Normality in Hisra
Back to life,
The rhythm of days in the Citadel was restored. The ilin would arise before dawn, put on their practice armour and take one or two of their rocca and shoot the hare. They would return and attend upon all their rocca and then bathe before taking brunch in their quarters. They would then put on their field armour and make their way to the Lyrond. There the Prince would sit on his low dais and his ilin would sit in serried ranks upon the floor. The political business of the day would be done. Then the afternoon would be disposed according to the Prince’s earlier instruction. In the evening, best and parade armours would be worn and all the ilin, indis and gwen would dine together in the lyrond. Thus was the natural flow of days in any great citadel of the empire.
Now that the guests had departed the new Lord of Hisra could assemble all of his ilin in his Lyrond. Forgileill of course, sat with others of her station near the dais. Her ilin sat very nearly at the back. Kamilata was sat between his comrades; he was to copy Tûd in front of him whilst accepting corrections to his deportment from Thranduil, who entered behind him.
As they were sat on their cushions, Tûd whispered to Kamilata “One of the frustrating things in being at one of these courts is the lack of exchange of ideas. It's quite typical for it just to be a place to report information, so it's not the kind of aggressive throwing around of ideas that one experiences at a briefing in the field. It’s as if this, the sitting of the formal court, is purely to set out things that are already fact.”
“Is that why most of these periods of negotiation that we’ve attended have been almost all posture and long silences?”
Thranduil answered “You don't negotiate in public. What you do in formal situations like this is find out the position of the other side. You compare positions and then you negotiate outside the meetings, so don't expect too much from court sittings like this. You've got to make private appointments and meet in the evenings or on the practice field and then they find out what people really think.
There are many people that have to be consulted and there is often this process they go through of pre-consultation. And then you have a meeting to actually take the decision but the decision has in fact already been taken, but you can't act on it. Only after its final endorsement in court can it be acted upon.”
Kamilata mused for a moment. Careful to keep his voice down, he noted “I have not seen the Lords move about much after they were dismissed from the Emperor’s dinner. However, I have noted that for a Princess of the Gwathló, a former Carnc, one of the blood of the High King of the Ancient Realm, Jadhrim did an almost unseemly amount of rushing about.”
“She’s the chief negotiator for the Gwathló at this time. It’s normal for a house to appear to hold back one of its rising stars so that they aren’t promoted too high to negotiate. Using someone of her rank is the usual method of negotiation on the Golden Hill. It happens when the Clan Chiefs or Lords have met and there's a difference of opinion, which they wouldn't show in public.”
There was silence as one Carnc or other entered and they all bowed their heads in his direction as he passed on his way to the front. His ilin sat behind Forgileill’s whispering ilin.
“They'll1 inform their immediate subordinates what the situation is and they instruct those subordinates to go out with their senior ilin and thrash out the sticky points with their equivalents within the other camp. And this is where they'll talk in a much more friendly way and be much more frank about their position. Then they come back to their Lyio and report what's happened. And the Lyio will say, "Right, when you go out with them, suggest this and this," and gradually you can see points resolved in an informal way and if there's a refusal it’s not in court and the Lyio of either camp don't lose face. Most of this happens either whilst shooting the hare or in the evening, after dinner has formally ended.”
“How do we fit in? Why are we kept here for this?” asked Kamilata.
Tûd answered again “So that all of the ‘official’ proclamations of the courts are known and understood by all of that Lyio’s ilin. By your sheer presence, you bear witness to the dispensing of justice, declaration of war, setting of taxes and so on. Plus of course these are lessons for your future, as your Lyio rises in stature, so do her ilin. These are your lessons.”
“How now?” asked Thranduil of Tûd, a gentle test of his ilin lore.
Tûd had to think to answer “Never negotiate in public. Use court or a formal meeting only for the exchange of positions. The ilin classes like to take their time during meetings. Silence is used to create a space for thinking. After they've finished their thinking process they'll speak. Don't put pressure on people. Use the relative informality of the practice field and evening hours to socialise and gently negotiate. The decision making process involves the consultation of the whole team, but the decision will be made by consensus, therefore no ilin will display any individuality. Harmony is everything. Don’t express doubts or criticism publicly; find subtle ways of asking questions.”
On the third day, Alu Canath had worked through his tasks as Prince, in order of urgency and had come to Forgileill. She was called from amongst the ilin (she sat in the second row from the dais, on the Prince’s left). With quiet efficiency she unfolded from the sitting position, the velvet lining and soft almost black silken braiding of her yicduroh making little sound as she moved to the supplicant’s position before the Prince.
She sank gracefully to her knees before him, fists on her knees and bowed her head for the appropriate pause of a princess to a prince. She looked him in the eye. He smiled. “You have no Lyio here, princess of my father’s house. Your aunt tells me that your family wish you to attend upon the Grand Assembly of Arch Magi, pending certain preparations.”
“The Gwathló have asked that I find you a place until such time as you are called to Saironost.” Uncertainty gripped her innards like an icy claw. There was no knowing what this might mean.
Forgileill nodded. Yes, she knew that Kcasamenzay would deliver her to the Assembly whether she wanted it or not. No-one behind her or even to the side could see her biting her bottom lip. She hoped that Alu Canath hadn’t seen it either. If he did he showed no sign but continued. “I will not allow brigands to run loose in Hisra. [Gentle laughter from the ilin at their Lyio’s jest] Therefore you will go to Ulria. You will become ilin to the Carnc there2 and discharge your duties as best you can.”
Well, that told her. The Prince reached behind himself and picked up some sort of banner. “This was left to you by your cousin Jadhrim. It was her banner in Teddin and also when she rode abroad in Sharifika. It is yours now.” He passed the banner to his son, the only other sat on the dais, who took it with both hands and stepped down, towards Forgileill. He sank to his knees and, holding the banner horizontally with both hands, bowed his head and wordlessly offered it to Forgileill.
Bowing her head to the banner, with two hands she accepted it. She could now see that it was a back banner, the kind that fix to an ilin’s lumber arrow block. If it had been Jadhrim’s and Forgileill wore it, then she would of course be the inheritor of Jadhrim’s standing in Hisra, people would assume that she was as calm, experienced, and powerful as her older, calmer, more experienced, Blackrobe cousin. Fienthin’s words returned to her. It would also mean that some of the more dutiful souls and sprits of the Vesve would follow her to their deaths on the assumption that she was doing ‘the right thing’. As opposed to the reality of them following her to their deaths because she didn’t actually know anything. All of a sudden, that one lightweight piece of cloth weighed an awful lot.
“Thank you, uncle, for your confidence. I will strive to be worthy of this gift.” He nodded once in reply and prepared to move on to the next item on his agenda. “The truth has a good face but bad clothes, Forgileill.” He said as she bowed her head to the floor. He stopped and looked at her for a long moment. He was Glordin’s brother. He reminded her so much of her father. There was even that same surreptitious smile when he told her: “Do not chafe against your bridle, lest your muzzle become sore.” She nodded. She rose and resumed her place in his body of ilin, if anywhere was home now, it was Hisra.
 The Lords and/or heads Clans