Teresa M Shafer - For books that kindle thought and ignite the imagination!
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Wow, I had a great time yesterday! I got a little too much sun on my forehead but, it will heal quickly. I also had a lot of time to think about different things. I had mentioned to you, last we spoke, about my very first book and how it ties into The World Gambit and the Sinarri and Dwarves on earth. With that in mind I began to reimagine that idea. When I first wrote it down it was ill formed and felt and read as if it was a patchwork quilt. No author wants that for their book. I think as I finish Michael's Folly I will once again tackle Allisinarra, the home of the Sinarri.
But first, we must finish Michael's Folly.
Ja’nar watched the young Human called Lena struggle with her troubles for some time, before she turned away and wandered down the hallway. The fact that the Human had never known that she was there both pleased and disgusted the Sinarri Princess. How had these thin skinned, half deaf, half blind, feeble beings survive against the creations of the Winiks? Her own race had been decimated in only a few short turns of the moon. But, then again the Humans had decimated the Sinarri race many generations past. And they had done it long before the Humans had learned how to reach the stars or even sail across oceans. They had made the Sinarri into slaves and called them elves. The thought of it made Ja’nar growl deep in her chest. Most of her race had abandoned this planet with a host of other indigenous sentient creatures not long after. For some reason some Sinarri had remained behind. She was a descendant of those foolish people.
They had successfully avoided the Humans for a thousand years. Now they were once again thrown into the same pile of excrement as them. Ja’nar hated Humans. She had been raised as most Sinarri had, to avoid and despise Humans and she had been a very good student. This situation was almost unbearable for her. If it were not for the few Humans that she had found to be admirable and even pleasant she might have gone insane herself, as that poor girl’s husband had done. She found herself feeling pity for the young Human. Lena seemed genuinely lost and wounded like a baby animal.
As a child Ja’nar had found many injured animals and birds and brought them home to nurse them back to health. Her father would often chide her and tell her that she was only delaying the inevitable. Ja’nar hadn't cared. She felt that the creatures deserved a chance to live. “And if your bow brings them down in the next hunt… what then my young flower?” He would ask her.
“Then life would have been given a chance, for the both of us.” She would respond. He would shake his head and capitulate to his gentle young flower; his only daughter. Life was hard in the frozen northern forest. She had been determined to make it a little softer for some of the creatures that lived there.
Perhaps this Lena was like one of those creatures. She was wounded and had lost her family. Perhaps Ja’nar could help the young creature to heal her wounds, and to protect the family that she carried in her womb. She however, knew not what to do with Michael. If what she had heard was true then he had also been a wounded child but, even though someone had come to save him he had remained wounded. Sometimes that happens. Sometimes the wound is too deep and doesn’t heal right, and at the first opportunity it reopens worse than before. She would take the time to think on this matter before she decided if she would help with either of them.
Right now Ja’nar had an appointment to keep. She was meeting with her friend Orla. Orla was one of the few Humans that she truly enjoyed spending any time with. Tessa was another. She was also beginning to enjoy the company of Ingrid who seemed to be a sensible woman but, the other Human members of the Council made her cringe. In fact the entire idea of being on the Council made her cringe. That was an issue that she would have to attend to soon. A plan was forming in her mind, and she was fairly certain that her Human friends would help her carry it out.
She made a left down a dark hallway, the lack of light posed no difficulty for Sinarri eyes. About fifteen strides down this hall was a juncture that had been lit up with torches. As she neared the intersection her inner eyelid slid down over her eyes. The painful glow of the torches became tolerable. Her vision changed from what Humans would call normal to something akin to thermal imaging. The inner eyelids filtered the light by filtering the heat. Everything that had heat glowed green. The torches were bright green because they were very hot, while the walls that had no heat of their own were a lighter green ,and then the shadows of gray and black filled in the rest. The eyelids came in quite handy while hunting in the frozen Northern forests.
Ja’nar turned right and easily picked Orla’s form out from a cut out in the wall.
They greeted one another by clasping each other’s right arm and smiling warmly.
“You look like you have an agenda Orla. Might I inquire as to its nature?” Ja’nar said after reading the telltale glint in Orla’s eyes.
Orla responded by smiling slyly. “Why yes my dear friend you may inquire. Can we walk and talk?” She didn’t wait for an answer, she simply linked her arm into the tall Sinarri’s arm and steered her down the corridor.
Had Tessa seen the friendly scene between Orla and Ja’nar she would have screamed. She had lost the coin toss the night before. Consequently instead of going off with Ja’nar to engage Dr. Kusnir in what would certainly be an interesting conversation, which would lead to an equally interesting time trying to convince, cajole or otherwise threaten the crazy Doctor into pursuing the line of research that they wanted pursued, Tessa was stuck standing in the run down grand ballroom of their new home awaiting the pleasure of Mr. Espan Lodric, the President of the Council of the Kingdoms.
She was there to explain the actions of herself and her compatriots in the matter of one Michael Seanain. Funny how she thought when they undertook the mission to arrest Michael and to save Rosaleen she imagined that this little encounter would be the easy part. But, she was quite nervous and she couldn’t help but notice that she was also alone in what was essentially an enemy camp. They had been very specific; she must come alone. But, this would be the last meeting where the Council of the Kingdoms would set all of the conditions… she would make certain of that.
Mr. Espan Lodric entered the room about twenty minutes later and kept her cooling her heals for another fifteen minutes before he finally deigned to acknowledge her presence.
The room only had fifteen chairs arranged in a half moon design against the back wall. The number fifteen was coincidently just enough chairs to accommodate the Council. Most of them were presently empty as the Council members were wandering about the room talking to people. Mr. Lodric sat in one of them, the middle one and turned to face Tessa. His gaze was condescending.
“You have a great deal to answer for Ms. O’Grady.” He said with an air of superiority. She did not respond in any manner. He would address her with respect or he would get nothing. “Come over here and stand before me.” He ordered. She cocked her head at him, and gave him a look that said; Are you serious? He saw the look and it really got under his skin. “Get over here now and answer for your crimes!” The sentence had an or else stamped to the end. Everyone was waiting for Tessa’s response with baited breath.
“And if I don’t… what will you do?” Tessa said, in a calculated move to force his hand, or to push him so that he forced hers.
It took Lodric a moment to process her comment. She had defied him! This was unthinkable… and he simply would not have it. He started to stand but ,thought better of it, and instead of bellowing as he was want to do he gritted his teeth and half growled his response. “You will regret your insolence. When you are found guilty of insurrection, I will have the pleasure of administering your punishment myself.” He expected her to cower or at least to show some fear in her eyes, but instead she actually giggled! It was under her breath but, it was unmistakable… she giggled! 
Tessa had thought that it would take much more to incite the man but, apparently the rumors that she had heard were true. He was actually getting more volatile with age. She had not thought that it was possible. “I find it amusing that you should talk of my insolence, and my guilt, when it is your audacity, and your guilt that I came here to discuss.” The look of pure shock on his face, and the faces of everyone that was within sight was just too precious. She knew that she was walking on thin ice, and that if she didn’t play her cards right she might not walk out of here. But, she was prepared for that eventuality and some fail safes had been put into place.
Lodric lost his temper, and did what he said he would not when he left his wife in their new chambers… he bellowed. “What in the blazing hells are you talking about you freak!?”
She took a few steps forward and stopped when she was about fifteen feet from the chairs. The ice was getting thinner. Careful Tessa, control the situation. “Why I’m talking about this.” She gestured around the room and then pointed directly at him. “You had decided that I was somehow guilty of a crime before you ever entered the room. You were so convinced that you already had my punishment prepared, and were ready to administer it yourself. That in itself is a miscarriage of justice, and an abuse of power.” He was blubbering. She could not let him regain the floor yet, he would simply call for the guards, and try to have her imprisoned and that would not end well.
It was time for them all to be reminded of just who and what they were dealing with. With a flow of air she grabbed one of the chairs and drew it towards her. She took her time and relished in the range of emotions that crossed the many faces of her audience. First there was shock or surprise, and then came realization, and then the lights really went on for them, and there action was a combination of fear and loathing.
She took a seat, arranged her coat tails and began again. “It is clear that you do not like our kind, the Blessed or the Chosen. Because you don’t like us, every judgment that is handed down that concerns us is always… shall we say, weighted heavily against us? We as a collective body have decided that we are no longer in agreement with this manner of governing, and we will no longer accept any judgments that are handed down by the Council of the Kingdoms that involve any of our kind.” Now let that soak in for a minute.
Several Council members had taken a seat on the available chairs. They were all very still, it was almost as if their knees had buckled, and simply landed them in the chairs, and now they were trying to regain their bearings. Finally one of them, Sebastian LaCroix spoke. “Please help me to understand what it is you are telling us… are you starting a revolution?” It seemed to be what the majority of the Council members were thinking. They all turned their pale faces to look at her.
She had expected this assumption but, she wasn’t so sure about the reaction. They were afraid. She had always suspected that the Councils mistreatment of the Blessed was fueled by fear but, she had no idea that it was so consuming. But, she did realize that she could use this fear to her benefit. “Yes…” The room drew a quick unsteady breath. “…and no…” The room paused, and waited upon her every word, to see if they should fall or stand.“…the revolution has already occurred, and the shift in power is already complete. You just haven’t notice it yet.” With that declaration she sat back in her seat and crossed her arms before her.
They sat, all of them… another chair had been brought… for a moment they stared at her as though they were expecting her to continue. When she didn’t continue they started mumbling to each other. Even Lodric seemed stunned. He sat and stared in disbelief and in anger. “What exactly do you mean, the revolution has already occurred?”
They were ready now to hear what had been accomplished in one afternoon and evening while they sat at their dinner tables and sipped wine. “The night that we arrested Michael Seanain, and rescued Rosaleen Longmuir, and gave Lena Seanain asylum, we decided as a collective whole that we were no longer going to accept the authority of the Council of the Kingdoms as the only governing power in our world. With that decision many things occurred. The first ,and most important thing, was that we formed our own governing agency that would from that moment on, be the only body with the power to pass judgment on one of the Blessed, or on one of the Chosen.” She paused and used another wisp of air to bring a goblet of cold water to her hand. The hall remained for the most part… silent. “We are now called the Conclave. Our governing body is called the Council of the Conclave, and I am its head.” Only because I lost a coin toss. She thought with a small amount of disgust.
Suddenly Lodric found his tongue. “This is utterly ridiculous! You have no right to just go out and form your own government! Guards! Summon to me Captain Linder! We shall see an end to this in short order.” He pointed at two other guards that were standing at the door looking like they wished they had not pulled that duty for the day. “Take her in to custody!” He was screaming now. He had lost all control. The guards hesitated, and he screamed even louder at them. But Tessa was done with his rant. She had no intention of being thrown into a filthy cell. She had seen the nasty things when they had first arrived. All manner of small creature had been living in them for at least a thousand years, absolutely nothing worked in any of them and they smelled of something long dead. So she stood up quickly and closed the distance between herself and Lodric in record time.
She tossed the icy water into his face, and in a low, and menacing voice she said. “Sit down and control yourself, sir.” Lodric stopped mid-sentence, and for a quick moment he wanted to sputter at her, or yell at the guards who once again had ceased their advance but, instead he sat down with a heavy thump. “The revolution is over.” She said just loud enough for all to hear. “You lost. Now if you don’t want us to remove you from your present seats I suggest that you set your collective minds to accepting what has occurred and decide to work with us to keep order in our world.”
The Council members were once again very silent until LaCroix spoke. “You aren’t going to dismantle the Council of the Kingdoms?”
“No, we have no intention of disbanding this Council. We have no desire to rule over normal people. We simply wanted control of our own fates. We will deal with Michael Seanain, and we will keep his wife under our protection because, she now carries his children. You have no say in that matter.” Not all of what she said was exactly true but, it was mostly true. It was the truth right now and that is what mattered.
“What of the Doctor that we hear you captured with the Seanains? Will you release him to us?” Lodric asked in an almost calm voice. Tessa could still hear the anger raging beneath the surface.
“Why should we? He is not a prisoner. He is working for us now.” She really hoped that Orla and Ja’nar wouldn’t make her out to be a liar. But, right now she was just happy that she had returned to her seat. Had she not she might have missed which faces showed shock and which faces showed confusion. Now she knew who the true enemy was, and she was disappointed in a few of them.
Tessa realized that if she explained just a little she might be able to sow a little discord. “Some of you seem confused. Let me explain.” Lodric and one other sat up straighter in their chairs. They were probably trying to figure out a way to stop her without admitting guilt. In the end neither did anything but cringe. “Doctor Kusnir was arrested by our people exiting a room where Miss Longmuir was being systematically and repeatedly raped and tortured. He admitted to administering various medications to her during the process. In addition to this activity however, Doctor Kusnir also admitted to having been commissioned to conduct fertility tests on the Blessed. These tests were… not gentle or voluntary.” She took a sip of water and read the faces before her.
“He was commissioned along with another Doctor. They were contracted by someone or several someone’s of this Council.” This time her declaration set off an instantaneous riotous denial by all the innocent in the room and a belated denial by the guilty. This discrepancy did not go unnoticed by everyone. It wasn’t long however before Lodric gave off trying to defend his actions to the others and just stared at Tessa. It was a look of complete hatred.
Sometime during all of this, Captain Linder had entered the room, and came up to stand behind Tessa. Lodric smiled. He held up his hand for silence and despite their anger the Council was well trained. They fell silent.
“Now we will put an end to this little insurrection.” He announced proudly. “Captain, arrest this Witch and lock her in the darkest hole that you can find.” His eyes flashed with joy.
“Pardon me sir, but why in all the hells would I do such a stupid thing?” Captain Linder said.
“What?” Lodric actually sounded surprised.
“Why would I arrest a Witch of the Council of the Conclave? I helped put her there why would I arrest her?” He didn’t wait for an answer. “If you ask me, I’m a bit surprised that she isn’t arresting you… considering all of the crimes that have been perpetrated on her people by this Council. If I were you all I would be thanking this woman for allowing you to keep your seats.” He searched the dumbfounded faces. “You should know that many spoke of disbanding this Council… in a most permanent way. She argued for your seats and your lives.” Many faces looked at Tessa with a new sense of understanding.
Lodric started to sputter some nonsense about having his guard’s do the deed if Linder was unable, but Linder cut him off in mid sputter.
“Look, Mr. President you are more than welcome to try. I’m sure Miss Tessa here will be quite pleased to have an opportunity to practice on live subjects. But, I guarantee you that all of you in this room put together are no match for this one woman. Frankly it surprises the hells out of me that the Blessed didn’t stand up to you decades ago. It’s not like you can overpower them… maybe it was respect maybe it was loyalty… whatever it was it is gone now. Personally I think you went way over the top with this last shenanigan and broke the proverbial camel’s back. Now you get to live with it.” Captain Linder fell silent. Tessa held up her hand and he helped her to her feet.
“If and when you realize that you must work with us or perish you may send a runner to our side of the building and request an audience.” With that final word Orla allowed Captain Linder to escort her from the room, but she held her breath until twelve of her own guard fell in behind her some ten feet outside of the doors. When she got to her own rooms she collapsed in laughter. They had done it! The gamble had actually worked. She could hardly believe what they had accomplished but, they had. It was done. Now it was time to get some work done, but that could wait for the morning.
I wanted to show that Tessa was not a ruthless person. Because, as time goes on she will be expected to do some pretty horrible things.
Anyway... Live well and be good to each other.

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