Finley: To The Council

The Guildmaster’s council chamber was a circular auditorium built to house the Tower’s residents. At the epicenter was a large round table where the faculty would often sit and discuss matters of grave import. Surrounding the table were rows upon circular rows, first of cushioned seats and later of pews, which moved outward to dizzying levels. All told, the Guildmaster’s council chamber could seat near five thousand and five hundred people, yet that rarely occurred as the Tower never enrolled more than twelve hundred students. Being queerly dark, the chamber was illumined by numerous torches lining the walls. Finley and Parker took their seats towards the middle of the auditorium. Parker leaned over to Finley, “Do you have any idea what your Uncle might be up to?” “Not one bit I’m afraid. We do not often see each other during the school year. He is, after all, a rather busy fellow.” “Still though, he is your only family.” Finley looked at Parker, “Yes, I guess he is.” The Guildmaster’s bell rang once more, as those still standing took their seats and a hush overtook the crowd. Alfred the Guildmaster, and Finley’s Uncle, walked through the Guildmaster’s door, a door that led to the Guildmaster’s quarters underneath the council chamber’s seating. Alfred stood before his open chair at the round table. He was tall and thin, a man whose life had been defined by books and lecturing. He wore an impeccable dark-tweed suit, round silver-rimmed glasses, and a silver pocket watch. He was a brilliant scholar—one had to be in order to attain the rank of Guildmaster—who had spent most of his career studying the obscurities in ancient Elaean architecture. He was old now and aware that soon he would be passing on the torch of Guildmaster to one younger than himself, but he was a proud man, a scholar used to deference, a lecturer who had the strange habit of holding his elbows in his hands behind his back. “I am a man of reason,” Alfred began, his voice booming throughout the hall (due to the acoustics more than a powerful diaphragm), “a scholar who has built his life on study and evidence. Today we are faced with an unknown variable, a true mystery. I know not what we face, whether it be natural phenomenon or harbinger of doom. I have, therefore, called this council for two reasons: one, to unite us in the midst of great unease, and two, because the Prime Minister of Elaea, the honorable Jurgen de’Fleet, has requested an audience with Elaea’s brightest. Before Prime Minister de’Fleet speaks, however, I would like to remind you all that the Tower is a beacon of hope to Elaeans. We represent what is good and true about civilization. We are the time keepers, the lore masters, those who remember. We both keep and pass on knowledge, not because we have to or like to, but because it is who we are. In times of anxiety, it is we who calm, soothe, and steer towards the future. May you—may we—not forget who we are.” The Guildmaster paused and circled his gaze about the auditorium, as if inspecting a rank-and-file platoon. He nodded his head in affirmation and took his seat. “Rather serious, wouldn’t you say,” whispered Parker.

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