Friday 29 July 2016

The Prince of Exiles, 35

Svaathe is singing a song in her own language, a lament, it sounds like, rising over the anguish of the stolen Sky-Chariot's engines.

The porthole by which I stand, watching Caiphul recede, has a spider tracery of cracks on its outside layer, the glass slightly blackened, blurred where a glancing bolt of energy broke and welded it back together in the same instant.

Moh's scaffold was higher than any of the others. He spat in the Viceroy's face, the priest said, would not confess to having done anything wrong although they had already burned off his hands, eyes and nose, had castrated him.

I'd wanted to kill every fighting man and woman in the city and make the children homeless in the care of their grandparents, the better to teach them kindness.

But Makara had reminded me of my promise to Moh. He would be revenge, but by his own. He had been martyred, and martyrdom is only effective if the death serves a purpose.

A million Rmoahal slaves had seen the public hanging, had heard the final speech of Moh; the governor, convinced of the futility of his cause, let him finish. We are enlightened. Let the cause of misfits and malcontents be exposed for what it is, in their own words.

We deal with those who accommodate, the governor had said to the crowd, and we cast down the intractable.

They had seethed, the crowd, like a pot on a low heat, simmering, ready, but had done nothing. 

But the masters who had brought their slaves here, leashed, muzzled, looked upon them with a sort of caution. Perhaps concessions might be made. But they would not be enough.