Inensa took a sip of water, more to give herself time to think about this idea that Jorasa had presented her with than because she needed the hydration. “You truly think that females could compete on the highest level?”
“It’s not just that we are female, Senior, it would be the same if boys had to be trained up to it. Give us a season. Right now, there are only three of us and we would need to request two of the older women to play with us, even to have just a first string. But we could do it. I believe that with dedication we could compete against the solas teams by next Season.”
The girl’s face was positively lit with the idea. She had taken to the relaxing of the ‘display’ rules for Mahid with alacrity. I would have to inquire of the First of the Mahid anyway… Inensa rose and nodded for the girl to come with her. “We shall inquire of the First.” That was enough to bring back the blank façade on Jorasa. She was young. Young enough to be terrified of Amitzas.
They found him in the Nightshade Conservatory, delicately using a squirrel-hair brush to dust pollen from one odd looking spikey orchid with black and green flower petals, to another. “A moment,” he said. He dabbed adroitly in the centre of the orchid, sighed in satisfaction, straightened and placed the brush into a holder to be cleaned. He brushed his gloves together decisively and folded a cloth over them before turning to them. “Inenesa. Daughter. How does the child sit?”
It was an Aitzas question, not a Mahid one. Inensa gave a brief and tiny wave down her front. “As you see, Father mine.”
“Excellent. So. I hear. What did you need to question me on?” He looked like an icon in a niche, all white marble and white hair. His spectacles did not hide his eyes. Inensa took a deep breath and could feel Jorasa bracing herself behind her.
“Jorasa Mahid has confessed that she and a certain number of other Mahid girls have been not only learning to skate but they have been trying to train themselves to play Faibalitz. They are requesting coaches and more players… trying to recruit from the other girls and women. They are appalled that there is no Mahid team in any league.”
Amitzas stood, absolutely still, thinking for a long, long moment. He blinked and actually reached up a gnarled, arthritic hand in its pristine glove, to adjust his spectacles. “Hmmm.” Inensa held her hands linked close together. What is my father thinking? I don’t know him. What is he considering?
He turned to look directly at Jorasa. “You have been training with how many?”
“Three, Senior.” She answered steadily enough.
“Indeed.” He stepped forward. “Show me.”
“What?” Jorasa was visibly startled. "Senior?"
“Let us get the remaining clan together and see what you are capable of. The Faib bowl may be commanded.”
She was completely nonplussed. “Of… of course… Senior.” Inensa was just as happy to hand this conundrum to her father, legitimately and swiftly. The baby kicked once more and she stopped to judge whether she required a garderobe because of the new would-be Mahid’s actions. No.
“So. Gear up and show the Mahid what you have done.” Her father’s face was totally unreadable, as if he faced the old Imperator.
“Y…yes, Senior. In a tenth.”