A conversation with Rivanon
Elemix noticed Rivanon on deck. She was alone leaning on the port side rail, looking off into the distance and apparently lost in thought. She was indeed beautiful. While he was certain his dad had thought of the idea of Elemix and Rivanon together, Elemix hadn’t really considered such seriously.
What could Elemix offer her that she didn’t already have? El had no real interest in ruling or governing. His passions were research and study.The acquisition of knowledge – like his father before him. But then his father had married, and in fact managed to raise him and his siblings. He knew Peren loved Bella beyond words.
El gazed at Rivanon without realizing it. There she stood. So attractive and yet intelligent as well. It was that perhaps that intrigued him most about her – beyond her looks. El shook his head, his thoughts were drifting and he didn’t know why.
He hadn’t really thought about it before but the two conflicted. How had his dad managed to raise a family with a busy wife and an all encompassing job?
As he thought about that a moment longer he noticed Rivanon shift as though she had just finished whatever she had been thinking about, and then she turned and noticed him.
For a brief moment Elemix didn’t know what to say. But then he composed himself and said simply. “A nice evening isn’t it.”
“It is. Has been a long time since I sailed this far out from what has been home for nearly a decade. But I am looking forward to seeing Uzec again – the mountains especially. How are you?” she replied.
“Honestly,” replied Elemix, “I’m excited. I am doing what I have spent years studying and training to do in service to my guild and Thalassa.”
Elemix saw the look of questioning on Rivanons face at that response, and quickly continued. “I know it sounds funny. You probably think that is something I am supposed to say, but in reality that is what I am most passionate about. Serving society by finding answers to the unknown. Unlocking ancient secrets that serve to expand our knowledge base is really what drives me. As I am sure you know, knowledge is power and it has allowed this society to rise out of nothing to the glory that it is today. I hope to do my part to continue that tradition.”
Elemix turned his gaze away from Rivanon and out toward the horizon then. His voice changed from one of excitement to a more serious tone. “And also between you and I, I am nervous. The paths we must journey to gain those answers and gather information that has been lost to the ages, those paths are often very dangerous. This journey we have begun is no exception.” He turned and looked at Rivanon again. She was hard not to look at he thought briefly.
His tone lighted and a smile came to his face. “At least I have found you and the others with which to travel. I could not ask for better or more trusted friends. I know we haven’t known each other long, but I sense a strength in you that will aid us greatly. I am glad you are with us – whatever the circumstances.”
“To be honest as well magus, you don’t know me, none of you do,” she said with a knowing glance, “I appreciate the trust you offer, hopefully I will earn it, but I really don’t know any of you either. Even d’Cerisey really does not know me in any sense of truth. I know she was picked by my father and is genuine. I know she want’s to be like a sister to me. I know she wants to teach me something about life, hence the disguise and the sobriquet ‘River.’ I barely know you magus at all, or the former barbarian/former man, now Justicar, Sister Typhon. Or is it Tiffanie?”
“But you are right on two things at least. First, we are going into a dangerous path, we will be forced to trust one another quickly; and second, I am strong. I am my father’s daughter and more, a scion of two ruling houses. Duty is all I have ever known, and my duty is to apprentice to d’Cerisey, learn what she knows, help as I can, and grow as a future ruler. I will see it done and done well.” Elemix felt confidence in Rivanon, not unlike Vorn or even Master Peredhain. But they earned it. Her confidence could be arrogance of a sort, or the haughty manner the privileged often had; however, Elemix was fairly perceptive. At least she believed what she said and sounded much older than her years. It could simply be confidence in herself.
Elemix smiled.”I like your confidence. I believe you have done, and will continue to do your duty well. Just as I in helping to organize and participate in this venture am doing. And, you are right that we don’t know each other very well, I only met Emmiline and Tiffanie myself a few months ago. But I have come to know them well in a very short time. Well enough to understand their mindset, their feelings, and their motivations.”
At least he thought, he knew Tiffanie’s motivations. He wasn’t as certain of Emmilines, but he knew she meant well and his trust in her had grown ten fold since first meeting her. That was especially true when she agreed to go before the Wizards council.
“I only met your father briefly, but I could tell everything I needed to in that short time. He is strong, a good man, a great leader. He is someone people follow because he has the intangible qualities great men possess, and he cares about those he rules. Through this very conversation and the way you have presented yourself since I first met you several weeks ago I am coming to know the same from you and I am grateful for it. As you said you are your fathers daughter and I see those same strengths in you.”
Elemix stepped back and allowed her to think on what he had said. He wasn’t sure she believed him, but he was sure she believed in herself. Her will and her confidence would take her far. All that was left was to prove herself, and that much he was certain she would do on this journey.
After a moment he continued…
“At the bare minimum I should think we have all shown we trust each other, else we wouldn’t be on this journey. As for getting to know each other, well, that is the fun part.” Elemix smiled again, trying to liven her spirits, and hoping to get a smile in return. “What can I tell you about myself or the others? Remember now though, I get to ask questions about you as well.”
“Well magus, and if this is too forward please forgive me, but why are you a wizard? Your father is a respected academic and former librarian. Why did you follow your mother’s path instead of his?” She replied.
“Not at all,” returned Elemix. “Honestly I think it is due to having been raised by both of them. I always had an affinity and love of research but I find it somewhat lacking in excitement. Magic, as I am sure you would agree has excitement in abundance. I found I had an affinity for it at a young age as well.
True, learning magic and its applications comes at the cost of long periods of study and practice, but don’t forget I enjoy such things immensely.
Where my father spends all of his time in the library, being a Wizard affords me the opportunity to travel and apply what I have learned. I like that. Even though it is often a dangerous undertaking.”
Elemix smiled at the thought. “Maybe we Wizards are secretly thrill seekers – in a manner of speaking. I can’t say I enjoy the danger, but I do enjoy the journey and learning from the experience. For example, if I wasn’t a Wizard, it is highly unlikely you and I would be having this pleasant conversation.
And now your turn. Why did you decide to study law? Is it the obvious answer, that you want to prepare yourself to lead, or did you have a passion for it outside of duty? What excites you?”
“People fearing me,” she said half-joking. “In truth, I chose law because yes I have a duty to lead. I could have done this kind of training in the Watch or the Legion. I could have simply snapped up a husband and idled my days away making babies. Instead, I need to learn to fairly judge, see into the hearts of people, and convince them of the right way, defend them if they are wronged, or prosecute them should they break the law. But I cannot do that if I do not know what the law is. Legal ethics and morality are two very, very different things. I find that fascinating.”
Elemix listened to her intently. “Yes, I suppose I had never thought of it like that but you right indeed legality and morality are often not the same thing at all. And you are right to learn to live as those you rule do. It will only help you to judge fairly and be seen in the right light later when your time comes. I suspect your father gained some of his respect by interacting with the populace directly when he was younger, and by training with his men. Though he was never one of them really, I suspect there were times where his status was momentarily out of their minds and he was seen simply as one of them. Or at least, like one of them.” Elemix stopped briefly, as his attention was drawn to Sang off flying in the distance and diving for fish. Sang was a good companion. He felt the fun that Sang was having and was gladdened by it.
His gaze turned back to Rivanon then. “If it is not too bold of me, from what I am gathering I think while marrying isn’t something you would be against, you are nervous that you will be forced to take a back seat to a husband. If I am correct in that understanding, may I just say that any husband that did that when you are so capable would only prove himself to be a fool. You should find a man who challenges you in all the right ways when it comes to ruling. A man who complements your abilities. Not one who stifles them.”
She thought for a moment, “To be honest, I have no intension of sharing power or having an equal. A husband may question privately perhaps, but this is my duty as it was my father’s before me. Similarly I want to understand my people, help them, protect them, but I have no interest in being them. All my life has been scoped for this role. Should my father marry and have a son, then things may change.” She laughed a bit, “I’ve had two suitors reject me so far for my beliefs, and three others I rejected, all sent from my great-uncle. They want Uzec, not me,” she gazed out to sea, “I won’t be a prize to be won.”
Elemix listened. “I didn’t say an equal per se, but any husband I would think would have some rights of leadership. Right?” Elemix shifted, turned and leaned slightly with his back against the rail.
“I hope I have not overstepped my bounds. Forgive me as I am not so well informed as you as to how the rights of rulership fall and wouldn’t presume to be so. Remember we are learning from each other here.” Elemix smiled. “Oh and also, I didn’t say you should ever be one of your people. That much would never happen. But to be seen almost as one of them in their eyes. Always a leader and of noble birth, but also one who understands what it is to be them. To be seen as one who understands their troubles. A noble leader who is also an Uzec native true and true.
Still as you say, I suppose there are many who relish such a title. Seeking to gain power simply by marrying into it. And marrying one so beautiful to boot.
Forgive me for saying so, but if marrying you meant I would have to rule Uzec or somehow be seen as a challenger to your station, I wouldn’t be interested. I never had such aspirations. My primary goal for nearly as long as I can remember was simply to become a Wizard. Now that I am one, I find that goal has changed to become one of the best Wizards, and by that I can only hope to provide the most value possible to the guild, the library/academy, and Thalassa.” Elemix chuckled. “I don’t know what that really means yet, but I am working on it.”
He stood then and turned to her. For a moment he thought about saying that he disagreed with her statement. That she was a prize, but it had nothing to do with Uzec.
His head was spinning. Maybe it was the movement of the boat that was throwing him off. Saying THAT would certainly change things between them, and it was way to soon for that. Did he even want that? Wait, did he just tell her she was beautiful? What was he doing even bringing up the possibility of marrying her.? Did he really say he wouldn’t be interested? What was he saying? He was just trying to make a point, but was that really all he was doing? He had to change the subject, before he ruined their relationship.
“So uhh… have you ever been East of Uzec? I heard your father has a library. Would there by chance be anything of note there about Uzec or the lands to the East where we will be heading?
Ugh. He thought. Of course there would be something on Uzec in the Uzec library. Great transition. He stole a quick glance at her to see if she had read into anything he had been saying (or thinking), and then just as quickly he pretended to be noticing something with the sails.
She looked a bit puzzled, then said, “Yes?” She continued, “when I was very young I accompanied my father on a couple trips to Portreaux and Faou, but frankly I’ve been living on Thalassa for nearly a decade. My father has a library, including books of history, prose, poetry and some ancient dwarven and Eterian texts found years ago in the area by my grandfather.”
She paused and looked out to sea, “on your earlier question, the answer is no. Any husband of mine must marry me as a consort only. Period. That was my father’s gift to me to make that choice and nothing in my experience has changed that. Normally, less so on Thalassa frankly, men are first to inherit. If a woman inherits, traditionally her husband gets the title and he rules with her support. Some have joint rule. It is rare that a woman is sovereign and that is what I wish. I don’t think I am being selfish, I just think I’m the better person for the job,” she smiled a bit, “that…is a conceit, but a healthy one.”
I assume as far a marriage is concerned, you were merely being theoretical magus – using your experience as context, right? You hardly know me.”
Elemix tried to brush the question off. “Of course. Of course he said.” In truth, he certainly wasn’t ready to marry and he had no plans to do so any time soon. “We have a long journey ahead of ourselves and I look forward to getting to know you and the others better as time allows.”
Still, it didn’t hurt for her to know that he might be interested in seeing where their relationship were to go, and he was pretty certain she had picked up on that point. It was up to her to make the next move at some point down the road, if she was interested.
Hoping to put some distance between that subject, Elemix continued. “Do you think your father would be willing to allow Jocelyn to travel with us? We could certainly use her help. Especially if we encounter undead. We will need to prepare for them specifically. What else though, I don’t yet know.”
She thought for a second, “I do not know my father’s mind on that. I never met Sister Jocelyn – assuming that is who you are talking about. One thing that bothers me though. As you know, I will be journeying incognito. Once we hit the shore, I am River Celeste, a Savonian ex-patriate minstrel. It is a part I will play to learn about the human condition. Feel free to call me River, M’mselle Celeste, or whathaveyou. But, when we are being ourselves, I see titles and address as important. The Sister for instance. I am ‘my lady’, lady Rivanon, or ‘lady d’Uzec’.”
“As far as undead. I have no knowledge. Really didn’t believe they existed. Did you meet one?”
“Of course my lady,” replied Elemix. “If it is important to you, it shall be important to me as well. And as for me, when we are in public please refer to me as Magus Elemix, or Magus Dungaroon. In private though, or just among our party, please call me Elemix.”
His voice took a more serious tone then. “On the undead I am sad to say that they do in fact exist. I have dealt with shadows, and I think you helped in one such encounter at the warehouse some nights ago. Those are but one of many forms of the undead. On our journey I fear we will need to deal with others such as skeletons and possibly, ghouls, ghasts, more shadows and perhaps other types of undead. I have studied them all, though I haven’t encountered most. Tiffany and Emmiline dealt with some in the dwarven ruins at Calder Falls. We should be as prepared for them as possible. Aurith’s light, which some would refer to as a kind of holy magic, harms undead greatly. A Priest or Sister of Aurith should help us greatly.”
She replied, “I will have to trust you on that magus…Elemix, as you wish.” She looked pensive for a moment, “However, I do doubt my father will be happy with me going. Or de Cerisey for that matter. He will not like that one bit, but he will not stop us as it is exactly what he would do. But that will need some convincing. The Reverend Sister on the other hand, he just got her back and with the death of Brother Nieman and the retirement of the Calder Keep priest it is highly unlikely he will let her go. Sister Typhon told me that Sister Jocelyn intended to journey to help him on his quest to right the wrong done to Khord. If that is so, she will probably be given a choice – one or the other – not both.”
“We will have to deal with that when the time comes I am sure. Priests/Sisters of Aurith are always in high demand.” Elemix turned to her then. “Thank you for the conversation. I know we’ve only just met, but I for one will consider you a friend. I want to assure you that you can trust me. I will watch your back out there, and I know you will do the same. You are in good company with Emmiline and Tiffany as well. Both are of strong character. We will get through whatever challenges lay before us I have no doubt.”
“Very well Elemix. It will be a tough road, but it should be fun!” she gave him a fun-loving smile and said, “now I think I need to practice fencing. Feel free to chat with me later.” She turned and left for the forecastle.