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.


  1. Oh, c'mon Minis!!! You KNOW that the gods do not punish individuals, not even Imperators. You are too educated to buy that anymore, right?


    1. Yeah, he tries to tell himself that, but it's long, long habit. Arkans, indeed. They find justice easier to understand than mercy.