Monday, August 29, 2011

544 - A Complete Second-Thresholder of Myself

“He was only seven, so it must have been pervasive in his life,” Sukala said thoughtfully.  “Touching every aspect... oh!  I’ve never had two people together who he’s had sex with before, and I’ve always been curious: what’s he like?”

Kallijas choked wildly on his tea and started coughing even as I passed hot liquid through my nose and started sputtering my eyes watering, Reknarja made this interesting ‘peep’ noise and then started choking in his own way--why was he so thrown?  Oh yes, Enchians were prudes when it came to man on man sex.  Only Klaimera kept her poise, merely looking at Sukala bemusedly.  “Two people together?” she said innocently.  “Well, there is Kallijas...”

Now it was Sukala’s turn to look puzzled.  “But... I thought... well!  I don’t mean to induce anyone to give away any secrets--I think perhaps if anyone is going to answer my question, we should all swear an agreement that what is said will not go outside these stone walls.”

“I’m sorry, I... um... it wasn’t... um... Surya and Chevenga said it wasn’t voluntary!”  I leapt to my feet and managed to say “Excuse me,” and fled out onto the plateau.  I had to stop and catch my breath through my scalded nose.  I couldn’t run anywhere here without going off some unimaginable cliff so I froze, just outside the door in the dark.  It was snowing hard enough that I could hardly see my hand in front of my face.  I shook all over and I had my arms wrapped around my middle.

“Most definitely,” Sukala said,  “we should all swear an oath…  I had vaguely heard that as I plunged out.

I couldn’t vomit right here on her path.  It would be tea, and dinner and it would be a stinking mess.  I swallowed and swallowed hard again.  I couldn’t... I shouldn’t... it was all right.  Surya knew.  Kallijas knew.  Oh, Gods, now both Tor Ench and Laka knew, since Reknarja and Klaimera did.  The whole WORLD would know, even if everyone swore silence.  Too many people knew.

“Minis.”  It was Kall.  “Are you all right?”  He came close and I knew he was thinking of putting an arm around me but wasn’t sure it was a good idea.  My head was down and I desperately wanted something but Tanifas wasn’t there, Surya was with Che- Virani-e... I struggled to keep my breathing even and realized I had mucus clogging up my whole head, just that fast.

I sniffed hard.  “I’m sorry. I’m sorry.  I’m sorry I thought I’d gotten over it.  I thought Surya had helped me settle that...  I... I... just need a moment.  I’ll come back in.”  The cold was freezing the hairs on the insides of my nose and my tears on my lashes.

“Minis.”  Kall was holding out a handkerchief for me and I took it, almost blindly.  “It’s all right, you know.”  I nodded and scrubbed my face as dry as I could before blowing my nose.  He did put an arm around my shoulders and I buried my face in my hands for a moment.  It felt so good.

“Thank you, Kallijas.”  That was all I could manage.  But I straightened up, sniffed hard.  “I’m all right.  I was... just startled.”

“So,” Sukala said as we came back in, “we should all make the oath, in the witness of all.”  She looked the most serious she had the whole time, picking up her crystal in her gnarly hand.  Reknarja put his hand over the Enchian crown prince’s bracelet, Klaimera took hold of a pendant she was wearing, Kall cupped his hands at his temples.

I wasn’t sure I could but I managed to lift the lead weights on the ends of my arms to my own head.  Everyone intoned the oath in their own language, then Sukala got us to swear again in Enchian, so Reknarja just repeated his twice.  “Second Fire come if I reveal what we speak of in this cavern.  Ten send me to Hayel,” I managed to say and had to sniff again.

People were both looking at me and not looking at me at the same time, not sure what to say, until Klaimera saved me.  “Since we are all sworn to secrecy,” she said, with a bit of a mysterious smile, “when J’vengka was fostered with us, he and I caught each other’s attention.  The celibacy requirement of my office...”  She smiled a bit more widely.  “...applies only to my countrymen.  So I think I would be the second person of which our gracious hostess speaks.  It is an open secret in the Palace of Kraj now, anyway.”

Oh, fik me.  Sukala hadn’t meant me at all!  Oh, oh, fikken fik me and the donkey I rode in on!  I must look like a complete and utter fool.  I just hid my face in my gloves for a bit.  Fik me sideways and in my left earhole.  I just made a complete idiot of myself for no fikken, Tens fikked, Mikas’s left Immortal Nut, reason.  Muunas’s fiery lava anal beads!

“I want to hear more,” the old woman said.  “But wait a moment.”  She got up and came over to me.  I could only stare up at her, waiting for whatever dreadful thing that was going to happen, to fall. She just said “Come, come,” with the usual smile on her lips, but something very earnest in her eyes.  She waved one of her naked, knobby old hands, signaling me to come with her to some side cavern.

I cast a furtive glance at Kallijas and he nodded at me to go with her.  Reknarja was studying the bottom of his cup and Klaimera was looking at me with sympathy.  I swallowed hard and followed her.  “My apologies, Sukala.  I’m sorry I reacted so.  It was rude of me.”  My guts were tied in a razor wired knot.

I’d just completely acted as if no one knew about Klaimera and Chevenga and… and… made a complete second thresholder of myself.

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