Death In The Imperial Family “Too blunt. But then I’m known for blunt.” Aans Bury Heir No. Child Plague Carries Off – Huh.
Death In the Imperial Family
-- Arko the City, Y.P.A. 545
In the middle of the night two days ago, few people saw the Imperator and his alesinas run from the Marble Palace to the Temple, carrying their wives. Both women were in distress and were carried to the feet of the Most Perfect of Chiurgeon’s Feet.
Our faithful reporter – “Sin! Get your ass in here!”
“Yes, boss? I’m writing my story as fast as I can—“
“—Which New Mahid blocked you?”
“Good. Sinimas, you are just going to have to get Mikas bloody-blessed pushier. These children just chosen shouldn’t have the bung-hole fortitude to block an intrepid Pages reporter with a shen-seamed story in front of him, you shenner!”
“I almost couldn’t pus-swilling, dick-swallowing believe it when my Marble Palace writer couldn’t get past an anal-bead licking New Mahid!”
-- Honourable New BodyGuard, Fifth Traforan, informed the Pages that the Imperial family had chanced sleeping outside the Temple, in the Marble Palace, once the announcement of the arrival date for the new Spark of the Sun’s Ray.
The Imperator and his wife have, by all reports, lost a child.
The Heir, Joras Kriadas Amitzas Aan, was laid to rest in the Hall of Imperators and Sparks, in the Marble Palace, by the current Spark of the Sun’s Ray, Ilesias, assisted by the Dowager Imperatrix and the Imperial Pharmacist with the service sung by the Fenjitzas in a quiet ceremony at noon yesterday. --
“Page!” I grab my notebook and pen, stifle a belch that is surely an aftereffect of that greasy take-away pork and rice from The Grill, and head out to the Temple. Let’s see these children block me from getting a story!
It’s the ORF team. That is just not fair, Minis Aan. “Serinae Mahid, I swear on my hope of Selestialis that I will speak to the Imperator no more than two tenths. This is for his beloved people who need to know what happened.” I put a bit more gravitas in my voice. “Let us mourn with them.”
They look at each other and Sofonisba… second line if I recall correctly, nods. “Ser Terren, the Imperator left word that you should be admitted when you showed up.”
When! That pup! Not if. No lesser writer! Selestialis dump it’s dog-shen filled chamber pots! He expects me! I’ll show him. Next time I’ll send Roras to attend on the arrogant little…well.
They show me to a Goddess room I’ve never seen before. Creepy as a nightmare with stone animals peering red-painted eyes from every square, carved cage on every thumb-length of wall. There are even cages carved into the floor.
The Imperatrix is lying on a chaise under the sun tunnel in the light, turned away from me, her arms wrapped tight around her husband. The sun gleams on them like a tableau from Marmorie’s Merry Tales, Hero and Heroine, despairing, yet healing each other. The white temple robes make that impression stronger.
He looks as though he hasn’t slept. Knowing him, he probably hasn’t eaten. That’ll kill him, in time. I go down in the prostration and he’s slow gehitting me up. It’s like his voice has rusted shut. “Intheras. Please sit. The Imperatrix and I have sad news and good news. You’ve heard, I’m sure, of our first baby.”
She's pale as paper, having lost blood, and I feel for her. She looked like my wife when she lost our first. Delicate as if a breath would blow her away, but... she still looks big? If she lost the child why is she still swollen like she swallowed a piglet?
I nod and let him ramble on. He’s giving me what I need without me needling him. “The fortunate news is that the Imperatrix is still expecting a child. The Ten, in Their Beneficence only summoned one of our children to Selestialis.”
Well, ream me out sideways with a Lakan pepper stick. That’s a FAR better Headline.
“So will you and the Imperatrix be confined to the Temple till the Heir is born?”
He nods. “By our wish and will of the Ten. We risked this last time, without a definitive cure. The Assembly will certainly be asking me to speak to the Ten as directly as I can. I do not wish to risk myself until after the birth of our child. Our children, actually. My alesinae’s child is also safe.” He sighs. I need to talk to the rest of the family and to his healer. We can’t have him falling on his face now, with this illness and these brush-fires, and a false Prophet risen. “There will be no official mourning time, since it would be bad-luck for the still living child. Formal court meals will be suspended while we are here.” They both have the tiniest fringe of black, the bulk of their mourning cut off and buried with the stillborn child.
“Thank you, for your time, Minis, Kyriala. My condolences for your loss and my felicitations for your continued good health.”
“Gehit, Intharas. You needn’t put yourself on your face.”
“Thank you. You two look after each other, hmmm?” Where in Selestialis did THAT come from? I’m not a genial old uncle of theirs. Nor even a curmudgeonly old uncle either.
“I hate to say, Intharas,” Minis says. “My next few pieces for you will probably be written about losing a child.”
“Understandable. Just write ‘em.”
He nods and she smiles at him. A smile that is pulled out of some kind of well of strength that delicate little girl has. I know warriors who couldn’t manage a smile in her position. It’s a smile that the Gods must cherish.
-- STILL AN HEIR ON THE WAY, No. –Rejoice, Spark Of The Sun’s Ray Will Be Born…too clunky. A CHILD STILL ALIVE! Clear. Concise. It’ll do.