Monday, November 14, 2011

583 - What Did I Expect?

“As I said... I’m not intending to do anything about it right now...” I said to Entera’s white-all-the-way-around eyes.  “Other than talk to you.  You were not quite as murderous as the rest of the drunken thugs you were hanging about with...  May I ask you... was it just because I was stupid enough to be alone in a garden?”

He grabbed his crystal in both hands.  “I never laid a hand on you, second Fire come if I lie!”

“Yes.  I recall.  You guarded their flasks while they worked themselves up to murder.”  I was still lounging back, trying to show him only calm even though my heart was pounding hard enough I was wondering if he could hear it.  He’d moved forward to the edge of his seat, leaning forward with the sincerity of his affirmation.

“Because I didn’t want a part of it... probably you didn’t hear me say that, or didn’t understand it.”

“Indeed.  I did hear that, even in the heat of the moment.  And I understood it as well.  But you say you still associate with your old friends?  Are they all government clerks and so forth... will I have to politely associate with them to maintain cordial diplomatic relations?”  I put the tiniest edge into my voice.

Entera stood up.  “Imperator Elect, in case you mean to press charges, it’s incumbent on me not to say a word more.”

I sighed.  What did I expect?  An apology?  “Of course.  I do not intend to press charges...”  I felt very old.  Let the pup go…

“And yet you might change your mind.  I think it best if I keep a cordial distance from you from now on.  I will say one thing... I am glad you did not die.  I supported your bid to be elected Imperator.”  He seemed entirely sincere and there was a lightning flash of curiosity but it was only a flicker.

“I see.”  But for someone who was going to distance himself he wasn’t running away as fast as I thought he would.  “I suppose... I wanted to ask why... but how did you support my bid?”  How could he have?  Yeolis had nothing to do with the vote in Arko.  Was it just an ass kiss attempt to appease me?

“I favoured it.  I did not campaign; I was not in Arko, or Arkan.  If I’d had a vote, I would have voted for you and Kallijas.”  Yes.

“I’m glad to know that.  I... felt very strange about that night, to be sure.  You certainly wouldn’t have known that I could swim.” He sank back down into his chair, not sitting comfortably but not fleeing with his tail between his legs either.

“So... you weren’t quite as afraid of the water as... you were making out?”

“No.  I was actually hoping to gull the lot of you into throwing me in.”

“Point of order, I didn’t want you dead.  I thought it was wrong to be killing Arkans when the war had been over so long.  But you gulled everyone else entirely...”  He shook his head admiringly.  “Very well-played, Imperator Elect, especially in extremity.”  I had to smile at the compliment.

“Point taken.  My Yeoli friend was very glad I managed that... you may want to tell your friends that they are not murderers.” I rose to my feet.  That was probably the best I was going to get and I told myself it was good enough.

“I... well... if you abjure me to do that, I will.  Not that I see most of that group often any more.”  Of course.

“It would gratify me, but it is up to you, kere.  I’m certain things will continue both calm and cordial between our two countries.”  I wasn’t sure anymore of the impulse behind letting him know… was it because it would be cruel of me to leave them thinking they were murders?  Was it because I’d wanted to see him piss himself?  Both… and more but I wasn’t sure of the rest.  Was I so terribly disappointed that he wouldn’t apologize?  What had I expected, really? It said something of his character but he would be dealing with my minor bureaucrats, not me.

“I should say... and I’ve been very late in saying it, and thus remiss... I apologize for my part in what you suffered that night.”  I stopped and stared at him.  His hands made the offered grasp of air that the Yeoli apology gesture to Arkans had become, along with a bow.  Oh.

“If you wish to apologize properly, I give you my hands.”  I set my glass down and held out my hands to him and Entera took them, pressed his forehead to them and offered his apology a second time.  My mouth popped open and I said what I hadn’t thought I would ever say.

“I forgive you.”

He straightened and let me go, a very tentative smile on his face.  “Thank you, Imperator Elect, though I do not feel I deserve it.  Perhaps... we need not keep such a cordial distance as I was thinking... your choice, of course.”

“Well.  Why don’t you tell me what you and your friends lost in the war?  I expect that is one reason they were all so angry.”  Another odd impulse.  How much wine had I had?  I sat down once more and so did he.

“It is, of course, but it justified nothing.  Not three years after Chevenga sacked Arko.  You really want to know those things?  Tinga-e was sacked, we all lost someone or something... do you need more details?”

“Who did you lose personally?  My father didn’t care about such things.  I should, at least, put a human face on that atrocity, especially if I hope to make more Yeoli friends.”  I was considering this young ex-thug as a possible friend?  Was I terminally naïve?

He looked away, heaved a sigh.  “And yet it’s not your duty to make up for him... tell the truth, I don’t think about it much any more.  Life goes on... we all think that way.  I lost some family, lost some friends, lost my family’s house.  We aren’t warriors so we weren’t hit as badly as the warrior families, who lost people on the field.”

“I’m sorry for your loss.  Rest they in All Spirit, or Selestialis.”  It was all I could offer.

“Thank you, Imperator Elect.  I’m sorry for your losses, too.”  I raised my glass to him and he reciprocated, waiting to hear my toast.

“Here’s to peace and an end to brutality.” I found myself smiling at Entera.  An apology.  He had taken responsibility for the part he’d played.  That was what I wanted.

“Voted, Chalked and Quaffed!"


Thanks to Karen for the role play... for playing Entera. 


  1. Forgiveness given
    Is a balm for the spirits
    Of both the parties

  2. Most grateful am I.
    Elegant language flowing,
    from consistent fans

  3. Impressive.

    I'm driving myself crazy trying to figure out if this pattern and outcome of apology and forgiveness has ever been replicated before, so that I can hear what that was like.

  4. Minis started out doing this under the 'being a little shit' impulse, and learned something. I don't think he's ever been presented with something quite like this... He and 2nd Amitzas did have honest words, even though they were chemically forced.

  5. Often when the human heart is given the chance our 'being a little shen' impulses lead us to greater wisdom. I love the way that Minis is growing up. He is already such a wonderful person, I would truly miss seeing him learn about life and all of his rightful places in the world if this story ever goes away. Ascending to the throne should not be the end of his growth as a person and a king.

  6. I get it, Kliklikitty, I'm listening.

  7. GV wrote: "I'm driving myself crazy trying to figure out if this pattern and outcome of apology and forgiveness has ever been replicated before..."

    I can't believe Chevenga has never been contrite toward Minis at some point for sacking Arko. If it's not there somewhere, it should be. Insofar as the theme here is "taking responsibility for your actions," Chevenga never wavered from publically taking full responsibility for the Sack, and for a long time was apologizing to literally every Arkan he met. I see that mirrored back to Entera here, with Minis asking the typical question Chevenga does, "What did you lose?" except that Entera, with the strict discernment of individual responsibility that is typical of Yeolis, won't let him apologize because he was not himself responsible.

    Playing Entera was interesting, because obviously I had a stronger conscience than the others who tried to kill Minis… so it was, who does that kid grow up into? Different Yeolis have handled the trauma of the occupation in different ways; they chose the more negative route of bitterness and alcoholism, while he chose the positive route of entering public service so as to contribute to his community, which is why he doesn’t associate much with them any more.

    Entera is late on the apology, incidentally, due to utter shock that the murder victim is a) alive and b) the Imperator Elect of Arko, as well as fear of being charged; he picks up on Minis’s anger, and being politically/legally savvy, he knows that if it goes to the court of prosecution rather than the court of reconciliation, which is more likely with an Arkan since they aren't familiar with the court of reconciliation, his best bet is to say absolutely nothing now, and apologize later. But as the shock wears off he’s like “What am I doing, not apologizing?” so he does it. That’s how it went for me in the RP.

    Finally, his mention of support for Minis's bid is absolutely not ass-kissing. If he were the ass-kissing type he wouldn’t have dissented to the ringleader during the incident. It’s prompted by the realization that if they’d succeeded, Minis wouldn’t have been there to be elected. But ass-kissing is what Minis is used to seeing.

  8. Oh! I think I meant in our world, Karen. ^_^'

    Awesome commentary though.