tagSci-Fi & FantasyTri-ethereal Ch. 05

Tri-ethereal Ch. 05


Over the next two months Lord Kennington only came to see me and John twice. He and Lord Kartier were too busy acquiring votes that would repeal the anti-Trimorph laws. Lord Kennington worked openly and directly while Lord Kartier worked his magic covertly. He had to because he is King Andrew's Chief of Staff. Tri-etherealian etiquette does not allow him to take sides in any proposal before the royal council.

He would talk to Lords about coming to one of the king's dances or parties or charity bazaars and while doing so he also subtly solicited information on which way they were leaning so that Lord Kennington could later know how to approach them.

Taking a cue from Lord Kennington, he advised some civil aristocrats that there was a good chance that they would sell more anti-Trimorph charms as soon as Trimorphs were free again.

Finally, he informed all Unamorphs that King Andrew did not like prejudice or intolerance and that he favored the education of all Tri-etherealians. Most educated Tri-etherealians believe that Trimorphs should be free. It is mostly the uneducated who want to maintain the status quo.

They were both also working behind the scenes to get a new Presiding Officer who would favor repealing the anti-Trimorph laws. That took seven weeks; they were partially successful.

By law, the Lords are not allowed to participate in the selection of a new Presiding Officer. But that doesn't mean that they cannot let their opinions be known who they think ought to be elected. Of course, Lords from both sides -- those who favor the repeal of anti-Trimorph laws and those who want to maintain the status quo -- were out in full force.

They couldn't go near the roundhouse while the civil aristocrats were convening but there was nothing stopping them from meeting them in the restaurants and taverns or to go on weekend vacations with them.

In the end, the civil aristocrats elected a Mr. Sam, now Count Sam, from Lord Wilson's district, the district adjourning King Andrew's district. It is also the second to largest district in Tri-ethereal. The largest district is Lord Nyxion's district; King Andrew's district is the third largest. But King Andrew's district has the largest population of Tri-etherealians, with nearly a third of them living in the city of Norlen and another third living in the immediate outskirts of Norlen.

Count Sam is a big burly black banker. He has a full beard and mustache, a loud jovial laugh, a great sense of humor and he is quick with a joke. He loves to wear jewelry -- rings on his fingers, earrings and necklaces. He is said to be as honest as an angel and as impartial as a mother hen with her chicks. Lord Kennington said that it was these latter qualities that were the determining factor in electing him as Presiding Officer. Both sides wanted someone they could trust.

He was also elected because he is somewhat non-committal on all the corrupt anti-Trimorph laws. He doesn't believe that the anti-Trimorph laws are fair and just but he also believes that as long as the laws are on the books then they should be enforced.

Both Lord Kartier and Lord Kennington are hoping that he will help them get the laws repealed. But when they asked him privately he refused to give them an answer. The only thing he did was give them wink, as if to say, 'I'm on your side but don't ask me to commit myself.'

The first time Lord Kennington visited us was three days after the escape attempt. He gave me some candles; John was in deep transition. Lord Clyton refused to relax the law allowing us use of the lantern after everyone went to bed. To be truthful I guess I really can't blame him. But he did allow us the use of a candle as long as we only burn one candle at a time. Both John and I are thankful for that. We can use the lantern from sunset till we are told to put it out at the last bed check.

The second time Lord Kennington visited was this morning. I was in deep transition. I was glad because he and John talked politics. He told John that he and Lord Kartier had gotten two more Lords to promise to vote to repeal the anti-Trimorph laws. That gives them a total of nineteen committed to vote yes and seven leaning that way for a total of twenty-six votes.

The bad news is that the opposition gained one vote, Lord Vetter. That gives them a total of fifteen votes. That's bad because that only leaves four Lords who have not committed themselves either way. If any of those Lords vote to keep the laws the way they are, then there won't be enough votes to overturn the laws. It takes a minimum of thirty votes to overturn an existing law.

But Lord Kennington said that they might not be able to keep that one vote or a couple of others. The way they gained the vote of Lord Vetter was through pure greed. Lord Vetter and a couple of other Lords were looking for a way to increase their wealth. Lord Rygon promised to help finance the construction of a couple of brothels in their districts -- he is the wealthiest Lord in Tri-ethereal.

Most prostitutes set up business for themselves in their own brothels. But they have to borrow the money to either buy an existing building then turn it into a brothel or to construct one. Those who can't do either of these set up business in a tavern.

Anyway, with the addition of a brothel or two in their districts, the Lords of the districts are sure to increase their wealth through taxes.

When Lord Vetter asked Lord Rygon why he was willing to finance the construction, Lord Rygon told him outright that it was to secure his vote to keep all the anti-Trimorph laws on the books. Lord Vetter smiled and told Lord Rygon that if he would help finance the construction of a couple of brothels in his district then he could count on his vote. Rumor has it that Lord Vetter frequently uses the services of prostitutes.

When Lord Kennington found out about what the two of them were doing, he decided to pull off a clever political move himself.

He introduced a measure this morning that put a moratorium on all new construction until after John and I are banished from the kingdom. Lord Kennington used as an excuse an ancient law that he discovered in the book of banishment that says that the upkeep of Stonebridge takes precedent over new construction.

Both Lord Rygon and Lord Vetter objected to the proposal but Count Sam said that Lord Kennington was within his rights. That was his first official pronouncement as Presiding Officer of the royal council.

By the way, it took Lord Kennington three weeks to "find" the book in which it is described how to exile a Trimorph. He told John that he filed it with some ancient cook books. Then he waited until the time was right to "discover" that it had been misfiled.

According to the book, banishment into unconsciousness and paralysis to Corporeal must be done at Stonebridge precisely at sunset during the winter solstice. The Trimorphs who are to be banished are forced to drink a mixture of vinegar and ground up hemlock leaves. It's either that or have their heads chopped off. But more importantly the book says that a Trimorph cannot be banished to Corporeal unless Stonebridge is tip top shape.

Since Stonebridge is in disrepair, then it must be rebuilt before we are to be exiled; it has been a pile of broken rocks for about 4700 years. The good thing about that is that it will take years to reconstruct the stone monuments.

When asked how other Trimorphs were banished 75 years ago without rebuilding Stonebridge, Lord Kennington said that that happened before he was born, that any Lord who wished an answer to that question should consult those Lords who were alive at that time. They're all dead.

Lord Kennington has a resourceful way of avoiding questions he does not want to answer.

When he was asked whether or not he was introducing the moratorium just to prevent me and John from being exiled, he responded that he puts the law above everything. The law says that Stonebridge must be rebuilt before we are to be banished.

He also has a resourceful way of keeping me and John in Tri-ethereal and alive as long as possible.

His proposal immediately opened up a new can of worms. Some Lords took the position that Stonebridge must be rebuilt in its entirety. That would take a minimum of fifteen to twenty years or longer. Of course, the Lords who favored doing this were those who are supportive of repealing all the corrupt anti-Trimorph laws. They are also against our exile.

Other Lords said that for a simple banishment of a Trimorph only a partial reconstruction was necessary. But even this would take a year or two.

Then there is the cost. According to the ancient book of banishment, every district of Tri-ethereal must contribute to the reconstruction of Stonebridge. Stone cutters, masons, architects and laborers must be hired. While they are rebuilding the monument they must be housed and fed. Their families must also be taken care of.

Many of the huge stones that make up the monument have fallen over. These have to be up righted. Other stones are broken, cracked or chipped. Replacement stones must be cut from the nearby mountain and hauled to the site. Still other stones are missing completely, only their foundations are present. No one knows what these stones are to look like and how they go into the overall makeup Stonebridge.

No sooner had this been brought to the attention of the Lords when the entire royal council broke into an uproar. There were questions as to how much money each district should have to contribute. Was it to be based upon the size of the district or the size of the population in the district?

Since Stonebridge is on the southern edge of the king's district, many voiced the opinion that they should not have to pay for its repair. Others believed that the king's district should shoulder a larger responsibility for its repair.

There were questions on when construction should start. Some Lords even questioned whether or not anyone in Tri-ethereal possessed the right skills to rebuild Stonebridge.

There was so much pandemonium that Count Sam had to call for an adjournment of the meeting. He suggested that those who had questions to put them in writing and that he would read each one. Then at their next meeting committees could be formed to look into the answer for each question.

It's going to be a long time before John and I are banished from Tri-ethereal.

As the Lords were bustling out of the royal council Lord Kartier, who had been sitting in the stands watching the proceedings, pulled Lord Kennington aside and congratulated him on his excellent politics. He asked the Keeper of the Records if he realized that with his introduction of the moratorium he singlehandedly nearly overthrew all the anti-Trimorph laws and practically guaranteed a pardon for me and John.

Lord Kennington said that he hadn't intended to do all that. He only wanted to forestall our exile for a little while until they could get enough votes to overthrow the laws.

Lord Kartier suggested to Lord Kennington that he might want to suggest to the Lords that it would be cheaper and easier to just repeal the corrupt laws and have the royal council vote to overturn the royal courts guilty verdict of Johanna and John.

Then with the Trimorphs free and John and I given a pardon, Stonebridge would not have to be rebuilt and the moratorium could be lifted.

But either way, Lord Kennington is very happy. His proposal effectively killed Lord Vetter's vote and it may even sway some of the other Lords to vote to overturn the laws and pardon me and John. That's because it's going to take a long time to rebuild Stonebridge. That's true whether it is decided to completely rebuild it or just give it a partial reconstruction. Lord Vetter and the others are not going to want to wait years and years before they can have more brothels built in their districts.

Lord Kennington said that he has his fingers crossed for good luck.

John revealed all this to me after we went through union this afternoon. After we went through union, I asked him to play a game or two of chess with me and we talked while we were playing. Now that I understand the strategy of chess, I'm getting to enjoy the game. I've even come close to beating John once or twice -- he let me take back a couple of moves -- and I defeated William Jr. several times. Although, he beats me almost every time we play.

John says that William Jr. is an excellent chess player. He says that the boy only lacks experience playing. Once William gets more experience John is sure that he will stop making blunders -- that's how I beat him the few times that I did.

They play together almost every time they meet. The only time that William and I play is when he hasn't played John in a day or so.

I once asked William if there were others his age in Norlen who played chess. He told me that there are no commoners that he knows of who know how to play the game. Chess sets cost a lot of money and most commoners don't have the extra funds to buy a set. As for the Unamorphs, most of them won't play him. He said that they give him numerous excuses but it all boils down to prejudice. They don't want to play him because he's a commoner.

Non-Trimorphs who are prejudice really make me angry. I'm not talking about those who live in the eastern parts of Tri-ethereal in Lord Rovelt's district. Everyone knows that they are self righteous, intolerant, ignorant cockroaches. John and I call them cockroaches because their philosophy and their brand of politics feed off of lies, excrement and garbage.

I'm talking about those who claim to be champions of equality and justice for everyone but who are subtly just as prejudiced as those who are outwardly nothing but cockroaches, especially commoners.

Commoners have been, and still are to some extent, discriminated against by Unamorphs. Yet many of them are just as prejudiced as the most prejudice of the Unamorphs.

Ever since King Andrew ascended to the thrown there has been a movement throughout Tri-ethereal to end all the discrimination. King Andrew and Queen Marina are very good monarchs. Both of them are dedicated to truth, justice and equality for all Tri-etherealians.

King Andrew frequently has lavish dinners; the guests have to pay a fee to attend. But the king gives all the profits to charity. He gives ten percent of his tax revenues to feed, clothe and house those in need. He has made it a rule that those knights who are in training to become a palace guard must live among the commoners for six months, helping them out in numerous ways. He is the first monarch to do that.

Queen Marina is the first monarch to go among the commoners to find out what they need instead of having her aides do it for her. She has gone into some of the poorest communities in every district of Tri-ethereal, sat with them, eaten with them and learned first hand of their needs and wants. No other queen has ever done that.

It is largely due to their efforts that Trimorphs, for the first time in centuries, can look to the future with the knowledge that someday we will be free.

The movement started out slow. The wheels of justice move that way. The first thing King Andrew did was to choose a Chief of Staff, Lord Kartier, who believes as he does, that everyone is equal in the eyes of God and the law. He has had Lord Kartier ever so subtly and with the greatest of diplomacy work to convince the other Lords that it would be in their best interest to end the discrimination as soon as possible.

The king apologized to Lord Kennington for not choosing him as his Chief of Staff. He told the Keeper of Records that the reason he didn't choose him is because, as Keeper of Records, he is one of the most influential Lords in all of Tri-ethereal.

Another very influential Tri-etherealian is the king's Chief of Staff. No matter who the king selects, he immediately becomes a magnet for those who wish an audience with the king. This by itself gives him a lot of political power because you cannot see the king unless his Chief of Staff first approves it. Indeed, one cannot even get a ticket to one of the king's charity dinners without his Chief of Staff's approval.

Anyway, King Andrew told Lord Kennington that since he chose another Lord who had a similar philosophy to their own, then the Chief of Staff, working with the Keeper of Records, would be like having a double punch against the opposition.

Lord Kennington accepted King Andrew's explanation with a smile.

Of course, many Lords are still deeply entrenched in their positions of authority, clinging to their own standardized and sanitized philosophies and maintaining the status quo. Converting them to change was and will continue to be an arduous task.

The second thing King Andrew did was to introduce the requirement that all potential palace guards would have to live and work among the commoners for six months before becoming one of his personal body guards. They have to help the commoners harvest their crops, care for their livestock, work in their shops, help them repair their cottages and, most importantly, teach their children how to read and write. This is done mostly in the king's own district of Norlen.

Next the king had Lord Kennington introduce several proposals into the royal council that would make life easier for the commoner. For example, he had Lord Kennington introduce a measure that forbid Unamorphs from working commoners before sunup or after sundown, a measure that gave them Sundays off, and the king created a new office -- the department of education -- and appointed Lord to fill it.

Finally, he introduced a proposal that the Unamorphs of each district must look out for the welfare of the old and those in poor health.

Each of these proposals was voted into law within the first two years of his ascending to the thrown; although the latter proposal was modified somewhat.

He is constantly looking for ways to lower the taxes the commoners must pay -- he offsets the loss in revenues by raising the taxes rich Unamorphs must pay.

He has palace guards reporting to Lord Kartier on the state of the living conditions of those commoners they service. He does this so that Lord Kartier can suggest how they can be better served.

He has Lord Kartier looking into how the Unamorphs in the other districts can help out the commoners in their districts, as the palace guards do in the king's district, especially teaching the children of the commoners how to read and write.

King Andrew is truly a commoner's king.

Anyway, the king's good will began to permeate all of Tri-ethereal. Soon Tri-etherealians of all ranks began to change. They began to be tolerant of those whom they perceived to be different. They began to help out their neighbors in times of need; they were friendlier, cooperative and supportive.

Environmental projects were begun to clean up the streams, ponds, parks and children's playgrounds. Civic projects were begun to repair bridges, roads, public buildings, monuments -- except Stonebridge -- and even books and libraries. Everyone even began to put their garbage out to be collected instead of just throwing it into the streets.

But most important tri-ethrealians, both Unamorph and commoner alike, began to demand an end to all the discrimination.

Of course, as I said, there were still many Unamorphs and commoners -- too many of them -- who were deeply entrenched in their corrupt beliefs, clinging to their standardized and sanitized philosophies and wanting to maintain the status quo.

But the ones who really get me angry are those who have been discriminated against the most, yet are prejudice themselves. They claim to be champions of equality and justice for everyone but they are nothing but hypocrites.

For example, there is this civil aristocrat who owns a bank here in Norlen. He loans money to Unamorphs and commoners but he charges commoners a slightly higher interest. He claims that's because the commoners are less likely to pay their note. The truth is that he can charge the commoners a higher interest and get away with it, so he does.

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