Saturday, March 30, 2013

1 (660) - Imperial Prayers to Selinae

Minis raised the wine goblet to the crowd as it threw off its soaked clothing, prepared to meet the new year cleansed.  Ky stood next to him, in white samite shot through with gold and silver threads, just as the feathers of her fan were pure white and only barely tipped with gold.  She was sure her face was as pale as her dress and she held onto her gorge and to her consciousness with clenched teeth.

I will not bleed through. Just let me get through this, let the new year start and let me go lie down around a hot water bottle. Her monthlies had not gotten easier, since she and Minis had married.  She’d hoped that wedded bliss would make her body less tense and thus less in pain.  Akminchaer had said it didn’t really work that way.  Farasha and Gannara, at her back, were there, ready to catch her if she fainted.  It wouldn’t be auspicious for her to faint.  She gulped another deep breath.

This menses was both late and particularly heavy so her pain was correspondingly high.  Minis finished the libation that started the year, turned to offer her his arm as the crowd made its restrained cheer for the start of the 47th Year of the Present Age. Though truly it was again 547th, given that the former Imperator had graciously sought another extension from the Ten.

“Lets get you in, Ky,” he said, trying not to let his worry show.  Then he shrugged and put his arm around her waist to help her.  Let the conservatives squawk that he was unseemly to touch his wife so intimately in public. “I’m all right.  It’s just a little worse this time.” She and he both knew she was lying.  He helped her down the hall, through the massive glass doors. Once inside he threw propriety to the winds and scooped her up in his arms and carried her across the Imperial bedchamber, to lay her gently down on the warm bed. She could feel the slide of her woman’s beads against her skin as he kissed her.  “I have to go open the next sitting of the Assembly,” he said.  “I love you, Kyriala Aan.

“I love you, too, Minis Aan."

Gannara had a ceremony to do in the Temple, as the Imperator’s alesinas... something that Minis and his scholars had dug out of the archives from before his grandfather’s time, the last Aan Imperator to have official wife and alesinas.  Shefenkas had been so busy setting things right after the war that such ancient old rituals had had to wait, anyway.

"Come on, love. I'll see you comfortable."

"Thank you, Fara. I don't know what I'd do without you." Farasha saw her out of the elaborate dress and Ky wrapped herself around the glass bottle coated in felt so the boiling water in it not burn her. She closed her eyes to put herself into darkness.  The room was bright and full of light but her heart was full of tears and she wanted to let them out.  But the servants would hear and the Pages of the lip would carry that little story to the printed Pages.  She could see the headline, not from the Pages itself.  Intharas was not so crass as to trumpet every little thing about the family.

No, the Sunrise Watcher was the rag printed once every eight-day, was devoted to watching the Imperial family.  Ili’s every tantrum, or escapade, every kiss that Gannara and she or Farasha and she shared in what they thought was private... Every time that Minis and she cuddled it seemed that someone caught a glimpse and wrote the most lurid passages about them. 
The Sunrise Watcher was also the most relentless speculator as to Minis’s potency and her ability to bear children.  The last nasty little article speculated if her having her ‘Purification’ eased might have damaged her ability to get pregnant at all.  As if she weren’t under Haian care and Akminchaer were not giving her remedies and supports all these past months! 

They were speculating on how good a healer he could be if she couldn’t bear as well as all kinds of vile speculations about Minis.

She’d hoped.  This time her menses had been so late.  There had been a dozen extra white beads slid over on her woman’s belt and she’d been so hungry through Jitzmitthra this year.

Then.  This morning.  She’d woken up to the most horrific cramps she’d ever had and the nausea.  And the blood.


Every month.  She’d prayed on her knees in the Temple every day but Selinae’s eyes were blank and cool stone, as always.  A baby.  A child. She’d prayed in the Imperial chapel.  Every day.  As she lay in bed, folded around her pain, her tears squeezed out of her clenched shut eyes.  They would not be denied.  She pulled a pillow over her head and sobbed.


Minis sat through the interminable ceremony, from the Crystal Throne, when what he wanted to do most was go be with Ky.  He knew she was probably in tears.  They’d prayed together in the Imperial Chapel enough to know how she felt.  He felt the same way.

I was worried I couldn’t... procreate.  I was worried.  Surya, looking at my energy, said everything would be fine.  I believed him.  I need to talk to Akminchaer again.  He tested my seed as well and said everything was fine.  He said Ky was fine. He said it was probably just the stress of having the whole Empire’s hope for an heir pressed on us.  Even Grandfather said we needed to relax about it.

The House whip and the House cudgel finally settled their weapons in their respective sockets or across their chairs, ceremonially, and he was free to go eat.

There was a stack of New Year’s correspondence on the desk in the Highest Office and his audiences started in less than a bead.  He went back down to the bedchamber instead, and without saying anything, wrapped himself around his quivering wife.


  1. Ah, poor Arko. I see that the cost of a liberated press is that they are free to air their stupidity and project it onto the audience - as if EVERYBODY *really* wants tabloid headlines.

    1. Sera... you mistake us! We are the ultimate truth in the press! The Imperial line has always been unstable so it is INCUMBENT upon us to keep intense scrutiny on the Aans and QUESTION every... shall we say... less than orthodox move? Darenas Mekuras, Editor

  2. Orthodoxy does NOT equal sanity!

  3. poor Ky, I bet a period that late and that heavy is actually a miscarriage... will she seek her healer for the pains and be told what she suspects? Poor kids, though I am glad to see them again- how sad for them.

  4. I guess I'm just evil... yeah. The poor kids.