710 - Your mind has to be so twisty
You know what else she said, Mamin, a bit later? “I know you are fascinated with warriors,” she said. “That’s why you’re with Chevaga.” I’d told her about how I’d started with him, and why. “Maybe you are attracted to us as well.”
I almost blurted “No I’m not!” but stopped myself just in time. I didn’t want to sound as if I wasn’t attracted to her! And then I couldn’t help but think there was something to this… though She-Who and Sera Milera weren’t. But then I hadn’t hit it off so well with either of them. (Mamin, what is wrong with me? Should I speak with Alchaen? I know I was raised correctly; maybe it’s genetic?)
Sexually… you must be wondering. About the, you know, tying thing. I’m too shy to say anything much to you… well, I’ll say this much… I have learned new things. I have learned what she means about trust and responsibility. Though the responsibility part I really already knew.
She finally did talk me into taking a turn, um… being the controlling one. I really didn’t want to, but if you love someone… right? She said to me, “I want to give my life into your hands.”
I said, “But… why? I mean, how can you trust me that much? We haven’t known each other all that long, and I’ve never done this in my life.”
“Kaneeja, you silly,” she laughed. “You’ve had my life in your hands before!” I was just about to say “When?” when I realized. “Oh,” I said. “Right.” Maybe that’s why the responsibility part wasn’t that hard. But I am shy about… taking hold of someone in that style that makes them feel helpless. You never do that with patients. She said afterwards, “It’s against your nature, I can tell.” And sighed. But then added, “That’s the price, I know, of having a truly civilized man for a lover.”
Kil has had both men and women as lovers. In fact she doesn’t want to have sex with just me even if we marry—NO, before you start panicking, we have not mentioned the idea of marrying! She said it indirectly. “Even once I’m married, I want to have other lovers, just for pleasure,” she said. “But I don’t mind if my husband does the same—I’m very un-Hyerne, that way.”
I’ve thought about it, and decided I feel fine with that, though I wouldn’t be taking other lovers myself. (At least I don’t think so; I know things can happen. Chevenga didn’t expect to fall in love with Kallijas when he was already affianced to Niku.) Now Skorsas warned me, sometimes a person can turn out to be more jealous than they said, or even thought, they would be, if they’re inexperienced in love, and that could happen to me, or even to her, because each relationship has its own flavour so your present one might be nothing like any previous. (And doesn’t even my meager experience show that to be true!) So I told her that—indirectly, “once I’m married,” same way she did—and she just said—like she always says!—“I know, and I understand.”
(I can almost hear you panicking, Mamin. Don’t worry, I will not marry her without letting you and Papin examine her from top to bottom.)
So… I am very happy. No one can know what the future may hold, but for now, I am very happy.
In other news, Chevenga is fully up and around now, though not yet doing what he considers full training; severe exertion, such as sparring, he can only do for short bursts. I am letting him do what I consider full work-days, and he considers three-quarter days, and what I really want is for him never to work longer days than that, else he’s going to exhaust himself yet again. But he is on fire with an idea he had, something he is writing, so even when he’s not in the office he’s doing it in his head, and he’ll sneak a few notes into his lap-desk if I’m looking the other way. His story is the same as always: “This is crucial for the future of Arko. I mean it, Kanincha, this one really is!”
The document grew in the writing. I kept thinking of new principles; I showed it to Ministers and advisors and they added their ideas and asked for provisions; I began to see I should not just enact it, but ratify it... would Arkans vote on this? If not on purification, I doubted it. Ratify it with the Arkan Assembly, then, once I had one. I showed it to Amanas, and he said “It’s a constitution. There are some organizations in Arko that have them, a page that sets out the bones of how they work.” He was thrilled. It suited perfectly his kind of mind.
When I was well enough that the five moons before seemed like a dark-fogged nightmare, a blight on my life that should not have existed, a cancer on my being distancing itself into the past, I realized that I would have to be at my absolute top form before I dueled Frenaria Moren. Not to defeat her, but to eliminate all excuses people might make for her making a good account of herself against me. If I didn’t prove publicly that I had my strength back entire, for instance, it would be forever whispered that she’d done well against one who was still weak with Hayel-rain.
But how to prove it? If I sparred with a friend, it might be whispered that he’d throw it, and every person in Arko who could do well against me sparring was a friend. Beating someone in a real duel would be ideal, but I had no challenges in hand other than Frenaria’s.
Kall refused to first-blood me. “I catch enough shen from Kaninjer from not sitting on you to work less,” he said. “You think I’m going to risk giving you a wound?” Niku was willing, but if I happened to win against both her and Frenaria, it would be said this was proof women were inferior (as if I would not win against almost any two men you could name; but if I argued that it would sound like boasting.) “Oh the politics,” Niku spat when I told her that. “Your mind has to be so twisty to ply your trade!” Incidentally, she was speaking of going back to Vae Arahi again, now that I was well, but kept not getting around to it.
The only thing I could think of was to challenge Iliakaj; he’d have no hesitation if it were a true challenge. I worried that would be too much like the Mezem again—I knew all Arko would beg us to fight there—but I could think of nothing else.
I sent him a note: “I need to prove I am truly recovered on someone’s body, and yours is conveniently close; bet I can still grind your face in the dirt.” He wrote back, “I’ve always wanted another chance at you, you wool-hair stripling. Now I have practiced and learned more, especially from Yeolis, I’m sure I can kick your black-haired ass. Clean blade and… what, to the death?”