High Council Stalling

Ranthe 22, 5682---“The Supreme Mistress and the High Council are a mockery of everything the Sisterhood of Jadela’Mar represents,” Rarla’Nun accused. She was standing in the midst of one of the largest council meetings of the Sisterhood of Jadela’Mar in centuries, something that took a month to convince both Prince Nomolo and many of the Sisterhood of Jadela’Mar members was necessary. Beached on the shore of Murnithon, a small island north of Eranithon, the ships would remain while the Sisterhood of Jadela’Mar dealt with its issues. It was already evening on the third day of the meeting, and Rarla’Nun had only a few more points to support her case. Fortunately, they were also her strongest points.

“Every archived transcript of historically important High Council proceedings that I’ve ever read suggested the High Council only convened in times of emergency, and rarely ever made a decision without first consulting any other members of the Sisterhood who might be nearby and available,” Rarla’Nun added.

“And when did the blind woman learn to read?” Supreme Mistress Iifelaroi’Hun snickered. “Can you see this?” She stuck out her tongue at the old woman.

Rarla’Nun frowned at the tongue wagging. “You are the Supreme Mistress. I suggest you act like it.” She took a step forward, and pointed at the Supreme Mistress. “Put aside the fallacious attacks on my person, and address the issue at hand. How can you justify what you did to Tora’Sor?”

“It was simple,” the Supreme Mistress said. “If Tora’Sor is from the Underground, then she is the enemy. I hear you stayed on your ship, but the rest of us clearly heard the Dark Magician accuse her of coming from that land.” Several of the women nodded in agreement.

“You are blind to your error,” Rarla’Nun countered. “You would trust the confused word of a Dark Magician over the word of an esteemed Sister. I might also ask you how the Underground could even manage to infiltrate our ranks in such a manner when they stay underground. Tora’Sor did more for the Sisterhood than you ever did.” Fury crossed the Supreme Mistress’s face for the first time in two days, something Rarla’Nun was counting on.

“Accomplishments are meaningless,” Iifelaroi’Hun roared. “It is wisdom we value, not accomplishments.”

“You value only your own wisdom,” Rarla’Nun replied calmly. “You punish those with a difference of opinion. You force your views on the rest of us. There is no value for the judgment of others. When does it end, when every other woman in the Sisterhood of Jadela’Mar is removed or bowing to you?”

“So now we get to the real issue,” the Supreme Mistress said, sounding somewhat amused. “You are trying to use Tora’Sor as a cover for your attempt to be reinstated on the High Council. Well, let me assure you that will never happen. We all know your wild ideas are a danger to the world.”

“I already know you won’t reinstate me,” Rarla’Nun agreed. “I am old. My days are numbered. Of what use am I if I do not expect to survive this expedition? I do not seek reinstatement. Instead, I seek your own removal and replacement.” That statement, although probably expected by almost everyone there, brought complete silence to the meeting. Hushed conversations ceased, and surprise filled every face.

Rarla’Nun looked around at the others gathered for the meeting. “I seek the removal and replacement of Supreme Mistress Iifelaroi’Hun,” she stated once more.

It took a moment for the Supreme Mistress to overcome her surprise. “This is unprecedented,” she said softly. “No one ever calls to remove the Supreme Mistress.”

“Nevertheless, the High Council hears the request,” one of the High Mistresses said. “Unprecedented or not, we must consider all requests placed before the High Council.”

“Fine,” the Supreme Mistress huffed. “I request the official expelling of Rarla’Nun from the Sisterhood of Jadela’Mar.”

Elendra’Tel stepped forward. “I also request the reinstatement of Tora’Sor’s membership.”

“As do I,” Rarla’Nun added.

“Very well,” the High Mistress said. “This High Council now has three requests to consider. Does anyone else wish to submit a request before the High Council?”

A gasp spread from the back of the gathering. Heads turned to see what was happening, and the crowd slowly split to let someone walk toward the High Council. It was Tora’Sor, breathing hard and sweating from her hurry from the beach. Rarla’Nun smiled. Her plan was working.

“Three days of council and you only now hear the opening requests?” Tora’Sor wondered as she walked toward the High Council. “What could be so important that you postpone the Prince’s plans?”

The Supreme Mistress stood up. “Where did you come from? How did you escape the cell in Meda?” She noticed Rarla’Nun’s grin. “Perhaps the Underground conspires against us.”

Tora’Sor glared at the accusation. “I am appalled that you would suggest such a thing,” she said. “You know everyone here has their origin vetted even before consideration for training. Anyone from the Underground would be caught long before they caused a problem.”

“Perhaps,” the Supreme Mistress agreed, “but we all know no one here is old enough to vouch for Rarla’Nun’s origin. Is there anyone who can vouch for Tora’Sor’s origin?” No one spoke. “Is there anyone here who knows where Tora’Sor came from?” the Supreme Mistress asked again.

“There is only one member of the Sisterhood who knows my origin,” Tora’Sor spoke up, “and she is not here.”

“Who is she?” one of the High Mistresses asked.

“Niahla’Sen,” Tora’Sor answered.

“Niahla’Sen is five years your junior,” another of the High Mistresses observed. “How would she know your origin and no one else?”

“It was mentioned by someone else in conversation,” Tora’Sor answered. “Niahla’Sen only learned two years ago.”

“Then who was it that admitted you to the Sisterhood?” the High Mistress wondered.

Tora’Sor shook her head. “I cannot say. Both because I do not know, and because I am sworn to secrecy on the matter.”

“If no one can verify your origin, then the Supreme Mistress had every right to remove you from the Sisterhood,” the High Mistress decided. “Whether imprisonment is justified is another matter.”

“Perhaps there are things best left unknown and accepted,” Rarla’Nun suggested. “What would it take to make that happen?” Her ability to see without her eyes saw what was rapidly approaching through the ground below them. She dropped to her knees in a bow. The rest of the Sisterhood of Jadela’Mar would meet it with surprise.

A bright light filled the area, and a figure seemingly composed entirely of light appeared among them. It was one of the Lunari. Few among the Sisterhood had ever seen a Lunari, although Rarla’Nun knew it was Zhethou. “I vouch for Tora’Sor, formerly Tora’Kos, younger sister to Bella’Kos, the current Queen of Vernon,” a firm yet delicate feminine voice announced as everyone bowed. “Cease this petty squabble, and know the enemy has not infiltrated your ranks. If I observe such behavior among my children again, I will remove your useless Supreme Mistress and High Council and leave you scattered across the world.”

“What would you have us do?” the Supreme Mistress queried.

“I will not coddle the Sisterhood of Jadela’Mar,” the voice replied. “Solve your own problems; the rest of us have a war to fight.” The Lunari disappeared, presumably back into the ground, leaving the area dark while everyone’s eyes adjusted.

“I guess that settles the issue of Tora’Sor,” the Supreme Mistress decided, “although I am curious how she managed to escape the cell in Meda.”

“What does it matter?” the nearest High Mistress argued. “You heard what the Lunari told us. We cannot afford to waste time on such issues.”

“Then let us be quick about the other two issues brought before this council,” another High Mistress said. “Since the outstanding issues affect the Supreme Mistress and Rarla’Nun, the final decisions for those two issues fall to the High Mistresses, who will consider arguments and opinions on their behalf. Is there anyone here opposed to the removal of Rarla’Nun from the Sisterhood of Jadela’Mar based on the request of Supreme Mistress Iifelaroi’Hun?” There was enough of an outburst to realize general opinion was against the request.

The High Mistress motioned for everyone to calm down. “Is there anyone here opposed to the removal and replacement of Iifelaroi’Hun as Supreme Mistress based on the recommendation of Rarla’Nun?”

Once again, there was an outburst among those gathered for the High Council. The High Mistress glanced at her colleagues sitting nearby, and they soon all stood. “This meeting is adjourned,” the High Mistress announced. “The High Council without the interference of the Supreme Mistress will meet in private at a later date within the month to discuss these issues and determine a conclusion to the matter. Due to the nature of tonight’s events, each of you must vow to maintain silence about this High Council with those who are not present. Return to your ships. We continue to Eranithon as soon as the Prince decides.”

While walking back to the shore, Rarla’Nun put her arm around Tora’Sor. “Don’t worry about what the Supreme Mistress did to you. She was wrong, and that will affect the High Council’s decision. Also, I am sorry I could not speak for you,” she said. “As the woman who coordinated your admittance to the Sisterhood, I too was sworn to secrecy.”

“I never would have guessed,” Tora’Sor replied. “I know almost nothing of the particulars, except that I was not allowed to tell where I came from. I was young enough at the time that I doubt I knew what was happening. How did you come to find and admit me?”

Rarla’Nun smiled. “I swore never to tell of it, but I’m sure you can guess who it was considering the events of tonight.”

“But why would the Lunari go through such effort on my behalf?” Tora’Sor wondered.

“Who can know such things?” Rarla’Nun countered. “Either way, it means the Lunari plan for you to play a pivotal role in the world. I cannot say what or where it might be, but I will do everything I can for the rest of my life to make sure you have the opportunity.”

“Thank you,” Tora’Sor said. “Still, it makes me wonder about some things. When I went into the Underground to try helping Purishi’Kan, Josloy said Zhethou refused to help them rescue me. Then, two years later, Methou, sister of Zhethou, decides to provide Josloy with the solution Zhethou refused. If Zhethou plans my future, did Methou interrupt those plans?”

“I only have one bit of advice about that,” Rarla’Nun decided. “They are Lunari. You’ll never understand them, so give up trying. Now let’s get back to the ship. I want to see Niahla’Sen. Perhaps she too had a visit from Zhethou.”

“The hard part will be finding her,” Tora’Sor joked.