His speech was wonderful. I recommend any Arkan read it in either Sinimas Menden’s or Kirinas Ferztainas’s translation. Once he finished, we – all of us, foreigners, family, everyone who would witness his private ceremony – went in a clutch together up to the School of the Sword. He looked as though he was walking injured. He hadn’t put helmet on again and he was sweating over pale, with his cheeks flushed stark red. I was amazed he was on his feet and moving by now.
He paused at the waterfall and Surya put a hand on his shoulder. I listened to the thunder of the water rather than what they were saying, though I could have heard if I strained. It wouldn’t have been polite, even though I was deadly curious. This ‘going asa kraiya’ seemed to be a difficult and deadly thing, though considering the alternative for him, which was dying young, it was a good trade.
Kall stopped him at this gate that looked old, even though it couldn’t be, since we’d burned the building down in the occupation. They’d built it again since, and planted a new garden around it. I hadn’t paid much attention to the building when I was here, posing as a scholar, though Gannara had.
We were all shown into a large room inside that seemed cool and cavernous. Even though the walls were hung with wide white ribbons with their circle symbol, it felt dark and mysterious. Everyone settled along one side and I realized why. I was used to ceremony done in square rooms full of tall, rectangular windows, perfectly aligned, not in a curving room that reminded me of the halls under the mountain, with small windows.
“He’ll be some time,” Kall said to me and Laisa. “His ceremony, I’m told, starts right at the gate.”
“I’m wondering if being a warrior is such a good thing,” Laisa said. “If it is so hard to release.”
Kall nodded. “It is. Sukala, one of my teachers here – you saw her just at the gate -- told me that every warrior, as every solas, has an asa kraiya ceremony as a possibility waiting for them. And every one as different as they are different as warriors.”
“Both the war master... Azaila is it? And that woman, Sukala – I’ve heard you talk about her before – they’re um, possessing of a wealth of years.”
He laughed. “Like mountains. You still wouldn’t want to, anger either a Yeoli war-master, or a mountain, enough to fight. They’d be either compassionate or indifferent about it, but they’d snap you out of the willingness to fight very quickly.”
“I couldn’t help overhearing,” the crown prince of Tor Ench put in. “Why would a teacher of arms want to stop someone fighting?”
“Fighting them, certainly,” I said. “It is nice to meet you, Crown Prince.”
“And I am pleased to meet you at last, Spark of the Sun’s Ray Elect.” He looks like the kind of person who needs the occasional illicit pipe of Arkanherb. Maybe later, when we can be less formal.
“Fighting at all,” Kallijas said, nodding at Reknarja.
That just sounded odd. What would have happened to 2nd Amitzas if faced with either of the elegant old Yeolis. He probably would have busted himself trying to break them, like hurling himself at a cliff face till he broke.
I had met Reknarja and the Lakan Princess earlier, but it was completely superficial. I looked forward to meeting with them both after Chevenga was sequestered on that special mystical little island.