Tuesday, November 29, 2011

593 - What's So Funny?

I met Ky at the Steel Gate, and offered her my comb as she stepped out of her chair.  She was dressed absolutely gloriously, in a green and silver outfit.  The silver embroidery outlining leaves over the green silk.  It wasn’t a dress though. It was the split style that people were calling Kyriala’s Ride… after her being in exile with me and riding… astride… all over the empire rather than being carried in a litter.  “Welcome, welcome, Serina, welcome.”  I was grinning like one of Mikas-as-fool statues.  Under the sunshade she looked cool and elegant as she always did, even in the midst of vile emergency.

Her fan, touching the tip of my comb was white and silver.  Her gloves were buttoned at the wrist with a row of delicate crystal buttons.  What was risqué about it was that they were gloves that could be removed at all, even if it would take great deal of time.

I suddenly found myself imagining a buttonhook slowly unbuttoning each one in my hands and I was blushing terribly.  I paced beside her as best I could, moving slowly so I didn’t pinch myself in my own kilt. Her ring was a coal carried in one glove, their rings weighting down my other hand.

“I came dressed for riding, as you asked, Min,” she said.

“I hoped we could ride out to the woods… to the statuary woods and have a picnic… I invited Gan and Fara… I asked…”

“Yes, thank you Min, that will be lovely.”  Her smile was secret, serene.  I offered her my elbow as we went up to the Marble Palace stables, hoping she wouldn’t notice how sweaty I was.

Nasty, along with Gannara’s and Farasha’s horses, Chatters and Miffed, were all tacked up and waiting for us.  “Minis, there are only three horses here.”  She glanced under her lowered eyelashes at me.  “I don’t think that I should ride in front of you out to our picnic.”

I coughed and Gan and Farasha grinned at us.  “Lovely idea for a meal with the four of us,” Gan said.  And Farasha poked him in the ribs just as he said, ‘We’ve needed to talk – hey!”

“Let me fix the problem of no horse to ride, Ky.  I found this little Serina and I thought you might like her.”

That was the moment when the groom led the fully tacked up palfrey out of the stable ramp and Ky caught her breath as the filly stepped into the sun.  Munnas bless I swear, the horse posed.  She was the exact same blond as Ky and her mane and tail flowed and floated.  Her forelock was a thick fringe and had incredible eyelashes over chocolate brown eyes.  The emerald chips in the leather twinkled but not so much as Kyriala’s eyes.

“Oh, she’s beautiful!  Surely you are merely letting me ride her… she’s the exact colour of your hair Minis!”  Then she buried her green gloves in the filly’s mane, their foreheads together while she crooned to the horse.  It snuffled her as she did.  Over the horse, the groom gave me a nod.  He’d fed her calming drops in the water bucket and a handful of soporific weed.

The one time it was completely possible to lay hands on a Serina, or a Sera, from a Serin, was assisting them onto a horse.  I took a deep breath and made sure my hands didn’t linger too long.  The slimey Ser, whose hands cling at such times, was a standard villain in knuckle suckers.

Nasty picked up my nervousness but confined himself to a couple of crow-hops and then a lot of snorting.  Gan grinned at me and Farasha was giggling.  I had no idea why. I was behaving perfectly normally.

I was going to ask all of them.  I had trothe rings that were very, very old Arkan designs.  Modern Arko had no symbol for alesinae and certainly not one for a woman.  Well not in the way that I wanted.  The glass artist had been bemused when I'd explained what I wanted.

We rode down the ramp, with Gan whistling and Fara took up an odd hand-clap that meshed with it.  It was a perfect day.  Ky on the palfrey, with her skirts flowing in the wind and her hair, braided tight on the sides and flowing down over the horse’s withers and rump making her almost part of the horse.

Even with all the soothers, the palfrey had spark and spirit but settled into the odd extended walk that could glide other horses into the ground and cover amazing amounts of distance.  Ky laughed because her step was perfectly smooth as we entered the shady park.

“I had to put my foot down that Ili not be allowed to come this time,” I said.  “He was very offended.”

“Nuni was as well,” Ky said.  “He threw a tantrum and my mother had to tell him that being the head of the household did not allow him to confine me to the house if he couldn’t go.  Technically he could at one time, but Firani-e changed the law back when he was Shefenka.”

“Oh, yes.  Well, I’m glad he didn’t.”  I would have had to re-arrange all of this to happen in the Liren household.

Gan and Fara were riding stirrup to stirrup and I straightened up from chatting with Ky.  We were nearly at the point where we’d have to get down because horses and mamoka still didn’t mix well and the last thing I wanted is the new palfry and Nasty and Chatters and Miffed stampeding through the statuary wood.

Up ahead we could hear the contented rumble of a waiting mamoka and everybody looked at me.  “I borrowed Itzan’s beast and the riding platform for our picnic.”

Gannara burst out laughing.

“What?  What's  so funny, Gan?”

“Nothing.” But he wouldn't stop grinning.


  1. So instead of the elephant in the room we have the room on the elephant. Yes min, you are acting "perfectly normal", that's why we're laughing.
    I can't wait to see how this unfolds and I love that he is asking all of them (bet Gan and Fara aren't expecting that... hee hee, and they think they know how all this will go)

  2. [Spoiler comment redactor V.1.0 This whole answer has been removed and the author twitted vigourously on wanting to be snarky and prove how smart she is!]

  3. Nail biting good.

  4. Thank you GV!... No biting your nails to the quick you understand.