The ceremony went off without a hitch, although it was more of a celebration than a ceremony. We ate an enormous banquet prepared by the various tribal chieftains.
Fokin women danced the night away while the men beat on drums. I was surprised to see that even Reia knew the dance and she was quite the talented dancer. It was good to see her enjoying herself.
It was a joyous occasion and I tried my best to get into it but all I could think about was the great responsibility that was now on my shoulders. Not to mention all the work I had before me. The tribe would need to be properly trained and organized. It also meant more disputes to resolve and just plain more people to protect and care for. The tribal society and culture was very primitive, especially when it came to bureaucracy. Well, there was wasn’t much bureaucracy to speak of. That is something that will have to change.
The Grand Tent of of the former Khan now belonged to me and my household. My household was still small, but I allowed Nes to share the tent with us since he was sort of family by extension. The enormous tent felt even larger with so few using it. It was very luxurious compared to the tent I had been living in. The entire ground was covered with carpets and there were some fancy cushions, small crafted tables, comfortable looking cots to sleep in as well as other amenities.
I’ve really moved up in the world! Ugh! There is so much to do tomorrow but sleep can’t come soon enough. These were my last thoughts before drifting off to sleep. I couldn’t even spend the time to admire my new mobile home.
“AHH! My head is splitting.” That was the first thing to come out of my mouth when I woke up in the morning.
Both Reia and Allein were still out cold and I had somehow become entangled in the both of them. Well, it’s not unpleasant I suppose. I couldn’t really think clearly, I had drank way too much the night before during the celebration. I couldn’t refuse the drinks, so I had no choice in the matter.
After untangling myself, I somehow got to my feet but had some difficulty walking.
“Khan Fayde, may I enter?” A voice called out to me from outside the tent. Must have heard me moaning.
“Uh, yes.” I responded but I wasn’t sure how clear my voice sounded.
A young Foxkin woman entered with several other Foxkin women in tow. What’s this all about?
“We are here to serve you my Khan.”
The women all bowed their heads slightly.
Although their society wasn’t exactly a monarchy, the Khan of a tribe was sort of like a king, or perhaps a better understanding would be a high lord. It made sense that a Khan would have servants.
I eyed them with a bit of hesitation, this was new to me.
“Ah, good, do you have any remedies for a hangover?” I was holding my head in pain and spoke with slight difficulty.
“Yes, there is an herbal remedy for that. Issha, please prepare it for the Khan.”
One of the women nodded and headed off out of the tent.
“My name is Fieral and I am Head Rej’gan. These are my subordinates. We are responsible for managing the daily chores and other tasks for your household.”
“Oh, so you mean sort of like maids?”
They had no idea what I meant.
“I apologize my Khan, but I do not know what a maid is?” Fieral tested out the word and found it strange.
“Uh, nevermind, it doesn’t matter.”
I took a moment to look at Fieral more clearly.
She was a young woman and she was certainly attractive, but all the Foxkin were. She had different hair from Reia, whose hair was a platinum color. Hers was more of a reddish brown and she wore it in thick braids and hung them over the front of her left shoulder. She was wearing the same style of traditional clothing as all the other Foxkin women. Their traditional clothing for women was something like a thick dress consisting of a plethora of colors.
I noticed she seemed uncomfortable.
“I’m sorry it’s just the headache” I’m not staring at you! Or maybe it’s because I’m a Human?
“Is it alright if we begin our work?” She couldn’t stand the awkward atmosphere anymore and spoke.
“Of course! Don’t let me get in your way!”
I turned around prepared to find a nice cushion to sit in when I heard someone behind me making a coughing sound to get my attention.
“Um, my Khan, our job also includes bathing you, dressing you and feeding you.”
What? Am I a toddler or something?
“I don’t really think that’s necessary….”
“It is tradition, you must do it, now hurry up! You stink of alcohol.”
That voice sounds very familiar.
I was surprised to see that it was Reia who had just woken up and was approaching me still half asleep. Well, I guess when in Rome… or in some strange tent in the middle of nowhere?
The process was a little humiliating but after getting a very embarrassing clean from several beautiful young women and then dressed by them, I finally sat down and had breakfast. I was dressed in some strange traditional Foxkin robe-like garment which was also very colorful, too colorful actually.
After I was dressed, I joined the others seated on cushions in the living room area of the tent. Well, I call it the living room area anyway. This particular tent was quite large and it even had partitioned areas through use of hides and furs as thin dividers. It was an interesting setup.
“Fayde, we need to talk about Tris.” Reia had finally broached the topic which I knew was coming.
“Something must be done about her.” Allein chimed in while nodding her head in agreement.
The day before, when Reia had been poisoned mysteriously by her cousin, it had been Tris who had brought her past the guards and escorted her to where Reia was. I had hoped that my suspicions were wrong. Part of me didn’t want to believe it but I had to accept the reality of it now that there was clear evidence. She also acted a little too quickly in killing Felis.
“Are you sure it’s okay to be discussing these important things with all these Rej’gan around?”
I was cautious about there being so many strangers in our tent, although they were all supposed to be the servants of the Khan. Currently, I was being fanned by one while others served me tea, food and made sure I had everything I needed. They were also making sure the tent was clean and nothing was out of place. Basically, my own personal servants.
“You don’t have to be concerned with them. The Rej’gan belong to the Khan and give their absolute loyalty to him… to you. Every one of them is chosen at a young age and trained so that one day they would serve their Khan. It is one of the greatest honors of our tribe and none would ever betray that. It would mean their death. The former Rej’gan that served my uncle all followed him into death”
Reia’s words were heavy. That seemed like quite a lot to take in. It was also a harsh reality.
Fieral broke the heavy silence, “We all belong to you my Khan in both mind and body. We would never betray you. Whatever words you say within this tent will never leave our lips. We have lived a life completely sequestered ever since we were young. We were not even allowed to fraternize with others of our tribe except for the older women who trained us.”
“Alright, well if that’s how it is….”
Sounds sort of like a slave to me, but this is their culture. I knew I wouldn’t be able to change their traditions so easily.
“Ok, so back to the topic of Tris. I really don’t want to believe it but we can’t take any chances. I have been trying to piece together what her motive is. I first met Tris when I joined the adventurer’s guild back in Enrain. I had only been in this world for a little over a week at that point. There was nothing I did which was strange or out of the ordinary. My powers are unique, but she hadn’t even seen them at that point. However, every time something happened to us, she wasn’t around. At first I didn’t think much of it, but there is no denying it now. It’s clear she is our enemy, but we need to figure out who she is working for and why. We should try to figure out what her next move is and watch her. We need to control the information that she is allowed to see and hear for now.”
I had trusted her, but I now realize I had been naive. When I first came to this world, I was too carefree. Now that I was a leader of an entire clan, it was necessary to change my way of thinking. That’s easier said than done.
“I understand how you feel Fayde. She helped us in the past and we considered her our companion. I don’t want to believe it either but we have to come to terms with the fact that she is a traitor.” Reia said after noticing my forlorn look.
“We need to find out what her goal is as soon as we can! We should let my brother keep an eye on her. He will let us know if he sees anything suspicious. He has excellent anti-detection skills and even with Tris’s ranger abilities he won’t get caught!”
Allein was right, Nes would be the best choice to watch Tris.
“Alright, we’ll do that then, can you handle this Nes? We are relying on you.”
“I never trusted her to begin with”
Of course Nes didn’t trust any humans at all to begin with, including me, so he was a little bias.
“With that over with, we need to meet with the tribal chieftains. We have to take stock of our forces and discuss other important matters. It’s going to be a busy day.” After saying that, I asked Fieral to send someone to summon them to my tent.
I really wish I could rely on Shar to help me with governance, but he is still refusing to help me. I would like to believe we have become friends but his loyalty to his country is still resolute. I have learned a lot from him nonetheless.
It took some time to round up all the tribal chieftains but they slowly made their way to my tent. There were some formalities which needed to be gotten over with first and it took much more time than expected.
There was a certain area of the enormous tent which was designated for such important meetings and we all currently sat on cushions in a semicircle. Only the Khan, his wives, and the tribal chieftains were allowed to sit in on these meetings. Reia and Allein were both in attendance and at my side. Even though women couldn’t be chiefs or khans, they still were an important part of the governance of a tribe and assisted their husbands. There were a total of 10 tribal chieftains, including Reia’s father, in attendance.
“There is a lot to do in order to get the tribe ready for the Grand Council. Will each chieftain please report on their tribe’s population and military strength. We will need to organize our forces accordingly. We will go in order from left to right. Please introduce yourself and then give your report since I am still not familiar with most of you”
All the trivial matters had been dealt with first, we now got to the main topic of the meeting.
The first chieftain from the left stood and introduced himself, “I am Chieftain Her’tt of the red stripe tribe. Our tribe has 450 Fox-kin and 40 warriors….”
This continued for a bit until all the chieftains had introduced themselves accordingly. I even finally learned Reia’s father’s name, Kerr. Each tribe of the Foxkin were represented by a different colored stripe. This had some kind of ancestral meaning and their warriors would go into battle wearing their tribe’s color as war paint.
The entire Foxkin tribe had close to 4,000 Fox-kin and around 375 warriors. This number included all of the most powerful magic casters as well as the most proficient hunters and warriors. The Foxkin even had four master class elementalists which was an amazing feat. When one reached a master level of magic, they could specialize in certain fields of magic but this would decrease their proficiency in other areas.
Most of the warriors were also trained in the use of spears, bows and axes. Their real strength lay in their magic though. He had the makings of a real magic corp. but his forces were lacking in raw physical strength.
I’m thinking of maybe breaking them up into four battalions then. Each battalion would be lead by a master class elementalist and the battalions can focus on a specific element of magic. I will have to divide the different class elementalists into the four battalions. I will have the beginner class elementalists focus on martial skills as well as body and weapon enhancement magic. The intermediate class elementalists can focus on magic barrages at the center of the formation while the advanced class elementalists focus on wide area spells. Well, I will think more on it at a later time. I momentarily lost myself in thinking up possibilities for organizing the Foxkin warriors.
Reia gently put her hand on my shoulder to remind me of where I was. Some of the chief’s were staring at me and I coughed in embarrassment.
“Uh, right. Anyway, I have a good idea of the tribe’s strengths now and have already thought up some ideas for our tribe’s military organization. They will need considerable training but we still have a couple of months until the Grand Council. We will need a proper means of training. The best way to do that is to have our warriors enter a dungeon!”
The chieftains gasped at my words, they had never gone into a dungeon before.
It seemed that it was sort of taboo for Demihumans to enter a dungeon. I never knew this because Reia never had any hesitation about it. Her tribe seemed to be the exception to this, or perhaps it was just her.
“My Khan, you may not know this but it is forbidden to enter a dungeon.” Chieftain Her’tt was the first to raise opposition to the idea.
“I understand all of your concerns, but if our tribe wants to succeed at the Grand Council, this is a necessary step. We can’t win if our warriors don’t train in the dungeon.”
“But tradition…” He was going to continue his complaint but was cut short by Allein who stood abruptly.
“My father, as you all know, was the first to unite the Demihumans and led them in war against the Humans who wished to exterminate them. The tradition of not entering a dungeon was put in place by my father for a specific reason, one which no longer exists. We must succeed, even if it means breaking taboo. This is ultimately for the betterment of our entire species. We must become united as one. It is hardly the time to be bringing up such old laws which have no bearing on the present!”
I couldn’t have said it better myself. Impressive, Allein.
Everyone was watching as Allein spoke. They had immense respect for the daughter of the Great Dragon King, who was now no more than a legend. They had accepted her without doubt. There hadn’t been a member of the Dragonkin race alive in thousands of years. They could not deny the truth of her existence or the authority in her words. The chieftains simply bowed their heads and voiced no more complaints.
“I know that it is difficult to bring yourselves to trust me, a Human. So I ask that you all have patience and judge me through my actions and not through petty prejudice. I promise that I will do everything within my being to ensure the safety and pride of all Demihumans.” My words were spoken with conviction and the Chieftains seemed moved.
Reia’s father stood and addressed the other chieftains.
“Fayde and Allein are right. This is something we must do and I vouch for Fayde’s character. He has saved my tribe from many dangers and has always been a steadfast friend and I am proud to have him as my son-in-law.”
After what Kerr said, all of the chieftains voiced their consent and with that the meeting was mostly over. There were some minor discussions on logistics and we would need to confer with the diviners of the tribe to determine where a suitable dungeon could be located. When our discussion was over, the chieftains all expressed their hopes for the future to me and then left. There were still worried looks, but they had somewhat decreased.