posted on May, 16 2017 @ 02:21 PM
73 - A Keen Mind
Siere was thunderstruck. No, Mama! She fought back tears, and a desperate anger welled up inside her. Memories of other people’s lives
flashed in and out, and for a moment she felt a wave of vertigo. Can’t you leave me be for just a moment? she shouted at the memories in her
head. She managed to keep her face still, though, and cleared her throat lightly.
“Ah, your Highness,” she said evenly, “were you…? Hm,” she paused, fighting desperately to compose herself. The Princess set her hand
comfortingly on Siere’s. She closed her eyes for a moment, trying to think of something that didn’t carry a memory of her mother. “Were you
also informed of the cause, your Highness?”
“I understand from the message that Meioshi Caran believes it is an acute case of the red fever.”
“Red fever,” Siere mused, her mind finally able to latch onto something she could chew. Red fever…headaches, progressively worse; high
fever, unrelenting; blood blossoms in palms, eyes, ears, sometimes on thighs and ankles, occasionally under the nails. Severe abdominal pain, lack of
appetite but no digestive disruption. Mortality over one in two. Patients that lapse into coma usually last less than two days.
“Thank you for telling me, your Highness.”
“Seeress, I understand you abdicated any claim to Maarke Lithelwaite upon your conferral of the rank of Seeress. You have a sister,
“Three, your Highness. The High Seat of House Lithelwaite will pass to Baelina – she is the eldest anyway. She will make a loyal and competent
Amaerke for your Highness. Baelina is especially skilled politically, and will,” she trailed off, the ramifications of her mother’s death
resurfacing. “She will do very well,” she finished softly.
It would crush Baelina. There had always been a special bond between Baelina and their mother. Of course, Lissena and Coryn would both be
broken-hearted too, but it would be Baelina that felt the sting worst. She would rise above it, though. Baelina was truly strong, and gifted. She
was what an eldest should be. Siere always felt immature around Baelina, and the rub was that Baelina, if she knew about it, would insist Siere was
smarter, or more beautiful, or better somehow. That was who Baelina was, genuine and righteous.
“Seeress, I am sending you home. Go see your mother, whether she yet lives or not.”
Siere bit back her instinctual reply. She did not want to go home, not yet. There was too much at stake, too much she didn’t know. All her
efforts could come apart if she left now, everything she had worked so hard, so long for. Then a thought occurred to her.
“Your Highness, may I ask, that is,” she hesitated, unsure how to phrase the question. Why in Aomm’s Garden did you summon me here? This
could have been done by messenger, it makes no sense. The only reason to meet face to face – it hit her then. Of course. She looked
down at her wine, then took a sip and looked the Princess right in her fierce green eyes. Anna Kire returned her gaze, and the corner of her lips
turned up slightly.
“Speak freely, Seeress,” she murmured over her goblet.
“You asked me about if I had sisters, yet you knew Meioshi Caran’s name without any hesitation. You knew perfectly well I have three sisters, and
likely their names. But you needed to know about who Baelina really is, didn’t you? That’s why you summoned me face to face, to see what I
really think. You need to know that Lithelwaite will still be secure, and the only reason you would be concerned about that is if there is a threat
from somewhere else. Is it that Makatan warlord, or Queen Rach’s zealous daughter in Mon Ros that has you troubled, your Highness?”
Lady Macosai puffed out a quiet breath and arched an eyebrow. The Princess considered Siere for a moment, the corner of her lip still in a tiny
smile. “Are you certain you wish to stay in the Temple, Seeress? You have a keen mind, one that I could put to good use for the realm, I
“I am honored, your Highness, but my calling at the Temple is by far more important than any ambitions I may have in your arena.”
“Very well, then. We have need to speak with the Ladies of the Eastholds, so for that reason – and to ensure your safe travel – you will be
accompanied by an ambassador, as well as a detachment of soldiers from the Bastion. They will escort you to Lithelhold.”
Siere privately simmered. Another group of people she had to deal with just to get home, supposedly for her “safety.” Didn’t any of these
people realize she was a Seeress? One does not raise objections to the heiress to the throne, however.
“Of course, your Highness. Lithelhold will honored to host the delegation, I am certain.”