Sometimes You Just Misjudge People, from Fen's Memoirs
It was the night of the great feast after the fast of Purlong. I was always surprised when it was celebrated in Belaurii because it wasn't yearly as it was in the House and Cznorh. I also found it interesting that there were more Dzai living in Belaurii than anywhere else. Later I would discover that it was because Belaurii had much to gain from the great war yet suffered few casualties.
Most of my knowledge of Dzai customs and rituals were imparted to me by Hetta. Hetta's mother was a member of the House and an expert seamstress who decided to leave and marry a wealthy patron. That was unusual for two reasons: the patrons from Kanabulan were rarely well to do and apostasy was not dealt with lightly.
Her parents rose to quasi fame as dress designers for the court of Olan, but the knew the real money was in Cznorh and Belaurii --that the House had ways of carrying out commerce even across enemy lines. A mutually beneficial agreement was drawn up that, in addition to the monetary benefit to both parties, the official standing of Hetta's mother was upgraded from "heretic" all the way to "friend and benefactor."
I watched the doctor stitch up the gash Misha's side while he lay on our dining table and couldn't help but reminded of Hetta and all of her stories.
"I've never seen you lose, Misha."
"It has been known to happen, just not of late." He winched slightly as the needle went in and out of his flesh. "Don't you have something better to do? I'm alright."
"The King wanted me to check on you."
"You know, I really thought the Lord of Inger liked men. I still do."
"We all thought that. Perhaps you weren't his type."
"First, all humility aside, just look at me."
"All done, Misha. Take it easy until it heals." The doctor began to clean up his supplies.
"Thank you, doctor."
"Second, even if it were in the remotest sense possible, that would hardly be cause to try to kill me."
"Certainly killed the party." I paused. "Can I ask you something...?"
"I'm not telling you where I hid his shirt. I cant stand to see you moping about in that dirty thing." Misha snapped.
"Forget the shirt. It's been over four months since I've heard from him."
"He doesn't write to me, dear."
"And I've let you read the letters from him."
"All of them?"
"Yes, all of them. Everything from Nalev is about politics and the settlement. When King Roarke shuts himself up in his library he sees no one, not even Nalev. I assure you, Fen, this has little to do with you."
"Now let's get you up and some where more comfortable." The doctor helped move Misha to the couch.
"Good night to you both." The doctor nodded and left.
"Is it going to be one of those nights, Fen?"
"No, I could leave you here in pain, but then who would you have to insult?"
The door opened and Neopar made an uncharacteristically quiet entrance.
"Well it seems that yours truly has had a better night than either of you." He paused and turned to Misha. "How are you?"
"Good, good. I just had the most interesting talk with the Lord of Inger." The King poured himself a drink and finished it as Misha and myself waited.
"I wouldn't want you to forget, Neopar," Misha condescended. Most people have wanted to kill Misha at some point or another, but not Ompar. Misha was many things, but not a fool.
"No, I won't." He poured himself another drink. "How thoughtless of me," he gestured with the bottle and his glass.
"No, thank you," I responded.
"The Lord of Inger is terrified, yes, I believe I can say that without undue exaggeration. He has evidence that someone in Belaurii was behind the coup in Cznorh."
"Did he name them?" Misha asked.
"Not as such. But only the Queen is capable of instilling such utter terror. We need to get the Lord into Cznorh for questioning and safe-keeping. Are you well enough to ride?"
"Of course he isn't. He'd bleed to death on the way. I'll go."
"I don't know who I can trust to send with you."
"Speed is all I have. Tell me where he is, and I'll take care of the rest."
"I'll have horses made ready."
"There are 550 guests leaving as we speak, finding two horses saddled up and ready to ride will not be a problem for me."
The horses were not the problem. Unfortunately, the Lord of Inger was not waiting in Neopar's study and no one in his entourage had seen him. I went back to tell the men the devastating news but also that I would continue on to Cznorh to question the one person who might be motivated to speak against Queen Dophe: D'Hir.
"Absolutely not," responded Neopar.
"I'll be fine."
In your current state of panic you're a menace to us all."
"But, I've done what you asked of me. And the Lord of Inger --."
"No, you did exactly as I expected you would do and created a frenzied diversion to confuse the Queen and her allies. The Lord is quite safe and already in transit. As for D'Hir, he does need to be questioned, but by no means is that going to be left up to you. Lady Zyta will go."
"Zyta the laundry servant? When did she become a Lady?" I inquired.
"When Ompar was firmly convinced that I could be trusted," was Zyta's reply as she stepped out of Misha's bedroom.
"Ompar?" I repeated.
"Someone's jealous," Misha smirked.
Zyta was young, fair and sweet. I hated her. "I am wounded, King Neopar, that I should be left out of plans of such importance."
"I came here in search of Misha," Zyta said. "Nothing more..."