Friday, March 13, 2015

85 - It's All So Coincidental

Minis blinked and then said. “How many people have been coerced or suborned by this so-called Prophet?”

Pasen had the grace to look chagrined. “I don’t know.”

“Where did this new Prophet come from? Where is his... I’m assuming him... support?  I’m not going to treat this the way my predecessor did.  After all, for someone to suborn the constitution like that means he has something that either terrorizes people into compliance, or convinces them.”

Matthas wiped his pen and tapped the pen on his lap-desk. Minis nodded as if to himself,  answering the signal.  “I need to treat those people as citizens to be rescued from this Prophet rather than just launch the rejins of loyal Arko against them.  And why are they doing this bloody revolution?  The Quartrains are free to believe that there are only four of the Ten, as long as they don’t try and forcibly convert anyone.  General Pasen...” He interrupted himself to scribble a note, just as the door opened, with Atzana coming in, Perialas helping her wheel the mobile desk over the threshold.

“Ah, excellent, I was just going to send a Page for both of you.  I’ll send my messenger out to the Wing school and get Sawas here as fast as possible.”

“The couriers that would have gone to North Tunnel Mouth have been working with the Assemblywoman and they’ve been keeping the Regulars blocking the surface passes informed what’s going on,” Pasen said.

“Have a cup of kaf yourself,” Minis said. “You had yourself brought?  You’ll be parched and tired both.”

“Ahem,” Atzana cleared her throat.  “Should I put the rest of today’s correspondence away?”

“Yes... ah... wait.  Please take a letter, Atzana.  To the Speaker to Armies and the Niah... I’m going to request military air support for both the Srian request and this internal problem.”

“I’ll make that up for you to sign,” she said, making a note.

“I know someone in Brahvniki,” Matthas said.  “A certain person there can help me translate Fehinnan for the brand new Ambassador.”

Minis’s eyebrows went up.  “So you’re thinking that this is all too suspiciously coincidental?  Hmm.”

“The Fehinnan arms merchants have been extraordinarily quiet since your Ascension, Imperator.” Matthas said.  “To suddenly have an ‘Ambassador’ show up with requests for port access, just when the Srians are having trouble with unacknowledged Fehinnan slavers...”

“... and suddenly the super weapon that cost so dearly is clearly much cheaper and more common,” Atzana spoke up.

“As well as the religious nature of our internal trouble,” Pasen added in. Perisalas read over Matthas’s shoulder and nodded.
“Imperator.  There’s no reason that the Quatrains should be violent now, since the constitution allows for their beliefs.  But the Fehinnans hold no Gods sacred other than their own God-King so have no compunction raising heresies in countries that they are interested in weakening.”

“They were selling to both sides, in the war,” Minis said.   

“And if this is anything to do with the Fehinnans, they’re working on the premise that the modern Arko is going to react like the old Arko that they were used to dealing with...”

“We need to get these letters off immediately,” he went on.  “We don’t have enough information.  Ah, yes, Sawas, come in.  The absolute first thing I want is to see if we can start rescuing people from this Prophet. Or at least getting more information from the other side of the mountains and that means some quick and of course dangerous missions; just the kind of wild flying you and your husband love to do, Sawas. Who knows?  If people find out that we can get them south of the mountains they might come running.”

General Pasen stopped pacing and took up a cup.  “I’ve noticed that You’ve not said You are going to be running into the field Yourself.”

Minis flung his much abused tunic on the carpet.  “I have to call an emergency Assembly, get them sitting early, to command me.  My place is putting my ass on the Crystal Throne. I can’t go haring off as though my pubes were on fire and having to prove myself... apologies for my language, Atzana.”

“Very wise, Imperator,” Perisalas said.  “If the Assembly sends you into the field, things will have truly gone to Hayel.

Sers and Serinas,” Minis said, running his hands through his hair, stopped to untangle the Seals. “Please do not mention the Fehinnans at all when speaking to the writers.  I need to send you all out to gain us more information, and then proceed as if there's nothing serious going on. This has all been wild speculation.

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