The Aphorisms of Kherishdar
M.C.A. Hogarth

revasil, [ reh vah SEEL ], (noun) -- a Correction; specifically used in instances where somone has transgressed against the rules of society and must be reminded how they are to act. Correction is not punishment, but an attempt to bring a person back in harmony with their ishas.
      Almost I did not take the assignment the eritkedi, the city noble, brought me. "Please," he said. "She has paid the reparations, but she does not understand."
      So I found my client table beneath a client, a pretty eritkedi woman.
      "You know why you are here," I said.
      "You are the instrument of my Correction," she replied.
      I nodded. "Tell me your crime."
      She blushed at the ears. "There was a merchant... he was lovely. I... took liberties with him." When my face remained impassive, she hastened to add, "He did not object!"
      I sighed and went to my shelf, bringing back the merchant's volume of the Book of Precedents. Sitting on my stool, I turned to the section detailing the expected behavior between nobles and merchants, beginning with the fact that a noble may touch a merchant on any part of his body without permission. The eritkedi listened in tense silence until I read that a merchant is allowed to refuse a noble only in matters of his trade... nothing else.
      "Stop," she said, trembling.
      I looked up.
      "I didn't know," she said. "Well, I knew but I didn't."
      "You think you know, but you do not," I said. I returned the book and brought down the volume on city nobles, flipping to the section on the proper behavior toward merchants. This I propped on a stand so that she could read it by turning her head. Then I brought one of my painting oils, mixed with a touch of carmine, and sat again beside her. As a low public servant, I could not dream of touching her; as her instrument of Correction, I was outside those laws, bound instead by the precedents of teaching and shame. This is what allowed me to open her robes to her waist, baring her rarified fur and skin, to gather her tears from her cheeks. I mixed them into my paint and said, "Dictate."
      Her voice stumbled, but she began to read aloud. As she spoke the words, I painted them neatly beneath her collar bones in an unwanted intimacy as corrosive as the one she'd inflicted on the merchant. In scarlet, I wrote her duties onto her breath-soft fur, and as the painting oil reached her skin it stung.
      When I ran out of flesh, I allowed her to stop. Her face was a study in pained remorse, and by that I knew we were done. I closed her robe and stepped back so that she could rise and re-tie her sash.
      She knelt before me as was courtesy but not necessity and rested her cheek on my foot. "I bless the instrument of my Correction," she whispered, as customary.
      "You have known Correction," I said. "You may go."
      Several days later I received a written request for a wall scroll signed with a single smudge of carmine and oil beneath the House sign. Several days later I sent back a work in silver and scarlet, glazed with stinging oil:
      To err is only another chance to know the grace of correction.


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© 2007, M. C. A. Hogarth