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Chapter 19A: If you let the whole village make the soup…


January 18, 2016 by Lyn Thorne-Alder

Enrie looked at Olisama, and over that cousin’s shoulder at Iekazhievie, Aronaraariennie, and the other two relatives.  Fraternizing with a Byittie was still burning in her ears, and Saydrie’s hand was warm and firm in hers.

Taikie, still holding Saydrie’s other hand, stepped forward.  Her free fist was clenched and she was frowning in thought.  “Instructors get annoyed all the time. They work with students, and students can be annoying. They’re always upset about something.”

Upsetting Kasmaasik was irritating, but worse was that Olisama knew about it.   Not just Olisama – the last cousin to remain silent, in Martial House navy, orange, and red, little red daggers of embroidery on the cuffs and hems of her linens, was glaring, her posture militant.

Olisama had no interest in being silent. “What would you know about it, you little bumpkin?  You can roll around in mud and grease and upset as many teachers as you want.  You aren’t royal.”

Enrie found her own fist clenching and made herself straighten out her fingers.  The expression on her face would never pass for a smile, but at least it wasn’t a snarl.  “You.”  She gestured at Olisama.  “You.”  Her handwave took in the silent Martial House girl.  “Never speak to me again about what it means to be royal.  I will not hear it.”  She sounded arrogant, she knew.  She would accept the accusation of arrogance rather than start brawling again in the Dining Hall.  “When you have figured it out, I may be willing to speak to you about other things.”

Her gaze took in the other three.  She was shaking, she realized, twitching with anger.  “He’s my teammate and my friend, and I have no need to answer about my time spent with either teammate – or whatever fights I may get into on their behalf.”

“You miserable—”

Aronaraariennie stepped forward.  “Let it go, Olisama.  Know when you’re beaten.”

Olisama huffed.  “I don’t see any reason at all why this means I’m beaten.  What does this little—”

Once again, Aronaraariennie cut her off.  “If you don’t see any reason, then it’s even more obvious why you’re beaten.  Don’t embarrass your family, your House, and your friends any more than you already have.”

“What about you?” Enrie should have known better than to push her luck, but she still twitching with anger.  “I know why they’re all here, and none of their reasons concern me.  But what about you?”

“It’s a good question.”  The older girl smiled humorlessly.  “When I heard that this lot was getting their saddles all rubbed and chafed, I thought I ought to come along to see what was going on.  They all have a few points, I have to admit.”

Olisama looked triumphant again.  Enrie swallowed hard.  “Oh?”

“You’ll have to learn how to work around and within the status quo eventually.  You’re not training to be a pirate, you’re training to be a diplomat.”

“Eventually.”  There was a lifeline there – or a noose.  Enrie lifted her chin.  “But when the status quo is wrong…”

“You’ll get more finesse in time.”  Aronaraariennie cut off Olisama’s next protest with a raised hand.  “My first Devices were pretty explosive, too.”

Enrie ducked her head.   “I don’t mean to be explosive.”

“Neither did I, little cousin.”  The older girl bowed shallowly.  “But you get burned, and then you learn.”


  1. Intriguing! A later-grade diplomat giving a hand?

    • Dan Gudy says:

      Giving, yes, and offering, too, perhaps. I get the feeling that Aronaraariennie (way, way too many syllables – can we call her Ronnie, please?!) may be someone worth keeping in contact with.

    • Rix Scaedu says:

      I think that’s an Engineering cousin giving advice – she’s talking about Devices.
      I think the shortened form of her name would probably be Ariennie, unless she wanted to be incognito. 🙂

  2. AVR says:

    One typo:
    but she still twitching
    but she was still twitching

  3. thnidu says:

    Oh, nice of this new person, and our field of acquaintance is expanding.

  4. Marina Brave says:

    I don’t get how she’s won…?

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