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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Inara finds herself immediately back in the fray.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1189 RATING: 10 SERIES: FIREFLY
Once again an enduring fascination must be credited. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexandre_Bontemps for Good-Son. The description from ‘He was…most secret’ to ‘kindest man imaginable’ are lifted almost word-for-word from Saint-Simon. *hearts Saint-Simon and being able to plagiarise him in fanfic*
If you can honestly be bothered to look back to the details that this chapter builds on, they are to be found in Truth Was. Which unfortunately builds on now-deleted fics. I’m wondering if I should ask Haken if they’re backed up anywhere, because I can’t remember the details myself :)
The surprise and delight Inara felt when she saw who opened the doors of House Madrassa to her were immeasurable. It was very late and the light in the grand hallway glowed dimly, but there was no mistaking the medium-sized, jowly-faced old man standing before her.
“Good-Son!” she exclaimed. What are you doing here?, though it was what she wanted to ask, would have been coarse. Instead, allowing all of her grateful joy to show in her expression, she said: “It is a sincere pleasure to see you here!”
“Thank you, Madam,” was, of course, all Good-Son said in reply. Equally to be expected were the slight bow, the ‘allow me’ as he relieved her of her hand luggage, the way that he averted his gaze, discreetly, but without servility.
Inara’s thoughts accelerated, halted, clashed in her mind. Good-Son was the Chamber Master of the Guild’s central House, had been since long before Inara was born. But here he was, carrying her bags, leading her up Madrassa’s vast, shadowed, crimson-carpeted staircase to her quarters. To question him while he walked ahead of her would have been graceless. When they reached the first landing, however, she increased her stride a little so that they were almost side-to-side.
“Are we fortunate enough to have acquired your services?” Inara asked with a gracious smile.
“Yes, Madam,” Good-Son replied, taking the key to Inara’s quarters out of his sleeve.
Inara, following Good-Son up the next flight of stairs, was utterly astonished. For as long as he had been Chamber Master he had been the Guild High Mistress’s right-hand man. He was known by all to be most secret, most faithful, and entirely devoted to the Guild. He had the most open access of any man to the central House’s private apartments - where, amongst others the High Mistress lived - which he entered at all hours and always by the back. His only skill lay in serving the Guild, and he was wholly intent on that, without ever departing from his sphere. All the secret orders, the private audiences, the sealed messages to and from the central House, in fact all the mysteries of the Guild passed through his hands. That might well have ruined the character of one known to have been influential for the past fifty years, and with the Society of Sihnon at his feet. Yet he never forgot his place, far less so, indeed, than the young blue footmen under his orders. He harmed no one and always used his influence for good. Great numbers of people, some of them highly placed, owed their fortunes to him, and he was modest almost to the point of breaking with them if they so much as mentioned it. He loved procuring favors solely for the pleasure of it, and he had been throughout his life a father to the poor, a refuge for the disgraced and afflicted, and the kindest man imaginable.
The last time Inara had seen him had been at Tasmina Sharre’s funeral. Now, his placement at Madrassa (since clearly he was there to work) could only signify that a momentous change had taken place in the Guild. Feeling that it had to be connected to Tasmina Sharre’s demise, and therefore her own fate, she longed to question Good-Son. A direct approach was out of the question: she had to proceed with absolute tact and rectitude in order to spare him the pain of being asked to speak out of turn.
“I am so happy to hear it,” said Inara, noticing, as she walked behind him, that he was undeniably more stout. “Have our numbers increased so much that we require a Chamber Master of your quality?”
They had reached the landing on which Inara’s quarters were to be found. Good-Son stopped. “No Madam, the number of senior Companions currently residing at House Madrassa stands at seven.”
Inara showed not a flicker of her horror, her dismay. From eighteen to seven! Once again, this could only be connected to the events that she linked with the rise of the influence of the Tangs.
“And novices?” she asked.
“There are no novices,” Good-Son replied.
Inara’s grief at this piece of news was almost instant: House Madrassa had been pre-eminent in the training of young Companions. Their complete absence now seemed to confirm absolutely the fear she had confided in Mal, the one he had thrown back in her face – that she had run away, leaving the House that had nurtured her to ruin.
“Ah,” she said, feeling a difficulty in mastering herself. “I have lately been training young women myself. It is such important work.”
“Yes Madam,” said Good-Son. “Your belongings have recently arrived from that Training House. Sheydra Nǚshì arranged for their return. She spoke very highly of you.”
Bless Sheydra and her discretion: if anyone were to find out about her time at the Training House, and the arrival there of the Operative, it would not be because of her.
“I wonder what need we have of you, then, when our numbers are so low,” Inara said.
And suddenly she found herself looking into Good-Son’s old eyes – since he was looking at her, and his gaze, full of knowledge and compassion, was unavoidable. “There is a great need,” he said, very quietly.
Inara blinked, held her breath against the feeling that her eyes were about to fill with tears. She could not believe that this man knew anything about the treatments she had needlessly endured, the effects of which she was struggling with after her journey.
“Do you assist Adminstrator Tang in her duties?” she asked Good-Son, echoing his tone.
“I do,” said Good-Son, and then, in the most hushed whisper, “though I continue to assist the High Mistress of the Guild in hers. At times those duties are – incompatible. But naturally the High Mistress retains precedence in all things.”
Inara felt immediately that she understood. That Good-Son had been placed at Madrassa as a counter-point to the influence of the Tangs; that a struggle for the future of the Guild was underway.
Saturday, February 20, 2010 2:26 PM
Saturday, February 20, 2010 11:03 PM
Sunday, February 21, 2010 7:40 AM
Sunday, February 21, 2010 9:03 AM
Sunday, February 21, 2010 9:11 AM
Sunday, February 21, 2010 9:15 AM
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Sunday, February 21, 2010 10:32 AM
Sunday, February 21, 2010 10:49 AM
Sunday, February 21, 2010 11:03 AM
Monday, February 22, 2010 11:36 AM
Tuesday, February 23, 2010 9:29 PM
Saturday, February 27, 2010 2:20 PM
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