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Chapter 56A: ‘Til the World Burns


January 2, 2017 by Lyn Thorne-Alder

Lirnilalie shifted her weight, leaning forward over the desk.  “You don’t honestly think those guards worry me, do you, cousin?  They’re not going to do anything to me.”

“I believe your self-confidence is getting in the way of your memory, cousin. The guards have taken you away before, and they will again.  Although this time, the punishment may be more severe.”

“Fine, fine, take me away.  But this treaty, first, let’s destroy it.  It can’t be allowed to stay out in the world.”

“That is not your choice, Lyirnilalie.  And I have to admit, I’m wondering how you know so much about this ‘paperwork’?  If you were at the Academy because your associate’s child had some trouble with cheating, if you just happened to ‘trip over’ this piece of paper — no, your protestations of casual interest don’t seem to match up with your strong interest in this paper at all.  I believe that someone told you about something — probably in good faith.  As I recall, people tend to tell you things in good faith, confidences, don’t they?”

Lirnilalie almost flinched, or, rather, she held very still in a way that was almost more telling than a flinch.  “I believe that is part of being people,” she pointed out, but her dry voice was missing some conviction.  “Others tell you interesting things, possibly confidential things.” The sparks in her arms were subsiding.

“Oh, but you’ve always been particularly good at getting those confidences out of people.  I’m surprised, quite honestly, that young Enerenarie didn’t give in to you.  I can imagine many young nobles would have.”

The non-flinch was there again, and the rest of the redness glowing from Lirnilalie’s arms vanished.  “She has been quite intransigent. “

“It was Ilonilarrona,” Enrie admitted.  “Associate Governor Ilonilarrona threatened me; the first words she said to me were an attack, and I already knew her daughter was a cheater, and she seemed not at all concerned about the breach in ethics.   And the more she spoke, the more I knew I wanted nothing to do with anything she had to say.  We caught her raiding Instructor Pelnyen’s office, you know, and we heard her searching for… something… in the Library.”  Enrie shrugged, almost apologetic.  “She’s not very impressive.”

“Take notes on that one for next time,” Elelakorra advised dryly.  “Choose better associates; that’s always been one of your problems, Lyirnilalie.  You have a lousy time picking people near you to carry out your schemes.”

“Maybe, if I ever have something like a ‘scheme,’ I’ll have this one and her friend work for me, mm?”  Lirnilalie bowed sarcastically at Enrie.  “She seems bright enough, after all, a shining star of what the royalty can provide.  You keep on holding to those rules, child, and your outdated view of what honor and ethics are.”  She had her full attention on Enrie now.  “I’m sure it’ll all do you quite a bit of good when the nation is burning down around your head.  And if you survive until that point, maybe I will give you a job.”


  1. Rix Scaedu says:

    Was that a declaration of intent against the state?

    In front of the Emperor’s Voice?

    • Dan Gudy says:

      I honestly didn’t read it that way. It seems to me that she’s just embellishing on the doomsday scenario that she’s been peddling as the justification for her actions all along: that if that treaty becomes public knowledge, Calenya will go down in a bloody civil war/uprising/whatever. And she, being the only one with the astuteness and foresight to have prepared for that emergency, will save the day (and whatever remains of Calenya).

      And she will become the kingmaker (or emperormaker?) and the dark hand behind the Throne and so on and so megalomaniacly forth. Yawn. 😛

  2. AVR says:

    One typo

    one your problems,
    one of your problems,

    Also is Lyirnilalie or Lirnilalie her name?

    • Lyn Thorne-Alder says:

      Lirnilalie is her name. Lyirnilalie is an insult; the palatalized vowel at the beginning indicates “useless.”

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