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PostPosted: April 3rd, 2009, 12:49 am 
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"That depends entirely upon your cooperation," Stallos replied, firmly easing Phaerin back into a horizontal position. He looked up at Kjan. "He appears to be functioning normally, yes?"

"Normally for him? Yeah, I'd say this is about right. He's always this stubborn."

Stallos looked to Silvryn for confirmation, then returned his attention to Phaerin. "Assuming you are cooperative - and that includes not trying to reopen the wound at every given opportunity - I predict no more than a week of bed rest. Disregard my instructions, and you may be here for quite a bit longer. The choice is yours. I need to go prepare an anaesthetic, but I will return shortly."

The room fell silent for a moment, the only sound Phaerin's breathing.

"He does not have to help you, you know," Silvryn commented quietly, somewhere between amusement and exasperation. She'd never known a man who could be so mature in some respects, and so utterly childlike in others. "You might at least try to be a good patient."

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PostPosted: April 4th, 2009, 9:03 pm 
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"Anaesthetic for what?" demanded Phaerin of the ceiling, but the physician had already left.

With every syllable came the sensation of a hammer on an anvil in his head. He decided he didn't care. "Tell me everything that happens," he said to Silvryn. "Tell me. Please. Jate can do it, he must, he has to. Don't let him ruin it. Not now."

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PostPosted: April 5th, 2009, 5:03 pm 
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"It would be counterproductive to let Jate do anything at this point," Silvryn said flatly. "He is a grown man; he can be accountable for his own behavior. I will not always be there to give my approval. He needs to learn that."

"You might go easier on him in the meantime, though," interjected Kjan. "Not all of us were expert politicians by the age of sixteen. When I was Jate's age, I wasn't even starting to consider purchasing my own estate, much less ruling a country. I think he's justified in feeling a bit overwhelmed. Ease him into it."

"The time for easing him into it is long past. The reality is, he has two weeks to learn everything that he should have been taught over the past twenty years."

"It took Jate two weeks just to figure out that we weren't the bad guys. I don't think he can be counted on to learn anything that quickly. But he can learn it, and that's what he has to convince everyone of within two weeks. Get him through this, and then you can slowly ease away the support later."

Silvryn didn't reply. She wanted to be able to be patient with Jate. She realized that they were asking quite a bit of him. But they didn't have time. Even ignoring the two-week deadline imposed by the council, it would only be so long before Raen decided to exploit Kytana's heightened instability. They needed a strong ruler, someone who could act decisively and defend the kingdom. If Jate couldn't do that, they needed to know quickly so that they might find someone who could.

"We can worry about it later," she said at length, looking back down at Phaerin. "The painkiller that Dr. Stallos is bringing also acts as a sedative. You do not have to take it if you do not wish, but you do need the sleep. If I promise to keep a close eye on Jate, can you promise to rest and not attempt anything idiotic?"

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PostPosted: April 6th, 2009, 12:01 am 
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"It's not as though I can," said Phaerin, but the colors of the room were bleeding into each other and despite lying prostrate, he felt as though he were floating. He blinked. Blinked again. Found Silvryn's face. "I promise."

He remembered Stallos coming back in. That was all.

---

There was music.

A single line of melody shivered and climbed and fell, and it pulled Phaerin from the multifaceted slough of glimmering slumber. A wordless mumble escaped his lips. Soft light made an intrusion upon his eyelids.

"I didn't know you had an ear for music."

He opened his eyes. Soft light and soft darkness blurred and separated. One by one, sensory impressions returned; linen beneath his bare torso, the scent of the gardens following the flute melody through the window...it was almost poetic, thought Phaerin. Poetic.

Then he saw his father, and the most vivid sense of all surfaced.

His mouth tasted like dry, faintly acrid cotton.

"Water," he croaked, and was subjected to the ignominy of, at thirty-four years old, needing help from his father to get a drink.

Once finished with this latest humiliation, he stared at the ceiling. "What are you doing here?"

"You got shot."

"I realize I got shot, Father."

"You are an idiot, Phaerin Grey, and a numbskull, but you remain my only son." There was a hint of bass growl behind the monotone. "Should you die, I consider it my responsibility to know about it."

"Now you know. I'm not dead."

There was a long sigh, and something heavy sloshed in a mug.

"Ale!" said Phaerin.

"No," said his father.

"I have to endure a week of bed rest, and a doctor, and an arrow wound, and your presence, and you won't give me ale?" demanded Phaerin. He could move his head enough to glare at Lord Grey. "If you must stay, make yourself useful."

"That arrow wound is your own fault." The grizzled lord stood and went to the window, pushing back drapery. There was no moon. The flutist started once more. "A near-death experience has not made you think, Phaerin?"

"Yes. Think I want ale."

He laughed and sobered. Ale sloshed in the mug. Lord Grey took a swig and wiped the back of his hand across his mouth. "What made you do it?" he asked.

"I don't know!" Dark gods, he was tired of the interrogation! "What would you have had me do?"

"Not wave a severed head from a rooftop! What if you had died? What would have happened to your precious rebellion then?"

"The rebellion's over."

"And this gives you leave to crawl into a corner and lament your losses? Grow up, Phaerin."

The sheets were crumpled in his fists. Phaerin took a long, deep breath. It hurt. "If you're not going to give me ale, go away."

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PostPosted: April 6th, 2009, 5:51 pm 
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Yet again, Kjan found himself aimlessly wandering the corridors of the medical ward. He'd left a few times throughout the day (namely when it came to his attention that he hadn't eaten since the previous night), but he always eventually ended up right back here. It was partly out of concern for Phaerin, but mostly he just didn't have anything better to do. He understood politics, but he was no politician. Sitting in on the council meetings would have been miserable.

Though, at this point, he'd take just about anything that would make him feel remotely useful again. He'd thought that he would be glad of a break in the action, but idleness really didn't suit him. He was too used to always having orders to follow, some new goal that needed to be met. Just standing around and waiting like this was going to slowly drive him insane.

Inevitably, his wanderings took him back in the direction of Phaerin's room. Phae would probably be waking up soon and might at least provide some conversation. Depending on how lucid he was, maybe they could even discuss their next move.

He was surprised to find, upon entering, that not only was someone else already in the room, but he knew that someone. Or more specifically, he knew that piercing gaze that always managed to fix itself on him at the most inconvenient times.

"Lord Grey," he acknowledged with a short nod, then lowered himself into the chair nearest the bed. He remembered the package in his coat pocket and pulled out half a loaf of bread, setting it on the bed next to Phaerin. "Thought you might be getting hungry. How's the head?"

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PostPosted: April 6th, 2009, 6:35 pm 
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Lord Grey nodded. There was a long silence.

"Fine," said Phaerin. Bread was a very poor substitute for ale. "Doesn't feel like it's going to explode." Nor did it, when he took a forlorn bite, which also reminded his stomach that it was full of nothing but air.

Just under two minutes later, there were only crumbs left on the sheets. Phaerin swallowed the last bite and looked at Kjan. "Any more?"

"It's been a long time, Kjan," said Lord Grey briskly, setting his ale down (across the room, noted Phaerin) and folding his arms. "I don't suppose you were privy to this plan of straddling a rooftop holding the late Regent's bodily remains?"

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PostPosted: April 6th, 2009, 10:20 pm 
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"No, Phaerin neglected to inform me of this latest suicide attempt," Kjan said dryly. Probably because Phaerin had known Kjan would stop him. "I didn't know anything about the plan until it was already in action. It was stupid, but at least it got everyone's attention long enough to end the riot."

--------------------

When Silvryn finally found Jate, he was in the main library with an assortment of books strewn about him. It was a good sign, she admitted to herself. It meant he wasn't just counting on others to inform him any more.

Quietly, she took the seat next to him and waited until he seemed to be at a good stopping point. "Have you been here all evening?"

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PostPosted: April 7th, 2009, 3:13 pm 
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"And what, Phaerin, does that tell you?" said Lord Grey, staring down his jutting nose at his son.

Phaerin didn't know. He guessed. "I'm an idiot."

"And why are you an idiot?"

"Rebels are idiots, rebellion is a stupid idea, that was a stupid idea, I'm stupid," Phaerin continued, ignoring him. "There, I think that's everything."

Lord Grey pinched the bridge of his nose between his thumb and forefinger. Then he took a very long swig of ale. "Tell me, Kjan," he said, "I will not ask my son because he is, as he says, an idiot - why would you pick as untrained a puppy as the one we met this morning as your figurehead?"

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PostPosted: April 8th, 2009, 12:14 am 
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Kjan briefly wondered how it was that he could engage in combat against men far larger than himself with only a vague sense of apprehension, yet a single glance from Lord Grey could still make him feel like a wayward adolescent under interrogation for his latest infraction. He nearly replied with the habitual It seemed like a good idea at the time, but decided that it might not be received very well.

"Untrained pups have done more impossible things," he said at length, shrugging. "A band of peasants and disillusioned nobles held their own against the Regent's finest for half a decade. I'm ready to believe anything can happen at this point." He tilted back slightly in the chair, an attempt at nonchalance. "I know he doesn't seem like much, but give Jate a fair chance to prove himself before passing judgment."

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PostPosted: April 8th, 2009, 5:17 pm 
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Jate turned with a start, the paper on the city merchants still in his hand. He'd been so focused that he hadn't even noticed her come in. There was just so much to look at. "Oh, I suppose I have. I kind of lost track of the time." For the first time, he noticed the darkening windows across the room. He gave a dry smile. "City ledgers are so interesting. How is Phaerin doing?"

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PostPosted: April 8th, 2009, 6:07 pm 
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"He is well enough," Silvryn replied. "Stallos gave him a sedative, though he should be waking up soon. It is going to be a slow recovery, but he could be doing far worse. I imagine Kjan is still with him."

She glanced over at the document still in his hand. The endless lines of impossibly small text evoked painful memories. "I do empathize, you know," she said, smiling wryly. "Master Vros once made me memorize every tariff in effect at the time and the reasoning behind each. I am sure it might have proven useful one day, had the Regent not changed virtually every one, but I never forgave him for that. I much preferred the historical texts."

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PostPosted: April 8th, 2009, 6:21 pm 
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"That wasn't my question, Armadur."

"Don't ask the leader," said Phaerin loudly, snapping the thread of conversation carrying on above his head. He carried on, arms folded over his chest. "We are not nobles, and we do not choose a puppet to shove onto the throne. He's the last heir. That, believe me, is the reason."

"And does the leader think he can do it?" Lord Grey sat down, resting one boot on the other knee.

Phaerin bit back a barbed remark. Oh, do make yourself at home. "It doesn't matter what I think," he said. "He does it or he doesn't."

Now his father had put his hands behind his head and was staring, like Phaerin, at the ceiling. "I do wish I could have such equanimity about the fate of my nation."

"Yes, I do get so attached to a nation of people like the *beep* who shot me in the square," muttered Phaerin.

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PostPosted: April 8th, 2009, 7:14 pm 
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Jate stretched, then pulled the next book towards him, a massive thing a good four fingers deep. How fun. "The Cities, Towns, and Boundaries of Kytana," Jate read off, then sighed. "My best part of the studies was working with numbers. They never change, are never subjective. I probably would have ended up doing sums for some merchant if things had been different." Jate still remembered his father staring down at his nine year old self. "You're above such things boy, though maybe you shouldn't be. But no son of mine is working under those folk." Well, maybe he'd get to use those skills after all.

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PostPosted: April 9th, 2009, 12:27 am 
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"We did this for people like the *beep* that shot you in the square," Kjan pointed out casually. The chair tilted a little further back and nearly went too far before Kjan was able to catch himself on the bed and return to an upright position. That could have ended poorly.

The silence that followed was suffocating, the way the tension between two of the room's occupants filled the air. Kjan was growing increasingly uncomfortable by the second. "Look," he finally said, leaning forward a bit. "I understand that Jate doesn't seem all that impressive, but he does happen to be under the tutelage of Silvryn Seilhera. Even if he has no idea what's going on, she does, and she's teaching him everything she knows. That's got to count for something, right?"

--------------------

"Actually, I consider history to be the most relevant to everyday life, especially as a ruler," Silvryn said. "What better way to learn than from the triumphs and failures of those who have already completed the journey? Experience is a better teacher than any textbook, but if you cannot yet have your own, you might as well benefit from that of others."

She hesitated briefly, uncertain how to proceed. "It... has been brought to my attention that I have perhaps been... less than patient with you. I apologize if this was your perception, though I hope you do understand the source of my urgency. Kytana will always be my home, regardless of where I live. I care very deeply about it and its people. Now it is in danger, and time is of the essence, and I feel as though I cannot accomplish half of what needs to be done."

Silvryn paused again, this time to massage her temples. It had been a very long day. "All of that to say, I do want to help you. I have done much of this before, and I can try to answer any questions that you may have. You do not have to go at it blindly."

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PostPosted: April 9th, 2009, 8:44 pm 
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"We will see whether it does or no," returned Lord Grey, and rose, leaning on his wizened cane. "Good night, gentlemen. I hope you realize I use the term loosely."

Phaerin watched his father out the door. "I don't know why he doesn't keep to himself," he said once the thump-thump of Lord Grey's uneven gait had gone beyond earshot. "I don't want him here, and he doesn't care what level of the underworld I end up on so long as his precious reputation is intact. Do you have any ale?"

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PostPosted: April 9th, 2009, 8:59 pm 
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"Sorry," Kjan said with questionable sincerity. "Stallos said no alcohol yet. Something about interacting badly with the painkiller. I can get you some more water if you need it, though. And maybe I can bring up more food later."

He waited a moment, then remarked, "You know, when I'm talking to someone who thinks I'm an idiot, I generally do my best not to confirm their suspicions. Not always with great success, mind, but I usually put forth at least some effort."

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