“It is utterly ridiculous that we are expected to get out of bed every day.” Samir threw his arm over his eyes, and otherwise did not move. He was sprawled on the bed, one leg off the edge. The blankets barely covered him any more, twisted under his torso and pooling on the floor under his foot. “Ridiculous,” he murmured, and the word followed so far after the first sentence that Bass looked over in surprise. He suspected Samir had fallen back to sleep in between.
“Absolutely,” Bass told him. He turned back to the window, changing into the day’s shirt and breeches and jacket. “It’s not like you’ve been doing it since you were a child.”
“Children are idiots,” Samir murmured. There was another long pause. “And they don’t have grand masters standing over them every day, making them research wars and treaties and trade agreements and famines and pig shortages, and asking them to write up reports that a thousand other students have already written and no one ever read.”
Bass laughed to himself, silently. He reached for his boots. “The sun does it every day. And it’s a good deal heavier than you.”
Samir threw his arm back off his face and propped himself up on his elbows. He stared at Bass. “The sun?” he said.
Bass nodded amiably.
“Then sun is a floating ball of liquid fire,” Samir said. It doesn’t have a bed, and it’s never known gravity. It just floats there like a…” He gestured helplessly to the yellow light on the other side of the dormitory window. “… floating ball of liquid fire!”
“But it rises every morning,” Bass said.
“Mindlessly!” Samir objected.
“So, like you.” Bass looked at him earnestly, and tapped his heels against the floor to test the fit of his boots. Then he moved for his books across the room. After a moment of silence, he looked over his shoulder at Samir. The other boy was blinking, like he knew he’d been insulted, but he wasn’t yet awake enough to retaliate. Bass laughed again, turned back to the books and kept it as noiseless as he could.
“Besides,” Samir said tiredly. He waved at the window again. “The Ancients thought there were eight suns, that just took turns lighting the world, going round and round.” He shrugged. “Maybe they were right. Maybe the sun only gets up once a week. Maybe we’re only supposed to get up once a week.”
Bass glanced at him as he headed for the door, books tucked under his arm. “The Ancients thought that vultures’ eyes were so good that they could see into the future, and that a string of dried vulture heads around your neck would look into the future for you and bring you luck. Do you believe that now, too?”
Samir hesitated. “If I say yes, will you cover for me in lessons today?”
“Will you wear dried vulture heads for a week?” Bass asked.
Groaning, Samir flipped himself face down and pressed himself back into the mattress. “Why are we here?” he mumbled.
Bass blinked at him. He took a breath, considering. “Actually,” he said after a short moment. “I think this conversation explains it pretty well.” He turned the latch and scooted out the door.
I’m a thief! I stole the first line of this piece from my friend, Bek. Be sure to stop by her blog tomorrow and see what is keeping her hiding under the blankets.