January 8, 2016 by Lyn Thorne-Alder
Taikie was frowning almost comically at Enrie. “Where were you? Instructor Kaasmasik was really annoyed! He wouldn’t even give me your corrected test!”
While Taikie complained, Saydrie was studying Enrie over Taikie’s head, looking more thoughtful than annoyed.
“I’m sorry.” Enrie hung her head. “Olisama took up so much time with her ridiculous complaining about ‘not acting royal enough…’”
“What? Her, or you?” Taikie interjected.
“Me, of course. She can do no wrong, don’t you know?”
Tairiekie snorted. “She seems like a pretty awful person. What was she upset about?”
“Oh, picking a fight.” Enrie chuckled. “She thought it wasn’t royal behavior. But when she and Kaagnya were done with me, I didn’t really want to stroll in late, and Kaasmasik seems to already have a problem with me…”
“I don’t know,” Saydrie mused. “He seemed pretty disappointed that you weren’t there.”
“That doesn’t mean he likes me, though.” Enrie shrugged. “I don’t know what his problem is, but I didn’t want to make it worse. So I went to the library.”
“No, no. I looked up Emperor Ipaagtyentaag for a bit—”
“The traitor Emperor?” Saydrie was in History House, of course he’d know what. “That seems like a strange subject.”
“Well, after talking to Olisama, I was thinking about the ways royalty can go wrong.” She wrinkled her nose. “Ipyaag was an interesting one, if only because he’s the most famous mistake nobody knows about.”
“I’ve always thought the Calenyen system of inheritance was a bit strange anyway,” Saydrie admitted. “But anyway,” he brushed that aside, “you were looking up Ipaagtyentaag?”
“He was pretty clever, and that’s the sad part. I’m not sure about Olisama – if she’s just ambitious and her pettiness covers up her intelligence – but from the looks of things, either Ipyaag was very clever or he was being manipulated by very bright people.”
“Who’s Ipyaag?” Taikie frowned. “He wasn’t covered in my history classes.”
“He’s sort of the family embarrassment, and when your family is, well, the Empire, that can be a pretty big stain.”
“You can’t just erase someone from history because he’s embarrassing!” Taikie protested. “…can you?”
“I’m fairly certain it’s not the first time that the Calenyena have done it,” Saydrie murmured.
“I’m… well. I’m fairly certain there’s some strange gaps in our history, to say the least. For one, ah, there was a time in our history where we had at least two and probably four Emperors. Emperor Ekelekan and Empress Azhnatarennezha, to start with…”
“You’re not talking about an Emperor and an Empress Consort or vice-versa, are you?” Saydrie did not look surprised. “I hadn’t heard of that instance, but way back in Bitrani history, there’s a time where there were three kings: one in the islands, one in the east coast and one in the west.”
“It’s not… quite… like that. Not a Consort, either. No, this is a situation when two – three, if you read the right books – factions crowned different emperors or empresses at different times. Empress Azhnatarennezha succeeded Ipaagtyentaag who succeeded two other people, but all of them came within the forty years of Emperor Ekelekan’s reign.” Enrie shrugged. “Nobody’s still sure exactly who to call the legitimate rulers of that time, which makes everything complicated.”
“…Including,” Saydrie muttered quietly, “certain treaties?”
Enrie winced. “Including certain treaties,” she agreed. What else could she say?