The Aphorisms of Kherishdar
M.C.A. Hogarth

menured [ MEHN yoo rehd ], (noun), singular menuredi: loyal servants of a liegelord or liegelady; a special connotation of fidelity and intimacy. The liegelord/lady counterpart is masured(i)
      I had not expected the irimkedi, the servant, who came to my studio for the review, but I did recognize her. Not as tall as the average Ai-Naidari, she was instead supernally graceful, as if the ancestors sought to compensate for her lack. Her simple robe had been fashioned of softest silk, the House emblem richly embroidered, and a flash of sunlight at her tail's end brought the eye to a ring there with dependent jewel. She had accompanied her Head of Household when that worthy came to commission a design for her seal. I was not often called upon to do such work, but I enjoyed it, though I rarely saw the stone stamp that would be carved from the final design.
      She was irimkedi, and so I spoke first. "Your mistress has not come?"
      "The design is to be evaluated by me in her stead," she replied, politely Abased. She read my incredulity in the faint twitch of my ears, for she lifted a wrist, the sleeve pulling back to expose a signet dangling from a chain.
      My brows lifted, but I bowed my head and indicated the table. "The sketch is here."
      Her shadow pooled over the parchment. Her mistress, following convention, had requested an abstract design, a cylinder long enough for her slender hand to comfortably hold when she used it to stamp her House sigil on official documents.
      "Is your lead available?" she asked.
      I glanced at her, but her face remained impassive. I brought her the requested lead, and she sat and began to draw--to correct my lines. With a few deft strokes she had solved several aesthetic errors I hadn't noticed and improved the grace of the design immeasurably.
      "This," she said, standing. "This will be acceptable when inked."
      I looked from the paper to her face, astonished. "You have a great talent, irimkedi."
      She brushed the dust from her hands and folded them into her sleeves, preparing to depart. "You are thanked, jakedi."
      "Why... why did you not...?"
      She canted her head. "Why was your path not chosen?"
      I nod.
      A tender smile touched her lips. She glanced at her feet, lost in some memory of feeling. At last, she said, "To be an artist is to serve many, but without intimacy. To be a servant is to serve one in a relationship closer than breath." She lifted her eyes. "My liegelady is loved. There is no other."
      I bowed to her then. She returned it and took her leave, and with it her shining. I stared after her long after she'd gone, and then I went back to my desk with the revised sketches. In the book I kept my ideas to be transferred to scrolls, I chased her devotion into words.
      There is no higher calling than to serve with love.


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© 2007, M. C. A. Hogarth