Tuesday, September 6, 2011

549 - ...He Breaks My Neck...

…I wake in the sweating dark of the inn, with Gannara’s soft breathing next to me.  Of course I had that nightmare.  It is what I was afraid of, that I couldn’t make Chevenga believe me, in time.  It’s just dawn.  The Kiss of the Lake is today.

Gannara rolls over, yawns and smiles sweetly at me.  My heart clenches, as he’s gotten older he looks more like Chevenga’s brother than a copy of him, but his smile is still so close it wrenches my heart.

We hide up on the hillside, just as we had in my dream.  I cannot wait until he sits down.  I have to make myself known the moment he comes up… I’ve dreamed over and over and over again, and he recognizes me as Minakas Akam, but it’s always too slow.  He believes me, in my dreams, most often when I tell him who I really am.

I have to tell him who I really am.  Oh, Sinimas, I’m afraid.  Would you, my exalted dead friend be so kind as to approach the Ten for me, please?  I don’t want to offend and I find myself offensive in every way.

He’s coming up the mountain, his hair still wet enough that the soft mountain breeze doesn’t lift the curls yet.  The flowers seem very vivid to me.  I stand up.

Chevenga stops short and sizes me up.  “Shefenka,” I say, equal to equal, in my own long neglected accent.  “It’s Minis.”  Before he can say anything else, I pour out my description, urgently, not letting him interrupt me, though he tries… he steps close to me and smashes me across the face with the flat of his hand, knocking me down.  Shutting me up.

“Be silent, you rapist.  How dare you accuse Yeolis of coming to kill me?  How dare you?”

I can see motion on the slope below, through watering eyes and ringing head.  “They’re coming.  I dreamed.  I can’t let this happen!”  My tone is mushy.  His slap mashed the inside of my cheek against my teeth and my face is swelling, I can tell.

He wheels around and looks, turns to look down at me.  “You are mistaken, Kurkas’s brat.”  He turns to wait for them.

“No, please, no, believe me!”

Gannara leaps up.  “Semanakraseye!”  His voice is high and both angry and frightened.  “Please believe him.  Please!”

He turns back to stare at Gannara, and the Yeolis loose their bows, hitting Chevenga in the back. He goes to his knees, a look of shock spreading over his face.  They hit him in the heart from behind and he’s already gone, the Summoner dragging his soul out through his ears, face smoothing as all emotion falls forever out of the flesh of his face, slack, in the dirt next to me.

I look up and try to scramble up away from his killers.  “Get the others… don’t let them live.” One draws again and shoots Gannara in the chest and he falls, just like Chevenga. Both of them, I’ve lost both of them…


“…it’s all right, lad… I forgive you… It was… meant to be.”  I cannot stop the Summoner and he dies in my arms, his blood pouring and then cooling on me…


…He hides in the rocks with us, a lucky arrow wounds him but the assassins run…


… He breaks my neck with his bare hands before I can warn him, and my forlorn and barren ghost is made to watch him killed again…


I woke fully, my eyes snapping open to a knock on the door.  "Yes?"  I coughed and made sure I was covered.  One of Chevenga’s girls, was it Kila?  Or Kima?  They looked so similar to me.  Kila… yes, she peeked in around the edge of the door for a moment, and said that breakfast was ready, smiling.  No grief there, just breakfast.  Chevenga -- not assassinated -- gone asa kraiya.  “Thank you, Kila,  I’ll be down in a klick.”

I laid on the bed, heart still hammering, sweat still cooling on my skin, the panting terror of my nightmares filling both my ears and my nose, for a long moment.  I was in the Hearthstone Independent.  The Yeolis who would assassinate a semanakraseye had been caught, tried and sentenced, moons ago.

I sat up, slowly, aching as if I had indeed been wrestling with, or being beaten by, Chevenga on a mountainside all night long.  He’d just gone asa kraiya. He’d beaten his foreknowledge. The whole world knew now.  Only Yeolis would have been able to get so close to him, armed, while he was defenseless.

Why now?  Why was I dreaming such things now?  I’d confessed to everything, opened up who I was, gone through the campaign.  I was Spark of the Sun’s Ray Elect.  Chevenga was down on the island in the lake, recovering from that wild ceremony. He was no longer under threat of an early death.

And we’d gone up to visit Sukala.  I tested my skull to see if it might be the hangover of drink, but no, I'd just herbed last night, and drank kaf, as we spun stories in the stone chambers of an invisibly stoned sage.  She was so happy it was almost impossible to see the effect of the herb, if there were any at all.  

I… was probably just purging my fears.  At least I hoped so.  Sukala would poke me with her stick if I took myself too seriously, I guessed.

Rek and Klaimera were both interesting and Rek was very funny on herb.  I was glad I’d had a chance to meet both of them informally.  I’d invite them both to Arko sometime soon.  After Sukala perhaps.  Now there was an idea to brace me, to wake me up.

I rose and splashed some water on my face from the basin, pulled on a house robe, and went down to eat.  We would be leaving in the afternoon, when the branmoy were strongest, so there was no need to rush out of the Hearthstone Independent at first light.

No comments:

Post a Comment