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Chapter 26


February 21, 2019 by Lyn Thorne-Alder

Bow to No Kalokat Who is Not Worthy

They had shelved the matter of Instructor Tiemaktamiek because their team was falling asleep on their feet, agreeing instead to take notes on his behavior and see if they could work something out; failing that, they would bring all their notes – and Dalebod would ask his Art House friends as well – to House Monitor Libkazaari.  That night, Saydrie slept longer and more solidly than he had since he’d first come to Edally Academy.

Instructor Tiemaktamiek seemed distracted in class, but he didn’t specifically attack Saydrie. Taking it as a small favor from the Three, Saydrie nevertheless took notes on the times when Tiemaktamiek seemed to forget what he was talking about mid-sentence, or when he would lose the train of thought altogether and stare out the window.

By the time evening came and they all  made it back into their slightly-less-secret hideout, however, Instructor Tiemaktamiek was the last thing on their mind.  Taikie had a copy of the most recent newspaper, and Enrie had a thoughtful expression that boded ill.

“The Bitrani Prime Minister…” Taikie read. “Wait.  What is – what-?”

“That would be their kalokat,” Enrie opined.  “Which they are not, by the terms of the surrender, supposed to have.  Of course, they can’t have a king, either, but that’s something at least a little different.  Sorry,” she added to Saydrie.

“There’s nothing to be sorry for.”  He checked outside both doors – they were alone in their hide-out.  “I-” Nevertheless, he spoke quietly. “The nation of Bithrain lost a war.  They lost several, if we are being honest, but they lost the last war, and they surrendered.  There is no Bitrani nation. There is not supposed to be. I am Calenyena.” His shoulders rode up tight to his ears.  He felt disloyal even thinking it, much less saying it. “Still. Still, I know that many Bitrani want some independence.  We don’t think like Calenyena. We don’t act or look like Calenyena, and most – well, at least, many – Calenyena, um.” He hesitated and frowned.  “Many netneaco Calenyena?  I don’t know the word in Calenyen.  It’s, ah, something similar to cevati but not quite.”

Enrie pursed her lips and thought about it.  “I don’t, either. There might not be a direct translation.”

“Something like -”  He looked at Taikie, hoping he could explain at least a little. “When you’re born to a family?  You’d be netneaco to your parents and your grandparents and the people around them.  I am netneaco to the Palupadey enclave.   But it can be carried out further.  So you are netneaco to Caleyena, because your ancestors are all Calenyena, and I might claim and be Calenyena by nation, but I’m netneaco to Bitrani.”

Enrie nodded along thoughtfully.  “I don’t think there’s a word that translates,” she agreed.  “But I think I understand the idea.”

“I think… I  you might find some of the very old writings of the Calenyena interesting.  We don’t have many up in the first-year dormitory, but I have been working my way through the libraries in the tower,” Saydrie admitted.  “But- ah. I think that’s the sort of thing to sit around and discuss when we have more time. Taikie-?”

Taikie had been vibrating with the expression of “something to tell them” all day.  She was almost bouncing off her chair now that they were in private and she didn’t have to attempt to hide her excitement.

“I think – Well, I’m fairly certain, but I still need proof of concept – that if I have some more hands to help me with this, I can get it down into the proper shape to be wearable.  It will still look a bit strange, but if I had to, I could throw a cloak over the whole thing. But I tried it last night with both hands and both feet and I still couldn’t get it to work.”

“Tairiekie.” Saydrie levelled a look at his friend. “You have to remember to sleep once in a while.”

“I’m an Engineer,” she scoffed, and then flushed and looked away. “I mean, well, I’m an Engineering Student, at least.  I’ll sleep when this project is done.  That’s how we work.”

“I – am not a Medical student, so I will believe you.  But if you burn yourself on a Device because you were too tired to get the lever turned correctly-”  Saydrie stopped himself; this sort of fussing was usually more of Enerenarie’s job.

“I won’t.  That’s what gloves and the apron are for.  And gloves! I brought you both gloves.” She passed them out as if it were some sort of prize.  They were, Saydrie had to admit, nice gloves, thin leather that was flexible and formed to his hands, with long, thick cuffs. “See?  Nobody’s going to burn themselves. Besides, this one is not running while we’re reconfiguring it. It’s just that – well. It’s a little inelegant right now, and while I don’t need it to urinate on a teacher’s head or make a point…”

She sat down with a thump.  “I don’t understand how there’s an entire *sense* that Bitrani have – people raised Bitrani? Cevati Bitrani?  Something-Something Bitrani have and something-something Calenyena don’t have.”

“Anyone not raised by enclave Bitrani,” Enrie put in gently. Saydrie didn’t correct her.  “That’s what we’re trying to find out. Why do the Bitrani have this and the Calenyena – the netneaco Calenyena – not?”

“We’re also trying to find out what Lirnilalie is up to,” Saydrie pointed out.  Taikie looked as if she were about to start crying. “And we want to know if there is something insidious behind the possible Bitrani rebellion-” he wrinkled his nose.  “Uprising? I like uprising better. If there’s something behind that other than just – not just -” he huffed and sat down too.  

Taikie looked over at him.  “Some people who look Bitrani and live in Bitrani places want to be their own government,” she offered carefully.  “We don’t know what this has to do with Lirnilalie, but we’re pretty sure she’s involved. Meanwhile, people who were raised in Bitrani enclaves know how to smell bad or good humanic aether, while people who teach in Calenyen schools are insisting it doesn’t exist.  Also, we have a three-page essay on the theory of aether in stones for Philosophy and ten pages of reading on mining aether for History class. I think – I think that’s everything?”

Saydrie put his head in his hands.  “Except the mathematics problems,” he muttered.  “I think that’s everything.”


  1. Rix Scaedu says:

    Are they old enough to be doing the practical Politics elective?

    • Gudy says:

      Well, they did a practical Politics elective last year. 😛 So I’d think they’d be old enough this year, too.

      As for the humanic aether sense, my working theory is that it’s similar to color perception or certain language processing related things. For example, many cultures divide the color space differently compared to English or most other European languages and consequently have a different sense of where one color starts and another ends – differentiating between green and blue, or rather failing to do so, being one of the more frequent examples (Vietnamese does this, e.g., and so does Russian, IIRC). There are also vastly more people, proportionally, with absolute pitch where the native language is tonal, like e.g. Chinese. See also, the word “shibboleth” and its origins.

      Which brings up something I’ve been meaning to ask: what, exactly, does Cevati mean?

      • Min says:

        The colors stay the same, where the colors are … true. it’s the midranges between.
        But there are languages that have far fewer colors (we didn’t have Orange for ages. Isn’t it such a weird word! Orange!)

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