This chapter was part of the original text. In it I wanted to move away from conversation, and concentrate on some description of the place where my group of refugees found themselves. I have read stories that were nothing more than conversation. It is tedious and ponderous... I know the words almost mean the same thing... still I cannot express just how laborious it is to try and read a text that is entirely or mostly conversation. It lacks real depth and color, because everything in the story must be described by a person speaking to another person. This gives it a one dimensional view. I'm not sure if I deviated enough from that problem here, perhaps I belabored the description, by making it only a description. I don't know. If you have thoughts let me know.
The room was huge, and a complete disaster. All of the windows were gone, frame and all, not to mention the doors on the balcony… or the doors to the room itself. But, the real topping on the cake was the huge hole in the ceiling. Jacob was beginning to wonder what he had gotten himself into. He was on the Council, the only Human male on the Council and he was constantly surrounded by women. This room was a perfect example of the fact that they were off their bloody rockers!
When they had moved from the city that they had made their home for well over a decade to this… this… what did you call it… this ancient pile of granite, most had thought that it would be good. It should be better here in this city. If in fact it was still a city it probably would be better but this place had been ancient five hundred years ago. He voiced his concerns but, the women just keep saying a little hard work and some spit and polish and it would be as good as new. Jacob just couldn’t see it himself.
Once upon a time this city had probably been glorious. It sat on the side of a mountain and was large enough to hold several million people. Originally it had been designed roughly in an ancient Gothic style but, new towers and out buildings and other things like the dam were all of a more contemporary design. It had tall towers and never ending wings and courtyards and cliffs.
It wasn’t completely without amenities. There was a full sewer system and electricity and everything was powered by natural means. Wind turbines dotted the Cliffside above the city walls, and a waterfall plunged into a massive lake in the city center and water was diverted there for every possible purpose, and the mountain itself would provide geothermal heat in the winter, and the touch of cool natural granite in the summer. The city had been a natural fortress due mostly to its location and ability to be self-sufficient. But it was a wreck! The stuff was there but none of it worked. Everything will need to be rewired, the sewer will have to be dug out and cleaned… endless work.
There was one thing that Jacob could really appreciate about his city, it had a great view. A vast valley spread out for miles in both directions just below the city which in time of peace could be utilized as both farm and pasture. The mountain ranges across from the valley and literally all around them were spectacular.
There was a lone single road that crisscrossed the mountain leading up to the city and other than by air or dropping from the cliff above these were the only ways in which to reach the city… unless of course you were one of the Chosen.
That is how the Council of the Conclave had gotten here a week ago. That was a damn uncomfortable experience by the way… he had felt like he had being folded in half and then put through an old clothing ringer and spit out the other side. Jacob disagreed with Ja’nar traveling with one of the Chosen did not get easier the more that you did it. He would figure out how to make his Witch magic transport him if it was the last thing he ever did because he was damn well not going with one of the Chosen again!
When they had gotten here the Conclave had taken over a wing of what had probably been the main Castle. They had taken a large portion of the North wing and commandeered a courtyard. Tessa said that the courtyard would be used for training new Witches. She said that lack of training was getting their kind killed in the battlefield almost as much as poor management by the Council of the Kingdoms. She meant to remedy that situation. In light of that she had also had the Council of the Conclave make a mandate that all of the Blessed were to keep a journal. In that journal they would document every spell or trick that they learned and used regardless if it had been successful or not. This way they could pass on information from one person to another even if someone got themselves killed. It was a gruesome thought but, it was logical and Jacob couldn’t argue.
In other Conclave activity his wife wanted the Chosen to transport the contents of the world’s libraries to one location in an attempt to save the world’s knowledge. Jacob was of two minds about this idea. On one hand it was a really good idea but on the other hand they had bigger problems to deal with right now. Perhaps if it ever looked like they might win this war…then he might consider it. But he could get over ruled. That was one thing that the Council had agreed upon unanimously… that for a vote to pass it only had to be by a majority and since the number of the Council will forevermore consist of thirteen persons they were assured that there would never be a deadlock.
Working with the Sinarri was an experience all its own. They were a strong race both physically and mentally. But none of that showed in the Council setting. They deferred exclusively to whatever their Princess wanted. It wasn’t that they were intimidated or trying to gain favor… it was as if they actually agreed with her on everything. Even when it was clear by their manner or by things they had said that they would choose differently if it were just them… they would still vote with her. Jacob figured it must be a cultural thing but, it certainly made the whole point of voting kind of pointless. The only bright spot about the Sinarri vote was that they were not a majority, but that did mean that all of the Humans on the Council must agree because if Ja’nar was against the idea or the proposal and only one Human agreed with her… it would fail.
Ja’nar was a unique individual. She obviously had little respect for Humans. She spoke well enough with Tessa and Orla but had few words for anyone else. The fact that they needed her and the Sinarri was not lost on anyone on the Council, so her cold aloof behavior was over looked… at least in public, behind closed doors was another matter altogether. That development amused Jacob in a macabre kind of way. The Council had been a ruling body for a little over two weeks and it was already showing signs of strain through strife and disagreements. That’s what you get when you give women power and then put them in the same room and have them govern together. He wasn’t a sexist mind you, he just knew the score. Generally women were better at governing because they had more compassion but, they could also be very spiteful and they had long memories. Right now the Council was having trouble reconciling their humanity with their actual race. This was due of course to the fact that most of the council was prejudice. Some of the Humans hated the Sinarri and the Sinarri had been trained to hate Humans. They were all trying to get along but, at times it was strained.
Well he really ought to get to work; Jacob decided with some resignation, those crazy women are going to want a full report on his ideas. This room was going to be their official Council Chambers and they wanted it to be special, have significance… and be functional. What the hell… He could probably throw something together if he thought about it for a minute or two.
I also wanted to give a man some time in this book. We seldom will hear from Jacob. He is a quiet Witch and has no real ambition towards ruling. He just wants to survive the war and see an end to it. He is also the only human male on the Council, at least for now. I thought that the situation seen through male and neutral eyes was a good perspective.
Live well and be good to each other.