“The vote of the people of Yeola-e on the question, that we fully reinstate as semanakraseye of Yeola-e First Virani-e Fourth Chevenga Shae-Arano-e in light of his conviction under the Statute semanakraseyeni sections 21-1 and 21-5-7 and the findings of the Chevengani Mental State Assessment Committee as stated in their final report, we have duly totaled as, of two thousand thousand, seven hundred and fifty three thousand, four hundred and twenty two proper and unspoiled votes: chalk, one thousand thousand, nine—” The official said clearly, but Virana-e’s gasp was loud enough to interrupt her.
My own gasp was one of relief. Through the spots floating in front of my eyes I saw Virana-e throw his hands over his face.
“-- hundred and seventy-one thousand, five hundred and seventy-three; charcoal, four hundred and eighty-seven thousand, nine-hundred and seventy-one; by our calculation a majority just shy of seven and one quarter in ten.” The official folded the page she’d been reading from as I leapt to my feet, cheering.
“Whoo Hoo! Ch’venga I told you! I told you so!” But my rudeness was lost in the others cheering all around me. Kall, next to me, whooped and pounded me on the back as if Virana-e had scored the winning goal in the faib championship final. The decorous applause from the Yeoli Assembly was almost funny. Virana-e sat down abruptly and laid his head down on his crossed arms on the table in front of him.
In the noise there was no chance of anyone hearing what the Speaker said to Virana-e but he sat up again, almost as abruptly, still with a faint gingerliness from the injury he’d done himself somehow earlier in the day. Whatever she’d asked him, with her hand on his shoulder, he stabbed out a chalk sign in answer.
They had to give him a few more days of recovery time and I caught a wave of fingers from Kaninjer to the adakri. One of the older Assemblywomen – I wasn’t sure of her name – caught it and moved that he have five more days and they passed that as well.
Then things pretty much went completely crazy, the way Yeolis do. The wine came out and we’d brought herb for the tall pipe that Skorsas had ordered for the Hearthstone Independent. The party roared into the square and down toward Terera and up to the Hearthstone. Crazy Yeolis, having an outdoor party with bonfires lit all along the paths, even if it was snowing again.
As the evening went on it actually warmed and the snowflakes got big and wet and clung to everything, and then went to a cold, misty rain. This was going to be horrid to fly in, if we even could. The clouds blew across the moon, so the light came and went as it was alternately clear and then thick snow.
Sukala sat at one of the bonfires, on this sleigh that had no way for an animal to pull it. Kall started laughing when he saw it and went over to talk to her and take her a wine cup and Laisa went with him.
Kyriala came up behind me, threaded her arm through mine, her furs damp from the snow, gorgeous tendrils of hair on her forehead and cheeks. “I’m so pleased.”
Do I dare be so forward? “You look amazing, Ky.”
The dimple in her cheek deepened as she smiled wider. “Thank you, Minis. You’re looking happy.”
“It’s just good to see Virana-e get the reassurance he needs. He just never knew how much his people love him.”
She pursed her lips. “It seems to me that he both knew and did not know at the same time.”
“You’re right.” She brushed the blowing edge of fur off her face. “Oh… oh look. Where do you think Kall and Lai are going?”
Kallijas had taken Laisa with him to visit Sukala and now he was gesturing… the odd, partly Yeoli gesture most Arkans tended to pick up if they lived here for any length of time. “It looks like he’s taking her up the mountain.”
“Oh, my.” I turned to look at her, then back to the intermittent moonlight mountainside where Kall and Laisa were clearly visible. “He’s going to… is he?”
“I think he’s looking for the most romantic view he can find… but…” Her fur mitten came up to cover her mouth. “I so hope so. Oh…”