The Council were up in arms about the seed of doubt that had been placed in their minds about the security of their power. I reasoned with them; there was no need to be threatened by a rumour, even a rumour that may turn out to be true, since our power was far greater than anything Durmans, restricted in their knowledge, could muster.
But they remained adamant. The rebels must be crushed before the entire Durman population rose behind them.
I sighed and looked from my window over the city, frustrated that my word had no effect on them. I was the Grandmaster, but as the youngest ever elected I had yet to prove myself in their eyes. It made it difficult for me to enforce any kind of decision or change; they would always have something to say against it.
I turned and found one of my... I hate to use the word servants... bowed before me.
He rose and smiled.
"They are waiting for you. It is time to go to the hall."
"Thank you Kashi. Are you accompanying us?"
"We have been forbidden to walk near the council." I rolled my eyes and apologized for any rudeness on the council's behalf. "It is their birth right to be so Grandmaster. I must go now." He bowed once more and turned for the door.
"Kashi?" I voiced and he turned. "Do you think me as they are?"
"No sir. You have a much more... open view of our humanity."
"Does that make you think me a fool?"
"I do not suppose you think well of me for it?"
"I find serving you to be less gruelling than any other. And between you and I Grandmaster, if I may?" He spoke conspiratorially and I gestured for him to continue. "I always make sure that the food brought to you is the best and untouched by any who might wish it harm."
"Are you telling me my food is in danger?"
"Sir, I ask you what the easiest way for these so called rebels to reach you all would be, without harming themselves? To engage a member of your staff to slip something in to your food or drink. Your kindness sir, will make sure that people will think twice before doing that to your dish, where they might not others."
"You have been faithful for many years, brought news, gossip and many a smile to my face Kashi, but this is perhaps the first time I have ever been concerned about the news you bring. Do you mean to tell me that you have heard a rumour that our food is to be touched?"
Kashi blanched and shook his head.
"No sir. I would have come to you immediately if that were the case. Any other member of the council, or indeed your class, would not inspire such loyalty from me. But you treat me as an equal, or at least thereabouts. You paid for my schooling, kept me from trouble... I am indebted to you."
"No debt. I am not a cruel master. But I am no fool Kashi. I do not wish for people to think I am their friend for the way I treat you. I cannot, by the laws of our land, treat everyone thus. It is to my sister that you must owe thanks. Though you have been good to me, it was her that I began to give you grace for."
Kashi blushed and bowed.
"Your sister is a good woman."
"Treat her as such. Now you must go. And so must I."
He bowed once more and left. I prepared myself to go with the council; a tedious business when you are almost certainly going to be ignored.
"Ah the Grandmaster finally graces us with his presence!" Dofnar Protavanonich sneered. What he has to sneer about with a name like that...
"Issues kept me at my desk gentlemen, ladies. I am sure you understand how much I have to do to keep this city together for your peace of mind."
"My mind is not very peaceful. The scum are rising beneath us while you sit back and watch. You are too easy on them!"
"Senator Protavanonich, these are not issues that should be discussed during our walk in to the city. Calm your fears, our Grandmaster has them under control." The one person on the council I respected even a little had spoken, and she was absolute.
Kristiana Nevara Lamira, a middle aged thoroughbred of a woman with piercing blue eyes and hair that was as golden as when she had been a young girl. She was beautiful, intelligent, and had sympathies for the lower classes that stemmed from her background. She was the previous wonder child, before Celeste, and unlike her protégé she had held family in her heart as I had. That did not however stop her from ruling with an iron fist when anyone stepped out of line. Yes, Kristiana Lamira was no easy woman, that was sure. But her place at the head of the council had been well earned, and I looked up to her as a mentor, and friend, on some occasion.
As we began our journey, flanked by guards, to the hall, Kristiana beckoned for me to fall in to step beside her.
"Do not let him bully you Avan."
"Not hard enough. Be firm with your class, and harder on those beneath. But only when they deserve it. As some of these class born morons have forgotten, we are all the same species, no matter our class."
"Yes Councillor Lamira." What she meant is the rest of the council was made of people who had been born Selvites in to the Selvite class. Her and I were the only ones with family outside of the elite.
"We have arrived." She announced and I looked up to see the city hall towering above us, the silver globes on the roof glistening in the sunlight. It marked the highest respect for our class.
The power we possessed.