“Kallijas?” I found him in the Eagle’s Aerie, a room designed to be mostly windows that still showed sky and edge of cliff instead of city and lake and woods.
He spun around so fast from his pacing I couldn’t stop my reflexive duck. “Yes?” It was odd, he sounded almost calm. It just didn’t fit with him pacing the room like a fang-tiger on a chain.
I came in and stood, hands clasped behind my back, the Pages crinkled under my arm. “You’ve heard about what the Yeolis are doing?”
“I did.” He whirled around again and started pacing again, looking up at the sky as if he could just go up, get in a moyawa and be straight off to Yeola-e. As if he could or would do anything there to change what was going to happen. “This is a travesty, shocking. It’s so wrong. He’s done nothing but give and give and give of himself and they’re going to do this? I’m surprised the Ten didn’t blight them for hurting him so.”
“You would understand the Yeolis best of all, Ser,” I said. “It’s not as if they would truly hurt him. This is some kind of procedural stuff that Ch’venga got wrong when he was a kid and they’re smacking him for it, it looks like.”
“It still doesn’t make it right,” Kall said, his voice soft. “I know. I know that he’s doing this because of Semanakra but it doesn’t make it any more palatable to me or any honourable person. He’s bled and sweated and agonized over his own people, brought them back from all but conquered to their first ever conquest, had his heart practically ripped in half because he came to see us as his people too. And what happens? The Yeolis feel they need to control him harder. They are more afraid of him, which means he’ll try to submit even more to them until they manage to smash him flat. This is the same kind of thing that convinced him he had to die young in the first place!”
“Yes, Kallijas. I… would like to write a letter to the Yeola-e Assembly. I realize that we will not actually DO anything, but I’d like to express my personal displeasure with their treatment of their Semanakraseye but I didn’t want to do any such thing without consulting you first. This is foreign relations now, not yelling at at our own, so I thought I should ask.”
He stood, both hands on the back of a chair, head down, thinking. “Yes, we could do that.” He said it very quietly. “We’ll be very careful how to word this, but I don’t like it either.” He pulled the chair out and sat down. “In fact, I will delay my dinner somewhat for this.”
That wasn’t like him at all. He was very meticulous about his meals. “Or, we could eat and talk about it at the same time?” I said.
“An excellent suggestion, Minis. I was going to tell you to remember not to skip your dinner.”
Do as I say, instead of as I do? “Is everyone concerned about my weight?” I couldn’t help but snap at him. He raised his head and actually smiled at me.
“Not your weight, Minis; your health. Laisa made me promise to not skip any meals, even if I was upset by something happening in the Office. We are both very bad at maintaining ourselves, so I’m watching for it in you, and sent a note around to your staff about it as well.” Laisa made him? Oh. Hah. I see.
Now why was I blushing? “Oh. Thank you, Kallijas.”
“Not a problem, Minis. Have a seat. We have a stiff letter to write.”
TO: The Assembly of Yeola-e
Copy to: Ivaen Chevenga Shae-Arano-e, Semanakraseye d’Yeola-e
FROM: Kallijas Itrean, Imperator Regent of Arko and Minis Kurkas Joras Amitzas Aan, Spark of the Sun’s Ray Elect
Marble Palace, Arko,
Aras 20, Y.P.A. 50
(“I’m not sure that I shouldn’t recuse myself from this, lad. I’m so angry at them I might make a diplomatic mistake.”
“They know you’re his alesinas. We’ll be careful.”
“We, the Imperator Regent and the Spark of the Sun’s Ray Elect, must speak out against this travesty of justice. We, as Arkans, barely understand how the whole People of Yeola-e can allow this. Ivaen Chevenga Shae-Arano-e has done nothing, nothing without specific will to the betterment of his people’s lives.”
“He has spent himself, as the position and his people demand, giving everything of himself to Yeola-e, his physical health and well being, his skill as a warrior, his political acumen, even his sanity for the necessary salvation of the country.”
“Even though this will be justice in the letter of the law, it violates the spirit in so many ways that we are truly upset by this merciless punishment of someone who has done nothing to deserve such a thing.”
“Outside of the savage violence of war, outside of the heart-wrenching evils of combat, what could a people hope to gain by the further punishment of a man innocent of wrongdoing? This is severe in the extreme, even as Arkans – whom the world consider immoderate in our barbarity. This is zealousness to the point of disrespect. And we, Chevenga’s alesinas and his friend, are indignant on his behalf, because he no doubt, will not be.”
“He has shown not one sign of ambition to power, indeed he has willingly surrendered the control of Empire not once, but twice. The electorate, we have been taught and understand, absolutely need to control the power-mad and the ambitious. Ivaen Chevenga Shae-Arano-e is not one of these ruthless people.”
Removed from the text: “The two of us are speaking to you from our hearts, as private citizens outside of the Office of the Crystal Throne, that should have us considering how to take advantage of the situation for the betterment of our own people….” –“I think we shouldn’t say that, Minis. It is too raw.” – “Oh, sorry.”
“The two of us are speaking to you from our hearts, as private citizens, not as Imperator Regent nor Spark Elect. This is our reaction to an action in another country, something happening to our friend, our family.”
“We are extremely disappointed with this decision… this attack on a good man and do not like to think less of Yeola-e.”
Scribed and signed:
Kallijas Itrean, Imperator Regent of Arko (his personal seal)
Minis Kurkas Joras Amitzas Aan, Spark of the Sun’s Ray Elect (his personal seal)