I sat and stared at Bagofas and then, to keep from laughing out loud, I bent my head to my board and began to take notes, concentrating on the perfect formation of the ‘o’s’ and the ‘e’s’, just to give myself something else to think about.
But a dozen Assembly People sprang up with their comments.
Assemblyman Gollas – “... Minis has no official status. His papers are forged - he has admitted this. Thus, he can hold no official position in Arko..." Every birth during Jitzmitthra is traditionally given the birthday of Muunas 1, no matter which Diem they were born on. Most people tended to celebrate twice if they could.
Assemblyman Mil Rias -- “Minis is a figment of the popular imagination. All the official inquiries clearly showed that all those stories... the Prince under the Mountain, the Wild Hunt, the glowing seven-foot tall man with wings and his Mahid turned into black hunting dogs, were nothing more than pipedreams and fancy. This is no different.” Perhaps someone should suggest he get his thinking tested by the Haian in his district?
Assemblywoman Fidelia – “How can we even know he is really Kurkas Aan’s blood? We have no proof of that other than the same falsified papers stating his birth day!” Kallijas called for pages to bring the Imperial books for the year of my birth... the Mahid books as well... and to summon First Amitzas, my mother and Ailadas.
Assemblyman Ufanen – “The stars have aligned this way just to show us that Minis should be banned from the Imperatorship! The infallible masters of Astrology tell us that ANYONE born on Diem Wards back is just as unreal and unreliable as the day itself.” I made a note to suggest that Ufanen be likewise referred to the Haian House of Integrity.
“We, as an Empire, have never even seen his official – however falsified – birth certificate with the witnesses’ signatures and the Imperial seals!” I noted that my entry in the official birth book just before Ilesias’s should be sufficient proof.
Assemblyman Konoen – “...how do we know that THIS is the real Minis, and not some pretender? Is that really gold ink or just ground lead in yellow? Everyone knew that Minis Aan was a fat kid, who does this twig think he's fooling!”
Assemblyman Arzten – “What is this perfidy, this absurdity, this parody, that makes mockery of all else we do here, by the fact of our even considering it with any measure of seriousness? Of such a ridiculous excuse for trying to deny a rightful Imperator or other official his earned position, I've never heard the like!” At last, a sensible man. I was scribbling hard now to keep up with the flood of comments, people jumping up in their seats to be heard. “Asspeeps glfl o’r ‘mounting evidence’... A: Dineo, A: Festen, A: Murminien...”
Assemblyman Fegen - “... this boy... this imposter who claims to be Minis Kurkas Joras Amitzas Aan is actually...” He paused for dramatic effect. “The notorious Minakas Akam! The trash-writing, fluff journalist who writes Imperial FICTION! And children’s books. Fantasies of talking donkeys and so forth!” He seemed quite disappointed that his great revelation didn’t draw more of a response. I was transcribing this nonsense as fast as they were spewing it. I couldn’t make this up if I tried! I kept having to take refuge in my handkerchief, pretending to snort or sniffle, so I not guffaw right out loud.
“House Security? Would one of the House Sereniteers please send a Page to ask the editor of the High Pages to attend for his testimony? At his convenience, of course.
Assemblyman Ruar – “The central question here, gentlemen, is whether this person, Minis Aan, actually exists.” He paused and every eye in the chamber turned to me. The women had snapped their fans open to hide their laughter and a number of men happened to have their presentation combs out in front of their mouths, but I could still see their eyes. “Must we strike a committee to determine the reality of his existence?” A wave of laughter. “Must we have scholars research it by finding mentions in books and publications?” He waved his comb at the stack of books; the gold and the blackened silver spread open to the appropriate pages on the table before the Voice of the House. I wanted to put my two chains in and say a point of order... I'm sitting right here. But I kept my mouth shut. “Must we somehow test the reality of his existence, using substances or processes?”
He looked around at his colleagues. “The fact is, that by consensus reality, arrived at by the collective action of all our senses -- sight when we see him, hearing when he speaks, feeling if we should happen to touch him, -- that whatever his birthday happens to be, Minis Aan does indeed exist. Does anyone here care to deny that?”
“I also think there has been no precedent for the denying the existence of a person born during Jitzmitthra. They exist in the numbers to be expected, in the city and throughout the Empire.”
My grandfather, after his testimony that I was indeed the same boy who had been born from his daughter Inensa, as witnessed by the Mahid midwives, had stayed and asked to be put on the speaking list. He was sitting, calmly in the guest chair next to mine, his head tilted occasionally to listen to a whispered commentary from Ailadas on his other side. My mother, in the full column of maternity wear, sat on the other side of my tutor, her face still as marble.
Intharas Terren – “This august Assembly of People wish me to identify Minakas Akam? He’s sitting right over there... the Spark of the Sun’s Ray Elect, Minis Aan and Minakas Akam are the same person. He took a number of aliases when he was in hiding and has... under truth drug and in front of a ballroom full of (I could hear the swearing sprinkled liberally through here, though none passed his lips. You could see it in his look as the various Assembly people asked him their questions.) ... a ballroom full of Writers... scribblers every one and revealed every one of the hidden names. There’s a transcript as well as this one’s personal account in the Pages of Arko.” I could feel him wanting to say you thunder-mugging morons!
Assemblyman Sakit – “... but if he’s lied about who he is before how can we trust him to be who he says he is now? He was a Dyer messenger boy perfectly enough to hide as one... who is to say this is not some fessas boy... Sinimas Akam... who took the real Minis’s place? Who is to say that this lying boy is the real Minis Aan?”
I could feel Grandfather stiffen at the more egregious stupidities, though he of course didn’t show any such thing to anyone not immediately next to him with chair-arms touching. When his turn came to speak he slowly rose to his full height and waited for silence to come into the chamber.
Since tomorrow is Canada Day, I shall be taking the day off. The next installment will be Monday, July 4th. Have a good weekend everyone.