Minis only paused a moment and continued on past Kallen. “Assemblyman, speak to me. I need to cleanse myself before meeting with the Fehinnan Ambassador. You needn't stay like you were forced to, when we were children. Please just walk with me to the Baths. I have certain questions.”
Kallen had been run absolutely ragged by the family up at the Winter Palace, apparently in demand by absolutely everyone. His wife and alesinas were waxing rhapsodic about their stay. You’ve been in training for that kind of social whirl your whole life, Minis thought, snidely.
“Of course, You Whose Whim is the Arkan Assembly’s,” he turned to walk beside.
“Hardly. More like the other way around, Assemblyperson. How is it that the committee put to analyzing the Ordeal has come to a conclusion while Assembly is not sitting? How diligent of them.”
“We did try, Imperator. These ones labored long.”
“Hmm. And you rushed to inform me the instant my wife was delivered of a healthy heir.” He raised one eyebrow at Kallen as a servant whisked open the first of the doors to the Great Baths. “I still find myself suspect of your tender concern for my well-being, Kallen.”
The Assemblyman merely sniffed. “My concern is for Arko, Imperator. As it should be.”
Minis heartily wished that he had Intharas’s gift for loading sarcasm and irony onto single words. “Indeed.” He held out his hand. “Let me see the report. We will be presenting the babies to Arko at noon tomorrow. I’ll announce my obedience to my faithful Assembly after that.”
“Of course, Imperator. Of course!” He choked a moment. "Did the Exalted say 'babies'?"
Minis paused at the inner doors of the Baths, ignoring the question. “Oh. Kallen, what do you feel of the idea of being appointed to be my court Fool?” Someone who loathes and envies me will surely be willing to say all kinds of sharp things, should I slip up.
A whole plethora of emotions washed over Kallen’s face, for the first time washed blank of calculation, by shock. His mouth hung open. “This one… this one is still an Assemblyman and can’t… well, I could resign or…”
“Consider your prostration done, Kallen. Gehit, and do think about it.” Minis left him standing there, staring after him. Everyone considers him an idiot and shoves his opinions
down the man’s throat as though he’s a Solstice turkey. Court Fool puts him right under my eye, and any asinine thing he says will be seen as funny. And all those naysayers will keep pumping him full of these nasty tricks, but he’ll trot them out for me immediately. I don’t have to like the man for him to still fulfill a good function.
He slid into the water and closed his eyes, remembering Tasomimbus with a pang. I don’t have to love everyone around me to be loved. It’s going to hurt seeing Kallen in his official motley. Maybe my household can bear having Riala design something for him that won’t set me off.