... now they must watch their abundance of luxuries fall away, making room for the tools of survival, and witness this time of relative peace wither into the same fears that harper's ballads had warned them about for generations.
 
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 A business proposal for Drien

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Eloaene

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PostSubject: A business proposal for Drien   Thu Oct 25, 2012 9:37 am


Waggons and carts, workmens' stalls and crafting materials all lined the roads of Telgar River Hold where industious men and women went about their labours. Rihan walked the cobblestone streets between them at his own lazy pace, making quiet observation while fanning himself with the broad hand-fan that he usually kept tucked beneath his belt. The midday sun however, was beginning to become uncomfortably warm, so he put it to good use, at times, using it to shade his eyes.

Busy people bustled about everywhere, knowing full well that Rihan had pulled back their deadline for completing certain areas of Hold. Additional workers had been sent from Telgar Hold itself in order to meet his expectations; he was preparing for his Lady Eolyn's arrival, and it would be a disgrace for him not to have prepared a peroper hold for her to make her home. Everything would be perfect for that day. He would have it no other way.

In order to further accommodate for the Lady's arrival, he would need to staff the hold as far as propper offices went. For many months, he'd been filling most of those roles, overseeing the hold's management by himself. There was a need now for assistance however, and for that reason he'd invited his cousin Drien to visit. So, while he waited for Drien's arrival on dragonback, Rihan continued walking the busy streets, stopping to visit with craftsmen heading each project as he came across them.
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PostSubject: Re: A business proposal for Drien   Thu Oct 25, 2012 7:02 pm



The brown dragon appeared high enough over the semi-constructed Telgar River Hold to produce a view fit for a Lord. But it was the nephew of one who sat strapped behind the rider. Drien’s quick eyes took in the lay out of his cousin’s new Holding. He distinguished several of the building and tried to guess at the rest. It would be grand indeed. Not like Rihan’s father’s Holding, his own uncle Matoi, at Telgar proper, but grand still.

Circling almost lazily, the brown descended toward the Hold. There were several cleared spaces at the outskirts that were plenty big enough for a dragon to land and Drien pointed to one near what looked like several cargo wagons piled with construction materials. After years working with his father’s steward he couldn’t help himself but at least walk past the loads being delivered. The rider nodded and his brown angled in that direction.

Just as they backwinged to touch down gently, a shot of gold rocketed in front of the brown, swinging up and past the two on his back. Drien sighed as he felt the dragon snort at the firelizard. He shook his head lightly when the brownrider pulled off his helmet and said, “Looks like she made it.”

“So it would seem.” Letting the rider dismount first, Drien unclipped as he was told and managed his way down the brown’s side. “You truly do us a service, ‘rider, thank you. If I can return the favor in anyway, just ask.” He shook his head and tried again, “don’t hesitate to ask.” The tall holder’s son bowed awkwardly, not used to being the one offering the niceties, he sometimes struggled to deal with folks the way his father and brothers would.

“Truly our pleasure,” the rider answered, “Wirith and I enjoy the time out.” He thumped the brown’s neck and turned to the dragon as he listened. “And he doesn’t even mind your little queen. Even if he does think she’s ah... full of energy.”

Said firelizard chose that moment land on Drien’s shoulder like a bag of sand, chittering happily about the new things and people there were to see. She barely took a moment to rub his cheek with her head before launching again.

“I’m glad he enjoyed her, though I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re exaggerating,” he told the rider, “she’s too much for a lot of people.” The corner of his mouth raised in more of a smirk than a smile as he looked after his winged charge. Turning to the brown he added, “Thanks again,” another bow for the rider, “And I’ll take my leave.”

Walking slowly past the many workers, Drien quietly took in the bustle of construction. There were more crafters here than he’d expected, at least from latest reports of his cousin’s expected finish date. “Ah the engagement,” he said to himself, suddenly realizing the reason for the obvious rush. The little queen flew to his shoulder and left, again and again, enjoying her new surroundings. But when he saw a group of ladies stop their work to stare at her, he called her to him. “Stay put, Veil,” he told her, encouraging her to lie across his shoulders, “You want our cousin to like you, right? And distracting the workers won’t endear you.”

They wandered toward the center of the Hold, keeping an eye out for Rihan. Veil made flitter-type comments about all they past, but was content to stay with her human. A loud burst of laughter caught Drien’s attention and he followed the men’s voices a little off his course. Stopping a good dragon’s length away, the holder’s son watched for a moment. A boy, not much past his tenth turn, was brushing dirt from his clothes and then bent to pick up the rough hewn stones he’d dropped. Three large men, leaned against a nearby wagon filled with the same. Another boy, older than the first by no more than a turn, came to help what appeared to be his brother with the load. The large men, probably the quarriers, laughed even louder.

Off to the left a man, stonemason by his knots, and very old by his wrinkled face, peered from behind a half completed wall. “Come away Trin,” he called to the second boy who had stepped toward the men with his hands on his hips, and frown on his face. “These men don’t know how to finish their job and we don’t need you learning bad habits.”

“Bad habits, old man?” the tallest of the men with a full beard stood from his leaning place, towering over the young boys. “I’d watch who I was insulting if I were you. And maybe, if you’re assistants can’t handle their jobs, you should find a real man to help. Or better yet, find a real man to replace you!”

As the other two quarrymen stood and stepped toward the stonemason with their fellow, a flash of gold circled them, causing them to pause. “I would think you’d be better off to deliver the stone as you were retained to. I would seem two boys are doing more than three grown men.” Veil swooped and landed on Drien’s shoulder as he stepped up to the group. She added her own warning - wings spread and a low hiss as she picked up on her human’s mood.

“Who do you think you are?” the bearded quarryman turned on the newcomer, not immediately seeing his shoulder knots, but hesitating at the gold firelizard on his shoulder.

Drien turned enough to show his knots as holder’s son (Southern Telgar Hold, but nonetheless). “Someone who can make sure your next job is much less … dignified.” Then he bowed slightly, “Drien, Lord Rihan’s cousin.”
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PostSubject: Re: A business proposal for Drien   Thu Oct 25, 2012 10:41 pm



Continuing his rounds in visit to each project site, Rihan gave pause, hearing raised voices and laughter. Moments earlier, he'd spied the dragon carrying Drien come this way to land, so he'd begun to meander in the general direction. The voices he heard however, did not sound like his cousin, nevertheless, he continued that way, fanning himself as he went.

It was moments after Drien and his brilliant little Gold appeared before the group of Quarry-men that Rihan also came into view, having observed the latter part of events as they were playing out. Rihan brought his hand-fan to a close, lowering it to his side where it was clasped quaintly within the lower digits of his hand, similarly as the hilt of a sword. At first, Rihan was silent, searching the faces of those present. Perhaps some of those in the group of workers recognized his own face, but it was not in Rihan's preference to wear cords of rank regularly, so it was by the design of his fine clothes that one might otherwise discern his elevated position.

"What trouble disturbs the peace of this hold when a guest is being entertained?" The young lord peered through a curtain of black bangs as he addressed them in a forward manner that he hoped was enough to assume his control of the situation.

Though the situation seemed tangibly tense, Rihan felt himself in no position to judge the men involved in the quarrel as he had not been a witness to who had been wronged. Believing that a Holder should be fair and just, he could therefore not rightfully condemn any of them. So instead of causing further unrest by shaming grown men publicly, he would make his reprimand more subtle.

"Trin." Beckoning the ten year old boy come to him with a gentle call, Rihan reached his left hand out toward the child. Children were innocent in his eyes, as they were not yet fully accountable for their actions, making Trin the perfect subject to serve as his example. Beyond setting the adults straight however, what Rihan really wanted, was to be able to lift the boy's spirits. Every boy needed to know that he was strong and encouraged by those he should be able to look up to. Every boy needed to feel as though he was able to make something of himself and know that others saw the promise of greatness within him. And every boy needed to be given the chance to take charge of his own honour and courage. Rihan wanted to give Trin that chance, too.

Understanding that Trin might be nervous about obeying his call, Rihan went ahead and spoke out, hoping that his voice could put the boy's -and everyone else'- heart and mind at ease. "Young Trin has been charged to carry out a duty in service to the Lord of this Hold. I am sure that he works diligently to do as he has been instructed by his master in order to carry out that duty. If there are any who impede his progress, then let it be known that they also impede on the will of the Lord of this hold and will be punished for those transgressions."

There. His first point had been made. He'd made it clear that none had any right to hinder the work going on here, placing anyone who desired trouble in a position of having to directly confront a Lord Holder. Most men would consider their actions twice after that, whereby a young lad like Trin should find pride in those words knowing that a Holder had placed a great trust in him to do important work. Let that bolster the boy's courage.

"Likewise," Now that he had reprimanded them, he had to set adult minds to ease. "I am aware that each of you here has been called upon to fulfill the important tasks of your trade in service to the Lord of this hold, so please continue about your business peaceably with that in mind." Second point made. They were all doing him a great service and should know their diligence was appreciated and would be therefore defended by the Holder, just as he had suggested about Trin's own duty to him.

If the quarrymen involved had any sense of honour about them, Rihan knew that his words would cause them to evaluate themselves and take corrective actions if they were at fault. If any amoung them were unable to do so, then it is better that the truth of their weak character be shown so that they could be weeded out.

And if the boy Trin came to him, he was decided about a few words he would speak to him quietly.
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PostSubject: Re: A business proposal for Drien   Sun Oct 28, 2012 8:08 pm

With his chin still raised, Drien hid the sigh of relief as he took a few steps back to stand at his cousin’s flank in support. He much preferred someone else take control and admired how quickly Rihan had turned the tables. He, himself, could handle confrontation if it was required, but diplomacy was not a strong point.

Veil composed herself on his shoulder now that Drien had relaxed a bit. Wrapping her tail around the back of his neck in a sign of possessiveness, she made a quick brush of her head against his cheek. Though she didn’t drop her guard, still feeling the tension she chittered softly and keep her attention focused on the scene before them.

It was obvious to Drien that those present recognized Rihan. Though for a moment he wondered if the man with the beard was going to back down, as he paused a few moments too long before turning back to the cart. It always amazed him how his father, and now RIhan, could get people to do their jobs and make them think it was their own choice to do so. It was a talent to be applauded for certain.

He watched Trin take a step toward Rihan, as the quarry-men grumbled and started lifting the raw stone from the wagon to the dwindling pile near the stonemason. He could tell the old man was swallowing a smile as he nodded thanks to them for finishing their delivery.

As the tension drained from the situation, Drien lifted his hand to scratch Veil’s neck, marveling again at the outcome. “I see you are doing well cousin,” he mumbled quietly for Rihan’s ears only, an edge of humour on his voice that didn’t make it to his face.

Veil bobbed her head and chirruped again, moving her attention to the boy who was now standing quietly before the young heir apparent.
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PostSubject: Re: A business proposal for Drien   Sun Oct 28, 2012 10:26 pm

Hearing Drien's words but not yet acknowledging, Rihan stood firmly with unmoved expression until the men all returned to their work. The expression softened a measure when Trin came to him. "Good lad. I see that you've been working hard, is that right?"

When the young boy nodded in reply, still a whit shy, Rihan's smile broadened. He continued, "Well very good then. It is certainly good that I have you working for me. As long as there are more boys like you to help build this hold, we'll all have a beautiful hold to be proud of in no time." At that, Rihan knelt to one knee, setting his hand upon Trin's shoulder in a reaffirming manner. "I am the Lord of this Hold, and I thank you Trin for your diligent efforts. You and everyone else have done so well. You may tell them that. Tell them that when the Hold is complete, a great feast will be held in the honour of those who have laboured for it."

Standing up again, Rihan bade the boy return to his task. And once the boy ran back to his master, Rihan turned to regard his cousin with a joyful expression in his eyes. "Drien! I'm so glad to see you are doing as well as when last we met! Thank you for coming. I'm sorry for the trouble this incident has caused you, and I'm afraid I may have to trouble you again today at some point."

Rihan turned to lead them away from the project sites, heading into the main structure of the Hold which was completed for the most part, climbing a wide, regal staircase of white stone to enter the Main Hall. As they walked together, Rihan went to fanning himself again and began once more, "Do you mind if I ask you a question? I've been wondering what my own answer would be, and I trust your mind on such things, so I wanted to see if our thoughts were similar." And in truth, Drien's answer would help him weight whether or not his cousin would be the best match for the job he had in mind; so he inquired eagerly, "Cousin,... if you ruled over a new Telgar, what kind of Telgar would you create?"


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PostSubject: Re: A business proposal for Drien   Thu Nov 01, 2012 9:00 pm

"Drien! I'm so glad to see you are doing as well as when last we met! Thank you for coming. I'm sorry for the trouble this incident has caused you, and I'm afraid I may have to trouble you again today at some point."

“No trouble, cousin,” he said with a glance over his shoulder as they walked away. If he could learn to handle people the way he could handle business. “I must say though, convincing them to do their own work was a much easier resolution than the one I had envisioned. But then, I suppose that's why things are progressing so nicely.”

Finding their way to the Main Hall, Drien could see the that all was indeed going well. The place looked wonderful, layed out with a keen eye and detailed mind. He could already picture a thriving hold full of people : a Gather, harvest celebration, weddings, tribunals, and just everyday life. So Rihan’s next question was not as much of a surprise as it might have been.

"Cousin,... if you ruled over a new Telgar, what kind of Telgar would you create?"

Drien took a moment, watching as Veil flew above them, investigating the great vaulted ceiling. “Well, to start with,” he began, face as serious as ever, “I believe every household should have a canine. Anyone with red hair will be required to keep their heads shaved clean and there will never be herdbeast served without fingerroots.” He paused, knowing well his cousin’s aversions of the past. “Or did you finally work things out with Kinval?”

With that he turned to Rihan and offered him a rare full smile. “And I suppose you learned to eat fingerroots too, hmm?” Ah, the times he’d been convinced to save his cousin from the headwoman’s wrath.

“But a new Telgar?” Another pause as Veil returned to his shoulder, full of chitterings and vague impressions of large spaces and many hiding places. “A chance for everyone to fulfill their purpose. Like little Trin. Not only did you set him back in place, but those brutes as well.” Though he reached his full height later, Drien had been the smallest in his family for a long time and remembered feeling like he couldn’t accomplish anything. He didn’t regret things now, but a lot of that was due to some good influences who had taken him under their wing as a boy. It was important to him to be able to give those chances to others.

He scratched Veil’s neck as she lounged against his ear. “A place to dream?” he added a little quieter. It was something in the architecture they’d passed. Something grand, but not pretentious, something large and open that made you want to chase the things you’d kept close to your heart for so long. It might not be the biggest hold on Pern, but what Rihan was creating here was inspiring.

It was a characteristic of the heir apparent himself. Drien remembered countless times when, as children, Rihan wouldn’t let him hold back, always propelling him along on one adventure after another. Even though they were almost of an age, he had continually challenged him to leave his comfort zone.

With a shake of his head and a cough that was half laugh, Drien raised a rueful eyebrow at his cousin, breaking the revery. He was usually so much more practical leaving the the philosophizing to others. “It’s the firelizard,” he said with smirk, “she’s making me soft.”
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PostSubject: Re: A business proposal for Drien   Fri Nov 02, 2012 9:27 am

“No trouble, cousin,... I must say though, convincing them to do their own work was a much easier resolution than the one I had envisioned. But then, I suppose that's why things are progressing so nicely.”

Rihan's eyes were forward and rather unfocused even though the Heir Apparent's thoughts were trained upon his cousin. One side of his mouth curled into a wry expression at Drien's comment, inclining his head in courtesy of the compliment the man paid him. "All seems to be going well; even if some of them like to forget, and need to be reminded that they are my subordinates." Rihan's baritone became hushed then, as if he spoke more to himself than anyone, "Still...every one of them is important to me."



As soon as his cousin started with his answer to the question posed to him, Rihan stopped dead in his tracks, the fan closing in his hand as he waited for Drien to finish speaking. When that time came, that fan hand snapped up, smacking his cousin' on the back side of the head for good measure. The whack didn't land hard enough to cause anything much more than perhaps to his poor sensibilities. "Canines?" Rihan's eyes shifted away from his cousin with dubious expression.

Certainly he was sensitive to the presence of canines, as his cousin knew, but the irritation went beyond any experience they'd had together as youngsters. Rihan had been emotionally wounded when his father came at him when he was still young, accusing him of being no more than a canine himself. Even though Drien knew about the particular situation that had brought it on, he could not know the words his father had spoken to him that day. Rihan couldn't help but remember back...


==================================================================================
Nearly seven months had passed since Rihan’s 12th birthday, which meant he’d spent nearly seven months performing the duties of a servant in his parent’s house. Those long months had been spent doing arduous physical labor and filthy, menial tasks which would never have been deemed suitable for a future Holder.

Up until that point in life, Rihan had been treated as a Holder’s son ought and never made to suffer. On his 12th birthday however, it was an abrupt awakening that greeted him with the fear that his parents had somehow forgotten him. Everything that had been his was taken away. He learned to live life in a single, plain uniform, his meals were reduced to one a day, and he began taking orders from the lowest class of citizen. Rihan wasn’t even allowed to sleep in his own room -he slept in a communal sleeping quarters with other drudges. Still young, his easily impressionable and immature mind was unable to fathom the complexity of the reasoning behind his father’s decision to discard him in such a way. Nothing had been explained to him. For all he knew, he’d been thrown to the veritable wolves, left to figure life out on his own.

At that time in his life, Rihan only knew confusion and strife. Life became an emotional battle every day. There were no motherly arms to surround him with love, save seldomly, and only the Hold’s Steward, who was in charge of his training, would give him any real comfort or reassurance. Rihan had been assured that this was a part of his education and that the drudgery would become easier as time went on. Then, one miraculous day, life would treat him kindly again if only he could learn to persevere through this much. That is all the Steward would indulge.

It was all a cruel twist of fate to a boy his age. Anger gripped him and grief threatened to overwhelm his young, feeble heart, yet he worked so hard to maintain composure and brave the hardship with the stoicism expected of him. So it was, the young Rihan worked diligently and without complaint for those seven months. Patience began to wear thin on the boy however, and perseverance proved to be a slippery thing, which he found more and more difficult to latch onto.


It was after breakfast as the the children washed dishes that a couple of the boys began their ritual teasing. Since his being placed amoungst the ranks of the drudges, their attitude with Rihan had gradually become more casual, so he was usually prepared for such discriminating jests. None had been instructed to treat him as the son of a Lord, and by all accounts he was certainly looking more and more like a drudge, so before too long, there became little inhibition on their part -as if they’d forgotten who he really was.
Lord Matoi felt it necessary for his son to learn that he could not be a worthy Lord in the future without first understanding that Blood alone did not create greatness for him, and that to obtain the respect due to a Lord, one must earn it from the ground up. This morning was not a good morning however, to tempt Rihan’s patience for the sake of earning respect. Months of physical and emotional hardship had brought the boy to that brink of his limitations.


“The Holder found out that Rihan isn’t really his son and couldn’t stand the sight of him! I wonder who his father really is? Too bad for him. He’s one of us now.” Being a few inches taller than Rihan and older by a couple of turns, Barton shoved him, laughing snidely as he went to sit down at a table to dry the dishware that was still wet. The other kids all laughed, going along with Barton’s little scheme.

One of the younger children added, “Yeah, one screw up and he’ll be holdless for sure.”

Having tumbled with the shove, Rihan was on the ground. The boys eyes reflected an incredible resentment; not only of the spiteful words they mocked him with, but of the fact that his parents had placed him there at all. And what if the other children were right and his parents were hiding something from him? Doubt and fear, anger and resentment...they all clouded his vision.

Rihan had done everything that a boy his age could do to find any sense of peace in his new life being so far removed from what it used to be. But no more. Rihan felt as though he could no longer contain that which needed some form of release, and even if he had not willed it, he’d met his limitation, so he would find his release.

Getting up from the floor, the usual calm of temperance about him brewed quickly into a rage as he covered the distance between himself and the bratty youth upon whom his hatred had become the focus. Before Barton could react, Rihan had taken a handful of the other boy’s hair and yanked him from the bench he’d been seated on. The boy cried out at first, dropping the utensils in hand; but his surprise was soon funneled into a bestial growl as his hands came up to grab at his attacker.

Rihan dove over the boy as soon as he went down, gripping again at Barton’s disheveled hair in order to beat his head into the stone floor. Barton’s hands threw punches wildly, and as Rihan’s weight shifted with one of the boy’s strikes, able to roll Rihan off of him. Barton straddled Rihan now and took another swing at his face, landing the blow solidly, which nearly put Rihan’s teeth through his lip.

When Rihan’s head snapped back hitting the floor, he was left with a pounding ache in the back of his skull, but that alone wasn’t enough to stop him in such a state. One hand brushed against the knife that had dropped to the floor, taking it in hand and in the blindness of his rage, gave a swipe! The blade gave a deep cut across Barton’s forearm, slicing open a gash that immediately issued a terrible outpouring of blood. Rihan’s bully gave a howl, removing himself in order to retreat and lick his wounds.

Feeling victorious at first, Rihan was still a little dazed and adrenaline filled his veins; but he had little time to enjoy his victory before their activities were found out. As soon as the noise escalated enough to be overheard in the main kitchen, some of the adult staff began appearing through the door. The Headwoman’s assistant showed up, calming things down and soon after, the Steward came to take Rihan away.



Rihan felt like a prisoner. He was too busy struggling with his own anger and anticipating the wrath of his father to notice where he was being taken, so when the Steward brought him to a small but empty and open room near the entrance to the Hold, he was unable to hide his surprise. With a handful of Rihan’s shirt collar, the Steward hauled him to the middle of the room and then dropped him to face the door. Clamoring to stay on his feet, 12 year old Rihan would have remained standing but for the fact that the Steward knocked his knees from under him, taking hold of his shoulder to force him to the ground. Fighting to get up for a moment, he quickly learned that there was no use in struggling; and just as he realized it, a shadow cast itself over him. Looking up toward its source, he found his father before him, barring the door.

Rihan found himself not only angry now, but afraid. He knew his actions had most likely angered and disappointed his father -the father from whom all he desired was approval and love! Indeed, when Rihan’s eyes searched the Lord Holder’s expression, disappointment was evident there. But more than that, sorrow became a prominent feature worn there. Witnessing such an expression on his father’s face caused Rihan to feel something akin to sickness in his gut. It was cold and hard and it made him feel miserable. Much of the boy’s defiance seemed to melt away at that.

Lord Matoi’s expression hardened a bit as he nodded to the Steward who responded by stepping back from Rihan.

The boy remained there, his eyes fixated upon his father in that moment, deciding to accept whatever punishment his father had in mind for him. He was angry and wanted to admit no remorse for the fight that had taken place, but he would still take responsibility for his actions. Barton only got what he had coming to him.

The Holder didn’t wait to begin admonishing him. “Rihan, I am beyond furious with you! If I had it in me, I would beat you senseless for what you have done.” It was obvious that Matoi was choosing not to speak all of the words crossing his mind at that moment, because he stopped abruptly and with a kind of disagreeable huff, seemed to swallow the rest of those thoughts.
“One of my servants is injured because of you. What could have possessed you to go at him with a knife?”

Rihan wiped the blood from his swollen lip with the back of his hand, having finally looked down, no longer able to meet the eyes of the one he’d disappointed. Knowing there was no excuse for his actions that his father would accept, he chose not to answer. Quietly, he considered his situation.
Though he knew he had done wrong, he felt as though he could justify it. Slowly he stood, meeting his father’s eyes again, wanting to be able to explain himself man to man. He’d always known his father to be a fair man, so he had to hear his own son out. Once his father had heard his side of the story, surely he would be more understanding.

Lord Matoi’s backhand however, jarred Rihan before he’d even risen completely. The boy found himself back on his hands and knees as his father reprimanded, “You have no right to stand before me. You have disgraced yourself and as my son, have likewise disgraced me! In my own Hold! But.. this will be good for you. Sit back on your heels properly. If you’re going to ask forgiveness you will do so formally. Sekujo is your punishment.”

Rihan’s eyes revealed surprise, though he had no true understanding yet of the anguish that awaited him. Still a child, he’d never been made to sit in Sekujo for longer than a few minutes -that was his ‘time out’- but he had heard stories about the truth of the punishment. If maintained for any real length of time, it could be considered torture. Only a handful of times in his life had he ever heard of anyone made to suffer it for longer than half a day. Then something dawned on him; that’s right, Sekujo is what this room was designated for. Groaning inwardly to himself, he dreaded being left here of all places.

Still on his hands and knees, Rihan felt a bit of a resurgence of the defiant spirit within him. He needed his father to hear him out, “I was protecting myself! I’ve done everything you or anyone else asked me to, and I’ve followed every order given without complaining, and still, all the other kids do is torture me! I work as hard as anyone else! Harder, even! Is that not enough... to make you happy, dad?” Why couldn't his father be happy with him!? What would it take?!

Matoi’s reply came sharply, “Any canine can follow a command! Any drudge can do what he’s told. Is that all that my son amounts to?! Is my own son no more than a canine?” Lord Holder Matoi seemed more furious than he’d ever been in Rihan’s memory. Such scathing words brought the shimmer of tears to the boy’s eyes while his jaw set in tight constriction, binding the emotion-filled words stored behind them.

Rihan was better than that. Why couldn’t his father see it in him?! Rihan continued to feel utterly cast off by his own family. He wanted to lash out at them for treating him so poorly when he’d done nothing to deserve it. In that moment, he wasn’t sure he had the resolve to ‘persevere’ anymore.

Growing quiet, Matoi gaged his son’s response, knowing full well that this was an extremely difficult thing for the boy that he was being made to suffer through -but the Lord Holder had his own methods and would have it no other way than to set Rihan on the right track to being the best Holder they’d had yet. Even if Rihan couldn’t understand that yet. Witnessing the simmer of fighting spirit within the boy’s eyes turn over into a mixture of sorrow and confusion, anger and silent pleading, Matoi spoke more kindly, “Rihan, I have always been proud of you. Don’t ever doubt that. And you will always be my son, but no son of mine will remain an heir to this Hold unless he can do better than become a mere canine. The people of Telgar deserve better than that.

“Listen to me well! You may complete your tasks, but you do them without the full conviction of your heart. You may try to exist harmoniously amoungst others, but you do so without learning from them or cherishing them. As long as you go about your life mindlessly, keeping only your own good in mind, you will never depart from this downward spiraling path. However,” the Lord Holder let a passing sigh between his lips as he went to kneel beside his son to set a reassuring hand on his shoulder. “If amounting to no more than a canine is all you were meant to do in life, then you may choose it. Or,...if you were born to achieve great things, then you may choose to put all of the energy of your heart and mind into whatever you do, being mindful of what you must learn from it all. Do not underestimate the reasons why I have allowed you to serve others for once in your life.

"If being Telgar’s next Lord Holder is what you truly aspire to be, then remember this: in order to be a great ruler, one must first be ruled -remember what it feels like- and any man given the power of a Lord Holder must be able to control his heart. First and foremost, that is most important. You must possess more control than any of them. When you can do all of those things, I will allow you to progress in your preparations to become the next Lord Holder.”
Rihan’s father stood again, making his way back to the door as Rihan sat back on his heels, finding some consolation in the words the words his father shared.

Rihan’s anger began to subside as he felt the merciful reassurances of his father’s love for him. He had not been abandoned by his father after all. Though he wanted little more than to rebel against such cruel methodology, there was something logical... something of deeper meaning he could perceive within the manner of education his father had chosen for him; so, Rihan decided to respect his father’s wishes once more, and this time, he would wear the Promise of his father as his armour in order to help him find the strength within himself to make it through the challenges presented him.

Young Rihan made a promise to himself that day as well; he would never be a mere canine -not in his father’s eyes, nor anyone’s!

From the threshold, Lord Matoi watched as the anger in Rihan’s eyes slowly transfigured into a renewed and fierce determination. With that, he knew the boy would make something of himself. That made Matoi very glad -he even smiled- but Rihan was still in trouble for now.

The Holder let several moments go by in silence before he addressed his son again. The volume of his voice was not raised, but firmness remained present, “If you are not already sorry for your actions, you will learn to be apologetic for them by remaining in Sekujo. If your heart is as pure as I know it is and you are already apologetic, you will express the depth of your remorse by remaining in Sekujo. I will let you know when forgiveness is granted. If you desire my forgiveness, do not move from the kneel until then.”

In a manner of thoughtful soliloquy as he turned to walk from the room, Matoi breathed, “My son, I expect much from you...but is it too much I wonder?” With that, Rihan was left with the dreadful sense that he’d unfairly betrayed his father and must now make amends; for the sake of his father and the sake of his own future.


Rihan remained seated back on his heels in a manner that might seem in repose. Far from being restful however, he would be situated in the position for several hours where legs were painfully tucked under him. It was a formal way to show his subservience and express his deepest apologies, and after a while, well, he wasn’t sure he could feel his legs anymore. The boy also hadn’t eaten anything all day, nor been able to get up to relieve himself.

The sun had traversed overhead from morning until it passed beyond the horizon, leaving the stars to become most prominent in the sky. It was after this much time had passed that his father returned to him, and it seemed as though he might cry to see his son in such a state. Rihan was much too dreary to have noticed it however. There was hunger and there was pain. The boy's posture was a bit slumped, but he dare not lean onto his hands for support or move his legs to allow blood to flow back into them. He was exhausted from sitting so formally for so many hours on end.. and he hadn't been able to hold his urine for as long as had been demanded.
With eyes struggling to remain open, young Rihan thought to himself, "So this...this is what it's like?" No matter what, he dared not get up. The pride he found in pleasing his father and overcoming the challenges presented to him overcame any possible shame he could have felt over messing himself.

Lord Matoi motioned for his steward to take Rihan from the floor where he sat and carry him to his own bed for the night after being bathed and seen to by a healer. Unable to move by himself, Rihan had difficulty not shedding tears again. Not because of his excruciating discomfort, but because he knew that he had overcome one of the first big challenges in line to his father's accepting him as the future Lord Holder of Telgar. That, and his father would finally be happy with him again. Holding that knowledge alone, made the entire experience worth experiencing.

=========================================================================


Taking pause to allow them both to stand and appreciate the Main Hall's design, Rihan was fully attentive of Drien's thoughts as he continued answering the question, this time a bit more seriously. Drien seemed to be imagining great things as he scratched on the little Gold's neck and gazed out across the expansive room, but as soon as he broke from his reverie, Rihan led them to the far end of the Main Hall. There, they could see where a stone staircase ascended four more levels from here. The first three levels had been built so that they wrapped around the main hall on three sides from above, each floor having balconies that allowed those on the upper levels to look down and gain an aerial perspective of the Hall below. Three wings of the main Hold split off from these three sides in their own direction, being designed to interconnect at certain intervals on every level through secretive or narrow passageways, sometimes hidden by large frames of art work hung on the walls.

Rihan explained, "These lower wings are for the kitchen, food storage, and servant staff, to the left of us; in the opposite direction, the Guard is housed; the wing in front of us is for offices, infirmary, and living quarters for the elderly. The second level is mostly living space. The third level Right Wing is my own; the third level Central Wing is for my future wife; and the third level Left Wing for my future Steward and Headwoman and storage. The fourth floor is yet to be designated."

Guiding Drien from the hall past the stairs toward the first of the large offices and private meeting rooms that lined either side of the Central Wing corridor, Rihan, led them to this one: The Amber Room. Though Drien may have been correct in his assessment that most of Telgar River Hold was grande, but not overly pretentious, this room, was the one space that Rihan had truly indulged in. There were windows with large bronze shutters to secure them in a time of Thread that lined the far side of the meeting room. A single large table with enough chairs to seat 12 was situated at the center of the room with a long golden and amber hued cloth runner down the length of it, an ornate, gold candelabrum and crystal bowls displaying fruit became the table's centerpieces. The floor was warmly coloured hardwood and the walls were like none seen on Pern before. It was as if nigh every surface had been painted in gold. But no, there was little actual gold respectively in the room compared to the looks of it; every inch of the room's walls rather, had been faced in stones of Amber, carrying the warmth of the natural stone as the theme throughout the entire room. Since the continent this far north was covered in many of Pern's coniferous trees, it was easier to come by the amber made from their sap than from mines further south. Many wall sconces were situated along these walls where periodic displays of mirrors were used to create a fantastical array of reflective lighting, causing the entire space to glow with absolutely regal warmth.

Rihan opened the double 'French' doors for his cousin, leading the way into the private meeting room, and with a sweep of his arm in gesture, presented the spectacular space to Drien. "This, my dear couz, ...this is my Amber Room."



The young Lord of Telgar strode to the center of the room, grazing fingertips of his left hand upon the table's surface just before crisply turning about on a heel to face Drien again. "And here is where I must trouble you once more. I need to assign a proper Steward for my Hold. I would like for you to fill that position."





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PostSubject: Re: A business proposal for Drien   Sun Nov 04, 2012 10:28 am




Following Rihan through the rest of the large structure, he tried to take in all the information given him. It was indeed impressive, he thought again. The rooms and corridors and staircases, were lovely on their own, but the space begged people. It was destined to be beloved home to many, he was sure. And it sounded like his cousin had thought of and planned for most everything.

Veil alternatingly flew into the highest corners then sat attentively on his shoulder. He wasn’t the only one enjoying the tour.

As they moved into the final room, Drien mouth actually fell agape for a moment before he could right himself. He’d never seen another place like it. This indeed surpassed the word opulent. The Amber Room was a lot to take in and Veil quieted on his shoulder as her human was stilled in awe. “Cousin,” he breathed.

"And here is where I must trouble you once more.
I need to assign a proper Steward for my Hold.
I would like for you to fill that position."


His look of wonderment shifted slightly to astonishment as his gaze came to rest on Rihan. Later he would be glad that the mixed jumble of thoughts passing through his mind just then hadn’t reached his mouth. He would really ask him to take on certain authority in a place like this? Truthfully, he knew that’s where his talents lay, but such a place? Such a new and wonderful place? The expression on his face made it clear the request had not been anticipated.

Veil began to chitter as her chosen’s mind whirled. She rubbed her head against his cheek both to soothe and to share his excitement.

“I...” Drien began, his hand reaching automatically to reassure the little queen. He gaze traveled the room once more before returning to his cousin. “I trust your judgement, Lord Rihan,” he said with all the formality he could muster, adding a fluid bow to his statement, “I’d be honoured.”


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PostSubject: Re: A business proposal for Drien   Sun Nov 04, 2012 11:40 am

Rihan



Stifling the smile that would have otherwise come over him, Rihan was glad of the awed response when his cousin viewed the Amber Room for the first time. He was sure most responses would be similar the first time around, and that pleased him. Rihan wanted Telgar River Hold to be a magnificent destination for vacation and hosting spectacular gathers when he took his father's place at Telgar proper one day. He wanted that to be the case now, as well.


“I trust your judgement, Lord Rihan,”... “I’d be honoured.”


Rihan was all smiles when Drien's response was positive. Lengthening his stride to close the distance between himself and Drien, he clapped both hands on his cousin's shoulders amicably before embracing him. Standing an arm's length away then, he expressed himself in words, "I know it's a lot of trouble to ask of you, but I am so glad you'll do it! I knew I could count on you. Thank you. Thank you!"

Eyes lighting up even more, Rihan continued, "We can have a feast tonight, the two of us! Tomorrow you can send word to your father and we'll have your things moved here."

Rihan was so pleased by the occasion, he seemed much lighter on his feet as he strode back in the direction of the doorway. "I will tell the cooks to prepare a special meal. If you'd like to freshen up, you know where your new quarters are. I'll have food served to us here in the Amber Room privately. I will return shortly."


[phase out...end of scene]


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