Monday, April 14, 2014

686 - Let Me Open Myself

“… dear Chevenga, the Assembly is still arguing about limiting the population, so that even though I’ve signed Arko to your federation, it’s still up in the air.  This might change soon because it seems that the Gods have somehow taken a hand and we have not had any children conceived or carried to term in the city for just over a year now.”  Minis put the end of his pen in his mouth and nibbled.

“It seems that a short term solution will be for me to declare a religious duty of all Arkans who wish to have children.  The Fenjitzae agree with me.  All Arkans having trouble conceiving and wishing children of their bodies, rather than adopt, will need to do a holy pilgrimage to pray at the High Temple itself.  It will require a pilgrimage for every child and the holy requirement of  Arko is that every couple replace themselves.  Aitzas, who can afford more such pilgrimages and the possibility of more children should see themselves as moral beacons to the populous and not have more than two…  The lower castes will be able to avail themselves of Temple assistance along the way so that they needn’t pay for their food and lodging while they are enroute.  I believe that if Aitzas couples who wish to make their journey a sacrifice, and stay in the Temples and Chapels of the Ten along the way, will do so out of piety, and if they can gift the Temples where they stay, as sacrifice, it is asked that they do so.”

“I shall be writing every other ruler around the Miyatara to warn them that this infertility seems to have been created by the ancients and we are struggling to find a more immediate cure than the Great Temple of Arko.  The moment we discover the source of this, and any other remedies, my healer and other already dispatched  healers from Haiu Menshir will have full access to anything we discover….”

Dear Kallijas,

"I heard from Kyrialla that you and Laisa may be expecting?  May I offer my congratulations?”  Thank the Ten it seems that being Arkan is not the trigger for this.

Dear Ilesias Mahid,

“The competition for what people are calling ‘The New Mahid Core’ will be beginning next month.  Shall we be seeing you as a competitor?  If so I would certainly offer you family space in the city.  Just so you don’t need to ask.  The city is filling up quickly for these games and you shouldn’t have to jostle with anyone for resting space!

Greetings from your relative…

Dear Reknarja,

I quite understand that you wouldn’t want to travel so far with your wife so recently delivered and the new baby.  Congratulations once more on her birth!...

Dear Sukala,

I look forward to seeing you again.  When you’ve finished whapping me on the head with your stick, you can point out to me the first of the young idiots who win the right to guard me and my family, who will be the first to haul water for your goats and weed your carrots!

My mother looks forward to actually meeting you this time.  Well, ‘looks forward’ is not quite correct, but she has taken over the whole of the pharmacological gardens from my grandfather and would like to consult with you on alpine and harsh-condition plants…

Dear Muunas… 

How much Minis wanted to write that letter.  His pen hovered over the blank page and then he put it down, pulled his copy of the holy book out of the desk drawer and flipped to a blank page in the Mikas’s section.

Dear Ten…

I am lost.  We were connected so closely.  My people… who voted me in… suffer and I am helpless in the face of it.  Let me open myself to you, help me or my people find some kind of remedy…

Thursday, April 3, 2014

685 - Who Swallowed the Sun?

The cleansing room behind Risae’s head in the temple was full of the sounds of the cascade that always ran there.  It was too messy and chaotic to be part of the Great Temple vistas but was, as everything in this section, dedicated to Risae.  It made the men uncomfortable to be housed here and Minis had been a little plaintive about it.  When the Gods had told him they all had to sleep in the Temple, he’d assumed that they’d be in Muunas’s Dominion.

Kyriala found it soothing to sit by the cascade, though not in it.  The Fenjitza had been having them in Risae’s cascade so often, especially since the attempted poisoning, Ky was joking with Gan that she and Fara would be growing fins like fish soon.

It was early morning and she’d been feeling restless and agitated for days it felt like.  Uncomfortable and twitchy, and hungry.  Hungry all the time.  She’d tried not to give in to it but Narilla had just smiled and offered her more fruit.  It was nearly time for them all to rise and get cleansed again before going off to the daily round.  Her welcomist would already be waiting to speak to her about her first meeting.  It was breakfast with Ana and the others of the Voters Feminine.  Her stomach growled again.  That had woken her up and she was feeling so hungry she was almost nauseated.

Fara came yawning in and sat down next to her.  “Good morning, sweetheart,” she said and dropped a casual kiss on her neck, something that she would never do in front of anyone else, for Ky’s sake, as Imperatrix in Arko.  The men were still raving in letters to the Pages editor about her having an alesina. At least that’s how they were interpreting it.

“So.  How many white beads this morning?”
Ky looked away.  “I almost don’t want to look.”

Farasha slung an arm around her shoulders.  “Don’t you go feeling guilty, if you’ve gotten pregnant before me.”  Her period had started and finished more than an eight day ago.

“But I know you want children just as much as I and Minis do.”

Fara laughed.  “In twenty years do you think that even a year will make any kind of difference? And if you are pregnant, then your child will be ours too. It’s not a competition, Kyri!”

Ky ran her hand along her belt.  Seven red beads, her fingers counted off... "Thirty-eight, thirty-nine." Another white one. “Forty days…” she whispered.

Fara seized her around the shoulders… “Good! Good!  It’s too soon to tell for sure… Narilla and her priestesses have been smiling an awful lot and that’ll just go on.  It’s just twelve days so we won’t know for sure…”

“Fara… I’ve been twelve days late before. Twice.”

“This time we’re in the Temple.  I have a good feeling about this.”

“Should we say anything?”

“Yes.  But only to the men, hmmm?”

Ky laughed. “And all of Arko will be speculating about us in a tenth because he’ll be beaming like the sun landed in his head!”

“Who had a sun land in their head?”  Minis came in, unknotting his belt. “Gan’s just coming.  He said ‘A half-tenth more!’ and buried his head under the pillows.”

“I’ll go dig him out.  The family’s got three ships expected in at Fispur and he needs to get down there.” Farasha squeezed Ky’s shoulder and smiled.

Minis took her place sitting next to Ky and he tried very hard not to stare at her beads that she still held.  He tried but his eyes kept slipping.

“Yes, silly,” she said and leaned forward to kiss him as he pulled his gaze back up to her.  “Twelve today.”

“Muunas bless,” he whispered. “Muunas bless.”

“Another eight day and we’ll know for sure.  Then… we will be able to announce it if I don’t lose this child…”

“Don’t say that. There might not be a child yet.”

“If there is…”

“If there is…” She counted on her fingers. “We’d be able to tell people on the first of Mikas.”

Gan and Farasha came back just in time to hear that and he started to laugh.  “So appropriate!”

Minis jumped up and flung himself through the cascade and then wrapped his sopping wet self around Kyriala. “Oh, oh, Muunas, Mikas, all Ten praise Ten prais- aghpfth!” He sputtered as Gan hit him in the face with a splash of water.

“Oh, All Spirit! Will of Knowledge!” They grabbed each other’s hands and jumped into the cascade all at once, slipping, holding each other up, laughing and laughing.  

“You’re right,” Farasha giggled.  “He’s grinning like he swallowed the sun!”

“Oh, Ten! Oh, Kahara!” Minis sat down with the cascade splashing off his head in all directions.  “I have to not let anyone know until Mikas one!”

“You can do it.  Think of sad things.”

“Oh, Ten, I have to run. The Assembly opening is in less than three beads, and there's that horrible Quad bill they're debating.  I had no idea that there were any of the Prophet's followers left much less elected to Assembly... there's a reason I never liked Hazkinabas...  and I have to get through an Imperial breakfast!”

“The soap from Narilla… and you need to walk slowly through the blue-light veil!” Gan dragged him back into the cascade by the wrist.  “Soap is quick…”

“Oh, Muunas, oh Ten, oh One!”

Kyriala still felt somewhat guilty but Fara’s soapy hands shook her slightly.  “Our children,” she whispered. 

Ky smiled softly, them more widely.  “I might be grinning like I swallowed the sun, but right now I'm hungry,” she said. “And I need to use the garderobe.”