++A CIVIL TONGUE++
“My father once told me that there is no greater evil than ignorance.”
“Your father sounds like he was a wise man.” Alemenus of Kantor finished cutting his pomegranate in half. Using his knife to score the skin, he rapped it firmly with the haft and sent a cascade of crimson seeds into the silver bowl. Once, twice. He pushed the bowl toward the middle of the low table, and carefully selected a few of the seeds between finger and thumb.
Gulls called overhead, twisting and diving in the mid afternoon light, raucous and unruly. They were neither neat nor orderly, and that quite irrationally irritated him.
Zana followed his gaze and smiled a little sadly.
“It’s the storms,” she said. “They come further and further inland to avoid them, following the river. In some places there is a belief that the environment can influence a creature’s form, or habits. If the storms continue to ravage the southern coast, the gull may become a permanent fixture here.”
She sipped her cool fruit juice, and watched him eat his pomegranate seeds, together in companionable silence.
“Creating a map is like translating a voice that speaks in a language you don’t understand, who tells you to go to a place you’ve never been. It’s a riddle, or a mystery. By comprehending the riddle, by unraveling the mystery, slowly we make the word more understandable. That is what my father said, anyway.”
“He had a way with words, then, your father.”
Zana nodded again. She took out a scroll, unrolled it, laid it on the table and secured the corners with her cup, his cup, his knife, and - to his irritation - the bowl of pomegranate seeds. She traced the line of the mountains, of eastern Urizen, with her finger.
“No passes that I can see, not on any of the maps. Not from poor Zenith, not from poor Spiral. Perhaps a proper map would help to find them, what do you think.”
Alemenus of Kantor stopped being annoyed that she had moved his bowl, and leaned forward to look at the map.
“It is the same on our side, I understand. Studying the space between, we might find more about the edges. About the borders of your Empire, and our land. It is a worthy endeavour, I think.”
“Maybe,” said Zana carefully. “But you can see why there are questions. The Empire has prepared this opportunity to explore the Mountains of the Moon. We paid for it, we secured the weirwood, the funds. Axos may be keen to help, but the Empire does not in point of fact need your help.”
The Axos ambassador spluttered, and made a negative gesture with his hand. Before he could construct a coherent sentence, Zana removed the weights and let the scroll roll closed.
“It is not my decision to make, however. Nor yours. The Military Council, or the Senate, will decide if they will permit Axos to send their scouts. The Ambassador will advise, I am sure.”
“And who will advise the Ambassador?” snapped Alemenus. “If not you?”
Zana smiled sadly.
“We will, of course, advise the mabassador. But we will give the same advice, the right advice, regardless of all this.” she gestured vaguely to take in the apartment, the bowl of pomegrante seeds, the bottle of wine. “The Empire does not need your aid - but that does not mean they will not want it.”
Trade Winds! After the two Winds of Fortune about Asavea, here’s the general Trade Winds. You can find them here → https://www.profounddecisions.co.uk/empire-wiki/Civil_tongue
A very quick summary:
- A Sumaah delegation wants a formal meeting in the Senate
- Jarm problems continue, but there’s an opportunity to get hold of some unique items
- Discussion of the spy network in the Mountains of the Moon and the role of Axos (if any)
- The Iron Confederacy are complaining about spying and smuggling and the like
- Various foreign merchants are having an impact on the public material auction - both positive and negative
That’s probably it for the actual foreign winds of fortune for now, but keep your eyes open for the Fun with Foreign Orcs wind still to come.
#Wantnotneed, #Sparklesparklelittlestarjewel, #IronConfederacyinComplainingShocker