The last of the sun shone slantwise through the open caravan windows and the scent of dinner cooking wafted across the Gybir’s traditional clearing. The surf murmur of the sea barely audible over the ridge. Gannara slapped the Pages down on the caravan bed, smacking his hand flat on the paper. “Are these idiots real?”
Farasha looked up from where she was measuring out a hank of thread. “Which ones? The Yeoli ones for flogging Chevenga, or the Arkan ones for trying to argue that Minis doesn’t exist?”
“Both of them! Assholes. Morons! What is it with this summer? Has everyone gone crazier than usual?”
“The mad moons explains it well enough,” she said calmly. “The Arkans are new to this idea of being able to argue things out, instead of having it all imposed on them. So they’ll do mad things like trying to declare someone ‘unborn’.” She grinned. “A little like a semanakraseye newly retired and allowed to spend money.”
“I’d throw a pillow at you but I’d mess up your threads.” He grinned back. She was completely surrounded by a rainbow of spools that she was winding onto smaller spools to sell. A pillow in the middle of that would have made a right mess of it all. The small spools of the incredibly bright thread would likely sell well in the city. At least they hoped they would. Gannara also thought his parents might be interested. They’d found the dye artist a hundred milas away and had been winding small spools on the road ever since.
“Oh, poo on you,” she said amiably. “You wouldn’t. What I don’t understand is why the Yeolis are going so mad over Chevenga right now. It’s as if his trying to heal… trying to live longer is scaring them into hammering him completely flat.”
Gannara flipped both his hands over, not in the chalk sign but in confusion. “I don’t know. It is like the whole country is threatened by him trying to change.”
Farasha set her tiny spool onto its peg and slid out of the middle of the spoolracks that they had sacrificed one bed in the caravan for and laid herself down with Gannara on the remaining bed, snuggling in. His arms slid up to hug her as they laid their heads together. “I don’t understand it,” Gannara said. “Maybe because I was out of Yeola-e so long.”
“That could be. I’ll have to say I’ve never seen a political system that treats their own so much as an abused child, trying to appease their abuser.”
Gannara let go and went up onto one elbow. “Farasha, that’s not fair. That’s calling the whole country names.”
“Well, it seems to me as though a ruler or a leader of however many, is seen as a potential abuser and so has to be hammered on in case he or she goes power crazy. Kurkas was an abuser and abused his whole country. But then Seggidis isn’t known for her lunacy, nor Astalaz. They have their quirks like anybody, but they aren’t seen as dangerous poisonous snakes that might bite at any time.”
“Kranaj isn’t as tightly wound as some,” Gannara said. “Yeola-e has one of the most reasonable systems where there’s a lot of power.”
“Yes, but you can say that of any system that is balanced.” Farasha tucked her arms under her head and looked up at Gannara. “It’s when things get out of kilter that ugly things like your semanakraseye’s getting his ass flogged for something he did when he was a kid.”
“I suppose. I mean even Arko… when you had a good man on the Crystal Throne, you had a good system. Minis and I talked about that. It’s a little like parenting, you get good and bad parents, you get good and bad bureaucrats, you get good and bad anything. But in Yeola-e the power is in the people’s hands and that can smooth out the more scared people’s reactions.”
“It’s still open to abuse, either direction. Nara, it does look to me like in Yeola-e you have to try a whole lot harder to actually do crazy things like unjust floggings, and no mercy for the person they are afraid of. It’s a system that’s harder to abuse than most.”
“We’re just going to have to keep talking about things like that,” Gannara said. He gently laid one hand on her breast. “You want to keep talking about it? Or do you want to reassure me that our foreign relations are just fine?”
She grinned up at him. “Oh, I’m certainly glad to have relations with you, you foreigner.” He bobbed down to kiss her just as she raised her head and they mashed noses. “OW. Ooo, are you all right?”—“Yowch, is your nose…” They burst out laughing.
“All right,” Farasha said. “I’ll open trade negotiations, deal?” He signed chalk and held still as she reached up to pull his head down to kiss him.