Thursday, May 28, 2015

132 - The Round of Witticism

“… the honourable Assembly wishes to place before this august body the proposal that we, as a people, re-think the constitutional provision for either sex assuming the Crystal Throne.” Ilian Kallen drew himself up and puffed out his chest.  “Since the manifest will of the people was so eloquently displayed with their rejection of a female Imperator to return Shefenkas – an Imperator by Conquest – as preferable because of his sex!”

The Assembly had gathered in the new part of the Temple, chairs brought for the more aged of the Members, while the younger ones took pride in the fact that they could sit, cross-legged as a priest, merely on barley-hull cushions.  Minis sat, on a cloth of gold pillow especially designed to echo the Crystal Throne, at the furthest end of the Hall.  Above him an Arc of painting depicted all Ten and curious Arkans, living here for the duration of their prayers for children, stood in the galleries all the way to the ceiling.

Just in case my firstborn is female, you want to muck up the succession? Set it back to the ‘old ways’ that the Ten obviously wanted changed?  And you want to do this in the very Temple that you saw do miracles? Are you insane? 

Minis had to catch his breath, hard.  Dearest Gods, why did you give me this man as my goad?  He’s brilliant at finding my sore spots… He stopped, drew a steadying breath.  I've just had an idea...a wonderful, horrid idea…he thought to himself.  Except that he’s not funny. He settled himself in to listen to the debate, to find what the Members thought.

By the time everyone had spoken their piece on it, and the Assembly voted – against disturbing the constitution – it was late enough that the sun had set behind the Rim and the Temple Hall was in shadow, the priests refraining from disturbing their debate, for something so minor as lighting lamps.

It was late enough that the choir in the front hall of the Temple had grown to its nightly strength, to sing the sun through the dark of the night.  Minis caught a glimpse of Ky and Fara, walking arm in arm, from Dimae’s statue toward Selinae, in the archway between the front and the back.  The front was, as it had always been, for pure celebration. The back was becoming the ‘Work’ of the Ten.

The Assembly were still mostly milling about, talking, some already left for their much delayed evening meal.  Minis sat on the cushion, feeling tired enough that he could just slide sideways and curl up in his spot under the Ten.  I’m in the Temple, why do I feel so tired?

“You the colour of a wax candle are,” Megan said, sinking down next to him on the bare marble.  “We’re ready to go, my son and I, and see if we can expose this Prophet of Four as a charlatan backed by Fehinna.”

“I’ll look after myself,” Minis said, and smiled at her and her boy, who stood next to Matthas, both had their arms crossed, looking away from each other.  “You’re sure those two will be able to work together?”

“Heads together, I shall knock, if they don’t,” she said cheerfully.  “I’m finding that, your Temple, I like.  Especially the God of fessas.

“Good.  Please keep sending reports as you go.”

“Dah.  Report I will, oh You Whose Bottom Projects the Sun!”
He stared for a moment then fell over, laughing.  “Oh, oh, no, please. Not someone else who has ‘interesting’ epithets for my station!”

“You who Shens Sunbeams?” Matthas rumbled from where he stood.  Lixand looked between the once Mahid and his mother and just put his hands over his face in embarrassment.

“No… no…! Please!” Minis found himself giggling almost maniacally. He hadn’t laughed like this since the baby’s funeral.

“You Who Farts Rainbows?” Gannara said coming up behind.


“You Who Vomits…” Minis leaped up and planted his mouth on Gan’s to shut him up and he grabbed him firmly in a hug that went on for a while.  When at last they released each other and looked around, to find Megan grinning at them, Lixand looking bemused and Matthas stoney as usual with one corner of his lip curled up in the faintest smile.  “What was I saying?”

“Nothing!” Minis said.  “Fitlak, thank you, good luck to you.  And you’ll keep up the regular –“

“--correspondence!” She cut in.  “Dah!  Lixandi-mi, let’s get this great Arkan lump –“ she jerked a thumb up at Matthas.  “Moving.”

“I’m ready,” he said mildly. “Whenever you feel the need to finish the round of witticisms.”

“Now,” she said.  “Right now.”

“The wives are up and would like us to be their supports, husband.” Gan said.

“Until your safe return,” Minis said to the Zak and the Mahid, and wound his arm through Gan’s  “Let us go be with our families.”

No comments:

Post a Comment