Raisse is getting interested in macro-economic issues, and while I approve wholeheartedly I don’t know how to handle it: I don’t have knowledge in that field, at least not enough by far. The campaign is going to Adventurous Places first, though, so I won’t have to address that any time soon.
The next day I went with Khora to the school. We spotted Lyan and Selmet there. So I went with Lyan to his office while Khora went to Dushtan’s class. I got a chance to explain to him what I think went wrong with trying to rule on marriage. He also felt that something was not right or at least unmanageable, so he was very open to it. I think that once I get back we’ll make it into a law on what happens when any kind of joined venture is dissolved that leaves behind material things. The decree on marrying someone else after a Valdyan also has to change. It sets Valdyan women apart unfairly. I’m thinking along the lines of a man needing permission from all his current wives to take another.
When I was done Khora was into a fullblown operation putting back together a shattered arm. It was interesting to watch, so I stood there in the doorway and did that for quite some time. It was delicate and exhausting work, obviously. Afterward she talked about what they did in Turenay for verious people with hazardous professions. She also talked about what they did in schools there. It’s unfortunate that so many people don’t even learn to read and write properly, because schools are too expensive, too far away or they need to work.
I would like to set up some kind of system where every child could go to school, but even with the funds I do have I don’t think I can afford something like that. Such a system would need to be self-sustaining after a while. There are schools now run by various temples, but not everywhere, and though they don’t charge as far as I know there is still the cost of not being able to work. I would like a system where people who can afford it, pay the temple or school. People who can’t afford it should still be able to send their kids to school. And the kids should receive a modest compensation similar to what they might have earned working. After kids leave school, once they start earning a living they should pay for their education and that of another child. That way the system would sustain itself and be able to grow. In fairness people who pay in advance should also pay for two kids, but they need not pay once they have finished school. I don’t know how to make this happen, though.
When Khora was done we walked back to the palace and we met her friend Ebru from the plains who has joined the order in Turenay. She did not know who I was besides some friend of Khora. And Khora has so many friends. I enjoyed playing along for a while until we got to the palace. I did get an update on how Reshan is doing out of her. It seems like he’ll be home within a year and the Khas are not there in force anymore. I hope they are not all gathered near Solay when Athal gets there. When we got back to the palace Aunt Alieth was there and we talked about our kids and Khora and Reshan and the war a good deal more.
In fact I was still sitting there when Khora, who had retired with Aidan, came running back and jumped into my lap hugging me. She discovered that she had conceived just in time to avoid what would have been a very unfortunate end of the shortest life. She was so happy and Athal grinned and went to congratulate and tease his shocked brother. She told me that she had felt like she had two mothers, me and Raisse from the school in Turenay, but that she had amended that to seeing me as an older sister. I remember that after we brought her back to Valdyas and I was wondering about my own outlook towards her, I thought a little sister fit quite well. We are sort of sisters now by both our marriages, so it seems right and a great compliment. She also reassured me that in time all the people in Valdyas would come to recognise that I was trying to what was best for all of them. That’s very comforting to hear, because I have my doubts about that from time to time. It seems that, with all that’s going on, I need to hear now and again from different people that I am doing all right, that they appreciate it. And not just Athal.
It was late by then, so we went to bed and next morning we had to go and see Imri again. The life in Khora was so small that she had to point it out to Imri, but as far as she could tell nothing was wrong. That she conceived so soon seem to me a miracle that she has Timoine or the Mother to thank for. She asked some very cute questions. Questions I or any mother could have answered, but I suppose hearing it from a midwife is more reassuring.
That afternoon we went to inspect the army, and an army it was. The army got back to business quickly when the formal inspection was over. Khora was a bit surprised by that, but I was glad because I still wanted to deal with Khastané. So we went to the Order, where Khora wanted to go and see Ebru. While I took Parandé to see what might become of her and Khastané what she might help avoid.
They seemed to know of each other, but not much more then that. They started of quiet and I know Parandé could see whaat we did to Khastané. Khastané took the initiative and they started talking and I could understand no more then an occasional word, but it seemed to me that Khastané was telling Parandé about her life, about what we did and consoling her. There was crying and at some point Parandé got up and sprinted away. I signalled the gate to not let her out, but I need not have bothered. She ran straight to the shrine and, as was very clear when she came out later, Anshen.
Over the next week or so we spent most of our time getting our affairs in order so we could leave. I let Selmet know that if she wants to stay in Valdis and at school, then that is all right with me, but I would miss her along the way. Bahush can stay in captivity while I am away and when I get back I’ll probably give him a choice of either leaving Valdis for good or being released here be dependant on his wives in some manner.
I’m going to practice dancing every day if I can manage and for Athal whenever we feel like it. To get back into shape, but also for the fun of it.
I can’t forget the last time we went out into the world, the incident at Erday must have taken quite some doing. And this time even more is at stake It seems. So it would not surprise me if some kind of trouble lay ahead. Especially since Koll Konandé hired several people to prevent Athal from even leaving. So I arranged for some extra protection for Vurian, Rovan and Radan and on occasion me, both gifted and not. I also investigated the state of the postal service that was going to be set up, and they had not done enough to my liking. When I get back, or even on my way back, that needs to get on track. If I provide money they have to do the work.
On our last night in the palace I had Vurian and Radan brought to us and when we were alone I said a little prayer for all our safety, that includes Hinla and Rovan, but I did not have a medal for them so they were not present. And I presented them with the medals I had bought. I put it on them personally and told them, kids and husband alike, to always have it with them as I would keep mine with me and then we all slept in the big bed together.