Codex - The Court in Session

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Section 1 MISSING


Section 2

We encircle the holy dais. Copper-cast bells shaped like animals hang to one side from a wooden frame, there is a sparrow, a long-eared mouse, and a long-neck - one for each state of the Unity. They are struck sharply with a metal rod. At the resulting clamour, the Warlock appears, his white locks swaying stiffly. The whole thing is like an illusion. He is carrying the sceptre of investiture in his hands, and I can only see the bulging whites of this eyes beneath the great Pinnish fur hat he insists on wearing. He must be dripping with sweat. Then there is a collapse all around me, and I realise I'm expected to kneel.

Once the Warlock is seated on the middle throne, the court stands again. There is a whistle of woodwind, and some scrambled riffery on the Pati-Pikk from the court musicians. Then the Empress gaily enters. They say she is courting suitors, for she must soon sire the first of her eight daughters. Her attendants fuss about her, but she bats them away. Her long dress seems a mismatch for her skipping gait. She is smiling, she is beautiful, I can see she neither likes nor dislikes the attention, it is simply routine. It is rare to witness such a moment as this - when the Empress is young, unburdened by children.


Section 3 MISSING


Section 4

"And then the Book of Soil was opened, and from it the first Empress did emerge like a jewel. She curled up from the paper that burned, growing smoother and smoother until she was whole. She bends and sways and gnashes her teeth, and her muscles pulse with the fire that smokes her limbs. Then the wise men said "the Empress is born, Ishgiru is born," and all delighted in the new arrival, and gave her instructions on how to govern, what rules to make. She was a wonderful listener, and she heard their pleas. and she did as she was told."

Then the Nabob replaces the holy book on its ivory stand, and opens the gold emerald reliquary, which is cast with the face of the Empress. He anoints the cheeks of the Empress, then the Warlock, with the balm inside. The floor is then opened to questions, to which the Empress and her Warlock respond.


Section 5 MISSING