Friday, February 10, 2012

629 - It Was HIS Fault!

I had read about the wildly innovative fire system while I was in the woods with my Mahid, since we had read and re-read any copy of the Pages to rags as we got them, but I hadn’t paid it much attention.

Horiras Seias, fessas, had presented Skorsas Trinisas with the design for the Marble Palace that would allow the building of what was, in effect, an art installation that was a fire dousing system ready day and night.  His system of glass tubes, with golden plugs held in place every few feet by wax, could be turned into almost any kind of decorative ceiling array and then hooked into the Palace’s water system and filled.

He had dreamed the idea after Chevenga’s sack of the city and had taken his drawings all the way up through the ranks of the Marble Palace staff until it had hit Skorsas’s desk and been approved and funded.  It had become a very popular addition to the Fortunate Fifty’s new manor houses and cheaper, simpler versions had spread all through in the city, to the great approval of the city’s anti-fire brigades.

The intricate, elegant networks of glass in the Marble palace had been something I’d been able to truly exclaim over when I’d been here first as Minakas. 

Each room, each section, had a water-driven bell attached to its array.  A bell or set of bells or chimes were rigged to begin sounding, if the water in each array moved.  If a fire grew hot enough to melt the wax and the pressure dropped, the bells would begin to chime. 

I didn’t think, I dropped Ky’s hand and Fara’s arm and ran down the hallway.  “Fire!” 

“Fire!”  Servants and guards were calling.  The Marble Palace went from the odd image of deserted, to completely full of people, from the secondary and tertiary palace corridors. I should have retreated, evacuated, but I grabbed up two of the glass fire-bulbs in the walls.  Fire equalized everyone.

Gan and Ky and Fara were all there, with me. The girls weren’t hampered by skirts or sleeves but ran with us, barefoot, bare-legged, wearing our boy’s robes. “This is stupid,” I cried to Gan and to the guard next to me.  “We should get everyone out!” 

“It’s the Imperial Chamber bell,” Gannara panted, running beside me.  “It’s Kallijas and Virani-e...” 

We were in the crowd all armed and prepared to fight the fire, the water pouring out from under the Chamber doors, tang of smoke in the air, Jitzmitthra forgotten. 

The massive doors swung open, letting another gout of water out along the floor, someone had pulled the shut-off lever and the chiming of the bell was silenced as we all saw. 

“There’s no fire... the system worked nicely... really.  Everyone can go back to what they were doing,” Virani-e’s voice echoed weirdly out of the dragon-headed helmet that had been part of his costume on the first day of Jitz – but he wasn’t wearing his costume.  He was naked, except for the head-dress.  Soot smeared.  Naked.  Kallijas stood by the shut-off lever, also naked.  Also wearing his dragon head-dress.  The one that shot fire. 

The Most Noble and Efficacious Tapestry of the Finest Virtues of Arkan Society dripped, sodden and half burnt away, where it had apparently gone up in a gout of flame, burned half off its rings and been doused.  Bits of scorched and melted fabric dropped slowly, randomly, from the crescent edge. Water pattered from the glass above where the plugs had been melted free. There were swirls of wine where Virani-e’s head-dress had sprayed to help put the fire out.  He pulled the head piece off, sweaty black curls plastered against his forehead.

A voice from out of the crowd, standing, said plaintively.  “You surely didn’t use the fire-dragon mask inside?” The track of scorch along the marble and carpets and curtains led from the tapestry, directly back to the Imperial bed.

“Nothing to see here,” Virani-e said, over Kallijas, who was beginning to say something, sounding very sheepish in the echoing mask he wore.  “Guards, back to your posts... all servants other than chamber servants, back to your work. Chamber servants, I think you’ve got a bit of work to do here.”

Everyone stood frozen a long long moment and then there was a high snorting whistle as someone’s laughter exploded past clamped lips and their hands.  “HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! hee hee hee, oh oh... no!  It’s the best Jitz EVER!  HAHAHA HAHA HAHA HAHAHA OH MY TEN GODS!”

“What is so funny?” Virani-e snapped, his dark brows lowering stormily.  “It was a fire!” 

The jumble of hysteria washed over us and we crumbled to the floor as if knocked over.  “Virani-e!” I yelled over the noise. “Please... tell us you weren’t having sex with the helmets on!”

He stared at me, furiously, as I struggled to not fall over with everyone else.  “Minis Kurkas Joras Amitzas Aan!  We were not having hahahahahaHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA...”  The two of them doubled over and sank to the floor in paroxysms of laughter with everyone else, myself included as my knees let go, heedless of the watery mess. 

Niku and Skorsas ran in, skidding sideways on the slick floor, Niku moving fast enough that she slipped.  “What?  You two went off to have sex and there’s a fire what in the Earthsphere... eeep!”  Krero and another of the Darya caught her as she slid helplessly on the slick as ice marble, into them.

“Apparently they were inflamed with passion,” said Skorsas, barely keeping his feet, clinging to the doorpost.

“I’ve heard of hot sessions, but this surpasses all,” Krero said drily.  

I was on the floor laughing and whooped air into my lungs... “I... I.. oh... I never saw any of this.  I saw nothing.  I know nothing of this.  It never hahahahahappened!  I’m going... going... to crawl away now....” 

“Look!” Virani-e said, in his everyone-listen-to-me voice. “When you’re doing it with this man... how can you help but be on fire?”

“Likewise!” Kallijas yelled, pointing back at Virani-e.

They both roared simultaneously, “It was his fault!”

“AHAHAHAHAH AHAHAHAHAHAHAH AH AH AH AHAH AHAHA!”  I crawled towards the door and people started trying to pick themselves up off the marble with limited success.  “Please... Ten... HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!”  Ky snaked her arm through mine and we ended up knotted into a hysterical hug rocking on the floor of the Imperial Bedchamber, our legs tangled completely with Gan and Fara’s and it was just perfect.  Obviously sex was entirely a mess and entirely worth it.


AN: Tip of the hat to Karen for coming up with this idea and playing it out with me.  Also for the best comic lines.  Thanks Karen.


  1. HaHAHAHAHAHHAHAHHAHHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!! I am in danger of killing myself trying to howl with silent laughter.

    Posts like this should come with a warning label "Danger, do not read at 5am while the rest of your family is asleep!"

    I love it. Thank you!!!!!

  2. You're welcome! When I came up with the Jitz costumes for Che and Kall... Karen came up with this whole idea!

  3. ...and RP'd Virani-e and Kall, but probably you all knew that. The sprinkler system Fifth-Mill style was Shirley's idea.

  4. *giggles madly*

    -cap, using a different browser to see if it helps

  5. OH SURE. NOW I figure out a work-around on how to comment. Firefox hates me, but chrome lets me post comments. I don't understand, but wheehah!

    -capriox again =)