The morning pigeon messages were still on Kallijas’s desk when the second batch was brought in by his welcomist, along with the flying couriers' packets from the Western Empire. We’d been working on a tricky situation between two districts along the North-West coast. Kall knew that area because he’d been stationed there. It was a contradictory law of inheritance that the Quadrians had exploited, gaining followers from the more populated district by telling them their version of the law would be the true version.
I was just puzzling the archaic legalese, with Irfimas – the newest historical legal expert on the High Office staff – when Kallijas took a moment to read through all the messages, piling them up to burn, file, or take further notes on.
“Ah.” I could hear the joy in his voice, even with only the one word. “Sheng is coming for a short visit, a few days. It’s marked personal, so no state formality required.”
“That’s good. When?”
“He should be arriving the day after tomorrow.”
“So what personal thing?”
Kall waved the thumbnail scrap of pigeon message at me. “Pigeon, no space to explain. Probably complicated.”
So what personal thing would Virani-e need to come to Arko for?
He and his entourage came spiraling down out of the reddening sky, just before Rim sunset, Chevenga flying himself in the famous blue and green wing of his, reinstated as semanakraseye by such a landslide. Krero was first down on the landing spot on the Marble Palace roof, right next to Idiesas, who saluted him as senior.
Kall and I had both come up to receive him, when the flight had been spotted. “Kallijas, hello!” Krero’s greeting was familiar and not as profane as I was half expecting. “You look almost as tired as him…” He jerked a bare thumb up at Chevenga, still descending.
“Marble Palace Elite Captain!” His salute to Idiesas was perfect as was his response. “Idis… let me get my warriors set up with you so Cheng can settle.”
“Welcome, Krero.” Kallijas had a smile on his face. Their relationship had certainly changed over the years. “I’m certainly not as tired as he is, I actually listen to my wife and my healers.”
Krero snorted a smile but didn’t stop, overseeing Chevenga’s bodyguard expertly. They fitted into the Marble Palace security easily, of course, but as his best friend's guard captain, Krero was still fussy and not inclined to cut corners. Even if he was coming to a familiar place, too many people had tried too long and hard to kill him, for Krero to relax his vigilance.
Kall was right there as Chevenga’s feet hit the roof and had him enveloped in a hug the moment the harness came off.
“So how are Laisa? And Kyriala?” Was the first question, as he hugged me in turn, enveloping me as if I were much younger. It was wonderful.
“They are in excellent health. They're in the women’s wing," I said. "Doing some arcane wedding stuff.”
After the usual kafuffle of seeing everyone settled, Kallijas satjust the three of us down in the Scarlet Feather room, that we’d had all the peep holes and listening holes that we knew of sealed. We sat down with kaf for both of us and a cupp of ezethra for him. Kall said “A personal matter? You’ve arrived on the wings of your suppressed rage about something, Sheng. Can I… can we help?”
I blinked. I hadn’t recognized that Chevenga was angry, but I suppose that his alesinas would know him well enough to see it. It had to be important.
There was this odd light in his eyes, a kind of intent I suppose. “Kallijas, Minis, you still have a bureaucrat working for you by the name of Eosenas Dusakis, in the Department of Roads. I need to have a word with him.”
It was so far outside of what I thought was coming, some kind of earth-shattering disaster, that it took a moment.
Another Arkan war crimes lawsuit? Something from the war that affects him personally? He's angry with this bureaucrat? What has he done?