Tuesday, August 30, 2011

545 - Girl Talk, Boy Talk

“No no no, stop, stop.”  She reached for my hands, then stopped herself short.  “You are Arkan, shy about the hands... I hold them in spirit.”  I gave her my hands anyway.  I was used to this kind of thing, from Yeolis, in Yeola-e. Her grip, though knobby and thin, was very warm and tender and comforting, even motherly… well, in my case more nursely.  “Tell me, would you blurt out an Arkan state secret that way?”

“No.”  I took my hands back, kind of abruptly, and straightened up.  Sukala looked not in the least bit nonplussed, offended, or anything.

“But you did this one... you know why?”

I took a deep breath.  “Because I have not yet fixed this.  That’s why.”

“Because in your heart of hearts, you want to tell people that you trust.  So you are not alone with it.  No one wants to be alone with their pain, and no one should be.”

“I hardly know the Crown Prince and certainly not the princess and I have just met you.  Are you saying I’m trusting too easily?”

“No, no, not at all.  We are all trustworthy people, and you know it in your heart as I do.  I am saying, do not castigate yourself for acting on your instincts, but understand them to be wisdom.”

I just blinked at her.  “Oh. Um.  I suppose.  But I have a lot more work to do on them, before I’m third threshold.”  Surely life isn’t that easy?

She reached for my hands once more and I gave them back to her.  It was something very important she had to say, and like most Yeolis needed to have hold of me when she said it, as if it would sink in more deeply.  They could be right. “All your life, you have felt outside the circle of warmth of humanity,” she says.  “Outside the weave of love that sustains our hearts and our souls.  You want to be in it; you want to be part of it.  You don’t know entirely how, so you’ll be clumsy about it, at least in your own judgment, but that won’t stop you.  And so it shouldn’t, because you belong there, as does every human being.”

All I could do was nod my head, blindly for new tears standing in my eyes.  She pulled me into a hug, reaching up to do it, and I bent my head down to accept it.  She was right.  What was between Chevenga and I, had really come out in the campaign anyway, it was me just falling over my old reflexes.

“Thank you, Sukala.”  I wept, silently.  Partly from relief, partly from shame and she held me tight while I did.  Very few people had ever just held me like that.  Just accepting what I was feeling.  Chevenga was one of them.  Gannara was another.  In fact, Kyriala and I had hugged like this, once.  We just held on, with no meaning wrongly or rightly applied to the emotion; just acceptance.  That was the beginning of love, and was something I realized I wanted desperately in whomever I married.

As we re-entered the main cavern Kallijas, with his arms spread wide was just saying “…then he goes like this” and he threw his head back, and Klaimera laughed, “Yes, yes!”  Reknarja was struggling to hide a smile.

“Hey!” Sukala said.  “Don’t make me miss things, go back to what you were saying!”

“It’s all right,” Kall smiled.  “We just did that to make you think you’d missed something.”  There was a laugh.  Kall glanced at me, assessing and looked reassured as I nodded at him.  Klaimera smiled at me with her eyes full of… was that compassion? Rek… suddenly he and I seemed to be on the same side.  He nodded at me as well, looking thoughtful.  It seemed to me, suddenly, that it would be a good thing to be friends with the future king of Tor Ench… and with the High Priestess of Laka.  I bet that my mother… and Ky and Farasha would be absolutely fascinated to meet her. 

“So go back to the beginning!” Sukala says, suddenly looking as if she might drool. What was it with these Yeolis who could switch between the sacred and the sexual in a flash? “Klaimera, you were saying you and he caught each other’s attention...”

“Um...” Reknarja was as red as his shirt.  “Er... um... well... you did say it was... because he was a foreigner...” he tugged at his collar, showing that he was red all the way down into the hair on his chest, but he didn’t unbutton that top button.  He was showing as uncomfortable as I felt.  The two of us seemed to have a lot more in common than I thought, originally.

“Well, I’m not going to tell every detail,” the Lakan princess said, flashing her eyes from Sukala to the three of us males in quick succession.  Right.  Girl-talk, not to be noised in front of the boys. Or boy-talk not to be flashed in front of the grown men.  “You asked how he is in bed...”  A smile grew on her face, obviously from delightful memories.  “He is very beautiful.  And a little delicate, yes.  I felt that in him.”

Reknarja, looking resolutely over Sukala’s head, obviously steeling himself...he was sweating now even though it wasn’t that warm in here.  “He... likes... for his partner to be firm,”  he said as if taking a high fence on a fiery horse that he had to control absolutely.

We all stared at him stunned.  Even Sukala, who I didn’t think could be surprised by anything, though she was the first to recover.  “Truly?” she said, her prurient smile growing.

“He does,” said Klaimera.

Kall nodded and signed chalk.  “He... um... likes it when I put my hands on his shoulders and hold him.”

“Well!” says Sukala.  “I expected a treat or two, and I’ve happened into a treasure-trove.  My semanakraseye gets around.  Go on, go on...

“No, I don’t think so,” Reknarja said.  “It was... well.  It was only the once.”

“I wanted him much more than I had him,” the Lakan princess said wistfully.  “We even talked marriage.  But it came clear it wasn’t meant to be.  In another life, perhaps.”

“Sukala, you should ask Niku,” said Kallijas.  “She’s not shy at all to talk about this.”  Sukala signed chalk conspiratorially.

I cleared my throat.  “I always saw him as more fatherly. And our experience wasn’t consensual... since my father ordered it.”  Since I had revealed it, I could at least try and be mature about it.

“It’s in a different category, that,” Sukala said.  “It would be under ‘What one must go see a healer for.’  You did not love him that way, as you say.”

I signed chalk.  “Surya has been an enormous help there. For me as well as him.  He is certainly healed enough to not be concerned about... showing that... considering what happened after the ritual.”

“Showing it was never his trouble,” said Kallijas.  “He did it with Niku as is traditional in Presentation Square on Diem of Carnal Licentiousness, twice.  His trouble is elsewhere.”

“Oh?” said the old woman, her face lighting.  “Presentation Square?  That sounds public.  Do tell.”  Everyone was getting to know her well enough now that they… we… all laughed.  It was as if we were all drinking, and no one had anything but tea or a chocolate cup.  Reknarja was looking around at all of us and it was as if he took armour off his soul and somehow, indefinably, expanded.

“It’s a very sacred Arkan tradition.”  Kall explained about Jitzmitthra, and Leap-Jitzmitthra and Diem of Carnal Licentiousness, and what Imperator and Imperatrix are expected to do that day.  The old woman listened with an even wider smile on her face than usual.  Who ever thought a venerable Sera would be like that?


  1. Future world leaders bonding over intimate and embarrasing stories, in the presence of a learing little old lady.

    I like it!

    Maybe if more world leaders had taken that approch, the FIRST fire wouldn't have come...

    (Better the leaders come than the second fire, amirite?!?)

    Imperator & Imperatrix in presentation square - do they sell tickets for that?

    Sudden thought - the residents of the City had to watch THE FAT GUY do that with some poor victim? EEewwww!


  2. Crying from previous posts and glee from this one!

    You make the idea of a leering old lady so delightful, instead of the disturbing portrayals I have seen! Maybe because there is no malicious intent in this one.

  3. Are there any nations in this part of the earthsphere that Chevenga hasn't had sex with a high ranking member of?

  4. Hey Dave... Imperator and Imperatrix... no tickets... standing room only! You can fit approx. fifty thousand people into Presentation Square... and yes the fat guy and his hanging harness...

    GV! Hey! Yes, there's no malice in Sukala. She's just having a blast with these young people. They take things so seriously.

    And Meeks... well... there aren't many. He's quite the lover. He hasn't had sex with either Astalaz or Kranaj, or the Speaking Elder of Haiu Menshir.

  5. @Meeks: It is important politically for a head of state to create meaningful and lasting bonds with other heads of state. But Chevenga has to admit that he's fallen down on the job with Brahvniki, having bonked no one on the Praetanu. Yet. Nor has he done it with any Moghiur royalty, or Srian, or, as Shirley mentions, the elders of Haiu Menshir. So far. For shame, Chevenga! Get out there and do it.

  6. @Dave: I think we wrote somewhere that as Kurkas got older and fatter, he also got more shy about the public exposure in question, and possibly hasn't done it for the last eight or twelve years, mercifully sparing the citizenry of Arko that sight.

    The much more pneumatic pair of Niku and Chevenga, however, bring the custom roaring back. It will first be described, possibly journalistically, in The Philosopher in Arms. Possibly we haven't mentioned that, since it's Jitzmitthra, the Imperial couple traditionally start things off in costume.

  7. @ Karen Re: Costume

    I assume Niko's costume would be a bird or some other flying critter (female sabre-tooth flying squirrel a la Ice Age?), and Chevenga would be something heroic (lion, dragon, heroic steed perhaps) unless tradition or PR demand the Big Imp be the Arkan Eagle. Although given his tendencies, I'd think he'd prefer Niku be the eagle, and he the prey, held fast in her tallons...

    As for the Fat Guy, I'd hope for a privacy screen, although that might turn it into some sort of nightmare Balinese shadow play... Which would add to the general sureality of Jitzmithra, I guess, in a pay-a-lot-of-money-to-Surya-when-you're-older sort of way.

    Is the House of Integrity gonna make a mint off of Arko or what!?

    As for Chevenga & Niku's pneumaticness (pneumaticality?), if you've got it, flaunt it to your political advantage - one way or another, that would _have_ to have an effect on any other ruler in a face-to-face! Attracted, repulsed, or simply uncomfortable, Chevenga and Niku would make the most of it.

    Exhibitionism for political leverage... we need more of that.

    ***NEW RULE*** - All speeches in the House of Commons must be given in the form of Burlesque!!

    Waddya think - approved by the spirit of Jack Layton? (Too soon?)


  8. @Dave I remember when Jack Layton was my city politics instructor at Ryerson, I found him quite attractive as well as an excellent teacher. At that time he had longish curly brown hair and a muscular build, so I always wondered what he looked like under the shirt & pants. So, yes, if your proposal had gone through while he lived, I'd definitely have switched my vote to his party if I hadn't already been voting for them. You can only imagine Stephen Harper's physique as pasty at best, and Ignatieff's as stringy. (Since Doucette has become politically irrelevant he has become pneumatically irrelevant also, so no speculation necessary there, thank goodness.)

    The House of Integrity has been making a mint off of Arko for centuries.

    Of course Niku will dress up as something flying (we haven't decided what, yet) and Chevenga as something heroic yet politically correct (there is no set tradition)... maybe they'll both be eagles, she the sea eagle, he the Arkan eagle, and do a wild mating dance with lots of screeching. Though even that cannot top the way she makes her entrance for their wedding.