Monday, June 13, 2011

502 - Specifics

Assemblymen Irsten Arzten was not so inclined as Festen to use the latest argument to further his own political peccadillos.  “Sers and Seras of the most Honourable Assembly. My first and immediate reaction to the Imperial Pharmacist's proposal is no.  Mahid have been the most evil face of Arko presented to the world, with the torturers being the premier presentation of anything Arkan.  However, as I listened to the most Honourable Festen, I realized that though the idea has been broached we, the Assembly, truly do not have enough understanding of what exactly is being proposed.”

He stood on the presentation platform, very still.  He was less of the ‘Aitzas’ bulk and more a throwback to the more athletic ideals of an older Empire.

“Please, let the Honourable Senior Mahid return to the platform and lay out in detail rather than in generalities what exactly he means by ‘re-establishing’ the Mahid.  If it is as they were, I will vote against with no further discussion.”

Seconds and thirds were called almost before he finished speaking and Grandfather took the platform once more.

“Honourable Assembly.  The vision of the new Mahid is as follows.”  He adjusted the cuffs of his gloves deliverately before continuing.

“First of all, the ‘inhuman’ mannerisms need to be disallowed.  Now, granted that has apparently been a recent requirement and is the only living memory of any Mahid, so seems very foreign.  But the great ‘stone face’ no matter what is happening is counter productive for the Empire and for the Mahid themselves. Normal human expression should be required.

“The need to cease thinking anything other than the Maxims, as decreed by the Imperator four generations ago, must also go.  Filling up a bodyguard’s head with noise that interferes with human function, and any kind of innovation or improvisation, is counter productive to achieving excellence.

“No animal torture of any kind, for training purposes.  No torture training at all.

“No attempt by their teachers to ‘break and re-make them’ as unthinking tools of the Imperium.  Again this is counter productive.

“All working Mahid shall be allowed privacy, with no spying upon and reporting on one another.

“The rigid rules of correction shall be eradicated.

“For the Mahid, mistakes will become possible without egregious self punishment.

“Promotion by merit as the norm, instead of promotion by servitude of any kind.  No Mahid will be inducted into the working group if they have any kind of enthusiasm for the pain of others.

“Self expression shall be strongly encouraged.

Grandfather sipped at his waterglass.  “The ideals of Mahid that Serenity wishes to hold up in front of Arkans is the heroic one... the one where Mahid both were capable of and did extraordinary feats in service of the Empire.

“The blind, unquestioning loyalty should no longer be the Mahid ideal, rather an enlightened and informed loyalty... with Mahid willing to place a higher authority over the whim of the Imperator and that higher authority is now the Assembly of Arko.  They would be directly accountable to the Minister of Internal Serenity - who is accountable to Assembly, rather than accountable to no one but the Imperator.

“The renewed Mahid would begin with competitions held for adults only, to find the new Seniors.. the new teachers.  Children  may not apply to become Mahid.  The lowest age applicable is eighteen, the same age as solas muster.

“I would request a long-term study of the whole clan and the functions they have done historically, to give perspective to the Assembly as to how they would wish – should they vote so – to continue supporting the Mahid.  Perhaps a committee could be struck to study the thousands of years of Mahid to see what worked best... and make recommendations to the House  - Including a public consultation phase which would be one sitting cycle of Assembly.

"I propose that the Assembly consider a permanent 'Mahid Committee' that oversees the Mahid."

“The limit of the number of working Mahid shall be sixty men, and all in Imperial bodyguard roles - but that includes skills such as flying and medic training.  The number is, of course, subject to review should Assembly require either fewer or more, depending on the recommendations of the Mahid Committee."

“The Regent Imperator was kind enough to suggest that all new Mahid be required – one at a time -- to live with a certain Yeola-e sage on the Mountain above Vae Arahi, currently Sukala Iri and stay with her for a moon." Kallijas had smiled when he suggested it to me.

I glanced up at him but he wasn’t showing anything, not looking at me. 

“Only those who succeed in the competitions shall be allowed to call themselves ‘Mahid’.

“I would request that all new Mahid begin the competition with a psychological examination to be created in consultation with the University of Haiuroru, to weed out undesirable personality types.  Since no more torture is required, that peculiar aptitude would be a detriment to the Imperial bodyguard.

“I then suggest a series of physical competitions... and medical examinations by Haians to ensure nobody injures themselves in the course of these tests. I would personally monitor the candidates to guard against the initial use of drugs to enhance performance; and then – for later tests – be the one to administer equal doses of the pharmacopeia to test performance under ‘altered’ abilities.

“The competitions and tests would need to be created to weed out all but the best… things like sparring, climbing, obstacle courses, various kinds of  problem solving... such as getting an incapacitated or injured person out of a dangerous situation.  Perhaps gamed scenarios of attempted attacks on an Imperator or Imperial family.  And proficiency in all types of mobility that might be used by the Imperial family such as skating, flying and riding.

I had to smile to myself.  Keeping up with Hayel-for-leather moving Imperator... and wife and kids..and pets.  “… of intelligence.” Grandfather continued.  “Defense of a position, debate or oratory or poetry perhaps and a final essay and its defense of the ideals and virtues of the new Mahid with their focus being enlightened loyalty, excellence in action.  And perhaps most important of all -- ethics.

“And finally, private interviews with the Fenjitzas and the Fenjitza where they will be questioned on ethics/philosophy and morality.

“That is the kind of Mahid envisioned in this proposal, thank you.”

People were on their feet again, showing their combs or fans to signify that they wished to speak.  They weren't bellowing, this time but still talking, even though it had a larger sense of relief in it.  Grandfather's suggestions really were very reasonable, I thought.  

As Pages ran to update the speaking list from chair to chair, the Voice signaled to Assemblywoman Izen, who was next on the list to speak, and she made her way to the Presentation platform in the midst of the sussurrus of talk.  I settled on my cushion, glad I hadn’t drunk anything before hand.  This was going to be a marathon session and perhaps tomorrow as well.  Conceivably even the day after.


  1. “The blind, unquestioning loyalty should no longer be the Mahid ideal, rather an enlightened and informed loyalty... with Mahid willing to place a higher authority over the whim of the Imperator and that higher authority is now the Assembly of Arko. They would be directly accountable to the Minister of Internal Serenity - who is accountable to Assembly, rather than accountable to no one but the Imperator."

    I can see oh so many problems with this one. Not the least of which is the simple fact that a few members of the assembly could easily find way to order the "removal" of a member of the royalty. Then there is the fact that the assembly works very slowly; and the fact the the Serenteers often seem incompetent. I would not want my body guards under the control of any body of governance like that.

  2. I'll have to have your argument placed in the debate! Rafas, as the Minister of Serenity, is diligently working to make his Sereniteers the best in the Empire, capable of both serving and protecting!

    That said, even the best Minister and best government need time to weed out corruption and sloth and nurture an honest system of police.

    (Rafas: Sera. I and my dedicated men will do our utmost to ensure every citizen is well protected and can look to Serenity for assistance rather than fearing the old graft. My oath of office upon it!)