Minis sent a short prayer of gratitude to the Ten, as he raised the page on Pasen’s latest full report again. Couriers and pigeons had brought snippets of news but this was the whole story. He’d properly made a copy for Irefas, in his own hand.
“… during a scouting mission. Something went seriously wrong and our Zak scouts and their Temple minder managed to burn most of the Fehinnan’s stock of ‘incense’ that made people crazy and suggestible.
Matthas Mahid reports that he killed three of the four Fehinnan advisors to the false Prophet and kidnapped the Prophet himself, with the assistance of the Kadussas and the Assemblywoman’s people. He and the Zak boy will be tracking the last Fehinnan, who fled when he woke.
The Zak woman will be escorting the Prophet down and they should be arriving on the heels of this report. We shall see if another dose of truth-drug jars the Prophet’s memory. He appears to be suffering from head trauma and his initial drugging did not clarify whether he was vulnerable to Fehinnan operatives or whether he is a true believer in his cant.
The Tunnel is still closed, but the villages around the North Mouth are slowly returning to normal, and the Prophet’s followers have dispersed enough that the Kadussas are beginning to effect repairs. People have begun to put up memorial markers for those injured and killed in this contretemps, and my rejin is preparing to move to support the repairs and the re-opening of the Tunnel.
Megan turned her head to check on the wing next to them, somewhat below. Her pilot was taking advantage of how light her passenger was and had found a rising wind a hair faster than the other pilot, who was carrying the Prophet bundled into a prisoner’s sling though ungagged so that he wouldn’t die if he vomited. Not everyone flew well.
They were over some ubiquitous and empty part of the Empire and there was nothing to see below but green forest. She closed her eyes against the buffeting of the wind. My Lixand. Lixand has manrauq. We worked so hard not to care, both him and I, and now the Temple has just snapped its fingers and decided that it could give him power through his Arkan half.
Part of me wants to weep. Part of me wants to whoop for joy. It looks as though he has more power when he’s either in Arko or with that crazy Mahid. He said he had it in Brahvniki… it started, as nearly as we can figure… when the Temple healed me. Koru.
Flaming arsed fish-guts. I don’t know how to react. I spent so much of my life hating Arko and Arkans in general. Her hands tingled and for a moment she was sixteen again. Lixand’s sire was the first man I ever killed. But I will not hate my son. He is my precious treasure. And his brother. Ardas. I will not hate him. I adopted him. I can work with Arkans. I don’t want to vomit anymore if I speak the language.
Koru… Ivahn, you told me once that I was working towards forgiveness. Why else have I surrounded myself with tall naZak blonds?
I don’t even know what I’m really feeling. And my boy is off with that crazy man hunting a man who has all kinds of deadly weapons that we know nothing about. Koru keep him… them… safe. The Arkan Koru – Dimae – keep them safe. Mikas, he’s a trickster boy and one of your own.
She opened her eyes and watched the land below become a vague blur, then watched one, two, three silver droplets vanish down away, shred into nothing. She sniffed. I’m not crying. No. Really. I’m a tough woman. I’m not crying. I’m too old for this kind of confusion. Oh, all right. Crying for joy then. That must be it. Koru help me. Crying for joy.