The Aphorisms of Kherishdar
M.C.A. Hogarth

rakadhas [ rah KAHD haas ], (noun) -- a person with an ishas that does not match his hhaza, his social position. A very rare occasion.
      "You'll not buy parchment from me again, Calligrapher," the merchant said with a laugh, "This Ai-Naidari will be going to Second World!"
      "Second World!" I said, startled. "Why?" And then because he could not request it himself, "Tea? Sit with me, speak as a friend."
      "Gladly," the merchant said, as my words released him from the Abased speech. If this was the last time I would speak with him, I wanted to honor our long association. I poured for us both.
      "I decided to be evaluated," the merchant said. "So I went before our lord... and he decided I was rakadhas!"
      "Truly?" I asked, astonished.
      The merchant nodded. "I stayed with him for two weeks so that he could evaluate my ishas."
      "What did he decide?" I asked, uneasy and fascinated both.
      "It seems I am an Observer!" the merchant said with a laugh.
      "And yet you have been contented as a merchant all this time," I said.
      "I have," he agreed easily. "Perhaps my ability to Observe made me good at choosing parchment... but once I had learned all that could be learned, I became discontent."
      "Just as an Observer would," I said. "What now?"
      "There were no Observer positions in our lord's jurisdiction," the merchant said. "He discussed the matter with other regals, and House Ibeqed needs an Observer on Second World. They also have room for my wife, who is irimkedi... so for the first time since we married we will work together."
      "Ah!" I said. "That is happiness, then. Only..."
      "Only who will sell you your parchment, eh?" he said, grinning.
      I laughed. "Just so."
      "My youngest son loves parchment," he said. "So you will be buying it from him." Another grin. "Thank Kulind someone will be keeping the business with my eldest son mad to be Guardian, and me rakadhas. My family's caused our lord some trouble, hasn't it?"
      I laughed softly. "Well, it one of his reasons for being, to find us all a place with him, or with someone else."
      "Yes," the merchant said. "Glad I am for it."
      Later as I washed our cups I reflected on the merchant's fortunes. Those who are rakadhas are rare indeed, and usually discovered long before the merchant... his work had disguised his calling, however, so that it had taken him years to feel out-of-place. It was good that my lord had uncovered it for him, and spending so long at it only indicated how subtle the matter had been.
      To observe such a thing was unsettling, and so I brought a favorite book down from my personal shelf, one with humorous illustrations to accompany its wisdom. In the quiet of the evening, I copied and illuminated one of its aphorisms for myself:
      The wise gardener allows even rocks to grow.
      If the gardener bore a resemblance to my lord, and if the contours of the rock suggested the merchant's face, well... surely you will not tell, aunerai.


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© 2007, M. C. A. Hogarth