Wednesday, September 28, 2011

564 - These Are for Me

“Three of the plotters survived to be truth-drugged and between those three’s unwilling testimony, it has been discovered that there were twenty men in this plot.  They were mostly young men and late second-threshold children, with several older men apparently as teachers.  We have the names of sixteen of the conspiracy and the Ministry of Serenity and Irefas are working at this moment to match corpses with names, and then search out and discover the remaining four men.”

Twenty men? This is going to shake the city.  How could this big a conspiracy hide itself, even in the city itself? Or did they come into the city?  It must have been an in-city thing because they must have known they wouldn’t be able to smuggle me out.

Kallijas clasped his hands behind his back and continued.  “We know that the conspiracy was actually to kidnap Minis rather than assassinate him.  They considered themselves to be saving the Empire by ‘saving’ Minis from what they considered his evil teaching and evil teachers.  They used a special kind of treated wire, braced around either a railing, or a pillar, across the downtrack of the bridge where, once you'd passed the top of the arc, moving at your usual speed, your guards would not be able to avoid being hit."

"Each of the attackers had a statement of intent copied out and carried on his person.  They clearly state that if they are martyred and did not succeed… and two of the three we scraped were of the opinion that they would not succeed, but if they made a spectacular enough attempt that they would make their point.”

Grandfather was by the door.  I had not seen him come in.  “Quite a few people seem to think that martyring other people with themselves is somehow proving their point, rather than them being mere murderers,” he said into the long pause that Kallijas had left. 

Kallijas nodded at him.  “Just so.  I intend to let the Pages know what we know and let the Empire see what these fanatics thought.  The leader, who goes by the title of “Unomas” is apparently an Aitzas priest.

“He truly thinks he’s ‘sacred’?”  That was mother, asking.


I had Ili sitting on Gan’s lap, next to me, hugging my arm. Kyriala was on my other side with our arms interlocked.  She wasn’t showing any signs of letting go of me, so I took shameless advantage, even as I gave my careful attention to Kallijas.

I’d have to speak to the writers of course, even though I could say nothing till the investigation was finished. “I sincerely hope that this doesn’t hurt Arko, finding out that they have such men, still, willing to steal the vote, to usurp the will of the people of Arko.”

“I’m sure there will be a definite outcry,” Kallijas said quietly.  Then said straight out what was implied.  “Let me repeat, please -- because there are still men out there who need to be found and caught, there will be no release of information.  Please keep this all to yourselves.”

There were nods through the room and my friends held up their hands to swear.  “Second Fire Come if we speak of this.”

“Good, thank you.”


None of the family wanted to leave me alone after, and I wasn’t going to argue.  We all went down to the Mahid chapel, where Joras had been laid out.  The marker on the Mahid cenotaph that signified him, had been removed and replaced with a gold one, signifying ‘died in performance of his duty’.

He looked whole, under the black and silver mourning drape, his face serene and pale.  Someone had already washed him and someone must have brought his missing hand.  His wife sat vigil by the bier, where she would stay until he was laid out with my other guards for the public funeral.

Grandfather had no singing voice and there were no Mahid priests or dekinas.  We all sat and a young Aitzas priest came to sing the funeral songs.  I let my tears out under closed eyelids when he sang ‘Let Me Be as Gold’.

Joras had been a non-entity most of my life, then an enemy, before finally becoming a staunch and sworn defender and a good friend.  In this past year he’d not only protected me, he'd laughed a lot and spun glass into his dreams.  He’d showed his caring heart to his wife and to me and to everyone around him.  He'd gone far past his repressive, ugly, crazy-making training and found he was a good man. He’d been happy and worked hard.  He’d saved me, again.

Back when he’d insisted on coming on the Mahid raid to defend my back, I’d found I liked him.  Muunas, he was a complicated soul.  My tears aren’t for him.  He’s not tortured or frustrated or hurting any longer.  My tears are for me, wanting him here still.


  1. Sad sad sad
    there's 'Horrific' 'Ha' and 'In suspense' but no "Sad" button to click

  2. Sorry, no room for a 'sad' button. I've tried to jam one in... Better to comment! Hug.