The street changed once they’d made their way beyond the first horizon. Their total walking distance wasn’t measurably huge, but they had certainly covered a lot of ground in barely any time at all. The sun was dipping, though not yet sinking fast.
Here the commercial buildings thinned into some undeveloped tree space. Through this micro-savannah, they approached some curved streets. Two semicircles met against the straight road they walked, forming a bisected loop. Raev paused for a long while upon the sight of this junction. Soleil took the opportunity to encapsulate the scene around them, and note its effect on him. He continued again in the same relaxed and almost quiet tone. “Only one person remains with direct decision-making culpability in the Slaughter of Hirylien… your father.”
The two progressed along this business thoroughfare with residential side streets. The hills were on the side of the reservoir where they came from. “I suppose I hadn’t reached an active enough role to be given the confidential information regarding these issues,” mused Soleil. At six, there was no way she could have been relevant, and at twenty-four they’d hoped it was long buried.
“They were wise enough not to include additional people in the decisions of wrongdoing. It’s part of why I was willing to give you half a chance.” Raev glanced to his side, regarding Soleil. “You’ve thus far shown yourself to be decent, and honest. If you were hiding something nefarious, like what we’re discussing now, the Aureny would have tossed you over the edge when you were matching forces.”
She recalled clarifying her intentions before walking into the chamber. “You’d have been just as happy if they did away with me in the case of my having compromised integrity.”
“You are right about that.” Sturlusson’s voice was steely and ruthless, though not cruel. “But they didn’t. You also made no misstep throughout the Tempering, which means you were able to respect them as well. So, I’m giving you that much.”
“Advance intelligence reached Queen Celeste and her Ascendants. You had probably just begun your own schooling. They already had awareness of the Vedani. They had a dark policy of shutout and information suppression. The rapidly evolving possibility of a politically independent-minded planet gaining the sudden edge of an outright alliance with what they’d treated as an exploitable danger caused them to react with violence. Maybe facing full fragmentation and with too many shameful secrets they wished to contain, they decided they could continue their control of the Pan-Galactic Imperium by creating one more.”
The Princess’ eyes were narrowed, gaze turned inward examining scenes in her memory as though on a tiny screen. They paced each other evenly. Lips pressed tightly together, at his pauses she met Sturlusson’s look sidelong to confirm that she was following keenly.
As they passed the end of the oblong school building, it appeared as on some holiday, but the big double doors that would have been at the end were missing. The other shore of this little lake – a reservoir – was easier to examine from here. There was an outlet that flowed for some way toward a ledge. This path would soon depart from the shore, into trees.
Raev continued. “They didn’t have time, or they didn’t act like they examined branches of reasonable strategy. They reached into their arsenal to come up with something efficacious and brutal. How often do the leaders of entrenched governments retain power by acting against the founding principles? Occasional accounting is performed.”
I had to plan my repair call appointment about a week out, and yesterday we did a thorough check-in and started a repair ticket. A mailer box is on the way, and directly after the appointment was over, my many-times-replugged laptop… awoke spontaneously before my eyes!
So I was able to trim up the 4th Sequence beta audiobook reading tracks, and post them to evaelasigue.bandcamp.com. This one is currently reading only, though the first three include bookends of music by Phutureprimitive. All are listen/download by donation.
I’ve also retrieved all of my most recent draft work. I have done a bit of rewriting under duress of loss before, but it’s nicer when efforts aren’t wasted. So, I’m glad for this much, and a battery replacement may not take too long. It’s definitely been a while since my last major story threat. Adversity is not to be underestimated, but it is possible yet to triumph in doing what can be done. The wisdom of the moment.