782 - A lunatic’s dream
The consummate warrior bids for world peace
By Zaivait Chaznin
Brahvniki News, 4 Jin 4978
…One cannot describe Chevenga’s aspect, as he came out of the Praetanu chamber, in words better than “flush with victory.”
Yet the man called Living Greatest, Invincible and Beloved made his name as a warrior and a general. Is he not concerned to be eliminating his field of greatest renown?
“I mean to become known as being as good at peace as I am at war,” he says. “It is something I have always wanted, to tell the truth. Someone who can distinguish himself in one skill can distinguish himself in another as well; it’s not as if war is the only test of merit. The greatest warriors wish they were great at something else anyway.
“I learned how to bring together a strong alliance that could accomplish very difficult things together in the Arkan War, so I will use what I know. In fact, that war in itself forged new bonds between peoples. We can extend that into creating a greater peace.”
Was there anything in particular that caused this change of heart… a turning-point in life, a realization, a divine revelation?
“There is no change of heart,” the pre-eminent warrior of our age, who implicitly persuaded his traditionally-defensive people to conquer an Empire, insists. “I am in a position and have the time to pursue it now; I have no other overriding duty; that’s what the turning-point in my life has given me. I’ve realized nothing and had no deity speak to me. I am following my heart as I always have. A people cannot have peace without freedom, and thus it was peace I was always fighting for, whether for Yeola-e or for Arko.”
My words came back, but broken. I flew with Niku; that night when I knew my heart would not let me sleep, I got Kall to spar me till I was reeling. I slept well enough, but in the morning the words were still halting. I should just be able to will them clear, I thought. I thought of taking a belt of pehahka or Saekrberk or Arkanherb before I went into Assembly, but in the end decided to count on the importance of it to bring my best out, stopping only at the door to silence my mind for a bit, and call the singing wind. It breathed, I am here.
Handaotha was acting semanakraseye now (and was doing her best to shake Artira down for more Arkan money, I’d heard, just as Artira had done me). Handa recused herself due to kinship with me and the adakri presided.
I gathered from the way the Servants listened and the questions they asked that they’d read up on it, talked about it among themselves, and quite likely made up their minds already. Of course I had new coins up my sleeve: three signatories, albeit it with conditions, the Niah pledge to open the secret of flight to member peoples, the idea of delaying the worst sticking-point: childbearing law.
We had a long and many-facetted talk, the sort you can really get your teeth into. Just as Artira had said, they doubted it was worth it to sign on when other peoples likely wouldn’t, mostly our traditional enemies Tor Ench, Laka and, of course, Arko. They did not call a vote on it that day, but deferred it for further discussion, both drunk under Statute 17-3 and sober, and further thought. I cooled my heels waiting, going in to answer questions whenever they wanted me to. It was funny again being the only one sober except the adakri.
The result: an agreement in principle with conditions, namely the agreement in principle of Laka, Tor Ench and Arko—and Arko’s nod had to come from an Arkan Assembly, not just the Imperator.
I made a show of basking in full victory, while I cursed within for having only part. With how slow Artira is taking things, who knows how long it will be before there is an Arkan Assembly? I thought bitterly. They all think I have forty years to do this, not three and a half… maybe this is just a lunatic’s dream.