The Council of Nations

by Heather Dunn

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Thorn settled into her new position with a fervor she had never experienced before. Immediately, she went about restructuring the entire idea of the council. She scrapped the absurd idea of a 'Council of Races' and replaced it with a 'Council of Nations'. It worked out well, as the new Council of Nations would take twenty-three seats as well, including the head. Some, she figured, would be annoyed at being grouped together geographically, but they would learn to live with it.

Thorn had messages sent out across Lezaria informing the nations of this change and requesting that they send their representatives to Tinemocun within one week, for she was caling an emergency session of the Council. This was rarely done, even in actual emergency situations, but Thorn felt it necessary to establish a firm base and get some of these things out of the way immediately.

She abruptly realized that they had left Aitur's poor Warder back on Hasaris. Mumbling to herself, she asked Sharina to take care of things while she was away and took to flight to head back there. Of course, she could have just asked Valarian to do it, but Thorn much prefered doing things herself rather than relying on others. Besides, she needed a break from the stuffy rooms of Tinemocun after a long day of planning.

Thorn arrived in Tesfin and located the inn Aitur had been slain at, and looked around for the Warder. It hadn't even been a full day yet since this had happened, she realized. Thorn found the Warder brooding around on the balcony where Aitur had been killed. The mess that had been his body was already cleaned up, although a dark stain still lingered on the floor where Aitur had died.

"Ah, there you are," Thorn said, approaching him.

The Warder looked up at her. "You. Maybe you can tell me what's going on here, then."

This would be delicate, Thorn knew, but she could handle it. "Aitur has met with an untimely death," she explained quietly. "I'm in charge now."

"You?" The Warder said neutrally. "What happened? How'd he die?"

"I will explain later, if you wish. Do you wish to come back to Tinemocun?"

The man nodded, and Thorn gestured at him to follow, and they left Tesfin and went back through the Gate. Once on the Lezaria side, Thorn took silver dragon form and had him mount up, and started flying back to Tinemocun. Along the way, she took the opportunity to slowly and delicately convince the man that Aitur was bad and that him being dead was good. He couldn't be a strong enough Warder to resist Speech magic, or else Aitur wouldn't have been able to employ him so readily.

It was evening in Tinemocun when they arrived, and Thorn realized she'd forgotten something else. She didn't have anywhere to sleep. No matter, that would be easily resolved. Bidding the Warder goodnight, she headed down into the corridors of Tinemocun.

As confusing as the corridor-streets of Tinemocun could be, she had grown used to them during her weeks of spying on Aitur. It only took asking a few people about chambers to be assigned some spare rooms. Thorn thanked them gratefully and headed there to sleep. She was exhausted, not having really slept much the night before, and was asleep within moments.

The next morning, she went to locate Aitur's other cohorts and similarly convince them of the same. It wasn't easy undoing the work of a Speaker who, at his best, had been at least three times stronger than she was now, but speaking discretely and delicately, she led them smoothly from one thing to another until she had managed to almost entirely reverse their opinions. This, she figured, would be good practice for dealing with the Council, who she assumed had been similarly manipulated by Aitur.

Over the next week, the delegates for the new council trickled in. Some of them had never left Tinemocun, although most of them had gone back to their homelands. As she caught them in the hallways, Thorn spoke to each of them in turn, explaining the situation and attempting to determine the amount of influence Aitur had exerted upon them.

By the time the council came into session, Thorn was confident that things would go well. When the bells sounded, she stood before the new council in the council hall. Some of the members here were the same as those that came before, although some were different.

"Welcome to the new Council of Nations of Lezaria," Thorn addressed them. "I thank you all for coming. I know this is highly irregular, however extenuating circumstances require immediate addressing."

The council members shifted uneasily, but remained silent, listening to her.

"As you may already know," Thorn went on, "the former Head of the Council, Aitur Starsinger, has met with an untimely death. Although I've agreed to take over as Acting Head until such time as a new Head is chosen, there were matters which he set into motion which needed to be addressed by the Council itself as a whole."

Several of them, mainly the orc and goblin delegates, nodded in agreement. Thorn glanced momentarily at Sere. His very presence made her uneasy, but she ignored the feeling as best as she could. He had, for some reason, been chosen as the delegate for Dorackelleth, even though he had probably never even actually been there.

"First, as you've seen, I've taken the liberty to restructure the council, finally doing away with the obsolete idea of a Council of Races," Thorn continued. "A council based off geographical location is much more useful and logical, of course. The idea of basing delegation of race is simply absurd. You know why?"

Thorn kindly demonstrated the absurdity of it by changing into a troll, a centaur, an orc, a zephyl, then back to a wood elf. The council stared in awe, suitably impressed.

"Aside from that, it is a well known fact that races tend to interbreed. I see we have a half-elf at the table today." Thorn smiled faintly, nodding to the Hluseenian representative. "Therefore, it is unreasonable to judge a person on what they were born as, rather than their actions. This is the matter which the council must address today."

The goblin delegate, Yunik, nodded particularly emphatically in regards to that. The elves remained quiet, unable to find an argument to counter her.

"Before that, however, there is one matter that must be taken care of," Thorn told them. "That is the matter of the Council Head. Although it is irregular to elect a new head in the middle of a year, as it is to call the council into emergency session, it is by all means necessary in this case. Therefore I ask that you vote for the person you believe to be capable of doing the job best, be it me or anyone else at this table."

Without hesitation, Yunik and many of the human delegates, as well as the orc, zephyl, and troll, all voted for Thorn. The elves hesitated for a moment, then the rest of the council fell into line and voted for Thorn.

Sharina commented in amazement, "I've never seen anyone voted in unanimously without being explicitly told to do so."

Once they had all voted, Thorn smiled faintly, saying, "Thank you for your votes of confidence. I will do my best to not disappoint you."

Thorn shuffled through the papers on the table, locating several of Aitur's new laws against trolls, orcs, and goblins. These would need a careful, logical repeal.

She pulled out a law about trolls. "This law against trolls eating sentient beings. It's reasonable, of course, but why should it be limited to trolls? And why should it be limited to killing merely for eating? Shouldn't killing any sentient being, except in self-defense, be a crime?"

The council murmured and nodded in agreement. There was little they could say against that idea. It already was in many places anyway. Thorn pulled out a new sheet of paper and wrote down the new law and passed it around for them to sign, which they all did.

Thorn gave a hard look to the elven side of the table. "This includes killing goblins and orcs just because they're there. If they're attacking your village, of course you have every right to kill them, but the goblins have as much right to live as anyone else at this table. I believe the problem is overpopulation in the goblin caves, correct?" Yunik nodded. "Therefore, rather than killing the goblins who come to the surface seeking a new place to live, put them to work. Let them earn their keep, rather than having to raid villages for food."

The elves were a little surprised at the idea, but after a few moments of contemplation, decided it wasn't such a bad idea after all. They could have the goblins do the boring and menial jobs that they didn't want to do. Everything would work out alright in the end.

Thorn proceeded to go down the rest of Aitur's laws and apply pure logic and reason to them, yet still attempting to equate all races with the same rights as every other. The council largely remained silent as she laid down her statements. When the three bells sounded the end of the day, almost all of the business Thorn had intended to take care of was done, and quite satisfactorily.

As Thorn moved to leave the council hall, the others filing out one by one, she was approached by Yunik, the goblin. He smiled up at her saying, "Lady Thorn, I must thank you. I have never seen an elf so willing to stick up for goblins as you."

Thorn just grinned. "Well, as I made clear at the beginning, I'm not really an elf anyway." She took on goblin form and wiggled a bit. Yunik laughed lightly at the novelty. "Care to get something to eat?" She had found Yunik to be a polite and reasonable person, quite against what one would expect of a goblin.

Yunik grinned. "Sure."

The two of them found a nice restaurant, primarily occupied by elves. The elves looked distastefully toward the two apparent goblins, and Yunik looked a little nervous. He'd never been in such a fancy place before. Goblins weren't normally allowed in here. Thorn had her own plans for the place.

Even though both Yunik and Thorn were well-dressed and perfectly clean, the waiter looked at them as if they were filthy street rats. "Excuse me, but we do not serve goblins in this establishment."

Yunik seemed a little disappointed but unsurprised, but Thorn was calm and straightforward. "Why?" she said calmly.

The waiter screwed up his face, not used to being talked back to by a goblin. "This is a high-class establishment. We do not serve such rabble here."

Thorn smiled at him. "Surely you would not deny well-dressed and educated members of the Lezarian Council, simply on happenstance of their birth."

The waiter looked at her oddly, trying to come up with a rebuttal, and failing. "Very well," he sighed. "But any trouble from you two..."

"We wouldn't dream of it," Thorn assured him. "We are civilized people."

A little irritated, the waiter directed them to a table off in a corner, away from most of the elven patrons, and handed them menus.

Yunik, looking over his menu, said quietly, "I didn't think we were going to actually get in here."

Thorn grinned. "I believe a lot of things are going to be changing around here soon."

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