Sunday, April 28, 2013

663 - There's Something Wrong

The Fenjitza chewed thoughtfully on the end of her pen, feeling the tap of the clip against the bottom of her silver mask.  At first it had been one or two letters from maskers up in the mountains, concerned about a consistent problem in the area, that of infertility.  The stack of letters on her desk showed a pattern that followed the river down to Arko itself.  Not consistently.  It had been a problem intermittently for at least a generation, among the miners in the mountains.

Now... now there seemed to be an explosion of the problem and it had hit the city itself, despite Risae’s Protocols for cleaning the water.  Could it be an illness in the water?  That made no sense given the variability of the spread. The Fessas goddess’s protocols for cleaning the water were both thorough and quite exacting.

The midwives in the city... across the city... were now reporting that there were no pregnancies for them to monitor.  None.  From the Imperatrix whom she was advising, down to the lowest oka.

“Narilla?”  It was the Fenjitzas at her door.  It stood open so that she could hear the choir in the main Temple hall and should anyone need her attention.  “Do you have a moment?”

“Of course, Radas.”

He came in, as she rose for him and they both settled down on cushions to one side of her tiny desk. She poured kaf for them both from the pot that an acolyte had just brought her. “I have a problem that I think only the Goddesses might have an answer to,” he said without preamble.  “I’ve had reports from my priests and dekinases that there are a lot of newly married men who are...” he paused, as if searching for a way of saying something delicately enough.

“... concerned that they are potent?  Because they and their wives don’t have children on the way yet?”

He looked concerned,  “Ah.  Yes.  Exactly.”

“The midwives in the city are reporting that they have no one to tend.  There are no young women looking to have a midwife attend on her before her birthing time.”

“But perhaps they don’t feel the need?”

“I wish, Radas.  Let me tell you.  When a woman is bearing she finds a midwife who can be with her, early.”

“I’ve had a number of Arkan medics come to me,” he said somberly.

“Have you spoken to any of the Haians in the city?”

“Not yet.”

“We need to report this to the Imperator.  Aside from this possibly affecting him and the Imperatrix, it’s an Empire’s problem.”

“Do you have any reports from elsewhere in the Empire?  I don’t.”

“Only from a trail of small mining villages from upriver.”

“Let me gather my notes,” he said, setting his kaf cup down.

“I’ll meet you at the portico.”

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Monday, April 15, 2013

661 - How is This Possible?

“Hey, Min.”

“Gan... ceremony finished?” The bead clock chimed.  Kyriala sat up resolutely, still circled in Minis’s arms. The white cat, Altras, who'd been lying across them meowed imperiously as they moved and stalked away to an empty niche in the column of the bed to wash his chest.

“Minis, I’m not ill.  I’m fine.” She wiped her cheeks clean, heedless of her gloves.  While the Imperator and the Spark of the Sun’s Ray could go gloveless, an Imperatrix never did.  Minis sat up as well, as Gannara sat down on the sloshing bed. 

“Farasha... she’s gone down to the archery range to hurl alat at targets,” he said.  “Just as you two matched up your cycles...” He looked grave and sad.

“Oh no!  Farasha too?”

“We hoped... we all hoped that you both...” Gan looked away.  He wasn’t as desperate for children as Minis was, and wasn’t subjected to the Assembly’s solicitous and regular inquiries, but he still felt badly for Fara, who wanted their first child sooner rather than later.

Minis sat, looking grave.  “Gan... I’m going to visit Akminchaer tonight, after I finish.  Perhaps something happened to me while we were dragged all over the Empire, by the Mahid.  Maybe it affected you and I and... maybe Ky too.”

2nd Amitzas did house all three of us in some odd and filthy places.”

“Barely Post-Fire fortresses... maybe... maybe...”  Minis shook himself.  “I need to go to the office now. I have appointments all day.”

“Did you eat first?” Kyriala pulled herself together.  “You’ve been here all bead and I didn’t hear the ‘Eating’ chime at all.”

He had the grace to look shamefaced.  “I skipped luncheon.”

“Stop that!” Ky and Gan said it simultaneously and then, at their looks at each other, all three burst into a giggle.  The parrot, Doof, soared down from the canopy and landed on the pillow next to them.  "Stop that! You EAT!" She squawked. Which made them laugh harder, perhaps, than was necessary.

“Yes, dears.” Minis reluctantly unwound himself from Kyriala’s skirts and sleeves... somehow they’d all gotten wound around him... kissed her, turned to kiss Gan.  “When Fara gets all her upset worked out on those poor targets I’ll be here with you both, to hold her too.  I’ll re-schedule or cancel on somebody.”

“I’ll let her know,” Gan said. 

Kyriala held the hot water flask against her middle.  “Antras will be up shortly with something you can eat without getting messes all over the paperwork.  I’ll see to that.”

“I love you.”  His look was both grateful and somewhat harried, as a tap came on the door.  Bella scrambled up and trotted toward the animal door, paused when Minis didn't jump up to follow her.


“I’m coming,” he called to the under-clerk sent to fetch him.  “Tell Atzana that I’ll be right up.” The dog huffed and sat down to wait for him as he set the parrot on the bed-rail so it not puncture the bed again.  Then Bella haunted his heels all the way up to the office.

Forzak, Forzak, he thought as he went up to the Highest Office.  Father Gods, Mother Gods, Oh Ten is there something wrong with me that I cannot father a child?  Is it punishment for something?  After the Ten Tens I didn’t think that was possible. 

For a moment the memory of that glory, when he’d managed to set aside all his fears, just for a single, astonishing instant, rang through him, and he paused reveling in it.  The memory had come back after the assassination attempt.

I will talk to our Haian and I’ll keep praying in the chapel.  Radas and Narilla seem to think everything is all right, but... I’ll talk to Narilla.  Maybe it's something I’m doing wrong.  She’s a midwife as well as Fenjitza.  Surely she will know why this is happening.  It can’t be just me.  It’s happening to Gan and Fara too. 

He greeted Atzana, trying to smile, and settled to the desk to sign the morning’s finished correspondence. Bella settled under the desk as he uncapped his pen.
For once he wasn’t looking forward to Intharas’s afternoon interview.  He hasn’t asked me about it for the last five Pages so it’s about time for him to politely inquire if we can expect Ilesias to be demoted from Spark of the Sun’s Ray anytime soon.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Comments Being Moderated

I have been forced to turn on the comment moderation, since I've been deluged with these pseudo-comments that are all spam.

Not written in english and not suited to content. Obvious as hell and annoying in the extreme.  Especially since I've started a comment contest over on Warbird (  It's actually getting me down and if I could respond with a DOS attack against these people I would.  What have I sunk to?  Heartily angry.  I believe these are coming out of Germany but the foreign language they are written in originally, does not seem to have German syntax.

I can only hope they go away soon.

Exhaustion Part MMDDDCXXLVII.2

I'm still exhausted.  Still working on Chapter 3 of Bearing but it is nowhere near finished. 

Tomorrow is my second to last radiation treatment, then the burns can start healing.  I will be glad when one breast ceases to look 'cooked'.