Silver Wordsmith: An author's journey
“Has anything arrived from the Presidium?” It felt like groveling, even if it was only to Gaingat, and Kalirit let her annoyance seep into her voice.
“No High Commissary, I’m afraid they’ve been completely silent.”
In measured steps she walked to the back of her office and sat down at her desk, her fingers flicking away at the computer displays sprawled before her. The half-melted archways so common in Thorian architecture loomed above her, their shape and dark colour reminiscent of the cliff-side cities on Kai Thori.
“I’ve also prepared a dispatch to the Presidium,” she said without looking up. “Have that sent right away on the most rapid stream you can find.”
“Immediately, High Commissary.” Gaingat made the slightest of moves to head out of the office when Kalirit continued.
“It is becoming more and more apparent that I will have to appear before the Presidium myself. I will likely be gone within weeks.”
“Shall I inform Vice Commissary Seshathirlin?”
“No, not at all.” Kalirit looked up then, resting her elbows on the table with the sides of her forearms facing out, a subtle gesture of threat when directed at a Thorian, but that signaled to Gaingat that his job was about to get that much more interesting. “In fact, I want you to make sure that he’s the last person to find out about this. Eitherorik will be deputy High Commissary in my absence.”
Even Gaingat couldn’t restrain himself from making eye contact. He was smart, Kalirit knew that. Smart enough to know that the biggest power struggle within the Anthar Kai was between the High Commissary and the commander of the Shoaman Kai, Anthar Kai’s military branch, and her relationship with Eitherorik was no exception. That look alone was the limit of how much Gaingat allowed himself to judge her decision making.
“I’m well aware of the reporting lines, Gaingat.” She assured him. “But interesting times call for interesting solutions. You will keep me apprised on my secure line as always.”
“Of course, High Commissary.” He paused and a small smile crossed his face. “You’ve left me with no additional instructions and I’m as puzzled as anybody.”
“Precisely.” She leaned back in her chair, flipping through everything that had come in since she permitted herself to leave her desk and admire the sunset. The piracy report from Eitherorik arrived at the expected time, the moment the Varakan sun dropped below the horizon. Dark news for a dark time. Another speculative report came from the managers at the exchange, recommending immediate diversion of haskbib seeds to the Mraboran Protectorate due to their popularity in making Thorian effigies in these trying times. And here was news that Creeper had allegedly spread as far as the Vaparozh holdings, but this was yet to be substantiated.
Regardless of the light outside, “nighttime” for Kalirit was a hollow concept. A hundred suns continued to shine on her empire and the linchpin that held it all together could not be beholden to any single clock.
“Gaingat,” she said to the Ntaos who waited silently for her to finish. “Once you’ve sent the dispatch to the Presidium, you may leave for the night.”
“And the dispatch to Governor Fainreshlin?” He asked before his body even as much as twitched in the direction of the door.
“He can wait. It would do him good to learn a little patience.” She looked down at the data pad and made a waving motion with her hand.
“Yes High Commissary. Thank you.” And before she could even raise her eyes to watch him leave, the door slid shut behind him.
Even in the silence of her office she could sense that the collective consciousness of the Thorians writhed in response to the turmoil and hope spurred on by the invasion of Krevali. This shared empathy was what had bound her species together and allowed it to dominate the Known Reaches, but she, along with an inestimable number of other severed Thorians, was blind and deaf to it. If she could somehow reach out and touch it, find a way for it to flow through her, maybe she would have a better idea of how to steer through the times ahead. Instead, billions of beings conspired quietly against her, and it was only fair that she return the favour.
Her only regret about her intended course of action was that she would not see the consternation on Eitherorik’s face as he scrambled to get to Varakan from Vesh Tarak, where the Shoaman Kai was headquartered, wondering the whole time whether he did something brilliant or utterly obtuse in order to be picked as deputy over Vice Commissary Seshathirlin. Not to mention Seshathirlin’s own inevitable oscillation between outrage at being bypassed and relief at avoiding any additional obligations. He would ultimately settle on huffing when anyone was looking and then counting his blessings behind the closed door of his office.
Vice Commissary wasn’t a real job in any case, more a way to say thank you for your service, you’ve been a great asset to the organization, here’s a shiny desk and title, now please stay out of the way like the good hapless fossil that you are. Seshathirlin relished in the pomp that came with the position, but just as responsibility shrank away from Seshathirlin, Vice Commissary Seshathirlin shrank away from responsibility.
So when the first reports from Krevali came in, naturally he was nowhere to be found. Normally, by Kalirit’s estimation, Seshathirlin’s ramblings were the biggest waste of resources in the entirety of the Anthar Kai, just going by the amount of productivity he leeched out of those around him. But it was Eitherorik that ended up calling their first meeting, even though he was practically on the transport back to Vesh Takar when the news first struck that the Anthar Kai would not be managing the governance and resources of Krevali.
Michael is a husband, father of two, lawyer, writer, and is currently working on his first novel, at a snail's pace. A very leisurely snail. All opinions are author's own.