We continue Black Blossom, the novel that follows The Aphorisms of Kherishdar and The Admonishments of Kherishdar. It is a form of quasi-communal storytelling, as described here. Feel free to ask questions, converse or react as you wish in the comments; the Calligrapher and I are at your disposal, as time permits us both. And don’t fear… your questions are shaping the narrative. Read closely in the future and you may see yourself referred to there.
Black Blossom, Part 85
A Story of Kherishdar as Translated by M.C.A. Hogarth
That is when time crashed back into motion, with all the violence of the rounds that had opened his chest, great gaping mouths that vomited blood as bright as the filirij on the rifles of the Guardians who had stopped, stunned with horror at what they had wrought.
We were not the first to move. Before any of us could react, the female aunerai grabbed the newcome male and shouted something at him that sent him running, talking at speed into some device at his mouth. Her caste-peer lunged to Ajan’s side, stripping his uniform jacket and using it to stanch the wounds.
And then the flicker at my side was Kor, so swift he blurred, joining the alien. His face was a mask.
There is a reason we proscribe guns, aunera. We die easily, far more easily than you do. The velocity of a weapon seems to have more of an effect on us than it does on aunera—you are built more densely than we are—and what we can survive with difficulty from a sword we cannot from a rifle. Ajan had leaped, knowing that if hit he would die to protect one of Kherishdar’s lords, not just from an ignominious end, but from becoming the foundation of a diplomatic incident and a terrible scandal. A lord dying from implied aunerai violence after being found in their beds? Better the sacrifice of a young Guardian in a misunderstanding between a lord and an alien than that.
But we all knew that he would die.
All of us, apparently, except the aunera.
I became aware that the female was on the verge of shaking me when she stepped between me and the sight of Kor bent with his brow to the slack hand he cradled in his own. “Osulkedi!” she cried. “Listen to me! I require permission to treat your man!”
In the distance I heard a hair-raising wail. “What?”
“Let us help him!” she said, desperate. “Our medicine is better than yours! We can save him!”
I stared at her. “What? How… it’s not possible.”
“It is!” she almost shouted, her eyes tearing. “So give us permission! And one of you come with us, in case the surgeon needs a healthy example of what you’re supposed to look like when he stitches him back together!”
“I… you…” The sheer improbability of what she suggested was finally overwhelmed by an insane hope. “KOR!” I shouted, and ran for him. “Kor, go with them!”
Kor looked up from Ajan’s side. The hands folded around his lover’s were trembling.
“They want to save him!” I said. “They might be able to. Go with them!”
“Farren?” Kor said, hoarse, and my heart seized as his voice broke on the last syllable.
“Go with them,” I said again as one of the aunerai vehicles burst into view, bringing with it the piercing siren.
Kor stumbled after them, then, when the aliens loaded Ajan’s still form into their vehicle. The female—Lenore—paced Ajan’s body, talking almost as fast as she could form words and translating them just as quickly on Kor’s behalf. They left me there with the lord and his aunerai lover… and a pool of spreading blood…
…and the two Guardians, one of whom had fallen against the Gate jamb, his rifle on the ground. The other was clasping the weapon with fists so tight they shook. I said to the lord, “There is work to be done,” and led him to the Guardians, saying, “you have used the proscribed weapons on an Ai-Naidari but it was not intentional. The lord here is witness; he will go with you to your liege and explain the situation.” I eyed Qenain and was relieved to see him revivifying. I finished, “It would be well for you to take the male aunerai with you in case any diplomatic issue arises during the deposition.”
“It is well considered, osulkedi,” the lord said. To the Guardians, he said, “Send for your relief, and when they arrive, we will depart.”
Within half an hour, then, I had dispatched everyone to where they could do the most good… except for one person. You will have observed whom, aunera.
Yes. I had forgotten myself.
Once there was a pot… a potter… once there was a broken pot—
It seemed cruel to leave you all hanging, so have a bonus Thursday episode. We will have tomorrow’s as well.
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Mirrored from MCAH Online.