Klane Kalonia and the Great Burning (30) by DMFW ()
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Two tables under two spotlights. The tables and the lights, both artifacts of Conclave technology, just as the blue crystalline faces, placed on each table also came from the Conclave; just as the idea of the Great Burning, and the practical philosophy of the Season of Innocence also in their own more subtle ways emanated from the Conclave however so often as the Riders might choose to forget it. The Riders were the primary beneficiaries of the Season of Innocence but they were not the Lords of the Earth that they oft times fancied themselves to be.
The final bids were too close to call at once, arithmetic not being Verindu’s strongest skill. Much beer had been drunk and the totals of the faces ran to numbers that he could not hold in his head without the physical presence of the prize tokens themselves. Klane sensed at the outset he did not have enough, yet he was honour bound to press his claim to judgement.
Then something extraordinary happened, unprecedented in all accounts of previous Great Burnings. Ethan emerged from the shadows with additional faces to add to Klane’s bid. In the midst of the feasting he had been working the crowd of his fellow Riders, politicking between the tribes. His pitch was simple, to the Thranish and the Nykwin alike. Can we allow the Southern Pralannians to win the blacksmith for themselves? With skillful words, playing on flattery and fear alike he had persuaded just a few to donate some small tokens. It was only two cylinders and a tetrahedron but when added to Klane’s existing stash it caused consternation.
Naturally the counting had to start again. And then again. And it had to be checked by both parties and double checked. Finally, though, there could be no doubt. The bid was tied.