It was surprising how many people, not just nobles, were on the Protection Council, and how it had been organized.
Lady Cluere certainly had her work cut out for her, selecting the choicest people from her own father Lord Gascon to Landon, who had just been a youth eleven of when the council was formed.
Now, a young man of twenty-three, he was given a seat on the Council to replace the infamous Lord Bennett, who had left the council and his wife at the promise of influence, power, and possibly rulership by the Norwans.
As a few townspeople, council members, children old enough to be present, and the entire Martell household conversed, Kate Martell led the last of the "refuge children" (children who were orphans, or who had been placed in hiding) who were allowed to be present into the room, then made her way to the front.
With a sigh and a flourish, she whipped her wavy blond hair out of it's ponytail and clapped her hands for attention. She motioned for someone to come out of the crowd.
a silence swept over the room. A very pregnant noblewoman made her way through the crowd and took her place at the front of the room. The council members retained their order.
"Live free or let us die." she said solemnly, and the council members repeated it, just as solemnly. Men took off their hats during the simple oath.
Kate had been given the honor of holding the first meeting in twelve years. "Landon of Alvilaid, we welcome you to your position on the council. What have you found that is of significance to this Council Holding?"
This was the traditional welcome, and the way of asking what information has been found.
Landon made his way to the front of the room, not even bothering to disguise his accent.
"My knowledge is of great significance. Not just to all of us, but to all of Soori. The Nor'wans have laid seige on outer territories where elves and sea elves reside. If they hav' the power of the elves, then they can defeat us. Immortal armies could be created, Nor'wans could be made invincible.
"But we need the elves on our side, we need this powerful race. If someone can convince them, then we might have a chance against the armies."
Everyone on the council began to exclaim at once, some in panic, others in laughter.
"The boy is mad!" One man scoffed.
"Where would they get such powers? Such has not been possible in a thousand years!"
"What will happen to us?" a young child called out.
"Where would he get knowlage of such creatures? They probably no not even exist." a foolish nobleman sneered.
"Order!" Kate exclaimed, trying to regain her composure.
"Landon," she said, addressing her fellow council member. "Do you mean to say that the Norwans have armies ready to lay seige here?"
Landon, who had almost laughed at the reaction of those creatures, ignored Kate and addressed the young nobleman.
"Do ye not believe such creatures exist, my friend, or are ye trying to prove worth here? I have been to their lands, I was taught their ways as a small child. I am an or'phan, my Master is an elf.
"There are one or two among us, I suppose, who reside in secret. But, the ris' of the Masters will not suffice here. We need armies, and we need them soon. I don't know how long it will take, but Kate and I know of people who can train anyone to be as silent as the night and as swift as a rivers."
Whispers broke out among the council.
"Do you mean to say you would have our children live the lives of thieves?" an elderly man demanded.
Landon opened his mouth, but Kate elbowed him and spoke quickly.
"We mean that the thieves of Dehlyn and Alvilaid would be suitable helpers. The elves, if we can have them, would also be good teachers. In short, Milord, we have ways to persuade the lowest of men to do something noble."
"You mean you would use the scum of society to corrupt our children so that you may have your petty war." the lord returned. Kate, to everyone's surprise, ignored him.
"They wish for freedom, as do we. There is no other logical choice, because there are only a few who are skilled enough to teach our children. There is no other way, Milord." she finished smoothly. Afew people began, silently, vouch in her favor.
"Annanais Gascon." Kate addressed him formally. "Whatever reasons you have, I know that you do not wish to stoop so low as a Lord. Your vote cannot be the entire Council's. We will be discussing other matters as well, such as the welfare of the children, and ways to pass on and receive information better.
"We will, despite the timing, discuss the matter of renewing the Old City, as it is termed. But we will do it slowly, and we will gain trust with one another doing so."
Lord Gascon glared at this impudent young woman. Why was she leading this council!?
"Lady Cluere." He addressed his daughter. "Have you anything to deter these discussions?"
"No, Father, I do not." Annastaisia said softly.
Every eye was on her
"These plans are already set in motion."
The room began to fill with whispers again.
"What one God's green earth do you think you're up to!" Lord Gascon demanded.
"Father, you disagree whether the plan is perfect or completely flawed. In this case, the flaw is a small one. Word has been sent to the Elves, a commission to the Thieves. They know many things that we don't, and can easily restore the Old City." Lady Cluere explained.
"I don't care. What I am concerned about is the children. They could use their own newfound skills against us themselves, for all we know."
"That is taken care of." John Cluere spoke up. "Not every child will be a Joren, Lord."
"Yes, son-in-law, I am aware of that." Gascon snapped.
"You don't understand how hard we have worked for this."