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Section I: Episode 33

April 6, 2015

Jahvoy took a rather vivacious swig from his cup, rapping his other fingers on the heavy wood table and tilting the cup itself high into the air.

"Bick none, that is how such tea should be drunk."

Galavar smiled.

"It's good tea, said Ornithate. "What is star pirin, though?"

"Ornithate, pirin is the plant. We make its tea from the roots. There are two kinds of pirin, shell pirin and star pirin. Star pirin has pointy leaves in clusters of three, that look like a star. Shell pirin's leaves look more like a shell. Only the former lends itself to teamaking, and both grow a long way from here.

"Now tell me," he said, "of your special project."

Ornithate and Galavar exchanged looks.

"We haven't really started yet," she said. "I've been busy with school, and Galavar has been spending his time on the cleaning crews—"

"I don't want to use that as an excuse," Galavar interrupted.

"I understand," said Jahvoy. "You saw that the people around you needed help." He turned to Ornithate. "And school is a proper endeavor. This project isn't to supplant your regular studies…and I'm not here to scold either of you."

"I told Ornithate that."

"Good. Now, let's think about where we stand. What were Sourros' intentions when he spoke to us on Dawn's Eve? What did he have in mind for us? And what is our next step to arrive at that purpose? I've approached the question from my perspective as the River of Ignorance, head of Ieik. And you approach it from the perspective of the individuals to whom, we shall assume, Sourros gave his message personally. Have the two of you had any thoughts about how to proceed?"

"My friend Agram is interested. He's spending a lot of time in the library reading history."

"That's good. What about you two?"

Ornithate answered, "I was impressed at how you found the story of the Viedavie Magus in just one night, and came up with the idea of striking Ar Nindar for a second time."

"To disastrous results."

"Do you think that could have been the intent?"

Jahvoy frowned, and his brow delved down. For a moment his face looked almost disapproving…an emotion Galavar had never seen from him before.

"A troubling question. I never considered that what happened on the Day of the Dawn could possibly have been deliberate…and I find the notion revolting as I consider it now. But I should have considered it on my own. A good catch, Ornithate.

"Rare is it when Sourros leads us into harm's way. I'll have to study our history to see about those times when Sourros did provoke trouble for the people of Ieik, or perhaps for others beyond. Don't bother yourselves with all of that. Leave it to me. What happened with the bell was my doing. I want you two to proceed based on what Sourros said to us on that special night. Focus on that, at least for the time being.

"As I told you then, the fact that we did not swiftly understand Sourros' meaning was very likely his design. How shall you decipher for yourselves what he said? That is what I would like you to concentrate on."

He leaned back in his seat and took another radical quaff, pitching his head full back and finishing the whole drink. Then, sighing contentedly, he stared off into the distance.

"You know, the Ieikili are in fear right now. Ordinarily they would be looking to me to reassure them. Instead, I'm just another reason for them to be frightened. I fear I may have lost the trust of my people. Not their respect. Their trust."

"I hope you win the referendum," said Ornithate.

"There is no 'win.' Whatever the outcome, it will be correct. Even so, I hope the margin is fat. Retain me or relieve me, but either way be decisive. That is my hope of you, good people of Ieik."

"Is there anything I can do to help?" Galavar asked.

"No. Don't bother with the politics of the moment. Look to the outcomes, to the distance, and stay your course."

"In that case, is there anything you would recommend to help us with our project?" asked Ornithate.

"Your friend Agram is thinking soundly to go and read history…but I don't think that's where your answers lie. Look to the present day, Galavar and Ornithate. Look around you, in the living Ieik."

The Great Galavar: A Curious Tale
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O day and night, but this is wondrous strange!