27 Festivis, 1137
I mechanically signed and sealed the succession documents as Regent until the Coronation. He’s gone. He sent me a heliograph yesterday. How can he be dead?
At Priority One, Savrin had to be summoned. He slipped in, surrounded by Royal guards and flanked by two priests in black and purple. He’d dressed in pure mourning black save for his purple Lethian stole.
I did not want these priests of the god of winter, cold, decay and death near me. I didn’t recognize the priests, but once Savrin went to them, he’d avoided the House of Galene, the government, everything about his natal family. He’d quit — or been removed from — the Exchequer’s office, and petitioned my father to remove him from the succession. Da spent that evening alone in the Presentation Hall, sitting beside the thousand year old rose tree, where the ashes of the House of Galene are scattered, talking to Aunt Bella. Mourning the loss of his nephew. Continue reading “Rien’s Rebellion 06 – 27 Festivis 1137 Rien”
27 Festivis, 1137
By sparkling cold moonlight, the tracks veering off the road were just visible. Three carriages, assorted horses. The carriages bumped over rough, arid rises and into dips, then fell into a shallow ravine. It caught all three carriages, thirty-two horses and their riders. The rest lay dead on the ground above.
“How’d they miss that ravine? It was bright daylight,” I muttered to myself.
The stench of charred bone and wood, flesh, leather and wool covered the site, but it didn’t obscure the sulfurous, resinous smell of fire oil in quantity. Some body had been burned, and it had been started with Galantier’s best weapon. I dismounted, gestured Paval to follow. We stood over the closest corpse, untouched save for the crossbolts in his chest and the slash across his throat. We’ll need pyres, aid from Western Two. It’ll wait. I need information more. Continue reading “Rien’s Rebellion 05 – 27 Festivus 1137 Ragin”
27 Festivus, 1137
When the first minister arrived — the Exchequer, who happened to live closest — I left off organizing the books. Alone with Avah, it meant nothing. Before my father’s ministers, it might look like boredom or callousness.
I kept myself calm by reviewing procedures. My mother’s safe at her Conversatory. Mathes isn’t in the line of succession and needn’t be summoned; he’s only a Prenceps by courtesy. Savrin, however, must be summoned, since he’s Tret Ascendar.
Him, I didn’t want. I don’t need his… sanctimony. Not to the cold god. After Aunt Bella sickened, the Lethians sucked him in. He’d taken Holy Orders without informing us. He shouldn’t even be in the succession anymore. If something happens to Ragin and me, the House of Galene’s finished unless he renounces his immortal soul with his vows. Holy fire, I should have married something pretty and empty-headed with ingeniae in his bloodlines, tumbled him until I kindled, given him an estate and been done.
Da, don’t do this. Don’t be. No. Continue reading “Rien’s Rebellion 04 – 27 Festivus 1137 Rien”
1 Glacilis, 1129
“Bleedin’ Ancestors, Sav, get your right arm up,” Ragin yelled from behind his mask. “You’d be meat on a pyre if I wanted you dead.”
Rain aspiring to snow pelted the weapon studio’s high, clerestory windows, the mirrors lining one wall reflecting the day’s grey light. I lifted my left leg behind me, letting the muscles stretch as I placed my hands on the floor. My cousins’ practice blades clashed and clacked as Ragin tried to turn Savrin into a swordsman. It’s a lost cause, Ragin, I thought. I think he knew it, but he’s stubborn. Savrin engaged with less skill and more desperation.
They’d beaten me up here, but I’d had to sign a half-dozen documents for tomorrow while I’d changed out of the morning’s formal reception gown. They’d been deep into mock-combat when I arrived.
“Watch your blade, not Rien,” Ragin snapped. Continue reading “Rien’s Rebellion 03 – 1 Glacilis 1129 Rien”
27 Festivis, 1137
I hate this dream.
It wasn’t the nightmare; I only get that one after I read my security reports. No, this was one of a series. Not strictly frightening, just disquieting because they’re so bleeding frequent.
This was the dance dream, and in it, I’m enjoying dancing — which tells me it is fantasy because I hate dancing — with my chestnut haired Pronator. The dream is mostly memory; we revolve down the Presentation Hall. I look into his face, meeting his direct, dark blue eyes. We talk, sometimes about my work, though always my work now rather than what it was when the memory was formed. Sometimes we talk about his, though rationally, I know my mind merely fills in the script; I don’t know much of what he did. Engineering, or maybe architecture. He always smells of sandalwood, sage, and a sweetness for which I have no name, but sometimes he wears smoke, or pine sap or sulphur, too. His coat always appears to be fine, smooth indigo worsted, but that’s not always what my hand on his shoulder feels. I’ve touched as little as a single layer of fine linen over wiry, solid shoulders, or several layers of wooly knitted tunic, or wet waxed canvas. Continue reading “Rien’s Rebellion 02 – 27 Festivis 1137 Cazerien”
26 Festivis, 1137, seven days after Midwinter
“Find them!” I roared. “Get the Ingeniae Corps on it. Observers better be pulling puissance within four minutes!” I pointed at two runners in the hall outside my office. “You, Outriders — they’ll have their directions at the stable. You, summon a security detachment.”
My uncle Vohan, Razin of Galantier, was late returning to Northwest Border One, my garrison. Only an hour, but that’s half too much. The Monarch of Galantier travels with outriders and three carriages — if one breaks, it’s left behind. If the Razin becomes incapacitated, an outrider on a fast horse proceeds to the destination for assistance.
He’d spent the seventh, eighth and ninth days of this progress he’d usurped from my cousin at Western Two; this morning, the heliograph reported that he’d left on time to come north again. Given his security detachment of twenty heavy cavalry, two dozen guards, fast horses, good carriages and his ingeniae, he shouldn’t be late. Continue reading “Rien’s Rebellion 01 -26 Festivis 1137 Ragin”
Incitement: Winter, 1129
I never should have come, I should have stayed in the field.
I pulled my collar tighter as I ducked through a torrent of icy rain overflowing the Karsai’s gutters. The Reception Hall felt no warmer than the street, but a marble room the size of a tosca-ball field just can’t be warmed, not without enough fire to blacken every wall in a half-hour.
Worse, there was a line. There’s always a line when you’re impatient. A slow line. I blew on my hands and studied the bas-reliefs of events and people most Galantierans barely remember. Could we build this today? Would we bother? Impressive as the Karsai is, Galantier doesn’t need a cube of marble covering two acres. A millennium ago, the Founders feared another black rain, but now…
This tenday’s bitter, freezing rain wasn’t mostly ash, but I understood why the Founders commissioned this fortress. I craved shelter, too. I can’t, I won’t do it, but I can’t get out of this alone. Bright god of the sun and holy mother of wisdom, send me somebody who’ll listen. Continue reading “Rien’s Rebellion: Incitement Winter 1129 Quin”