There was a long pause as Kyrus turned his stone back to look into it and realized that there was a conference of Hinnemon happening. “Um… Father… she… she… excuse me honourable delegates… this little girl, she says she’s supposed to marry me!” He panted, even as he crouched low over his bird’s back. His veils flapped and cracked in the wind as they flew. The warbird was honking and screeching at the bone horse on the ground. The other warbirds were making all kinds of noises as they chased after Alissa on her mount.
“Excuse me… she say’s ‘are you my beloved’ and offers to kill all our birds so she can control them all perfectly! Da, she’s she’s… um…” He paused and swallowed as the wind howled through the connection with the speed they were travelling.
“Kraganzh,” the Konsiliarch said quietly. “You mean to tell us that the Hippifrei brought their powerful mandering princess to us and then just left her?”
“Yes, Konsiliarch. Da… they dumped her and ran as though they were afraid for their lives… what am I to do here? She’s got a dead ferret as a pet and that horse of hers has at least two of her horse skeletons in that thing and bakons and sand sheets and any fakin’ bone she finds in the desert and... she wants to marry me and I'm not sure she'd rather just kill me and have my zombie corpse around to keep her happy...” His voice had been rising, filled with panic.
“Kraganzh!” The title snapped out of the Milari crowd.
“Yes, Zon!” He responded automatically. “Zon Belina!” She had been his ‘clinery teacher, even after they’d realized that he was mostly a ‘mander. He still had some talent in the other direction and the Milar wouldn’t let that go untrained.
“Stop filling yourself up with this panic,” she said, tartly. “Breathe.”
“Why on earth would the Hippifrei throw this girl at us like this?” The voice came out of the mass of Milari councillors.
“Well…” Ilax’s voice was thoughtful. “Perhaps they don’t have anyone strong enough to control her and they’re hoping we do.”
“Why wouldn’t they just ask us, if that’s the case?” Kyrus’s voice was plaintive, wondering. “We would have offered to help.”
He blinked at everyone’s stares. “Well, we would have.”
“Love,” Ilax said gently. “People are still reacting as if your grandfather… the controlman extraordinaire… was on that throne.”
The Hive, feeling Kyrus’s distress came pouring down to flow down over his head and shoulders and lap, trying to help him be calm. “You mean that I’m the ‘naïve paladin’ rather than the ‘ruthless Emperor?’ He tried to make it a joke but there was too much reality in it to make it one.
“Yes, husband,” Ilax said.
“Da! Stepfather! I need advice RIGHT NOW! I can’t just keep trying to catch this girl, we’re coming into the city, at this speed it will be tomorrow that we get there and she’s going to whip the pants off us with that monster of hers…”
Kyrus’s frantic words cut off. “Yes, Da?”
“We’ll be ready for her. We’ll find someone who can shut her down if she tries to kill and control anyone. We did it before and we’ll do it again. This time without killing the necromander. You’re doing well to let us know. We’ll have some chance to prepare. Keep on… you and Werfas and everyone else. You’re doing fine… Call her and tell her you’ll have tea for her… that she needs to rest. Many children don’t realize how tired they are until they stop moving. Try it. If it doesn’t work, grit your teeth and endure. We’ll take over when you get here.”
“Thanks, Da. Thanks. I’m tired Da… but I’ll bring her in.”
“You keep yourself safe, boy.”
The click when Kyrus the Younger signed off, was loud. For a long moment there was only the sound of the Hive in the room before one of the Trovi plaintively asked, “Why do problems need to keep coming at us in waves? Couldn’t we just have them one at a time?”
Ilax couldn’t see who started laughing first, but the wave of laughter rolled through the room and out the mist curtains. “It’s always the way councilwoman, councilman… Problems come in packs and troops and herds.”