Atzana looked up as Minis came zooming up the bridge, her face compassionate. She held up a note in her hand. “Minis… you won’t want to see this, but you need to.”
“Thank you, Atzana.” He took the elegantly folded little note, his heart sinking as he recognized the classic formal folds of a fessas death notification. The tiny drop of red brown sealing wax broke with a crack and he unfolded it right there. “It’s Ienas… the owner… the late owner of the Puckered Fig.”
She held out another note. “This is from his eldest.”
He scanned it quickly, since it wasn’t formally sealed like the death letter. “I’m sorry to cancel my noon appointment tomorrow…”
“… but you’ll be attending the funeral of a friend,” she was already nodding. “The delegation from West Eastergate will understand. I’ve slotted their meeting in right after dinner. There was another cancellation then.”
“Wonderful, thank you, Atzana.”
“The Ungilian Ambassador was a half-tenth late." She threw a lightning fast glance over Minis's shoulder where the sound of the doors opening echoed. "Here he comes.”
“Give me a moment and I’ll be properly imposing.” He dashed a hand across his face, seals catching a stray strand of hair and pulling, giving him an excuse for watering eyes, as he glided into the Highest Office and settled behind the desk, breathing deep to compose himself.
Ienas, you were too bloody young to die! I thought you and I would go on together for years! Ten keep you… may you pour at the best guest house in the afterlife, my friend. The letter had given no details, of course. That would have been unseemly. Even after the proprietor went on to pour for the humble professional God, the Fig apparently carried on; in style.
Even as the door opened for the Ambassador, and his entourage, in the back of his head Minis was already composing what he would say, should Ienas … now the sole Ienas instead of Ienas the Younger… should he ask him to speak. Who am I deceiving? The Imperator speaking at a humble fessas funeral? They’d jump at the chance. Ienas will be laughing his ass off in Selestialis, I’m sure.
I’ve still got a bottle of that Rho that you sold me, my friend and I’ll take the time tomorrow night to have a drink with Mikas for you.