The Aphorisms of
esar [ eh SAAR ], (noun) . the quality that makes one a superb
leader; this is a sublime thing composed of your character, your actions,
your social position (rank and caste), your upbringing. There are many
different kinds of esar.
"I am sul
Metrel-anathkedi," the youth said before he'd even advanced from the
threshold of my studio. I toweled the sizing from my fingertips and set
aside the gold leaf, then rose... but not with the haste his pride would
"Anathkedi," I said, speaking in the
Abased as was proper for one above me. "How may you be served?"
"Next month I am to undergo the
ritual," the youth said, drifting from scroll to open book as
a butterfly unable to choose between flowers. "I should like an aphorism
I had heard that the head of
Wakedzen was ill, but not so ill as to require his heir to be so swiftly
promoted. "Of course, sul
Wakedzen. Have you an aphorism in mind?"
"Choose something appropriate," he
I nodded. This was not an atypical
request... but he continued.
"Something to suit me," he said.
"Something rich, in nacre and ground oceanstone. Something to suit my
"If it may be asked," I said, "what
special quality of leadership has sul
Wakedzen chosen from the Book
of Precedents as his own?"
"I have not," he said, lifting his
Despite myself, my ears twitched
backwards in surprise. "Of the many pages describing the many forms of
, there was none to which the heir to Wakedzen could cleave?"
"What I offer is unique," he said.
"Never has it been seen, nor equaled. See that the aphorism reflects
Wakedzen," I said.
We spoke of schedules and colors.
For many days, I sat in the sunlight and pondered a scroll for Wakedzen's
heir. Then I sat at my slanted desk and opened the pots of nacre and
ground oceanstone. With the hand that had won me my patrons and the
--the soul--that had won me my caste-rank, I penned his
scroll. Several days later, a courier came and bore it away.
Two months later, the scroll
returned to me. When I tilted my head, hands outstretched, the irimkedi,
the servant, said only, "Wakedzen rejected its heir."
He said nothing more. We understood
one another perfectly. I hung the scroll on the wall to await a more
It reads: That which is old has
been tried by time and found good.
Previous | Next
© 2007, M. C. A. Hogarth