Sweet Waters

  Traitors The emperor wakes early this morning, like every morning. Teyus spends seven hours in bed, but his sleep doesn’t bring him the rest he needs. He’s troubled almost every night by dreams of aliens destroying the homeworld. Teyus shakes off the fear and fatigue, and sits up. He reaches for a pitcher of juice to ease his thirst, but the pitcher is half-way across the room, spilled on the floor. Many nights, the pitcher moves from where he left it, along with other random objects. Security is uncompromised, and video shows the objects moving by themselves. Despite the cage, the curses still circle somewhere inside him, and burst out. The emperor activates the wall screen to see what’s in the info-streams. They’re still full of talk about the Madar val, and Neyima, the hero who turned out to be a traitor, and freed one of the Madar. The…

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Fear of the Wild

  Cruelty and Purpose The emperor calls me in to see him. “Congratulations, Neyima.” “Disu has made incredible progress in his fighting skills, and he told me that he has agreed to the Madar val.” “Yes, great father.” “I have a few questions for you.” “I want to understand the training that you’ve been giving him.” “My staff has been analyzing the sims that you use.” “Acting?” “Practicing silence?” “Being insulted?” “These seem like a complete waste of time, and totally different from what the other tutors did.” “May I speak freely?” “Of course.” “The other tutors accomplished nothing with Disu, great father.” “Their approach was clearly the wrong one, at least for him.” “But acting?” “A good leader would like to always speak the truth to his people, but sometimes the people aren’t ready for it.” “The emperor must be convincing whenever he speaks, whether or not he’s telling…

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