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T H E I N F I N I T Y S E R I E S
* III *
Author: D. Sanders
The Rest of this un-proofread BS can be Found here:
Kivi had sat silent most of the day, listening and it was with great relief when he found himself alone in the garden by the fountain while Xan stood nearby with Tanvir and Eran still discussing matters. The sound of the water was calming and cool under his fingers. His head was swimming and when Beau and Cris appeared with Beau’s guitar and they settled under a shady tree to talk about unimportant things and eat the sweets Cris carried in a basket and to listen to Beau play soft melodies in the tranquil setting. Kivi found peace and before he realized it, he had dozed off leaning against the tree in the warm afternoon with the scent of flowers and the sound of Beau’s lullaby and didn’t wake until Xan sat beside him and moved Kivi to rest in his lap. “Go back to sleep Ki, you’re exhausted. It has been a long day and you’re scent is gone. Your cycle is ended; I know mine always drains me on the last day. Tomorrow I will more than likely be in your shoes too. Funny how yours started after mine and ends before.”
“Mine are usually short. Forgive me for being so suddenly tired.”
“Nothing to forgive. Rest Ki.”
“I love you Xan. I am nervous for you. You do not like politics.”
“I hate it yes, but I do want change, this is the way to go about affecting them. I will not always be political. I would much rather be a studious man, lost in my library in my books with you being lazy and academic.”
“I just want to be by your side, wherever you are.” Kivi sighed closing his eyes and using Xan’s legs as a pillow as Xan stroked his hair.
“Me too.” Xan replied, his own voice sounding tired as he leaned back against the tree and shut his eyes.
Neither of them awoke until Tanvir and Eran found them and woke them for dinner.
Once back in their private rooms, Xan and Kivi found Sipa-Juhi and Sanjay already present and waiting, Manju was sitting on the balcony and brightened when he saw Kivi and Xan and he rushed over.
“Manju, are you fairing alright? We turned your world upside this morning.” Kivi asked as the boy halted before them bowing. Looking greatly changed in a dark red robe that complemented his dark blond hair and deep brown eyes.
“I am fairing wonderfully. Sanjay has been most kind to me today, I sat and listened during the meal and I am eager to offer what help I can.”
“I thought he would be a good helper to you both, he’s smart, he’s loyal and he’s quick. Might I suggest he take up my old room and be at hand whenever you need him? These will be busy times, having a lad at hand to run errands you trust is prudent.” Tanvir said and Xan nodded.
“Most prudent. Manju will you accept the undignified job of our messenger?” Xan turned to Manju and asked.
“Undignified? Hardly. I owe you both everything, I will always help you in whatever way I am able. You will need servants you trust, your job is a lot harder than me delivering things for you or making sure you have food when you’re hungry. I’ll take care of you both so you can take care of the rest of us.” Manju bowed and Kivi laughed.
“I do like you Manju, you are refreshingly honest.” Kivi said picking up nothing but true goodwill from the boy.
“Just make sure Kivi doesn’t do everything first. He has a bad habit of fussing.” Xan said and Kivi frowned at him.
“Xan, I am like Manju, some habits will take a long time to change to please you.”
“Don’t worry Lord Xan. I’ll make sure Kivi doesn’t over work himself.” Manju grinned and Xan clapped him on the shoulder.
“Good lad. Come let me show you your room then, you’ll be in here with us.” Xan said taking Manju to the room Tanvir had called his own private space for many years, even if he did hardly ever use it in favor of spending his private moments together with Devapa.
A knock came to the door and Manju dashed to answer it, Kivi hid his smile behind his hand, the boy was so eager. At the door was the last member of Xan’s new inner counsel, the stranger that had been seated next to Sipa-Juhi at the head table, the Body Healer Lalam. “Forgive my tardiness. There was a slight accident with children, a graveled pathway and some subsequent skinned knees from running too fast and into one another.” Lalam chuckled as he entered and Manju shut the door behind him. “You’re new lad.” He added with a wink.
“Manju’s our designated go-boy.” Eran said as he smiled from his perch by a balcony door smoking a cigarette and blowing the smoke outside.
“I’d scold you for harming your body, but then again you’re not are you?” Lalam said moving to shake everyone’s hands now that they had a chance for informal introductions.
“No he’s not. He functions best on high doses of Caffeine and Nicotine, if you’re ever inclined Body-Healer Lalam, I am a field trained Physician myself and my medi-com on board the “Infinity” you are more than welcome to access.” Beau said shaking the man’s hand.
“I will take you up on your offer. Our species are quite similar where disease and other such maladies are concerned, I’d like to see human research on some of our more troubling issues.”
“Speaking of the “Infinity” we need to bring her closer. We don’t want her docked in that spaceport too long. Val and I can navigate her in under radar, there’s plenty of docking space behind the castle here in the forest cover. I want at least an escape route if we need one in a real hurry.” Cris said and Eran nodded.
“I agree. That’s a good idea.”
“We thought so, I’ve got the access key control, Val and I can be back by morning if we go now.”
“Won’t you eat first?” Kivi asked concerned for their health.
“We can eat on the way, the sooner the better.” Val smiled at Kivi, still seeing that small boy he’d loved in the man before him. Some things never changed, Kivi’s heart was one of them.
“Then Be Blessed and safe journey.” Kivi hugged them both and escorted them to the door.
“Cris thinks like a criminal, he’s always gotta have at least one way out.” Eran grinned, and that had come in handy over the years.
“That’s a good way to conduct yourself, you don’t wind up painted into a corner.” Xan said as the group moved into the sitting room and making themselves comfortable while they talked.
“Precisely. You’ll find Cris is good for a lot more things too. He’s a genius; I don’t know how many times over the years having him around has saved my ass. Literally.” Eran winked and Xan chuckled.
“Good to know.” Tanvir laughed with his son as the door was knocked on again and Manju went to open the door and help cart in the private dinner and set it out on the table in the sitting room buffet style. There were some things they still needed servant help with and everyone understood that this core group had better and more important things to do than cook their own dinners on top of everything else. The castle was full of willing servants lending as much aide as possible to help smooth the course of changing times.
“I still feel odd being the one being served.” Kivi sighed and Sanjay smiled.
“Kivi, we know. You’ll soon learn we’re helping you because we desire to, not because we are slaves, that is the difference.” Sanjay said passing Kivi a plate of cheese. “Your favorite yes?”
“Yes.” Kivi smiled, it seemed everyone now knew his favorite food thanks to Xan and there was plenty for him to choose from in the offerings that had been brought up to the room.
Once everyone had their dinner and were seated informally in the main room on various pillows on the floor, conversation began.
“Might I ask what brought you to the society. I already know my Sipa’s tale, I am curious what motivates you all.” Xan asked curious what sort of people he would be dealing with in the future.
“You already know Tanvir’s and Sipa-Juhi’s, mine is along a similar line. I too knew your Hopa; I was in attendance while Devapa passed you as a pearl. You were quite difficult on your Hopa. Unlike your brother’s which he passed easily, you proved even as a pearl to be stubborn.” Lalam began smiling at Xan over his wine.
“Devapa and I went to school together as children he was always a positive influence on me. I am here because I believe in his visions and I want to see a world as we hope to bring about. It’s as simple as that.” Lalam said and everyone turned to Sanjay who sighed and set down his mug.
“I have a far different motivation, but not one dissimilar to your current one Xan.” Sanjay began his eyes suddenly turning quite sad.
“I think my tale is best stated from the beginning. I will make it as brief as possible.” Sanjay turned to look at Kivi with a tender smile.
“I would spare you the pain of my story, I know you are quite receptive to emotions, but I am sorry to say the sadness is my motivation.”
“I will be fine, please continue.” Kivi said taking Sanjay’s hand in a comforting gesture.
“I was young, hardly more than sixteen when I met Amali. He was just barely fourteen and new in my father’s household. I was ever in trouble with my father, I was headstrong and disobedient and all around a nasty boy. I was being rather obnoxious and thought it would be a good idea to lay a trap for my father involving foul smelling water and a bucket strung over a door. I was lying in wait when the poor boy walked through the door and was drenched. Dropping the serving tray and breaking the china, just as my father came in. I had to watch in horror as my father beat him for breaking china. It had been my fault.” Sanjay’s eyes looked off into the distance as he remembered.
“My father left him on the floor and when he’d gone I went to help him. I begged his forgiveness as I carried him to my chambers and drew him a bath. He just smiled at me. I’ll never forget that in my entire life. I caused him pain and he just smiled at me. He was beautiful when he smiled. He was beautiful anyway. As I took off his veil I think my world stopped right then and there. Huge green eyes, light brown hair, fair skin, with a pattern of diamonds. In a word, breathtaking.” Sanjay smiled here closing his eyes, he could see Amali whenever he shut his eyes.
“I helped clean him off and took care of his bruises and continued to beg forgiveness. He just laid his fingers to my lips and shook his head. His collar prevented conversation, but his body language was enough. His eyes were full of mirth, he at least was amused at the trap I’d set even if he was the one the walk into it. Amali always did have a dark sense of humor, like me.” Sanjay chuckled wiping a stray tear from his eye.
“The next few months I couldn’t get him out of my head, I’d find excuses to be near where he was working and by the gods I was bold, I’d even sneak into his cubicle at night to drag him out at all hours. Sometimes I’d play him songs, sometimes we’d just walk in the garden, sometimes he’d show me things he’d done. He had a talented green thumb, our gardens never looked better before he came. I was in love before I even realized it myself. It was about a year though before I got the nerve up to ask him to walk with me with his face uncovered.”
“It wasn’t long after he complied, I found the courage to kiss him. A few nights later I came into his room to find him highly agitated and smelling incredible. He was in his first heat cycle, I responded almost instantly, we hurried off to the back of the garden and neither of us were thinking very clearly being lost in the lust of a seasonal cycle. I do remember it was perhaps the best sex of my life. I was careful, he was careful, we were thinking clearly enough to try and avoid his chamber. But our lives changed from there, for three years we were lovers, when I left for university, I took him with me. I finally heard his voice for the first time when I pried that damn collar off his neck that first night away from home. Hearing him say he loved me? That was heaven.” Sanjay’s voice cracked, he was having a hard time now telling his story.
“We were together five years, I had moved us to a small home near the university. I was getting my bardic degree and he took care of me. I came home one evening to find him curled up on our bed sobbing. He was passing a pearl. I have never been so terrified in my life. We could not call for a body-healer, he had to pass it all by himself with only me to help him. I was only twenty and one and knew nothing of healing. I thought I was going to lose him, he was in such pain and bleeding badly. But by dawn I was holding our pearl and Amali was lying there smiling at me as we placed our pearl in his pouch. We kept our affair quiet, and behind our doors only. Our son, Amjay, was growing; it was hard to hide the obvious. So Amali stayed inside at all times and we were both looking forward to him emerging it was nearly time.” Here Sanjay stopped, the sobbing had begun.
“I came home one afternoon to find Amali dead on the floor, our son torn from his pouch and laying dead beside him. A note from the council lay on the floor saying they had been terminated for breaking the liaison with a prima directive. My love, my son GONE! Left there for me to find as a reminder that I needed to choose a partner more suitable for my station. I’d just left Amali that morning laughing neither of us suspected anything. I must have sat there sobbing for hours, holding them both, praying they’d wake up. They both only looked asleep, but the blood in their ears was proof they were never going to awaken. I tried committing suicide, I laid them both in bed and lay down beside them and took every pill in the house and went to sleep holding Amali and our son and sang to them. I awoke in Sipa-Juhi’s house under Lalam’s care. Sipa-Juhi had heard of the termination and came to console me and found me on the verge of death myself. He saved me and showed me the way is not suicide it’s changing a world that caused the pain in the first place. The rest is history, I never found out who turned us in, if I ever do, I will murder him. I am here because I never want another to live a life like mine. I lost him four years ago and not a day goes by I don’t wish I had him here.”
Kivi was sobbing along with Sanjay as he pulled him close to hold. No one had a dry eye as Sanjay regained his composure. Some wounds would never fade completely; Sanjay’s were deeply rooted.
“His story sadly is just one of many. Most of our members have similar pain and heartbreak.” Lalam sighed as Manju came over to Sanjay and held out a cloth to dry his eyes.
“I am so sorry Lord Sanjay.” Manju said, his own eyes red. Sanjay just smiled at him and took the cloth to wipe his eyes.
“Don’t be sorry Manju. You remind me very much of Amali, my hopes for you far exceed my pain now. I pray I can give to you what I was unable to give to Amali.” Sanjay said truthfully. He’d taken a shine to the boy from the moment they’d met that morning. He was young, he was the future, and he was something fresh in a dark world.
Kivi took Manju’s hand and Sanjay’s and held them together. “This is good. This is a powerful healing here. You need him Sanjay and he needs you. Please don’t shy away from this.” Kivi said and everyone raised an eyebrow.
“Kivi what are you talking about?” Xan asked since Kivi’s eyes were swirling again.
“Caring. It’s a strong emotion that heals. Just do what your hearts tell you to do, that’s all I am advising.”
“Kivi… are you implying?” Xan asked and Kivi only smiled.
“I am implying nothing more than potential and good compatibility. That is all.”
“I’m far too old for him if you mean what I think you mean.” Sanjay said almost in shock.
“I am beginning to regret speaking here. I just am stating truth. You mesh well; I can see your colors. Xan what word am I looking for here?”
“Power meshing?” Xan was just as confused as everyone else. Kivi was being strange.
“No. Well yes in a way I guess. Am I the only one sensing this?”
“I am afraid you are Ki. What are you seeing?”
“Goodness, it’s hard to describe something I’ve always been able to sense. It’s more a feeling than anything else. Let’s see if I can’t put this into words that don’t seem to confuse everyone more. For instance, when you are with a good friend you feel comfortable right? When you are with a lover you are peaceful. It is the mixture of personalities that compliment. That is evident here, that’s all. Friends or lovers there is a fine line but the complimentary aspects of your natures are the same with either. It is the same when you meet someone you instantly dislike and you are on edge, this is the reverse. There is that clearer? You are complimentary souls.”
“That does make sense. You can see that in others than yourself?” Xan asked and Kivi nodded.
“It’s very sharp when it affects me personally, but yes I can sense when people will get along well with another too. I’ve been like this for as long as I can remember, it is even more keen now that I no longer have my barriers up.”
“Ameretat’s gifts. Heightened spiritual awareness, Kivi is touched by things we will have a hard time understanding. You fascinated me as a child, I met you once many years ago, I never dreamed you’d turn into the man before me. I knew you were special, but I attributed that to your nature. You were barely three years old and I was watching you out the window as you played in sun with a small butterfly. It amazed me that it repeatedly landed on you and how delicately a child your age touched it. It even followed you inside. I should have known the touch, should have sensed something more. We just thought you were a delicate and sensitive child. You were so much more.” Sipa-Juhi said and Kivi smiled.
“He’s right, I remember you then too. You were about the same age when we first met you too.” Beau said thinking back. “I’ve never known a toddler not to get fussy occasionally. You were so quiet all the time and I remember Kadala remarking once how blessed he was with such an even-tempered child. I don’t ever remember you crying or yelling at all. Just this little tiny serene boy who liked my peppermint candy.” Beau grinned and Kivi laughed.
“I remember the candy. It’s a very vivid memory of my youth.” Kivi grinned and Beau reached into his top pocket and handed the small tube over to Kivi.
“They’re just mints. I always have them on me.” Beau laughed and Eran chuckled.
“He’s got a hygiene fetish Kivi. Even his breath must smell good at all times. Not that I’m complaining, but he’s telling the truth, he always has peppermint in his pocket.” Eran laughed at his husband’s quirk.
Kivi accepted the mint and took one then passed the roll around for everyone as he tasted and smiled in bliss. “Taste just like I remember.”
“You made that same face too if I recall.” Beau grinned as the roll reached Manju who made a similar face when he tasted.
Sanjay chuckled. “Simple joys. That’s what life is about.”
“I agree wholeheartedly.” Xan said as Kivi settled back against his legs, resting his cheek on Xan’s knee. Xan instinctively rested his hand on Kivi’s hair and absently petted the silken strands as he would a cat.
“Now to change the subject. We should address the sheer number of people here. That will be suspicious. I would ask you all to select for me a good core staff for the palace here, then send the others home for now. This will raise Xartova’s suspicions enough me coming here without an entire community camped out on my lawns.”
“Glad you brought that up, I agree, we want attention of the right kind. This is not the right kind.” Eran said and Sanjay nodded.
“We are already on that. Fifty have been selected to stay the others are going home in the morning. I’ve also sent for Indira and Kadala. We have enough ears on the outside and Indira is the best historian we have, he’ll be indispensable for your campaign issues.” Sipa-Juhi said as Kivi sat up almost giddy.
“Naturally having your parents here too will be comforting while you get used to your new role in life. Of all of us you have the most adapting to do, something familiar helps. Indira confirmed he’ll be here in two weeks. He’s put in his resignation at the university and will be your new personal employ Lord Indivar.”
“That’s good to hear. Okay Eran, what do you want me to do personally?”
“Get miraculously well, and start getting out there where you can be seen. Make a show of it, accept invitations to social gatherings, get people interested more than they are, Kivi must be prominently displayed on your arm, make it obvious your intentions. Get everyone crazy with wanting to know Kivi, but keep him mysterious. Announce the union soon, and make that a pageant. I want people lining up wanting to attend, Hell I’ll get Romi to perform before she high tails it off planet. That’s a people pleaser. Once your popularity and your union are cemented, then you announce you plan on running for council too. These are the oldest tricks in the book; you use popular opinion to your advantage. You get everyone liking you and they believe everything you say as gospel. You want change, you gotta come in with a big voice.”
“Understood. One thing, we have to keep Xartova away from Kivi. I don’t want that man within fifty feet until I am formally united. He practically interrogated my brother’s mates. Almost to the point the unions never took place. I don’t care what anyone has to do to run interference, just do it.”
“We can do that.” Tanvir said noting Xan had pointedly stopped calling Xartova his Sipa. It greatly touched him, even though it was unnecessary. The show of respect to his real Sipa did not go unnoticed.
“Good. Then let’s enjoy the evening and not waste it going over what we already know, it's pointless now, we have to just take the steps now was they happen. I hear music outside, Sanjay you are a bard are you not?” Xan asked and Sanjay nodded.
“So is Beau, I’m sure his talents will interest you greatly and perhaps you can show him how to use his gifts properly.”
“That would be an honor, I did notice he was talented the same as I. Mr. Shannon will you give me the honor of playing with me?”
“Absolutely.” Beau grinned standing.
Xan helped Kivi up off the floor. “I would dance with you. That is one joy we’ve yet to have the pleasure to indulge in.” Xan said and Kivi smiled taking Xan’s arm.
“I would like that too.”
“Then let’s go mingle.” Eran said holding the door open for everyone to make their way outside to join the festivities happening on the lawn.