The following takes us to about a page from the end of the scene, but not the end of the sequence. Yep, the next entry will be a cliffhanger. After that we've got the next section of the "A Fire in Mâvarin" sequence with Temet and friends. (And wait until you see who the friends are!) By the time that's in the can, maybe we can get poor King Jor to tell us all the idea he had, which for some reason I didn't write down. - KFB
The Mâvarin Revolutions
Fragments from a Work in Progress
by Karen Funk Blocher
© 2007 by KFB
Final Instructions, Part Four
(Fayubi has gone to visit the dying King, trying to get him to name a successor.)
“What would these people do, I wonder, if I called them in as you ask, and they saw you standing here?”
“They won’t see me,” Fayubi said. “Only you can see me. I’m not really here.”
“So I’m hallucinating again?” the King asked. He sounded more resigned than surprised.
“No, this is my projection. It’s an illusion of sorts, but for your eyes only.”
“Oh, one of those,” the King said wisely. “If you’re not really here, then you won’t be able to do anything to me – not that it matters – if I call in those people and endorse Carmi as king.”
“Is that your choice, Your Majesty?” It was less than ideal, but the Mâ-na-Mâ might be willing to accept Carmi, at least for now, if Jor officially endorsed him.
“Carmi is as qualified as I was, and would do an equally good job. He would maintain cordial relations with Mâton, and fill our tax coffers for the same purposes as always. He is mild-mannered and does what is expected of him, and will not lead this country into war. Does that not sound like a good king?”
“With respect, I have to say no, Your Majesty.”
“I don’t think so either,” Jor said. “If I do nothing, or endorse Carmi, then he makes all the same mistakes I made, and dies young. Cathla could die even sooner. Or don’t you agree?”
“I agree completely, Your Majesty. Cathla is in danger either way, though.”
“Just so. I would save her if I could.”
“Perhaps you can.”
“We’ll see.” He lifted his head and raised his voice. “Guards! Come in here, please.” The ailing King was clearly doing his best, but the sound was weak and quavery. No guards appeared. Jor tried twice more, and shook his head sadly. “There, you see? It’s not just that people don’t listen to me. They don’t even hear me any more.”
Fayubi smiled. “Let me help you with that.” Casting a spell from a projection was a little harder than doing it while embodied, largely because of the energy loss; still, it was the best option for the present situation. The spell itself was a two step variation on one he had used many times before: tricky, but far from impossible. Fayubi closed his aura eyes, and placed Jor’s voice at the center of his mind.
“Please just speak normally while I set this up. It should only take a few minutes.”
“What do you want me to talk about?” the King asked.
“Anything you like. I have to concentrate on my ritual, so I’ll be paying more attention to your voice than your words. I won’t reply, but I will listen.”
“All right, then. As long as you’re obliged to listen, I may as well tell you something nobody else ever cared to hear. For example, I’ve always wanted a parrot for a pet. I saw one once, when we traveled to Derio and Lehic. Huge, colorful birds, they are. Beautiful! Better still, I’ve been told they can be taught to speak human words, and even understand them somewhat. The king of Derio offered me a parrot once, about sixteen years ago. I said I’d be delighted. I even picked out a name, but nobody ever gave me the bird, either then or after we returned home. Skwok, I would have called it. Isn’t that a great name for a parrot? But I think Lormarte told them not to send the bird. She’s allergic to feathers, you see. But I would have kept Skwok in his own apartment, and oh! How I wanted him! He would have listened to me, and not ask for anything in return but food and affection. And maybe freedom, but none of us have that. Not really.”
Fayubi was ready. “We have enough freedom to make a difference, Your Majesty. Please try calling the guard again.”
Jor called out to the guard again as Fayubi activated the spell. Fayubi imagined the King’s voice growing louder and louder, filling the Palace with a wave of illusory sound. The words “Come here, please,” obediently echoed and reverberated from room to room, repeating themselves for a full minute after the King spoke them: “Come here, please…. Come here, please….”
“Wow,” King Jor said when it was over. “I don’t think Lormarte is going to like that.”