The story continues from last week, from the POV of the daughter of the Prime Minister of Glissau. It begins with an advertisement:
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In the kitchen, footsteps reverberated from the upstairs bedroom. They stopped at the staircase and a voice yelled, “Mani! I told you to cut the sales segments from the day’s songlist!”
“Yes, mi lapa,” Mani replied.
Lirina sat at the kitchen table with her sister, Kallo, and peeked over the manuscript she was reading to stare at Mani. He then muttered something under his breath that Lirina didn’t catch. She smiled. Her mother could be overwhelming.
“Why does mom keep him around? He obviously disobeys her,” Kallo said.
“Because he makes the best usheff between here and Olaro. Besides, they really like each other. It’s sort of a game between them,” Lirina said.
“Hm. When I grow up, all my men will obey my every command.”
“You have a lot to learn about life. And love,” Lirina said.
She arose and made her way out back to the cooking area, the men’s usual gathering place. After a day’s work, they would build a fire in the large grated pit and roast a large dinner and the smaller meals for the next day. Generous amounts of lugu fermented from the haca plant would be passed around, even a bit to the young children they cared for.
Because Mani was Eminent Coitioner, Eminent Cuisiner, and the father of Dotar’s two daughters—and her mother disdained childrearing—he was afforded much sway. He used to bring Lirina and Kallo out back with him and the other men, even long past the Age of Separation. Kallo would only stay long enough to eat, then went inside with their mother. But Lirina would stay low and quiet while she listened to the men tell stories by the dying fire. The light danced on each of their faces, playing up the hard lines and the trace of sadness behind their eyes. It was an image that had repeated itself in Lirina’s mind throughout her life.