fat, wasteful, vapid, pig in a robe who brought you to such a state as you needed to be shown your proper place by your betters. No male not peeing himself still nurses in Hyerne!

Scribed by my own hand,

Abupella,  Aitza


My backside, in the honour chair, was numb, even with the padded cushion.  The Assembly had run aground on a procedural point and they had argued themselves blue from lack of air on what the precise wording of the constitution actually meant.  Everyone had missed the evening meal before they'd finally agreed to recess and continue next morning.

I reminded myself not to drink so much before next session, as the Voice of the Chamber rose and lifted the fire-snuffer on the end of the staff.  As long as the Assembly debated, the fire burned.  “The Grand Assembly of Arko is formally released,” he intoned and snuffed the flame burning on the top of the pillar.  Kallijas, still sitting very properly, politely waited until the first Assemblymen had actually left the chamber before rising.  I already knew the nearest garderobe not available to the mass of Assembly from the door near me and headed straight there.

It was after the evening meal but Kyriala was having a gathering that I desperately wished to attend.  I hadn’t seen her in far too long.  I’d have some water and hope that my stomach didn’t growl too loudly in polite company.

My thanks to Blue and Toast for their letters to the Editor.  I'll let you guys guess who scribed which...

1 comment:

  1. Last of the Cat Inspectors - Toast.
    Abupella - Blue.

    (Reading back)