Friday, May 13, 2011

483 - If the Gods Were Like People

“So are you saying that fear of the Ten separates us from the Gods?”  The question was from one of the young people, Ormanas, Daurama Liren thought, her fan waving serenely. Her daughter leaned forward, eyes on the dekinas as he rose to answer.  My beautiful girl.  I worried so.  First of all when your father sent you away to the elegant madhouse that the Marble Palace was.  It was such a coup for the family, that you would marry the Spark of the Sun’s Ray.  I endured losing you, praying every day, every night, hoping that Selinae would be kind and protect you. 

And then I lost you again when, without a word to me you were sent away out of the city entire.  The Imperator might have told my husband but no on told me.  It was like you were stolen away just before the sack, kidnapped. No word, not a single thread of news... and then the sack happened... and then thinking, afterward... that you must have come to some lonely end, but hoping still, until the day you rode... rode! up to the front door.  Lost child lost no more.

She snapped her fan closed, letting it hang from her wrist, and accepted an iced kaf from the servant and smiled slightly at the young man in thanks.  He was a fairly new hire.  The family’s revenues had almost recovered after the war.  They’d lost so many of the men that she and her sisters had had to learn far more of commerce and of finance than a decent Arkan woman should, but with Kallianas so old, he had needed a great deal of help, both subtle and otherwise.  It would be such a relief if the Spark of the Sun’s Ray Elect would realize that he needed to actually DO something to get married.

She smiled to herself.  Youngsters.  He was trying so hard to be a proper young man.  Kyriala understood quite well that the betrothal that he’d broken off to protect her all those years ago, was still very much in place; at least in Ky's heart if not officially.

It had been so shocking when Ky had refused Ser Monnen.  It would have been a magnificent match, seeing that the Monnens had sufficient lands and companies to not have suffered quite so much as many of the others of the Fifty.  But she understood now.  It was good to see that her daughter had that kind of uncanny foresight.  Just like Grand Papa.  She smiled, thinking of her grandfather.  No matter what the disaster, he would have come up with some way of seeing that the family gained, either wealth or people.  “People are wealth, Ramakitten,” he’d said to her as she was sitting with him, just learning to embroider and showing him her best handkerchief.  “You don’t need to own them for them to make you wealthy.”

She hadn’t understood what he meant, then, but she’d learned over the years.

“If people are as ants to the Gods,” someone asked… one of the girls, the friend from the Marble Palace library… Atanza?  Atzana? Was that her name?  Yes… something like that.  “Can we be like children to them at the same time?  Why would something so… big in comparison to us, even notice us?”

“Good question.  One cannot assume that Gods react the way people do.  If the Gods were like people they wouldn’t…”

Daurama murmured a polite excuse and rose.  She really would rather have stayed to listen, but it was necessary that she leave.  Not for her the untraditional easement that her beloved daughter had pursued.  She'd lived with it her whole life and it was one small piece of normalcy in a world changing almost too quickly.

It was so like Kyriala to not understand.  It isn’t gilded cups and the things that filled the house that I crave.  It was what they stood for.  All the things that had been destroyed and smashed and stolen… and injured… She resolutely put the image of that horrible time under the Fire Fountains, with the children, her youngest sister’s two on her lap, out of her thoughts.  Fila had survived the rape, in part because she knew her children were safe. At least that was what she still said, to this day.

The money wasn’t the important thing either.  It was the return to something approaching the way the world should be, tradition, peace and safety.  A woman able to preside over her kaf table, pouring for the family, safe in her house, was what she yearned for.

She endured the pain of passing water and in the privacy of the garderobe rinsed the way the Haian who had opened Kyriala, had advised her.  It made things so much easier.

She looked forward to when Minis stopped merely dancing with Ky and offered her the empty ring himself.  It was something he had no father to do for him, as everyone well knew… but he was probably, like all young men, jittering about it.  Though the way he bristled at other possible suitors, however genteel it was, made her think he’d figure things out soon, probably before winter.

Perhaps she should drop a hint or two in his ear, along with the chips of sugar in his kaf?


  1. I may regret asking this... but Ky's mom had her right? Haven't women who had a baby ripped through their scars open? Or do they sew them shut again after?
    ... I kinda don't want to know yet I am still horrifiedly curious...

  2. Oh dear. In our world, many women who have been infibulated get 'opened' by the midwife for the birth and then 'stitched up' again afterwards. If she's lucky her husband doesn't have to use the bridegroom's knife again. Sorry.