December 7, 2016 by Lyn Thorne-Alder
Enrie winced. Her friends were not actually helping her case, as much as they might think they were.
“It was…” She cleared her throat. “They did destroy or remove several books, but they were stopped in their efforts by two things: some of the information had embedded aether. It made one forget about what one had read, or move on to other things…”
“And yet you kept reading?” Elalekorra leaned forward, eyebrows raised and a smirk on her face.
Enrie cleared her throat. “Well. I was determined, for one? And I think they are more likely to work on, um, the weak of mind? I had to go back to my notes several times before I figured out what was happening–“
“You said two things?” Elalekorra interrupted.
“Oh!” They were going to kick her out of Estiessyaa House after this. They were going to kick her out of the Academy after this. She could barely speak.
Gianci stepped up behind her until he was nearly touching her. On the other side, Saydrie and Taikie stepped closer. She took a careful breath, and another. Aim for your target. Feel your weapon. Throw. All else is misdirection.
“The treaty was divided up into several books and sewn in. Those books –“
“The treaty? You didn’t find mention, you found the actual treaty?”
“Parts of it, yes. It is missing a portion in the middle, but there’s enough to tell us it wasn’t signed. And,” Enrie plowed forward, before the Voice could interrupt her again, “there were riddles embedded in the choices of books, among other things, meaning that to find any single page was a wicket hunt in high grass. Some of the riddles hearkened back to the Bitrani deal with the Traitor Emperor, and some of the folklore that the treaty pages were against suggested a time of rebellion–“
“The Bitrani are always talking of rebellion. I mean absolutely no offense,” Elalekorra nodded politely at Saydrie; “it is the nature of people. When the Calenyena were subjugated, they dreamed of rebellion, so of course, the Bitrani would do the same.”
Saydrie cleared his throat. “Many Bitrani dream of independence,” he allowed. “Some talk about the Forebears coming back, although most people believe that is a myth. Some people talk about winning over the continent, but I don’t believe that was ever possible, much less now, with the state of things.”
“‘Some’ Bitrani?” Elalekorra quirked those expressive eyebrows at Saydrie.
He smiled placidly in response. “Some. Some of us would like to pass our classes and go back to a library somewhere, or to enjoy a quiet life of study and contemplation. Some would like to marry and raise children, and farm or craft as the skill and chance allows us.”
“You don’t seem as if you’ve had a quiet life so far.”
Saydrie grinned widely and unexpectedly. “No, I haven’t. But that is as the Three would have it, and I’ve certainly learned a lot from my team. Not all Bitrani want rebellion. Not all Calenyena want things to stay the way they are. And, honored Voice?” He bowed very deeply. “Neither of those things are, in themselves, the problem.”
“Am I to be educated on statesmanship, then?”