Two deleted scenes from The Maker’s Mask, in which Tzenni explains the feud to Innes and then talks to Majed. It’s set between the first time Tzenni tries to repair the Retort and the fight at Star’s Galley. The scene in between had a lot to do with a subplot I eventually took out, and also I wasn’t happy with it in general because I felt it was overly melodramatic.
This whole sequence was replaced with the scene in the bath-house, which was the last major bit of these books to get written.
Tzenni explains the Feud to Innes
“She’s put it back!”
Innes had never seen Lady Tzenni in such a taking, not even when she was arguing with Lord Malabranca. She was waving something that looked like Maker-tech.
The epicon calculated its chances of getting it off her without any bloodshed and decided it wasn’t worth chancing it yet. “Who’s put what back?” it asked carefully.
“Melati Helm de Mirandola, I imagine. I can’t decide whether that woman has always completely disregarded the Maker’s Promise or whether she was never bright enough to know what it meant in the first place.”
Innes reckoned that, as Maker insults went, that was about on a level with have you got a scabbard for that sword or do you just shove it into whichever of your perpetually gaping orifices is open? “The work you did last shortday…?” Innes guessed, hoping this wasn’t going to go off into a discussion of back-washing and podular drop again.
“I mended it. She’s put it back broken.”
That, at least, Innes could understand. “She’s probably also talked to Kapellan Prime,” the epicon offered neutrally. “You want to go and talk to him before he sends the Kapellan Legion to pick us up?”
“Of course I want to talk to him. This is his Retort and he shoved the care of it off onto his woefully underqualified sister-in-law. I want to give him a piece of my mind.”
“Ah… can you put whatever that is down first? If you’re planning to brain Kapellan Prime with it, I somehow don’t think his guards will let it past the door,” said Innes carefully.
Tzenni looked at the bit of Maker-tech blankly. “Oh, this? It’s a solvent-rod. Some idiot left it on a shrine. It’s very nearly out of solvent, but it’ll still do to cut through another one of those grilles, if we find one. That’s no way to treat a Retort-screen.”
“But it wouldn’t cut through, say, Kapellan Prime?”
“It only cuts through things that have come out of a Retort.” Tzenni gave a brief, fierce grin. “So no, I wouldn’t think so.”
“What if we find a grille that got put there by an ironmonger?” Innes asked practically.
“Then I shall go and have several words with the ironmonger,” said Tzenni grimly, swinging an indoor round her shoulders. “But first, Kapellan Prime.”
Tzenni’s sense of righteousness evaporated halfway along the very long walkway that led to Kapellan Prime’s private apartments. She could pinpoint the exact cold moment that it departed. Her feet kept marching on without it. She couldn’t think why. She hated being shouted at. It made her feel small and terrified and yet, horribly, not small or terrified enough; she had never managed to be small enough or terrified enough that people didn’t notice her at all, despite all her practice.
There was no chance she could get away without being shouted at. All the Kapellans throughout history had suffered from tempers that wouldn’t be cooled by a month in the iceworks.
“Look at Cimmenze Boccamera’s foot,” she muttered to herself.
“What?” said Innes, who was strolling along beside her with its hands in its pockets.
Tzenni decided that having something to talk about might help. Also, if she was looking at Innes, she wasn’t looking at the vertiginous view over the sides of the walkway.
“It’s how the Feud began,” she explained earnestly. “You see, very likely the Feud wouldn’t have happened at all if it there hadn’t been plague in the summer of 220. Or rather, if eight years before that, when First Jaross Kapellan was at Lionvarre discussing water rights…”
“You’re going to explain to me in a minute where the foot comes into it, right?”
“First Jaross got into a temper during the negotiations, shoved his way out past Cimmenze and knocked her over and broke her ankle, and then swore at her for being in his way. She was the fourth sister of five and she hadn’t tested out Maker at that point, and I suppose he just didn’t know who she was.”
“And she stewed over that for eight years?”
Tzenni nodded seriously. “Yes, she did. I don’t suppose it would have mattered if she’d stayed a fourth sister.”
“Unless they tried to marry her to him,” suggested Innes flippantly.
Tzenni’s imagination took a running leap at that and fell back defeated. “So in 220 the rest of the sisters died of a putrid fever and Jaross started claiming Lionvarre in the name of some cousin of his with a Boccamera great-grandmother. I think he’d probably forgotten Cimmenze existed. If one of the other sisters had lived, they might have made accommodations with him rather than raising an army and putting the fear of God up the Mukhtars to make them give her another army, but Cimmenze limped the rest of her life and she wasn’t going to forgive Jaross Kapellan for it.” Tzenni managed a weak smile. “Though they do say that sometimes she forgot and limped on the wrong foot.”
Innes regarded her with a steady unreadable gaze that somehow reminded her of You Imbecile. “And you think I’m likely to forget you’re a Boccamera. Tell me, how do your sisters stand on the matter of the Feud?”
“I’m wondering whether you’re the bloodthirsty one or the reasonable one.”
“I think Catha’s probably the bloodthirsty one and Ligeia’s the reasonable one. I’m the other one.”
“That’s what I was worried about.”
(here followed a scene where Tzenni tried to tell Kapellan Prime that she didn’t think much of Lady Melati’s qualifications, and it all went very badly)
“Well, at least he didn’t throw us back in the brig,” said Innes as they walked back across the walkway. The epicon’s voice was circumspectly neutral.
Tzenni clenched her hands in the pockets of her coveralls. “When I find his damn son…”
“I can see it’s not sensible of him to provoke you.”
“Will you stop talking to me as if I’m Catha and I’m five years old and you think I’m likely to bite you in the leg?”
“I’m proud of my legs. They’re my one beauty, you know. It’d be a shame to have one’s one beauty covered in bite-marks.” Innes tipped its blue head to one side. “Unless you’re offering, of course. In that case it’d be rude to refuse.”
Tzenni caught sight of the view over the rail of the walkway, past Innes’ ear, and hastily looked down again. An updraft blew her hair into her face. She felt untidy and childish and distinctly outmanoeuvred. She had underestimated Lady Rosalind, that was certain. She wondered what else she had got wrong.
“Are you all right?” Innes asked, leaning over her in that protective gangle that she had already got used to. “I mean, I could have cheered when that bullying old gyampang tried to spook you and you froze him up with a look like all of the glaciers of the iceworks. But still, seeing your mother’s Ordainer like that…”
Tzenni pushed her hair back out of her face and tried, painstakingly, to explain. “Ligeia was closest to Mother, and Catha’s more squeamish than I am. I’m… third in line for grief. At best. If you follow?”
“No,” said Innes frankly. “But if it keeps you putting one foot in front of the other, I’m all for it. It’s not just your skin I’m worried about, you know. It’s mine.”
“What, you think Kapellan Prime’s likely to leave bite-marks on your leg?”
“Give me tetanus, more likely, and I’d be surprised if the Retort here could still cough up meds for it,” said Innes darkly.
“So what now? Shall we go and see Casuarina Fort and Zikkili Braschi?”
Innes shook its head. “They’ll keep. The longer we leave it, the likelier Zikkili Braschi’ll lose her nerve or Casuarina Fort will lose her temper.”
Tzenni frowned. “Not too long.”
“No, true. But what I thought we could do today was go and see what we can find out about Alister. I’ve found some clothes that don’t scream out we are a Maker and her bodyguard...”
The door behind them opened again. Majed Kapellan came running after them. The walkway shook in time with his feet. Tzenni felt slightly sick.
Well, she’d said she wanted to talk to him.
“Lord Kapellan,” She made a namaste to him. “Look. I’m sorry about my bodyguard…”
“People keep saying that,” murmured Innes. “One of these days it’s going to hurt my feelings.”
Majed looked bothered. He also looked like enough to his father to set her stupid panic reflexes firing. His features were broader and stronger than his father’s and his colouring was darker, but all the rest was the same. Except that Hendryz Kapellan was middle-aged and unhealthy, but his son was young, and strong enough to break her neck with one hand.
Majed returned the namaste, one Maker to another. “No. I… You have no obligation to me under Ordnance. I understand now that you were protecting the Retort.”
“So were you,” said Tzenni, feeling distinctly suspicious about things turning out to be this easy. “Did Lord Malabranca talk to you?”
“Uncle Latinus? Yes, he… explained things. I’m going to have the iceworks of a headache for the next week or so.” He rubbed the back of his head ruefully. “Shouldn’t have fallen for that trick of yours. You could have done a lot worse, and you didn’t. Appreciate it, venn’epicon.”
He fell into step beside them. Tzenni found herself looking up, no matter which of them she was talking to. Most of the talk went over her head in both senses, and was about swords. She supposed every profession had its shop-talk.
After a while, Majed turned to her, talking to her politely about acquaintances at Civitavecchia and Ailebroc, which turned into a discussion of how they were related to each other four generations back through the Considines. None of this, Tzenni thought, was getting her anywhere. “Do you want your brother back?” she asked, finally, and bluntly.
He stared at her as if she was mad. “God’s sky, I do. I can hardly bear to look at Kjarten for thinking, what if it was Alister missing, and me left with only half my soul.”
“Is there anything you can think of that might help me find him?”
“If there were, I’d have gone looking for him myself.” He clumped along beside her. Tzenni prudently left him to think, like an experiment that had to be left to settle and shouldn’t be poked.
Eventually he said “The first one of yours I killed was a woman. I puked my guts up.”
“Forty per cent of our troops are women,” said Tzenni neutrally.
“I heard they all were.” He frowned. “Then after I married Rikee, I found myself thinking about that first woman I killed. Whether she’d had people who cared for her, back at Lionvarre. Someone who stayed awake, and watched her sleeping.” The frown deepened. “What would happen if one of your sisters did what I did? Married for love, I mean?”
“I suppose now would be the time to do it, when there isn’t a Boccamera Prime to object,” said Tzenni carefully, wondering what on earth he was talking about. Perhaps he thought she was likely to run away with Innes. “Though Catha’s not set on marrying – Federets Mukhtar asked for her two years ago, but she didn’t fancy being stepmother to all those children – and I suppose Ligeia and I are both married to the Spire, in our different ways.”
“Your sister wouldn’t be angry with her?”
“Which sister and which her?” asked Tzenni, thoroughly lost. “Look, I’m sorry, Lord Kapellan, but I don’t have time for riddles. Do you know something that could help me find Catha, or don’t you?”
“Here. Try this place.” He handed her a triangular chitin piece. She thought it was one of the tokens that circulated inside Spires when they were low on hard currency. It was stamped with an address and a crude picture that could have been meant for the Kapellan Stars. He looked at Innes. “Go with her.”
“I’ll do that, b’rin,” said Innes, sounding surprisingly military. Tzenni wouldn’t have been entirely surprised if it had clicked its heels.
Majed nodded to them again, ducking his head shyly, and hurried onwards, lengthening his stride to take him away from them. Tzenni watched him go. “What do you make of that?” she asked.
Innes thought about it. “I think he’s a good man. I don’t trust him.”
Now that was an Innes-remark if ever there was one. “Are those two statements related?”
“Yes. I just don’t know how.” Innes flipped the token all the way along its hand, over and under alternate long fingers; and then did the same thing again backwards. “Did it occur to you that all those questions about Considine relatives might translate to hello, are you by any chance a member of the Order of the Neither?”
Tzenni made an wordless infuriated noise. “God curse Latinus Malabranca! Doesn’t the man ever give up? And why doesn’t he do his own dirty work instead of sending his nephews?”
“When he tried doing his own dirty work, you called him a contaminated maniac,” Innes tossed the token up and caught it on the back of its hand. “That’s a point, actually. I might still be bound under Ordnance to fight a duel with him. I certainly challenged him.”
“Good. I shall come along and cheer you, and hope he slips up and falls flat on his backside.”
“That’ll be a great comfort to me,” said Innes dryly.
Copyright © 2010 Ankaret Wells