Sunday, July 22, 2012

Victoria (22)

    “Are you a scholar?” she asked, kneeling down to inspect the books.  A tome on Jinaj culture was the first selection.  Others included languages, philosophies, and legends.  A small, compact book on the bottom looked to be an ancestral record volume.
    “No,” he said, “not really.  I’m a well-known millionaire and a landlord.  Now hearken.  One of those is a book on the dialect here.  Take it and learn it.  People here have a jealous pride in their dialect and especially hate loose Kinly tribe dialect.  My prince will not be pleased to hear you call him a konzilon.”
    “The baby is stirring,” said Aritka, loosing her cloak and letting it fall to the floor.  The child was indeed beginning to fuss, but she seemed placate enough for the time.
    “Keep her quiet,” he said.  “I’ll return in a moment.”  He stepped through the window and checked to make sure the curtains were tight.  Two rooms down, the flowery curtains were pulled apart and pots of flowers stood to either side of both windows.  Elia, Inja’s wife, was from Eliadur, an ally of Jinaj and she hated the dreary city.  Her apartment was the opposite of the black rider’s.  There was a bright, thick rug under a lovely, carved rocking chair, padded with a matching fabric.  In one corner was a worn mattress for their bed.  Potted plants were everywhere, but there were no animals, not even a cat, and there wasn’t a single book to be seen.  Elia was uneducated and Ijna had no time.
    “Why, Jon!” exclaimed Elia, getting up from the rocking chair.  Her bulging belly reminded the black rider ashamedly of the Ganjak tradition that expectant mothers were not to be seen.  Even though he was on close relations with her and her husband, beyond all his control, a blush crept up into his cheeks.  “What brings ya by on this fine day?  Oh, was your raid successful?”
    “Yes, Elia,” said the black rider.  “That’s why I’m here, in a way.  But what I wish to discuss with you is very secret.  I can’t have rumors about.”
    “I’ll say nothin’, Jon,” she promised.
    “There’s a child,” he said, and quickly, “Not hers!  But a child that she found abandoned and took into her keeping just before we left the village.  We were pressed else I would have told her leave it.  You can see why it must be secret — and why I must get rid of it.”
    “Oh, aye, yes, I see that,” Elia said thoughtfully.

To Be Continued....

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