Thursday, July 7, 2016

The Brothers Tuerl & The Staffs of Zeus - 20

Chapter 20-The Knight’s Council
Back in the castle, a heated debate was going on between members of the Knights.  It had been determined that today on the eve of the brother’s birthday, a large council would be held to settle what the training of the brothers would entail.  All in all, 45 members of the Knights were present.  Thomas had told Irgen that normally they kept a total only 50 people in the order at a time, and in the recent battle five of their noble comrades had fallen.  Aristotle’s table had been magically lengthened to accommodate so many people.
It was not very often that a grand council of this size was held in The White Citadel.  Everyone there, if they did not know the importance of the council in the first place, could sense it from the surroundings.  An electrically tense air saturated the first floor.  André and Blackington sat side by side at the head of the table.  Once he had learned how to heal, Blackington had wasted no time in healing André’s wounds and everyone else in the beds surrounding Helen.  Now André was back to his normal handsome smiling face; however, at the moment his handsome face was being confronted by loud shouts ensuing from the large group of knights seated before him.
André had just proposed, seeing as how he was their father, that he should train them himself.  His proposal lighted a fire of debate in the council.  Instantly cries of joy and anger broke like a juggernaut upon the council.  Some contended it was a great idea, saying that such a plan was just what was needed, but others said the task was too great for any one man, even a descendant of Perseus.  They said that the fate of the twins was intertwined with that of the whole sacred order of mages, and that as such it concerned them all.
André sat back down after his proclamation, and lifted his hand to cover the smile which was threatening to break forth through his tightly pursed lips.  He leaned over to Thomas and whispered.  “Perhaps this is why Sparta always trumped Athens, because nothing could ever be decided in the Athenian’s true Democracy, so while they were still bickering about how big of an army to raise, the Spartans were able take the city unawares, because all of Athens was too busy bickering with their priceless governmental system, over an army to fight off said attack.”
Thomas smiled wisely back at André.  “You do have a point, but Sparta did not always beat Athens.  At those times of extreme danger, there was always someone who was willing to seize power for the greater good.”  He smiled goodheartedly at his joke.  “Always it is a loss of freedom, for progress… or maybe should I say-productivity!  Fortunately for us; however, our Democratic system is small, and it is therefore more productive.”  He stood up and his deep bass voice rang out, “Hold on hold on my friends.  We are not enemies and you all have valid points as to the first proposition, but let us not all speak at once.  We are a magnanimous council, not a chaotic war tribe.”
He sighed as members of the council slowly began to take their seats, each shaking his or her head slightly disgruntled.  “Now first off, I have heard many good arguments, but in the confusion, perhaps I didn’t catch all of them.  Gregory you look pretty red in the face, step up and tell the group your opinion.”
A large man with blazing red hair and a long red beard stood up.  He was extraordinarily muscular.  He arms popped ungainly out from the rest of his body thanks to his enormous biceps.  His large robust chest jutted forward painting the image of a very warlike figure indeed.
“Thank you Thomas.”  He spoke in a very gentle yet serious tone; a tone which one would think could not come from such a large man.  “As I was saying, I do not think it would be very wise to have the twins trained by their father.  We all know that André is the best in just about everything from magic to swordplay among us, but I fear that there may be an emotional connection between the father and his sons.  It may prevent him from pushing them to their limits.  They must be trained as quickly as possible, and only by pushing their limits will that be possible to accomplish.”
He peered cautiously towards André before saying, “It is not André’s ability I question,” and here he looked warningly at the crowd, “but merely the fact that at some point in André’s life he will need to be there for his sons, and if he did push them to their limits, it is not him to whom they would come to.  I propose that we allow someone else like Thomas and others to train them.  This would leave André free to get to know and love his sons…
My friends, the boys are not bound to this order, or to any other order for that matter.  Theirs is a path which has never been traveled before.  It will be imperative for this council to find a way to link them to our own order, and you all know that their training will not do that.  Perhaps the only thing which will create a binding link between them and our order is their family.  I do not think it would be wise to alienate them from their father at this stage in their life.”  He paused and glared purposefully at those around him.  “Mark my words; it is not a good idea to have their father train them.”  He sat down, looking just as red faced as he was before he stood up.  There were a few nods of approval for his bold speech, and some even went so far to pound their fists on the table before them, but most knew better, and knew that the preliminaries were just beginning.
As he sat down another man stood up.  “Dear me Gregory, you do not really believe the boys will choose evil over good do you?  I mean their very lives have been threatened twice in the past week by the Tenebri alone.  Surely they would not choose to go over to the Tenebri.  I mean let’s be reasonable.”  He laughed, “Being trained by their father would only make them much better fighters and prepare them magnificently for the tasks ahead of them.  I mean Idus has already killed two Tenebri single-handedly, we might as well Knight him as we speak.”  He sat down with a jovial self-confident grin spread over his face.
After he sat down, a woman stood up.  “Gregory is right; anyone else here could adequately train the boys.  The boys need a father not just another trainer; any of us could do that--”
“Adequate!”  A short man, with a squeaky argumentative voice sitting at the end of the table, stood up before the woman had even sat down.  “The boys do not need an adequate trainer; they need a master in the arts.  Maybe they need many masters in the arts, but I think it is our very duty as Knights to prepare them for the challenges that lie ahead of them.  None of us has had to face what they will.  I do not think it is within any of our spheres of expertise to say that we know what is adequate for them.  I think that all we can do is prepare them to the best of our abilities.”  The short man finished and had a seat as did the woman, and a steady murmuring began to ensue from those sitting.  The pounding on the tables grew louder as people began to warm towards the logic in the last man’s speech.
“Thank you Alex.  I am beginning to see how this debate got so heated.  You all have very good points as to why and why not André should be the boys’ trainer.  If I may be so permitted…  I would like to add my own two cents.”  Blackington’s deep voice once again quieted the crowd.
“I agree with Gregory, in the fact that we should not alienate the boys from their father, but I also agree with Alex in that there is no better trainer than André.  Therefore I wish to propose a compromise, I wish to propose that André should be their trainer, but others should accompany him as well.  This is a job which I do not think we should leave to only one person.  I also believe that none of us here can truly teach the boys their element…How was it you put it Alex?--Adequately?”  He smiled good-naturedly before continuing.
“Therefore I propose that for starters, both André and I should leave to go in search for a proper teacher of their elements, and in turn, I propose that we leave Gregory as the temporary head trainer, until we return.”  He stopped and looked at Gregory, who slowly nodded in return.  Thomas suppressed a smile at knowing the turmoil in his friend’s heart.  “Thank you Gregory.  Now that that is settled, who will you have train the boys along with André and Gregory?”  A long silence followed, a rare occasion in these kinds of councils.  Finally Jennifer arose from the shadows of the back of the room and came forward.  She had sat back there, not wishing to partake in the proceedings, but now she felt she had no choice.
“I believe that Thomas, Alex, Harold, Brown, and I ought to be the mentors, but I also believe that we will have to allow Helen into the mix, I think she is quite taken with young Irgen,” Then she added in an undertone, “and young Irgen with her.”  Her radiant smile beamed forth before she disappeared back into the shadows.
“Right you are Jennifer.  When all else fails, just remember to consult a mother’s intellect. Eh?  Well in that case shall we have a vote, and we’ll say since there are 45 people here…  Let’s say 35 people for the motion will carry it.”  He looked around for approval, and a couple of heads nodded, but most were too stunned at the new turn the counsel had taken, and were quite stunned that the decision would be voted on so quickly, but before any objections could arise, Thomas spoke again.
“Right, those who are against the motion that André will be the head trainer with Gregory, me, Alex, Harold, Brown, Jennifer, and Helen as assistants, with two real trainers to be hopefully added later, please indicate by raising your right hand…  Hmmmmm…  That’s one, two, three, four, five, six…  Gregory… You’re one of the trainers.”
“I will be one if, and only if, the motion passes, but be it known; I am still against having André train them at all!”
“Alright, alright, have it your way Greg…”  Thomas looked around one last time with a sigh before saying.
“Well that’s six against the motion.  Now those in favor of the motion please raise your right hand.”  Hands went up into the air, with a few exuberantly shooting up first.”
“Right that’s…”  Thomas counted the hands, while making marks in a stone tablet before him.  “That’s 36 with three abstaining… I take it…”  He looked cautiously around to see if anyone else was wanting to vote, but on seeing that the three who had not voted, did not appear likely to change.  He looked back down at his tablet and said, “Then the motion passes and the boys training is guaranteed…”  Roars of approval and a loud clamor of fists pounding against the ancient table met Tom’s ears.  He smiled before raising his hands for silence.  “Thank you all for coming, we did this much faster than I had expected.  So Knights, feel free to make yourselves at home, in your home.”  He added with a wink.
“As for André and I we must leave at once.  Jennifer watch over Idus, he’s much stronger than we give him credit, perhaps he will yet make it through.”  And without another word both of them swept out of the room.  As they left the castle and entered the grounds outside, they saw Irgen and Helen playing soccer out in the grass.  The sight of this seemed to trigger something in Thomas’s brain.  He turned towards André and whispered in a good-humored voice.

“I still don’t understand why you would travel all this way, and of all things, abstain from voting.  I mean even Gregory, who knew his vote was useless, voted.”  They grinned at each other as they passed like shadows by Irgen and Helen, until finally wordlessly passing outside the gates.

Chapter 19                 Chapter 21

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