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Tristan Xenatos

"Where One Stands"

The meeting chambers were large and impressive as the young man walked in. To his fresh eyes of twelve there seemed to be nothing grandeur on the planet. He stood at his father’s side looking about himself in wonder.


In actually the building itself was a library, but a library like none other in all of Corineth. It housed the sacred books of law and order which had been passed down over the centuries from Council to Council. The chamber in which they stood housed all the books and records from the known history of Corineth. Needless to say, the chamber was a vast expanse decorated in lavish fashion. Ornate statues lined the walls, members of previous Councils and other dignitaries. The young man glanced one statue that he recognized, the current Lord Regent of Elasia. Intricately craved shelves of grand stature held rows upon rows of books older then any man or woman in the room. Elaborate tapestries hung at every corner in deep, rich colors as varied as a rainbow itself. At the center of the chamber was a huge polished wooden table with lavishly ornate seats.


“Tristan?” his father said in a hushed tone. The younger Xenatos seemed not to hear, his eyes tracing all the intricate details on the largest tapestry hung at the head of the large table. This tapestry bore the insignia of the land of Corineth, it interwoven patterns a puzzle and delight to any who stared at its grand image.


“Tristan,” Viktor repeated, finally snapping the boy out of his own mind and into the present. “Yes father?” Tristan replied, turning his attention to the tall mountain of a man at his left. Viktor cast a stern look at his son as he spoke, “It is not often an outsider is allowed to attend a meeting of this Council. This opportunity has been allotted you due to the fact that you are my son and likely to be a player in future political campaigns.” The words came out smooth and even in the voice of a politician. Viktor began walking towards the right side of the table as he continued to speak. “I want you on your best behavior. You are to sit and observe, remaining quiet at all times. Afterwards I will introduce you to some of the current members of the Council,” he paused in his step and looked at Tristan, “Greet them with all the respect due a member of the leaders of our homeland. Do not speak unless spoken to and, for Elaa’s sake, act like the man you are destined to be.” With that Viktor sat his son in a chair off to the right of the elaborately carved long-table. There were only two others sitting with Tristan, a young girl of approximately sixteen and a man beside her who appeared to be her father. Tristan wanted to ask who they were, but his father had already moved to take his place at the table.


* * *

It took every ounce of self control the young Elasian had to sit still and quiet through what seemed like an eternity. Back and forth, forth and back, it seemed as if the members of the Council were masters of argument but novices of agreement. For every two steps they took on an issue they were dragged back one by unsettled argument from those of opposing views.


Tristan found the entire process to be hardly anything but pomp, posturing, and who happened to be the most convincing speaker. Of course his young mind was quite unable to grasp the more subtle actions at work in the course of the meeting.


One man continually seemed to take the opposing side of his father, arguing without pause anything coming out of the mouth of the elder Xenatos. Tristan wondered why this man was so adamantly against his father. The two took their seats again after a rather heated round of argument, and the meeting plodded on.


Throughout the ordeal Tristan continually stole glances at the young woman to his right. Her eyes were trained on the dignitaries as if she were watching the most exciting thing her youthful eyes had ever seen. She was destined for this line of work, Tristan mused to himself. Why couldn’t he be like that? Why did his thought continually drift elsewhere? These were question it would take the twelve year-old many years, and many places and destinations, to learn.


* * *

The meeting drew to a close having accomplished two decisions and thirteen unresolved issues to be debated next gathering. As the politicians stood and began mingling and speaking to one another Viktor came and drew Tristan to his side. Viktor introduced the child to two other representatives, Takala Mraan and Lucious Montrain. Both of them nodded and smiled politely, shaking the boy’s hand while giving their assurances that one day Tristan would be standing in this chamber a full member of the council. “You father tells us you have quite the gift of politics,” Mraan said with a warm smile on her lips. Tristan returned her with the young innocent smile of a boy not yet tainted with life and merely nodded his head in reply to her compliment.


As Mraan and Montrain moved off Tristan’s eyes drifted across the room. At the other end stood the young woman he had sat beside earlier and her father. They were embracing and speaking with one of the senior members of the Council. Tristan deduced that this must be her mother. The elder member of the Council’s eyes sparkled as she spoke with her daughter, she was obviously proud of her daughter; the future politician to be. Why could Tristan not seem to please his father as this young girl pleased her mother?


“Tristan,” Viktor’s voice broke into his son’s thoughts. Turning Tristan looked up, “Yes father?” he said, his mind returning to this side of the room and the present moment at hand. “This is Representative Mrax Tholtan,” Viktor indicated the man standing in front of them. “This is my son Tristan, Mrax.” The representative smiled, further wrinkling his aging features. “So this is Tristan,” he extended his hand, “Your father has told me much about you.”


“Good things, I hope,” Tristan replied as he shook the man’s hand. The three of them shared a small laugh before Tholtan spoke again. “Tell me, what does the son of Viktor Xenatos think of the M’rang problem?”


Tristan’s mind spun for an answer. He vaguely remembered his father mentioning the M’rang; it was something to do with to family fighting over the same piece of land. Both families had somehow come upon legal claim of the land and neither were willing to split it. That, however, is about where Tristan’s knowledge of the issue ended. It seemed that the issue had been discussed during the meeting, but Tristan’s thoughts had been elsewhere at the time. “I…I th-think that the issue is a problem for the,” he paused hunting the term, “the…lower courts to decide.” The words came out warbled and jilted, not in the smooth voice his father so often used and had so often tried to instill in him.


“I see he has developed his father’s narrow sight, and a peasants tongue,” the voice came from the right. The man that was constantly arguing with Viktor during the meeting was standing slightly away from them. He grinned as he spoke. Tristan’s cheeks flushed bright red and his eyes cut downwards to the floor.


“His vision is perfectly clear, and his tongue young, Dracous,” Viktor replied coldly. “The M’rang problem is an issue for the lower courts, not this reverent body.” Viktor had taken a step towards the man and in front of Tristan, his body tense.


Dracous simply shook his head and walked away. “It was a pleasure to have met you, Tristan. And I agree with your thoughts,” Tholtan said warming, almost apologetically to Tristan. With that he moved on, and Viktor and Tristan took their leave.


During the trip home Viktor said not a word, only looking at his son every now and then. Finally when they were only a few kilometers from home Viktor spoke, “One must always speak as if there is a crowd listening. One’s voice must be true and strong,” he repeated the words he had said so many times to his son. His tone turned severely sharp when he again spoke, “And one must always know the issues at hand and where he stands. One must always know exactly what he believes is right and should be done. Never be caught unaware or unknowing of an issue.”


Tristan turned and opened his mouth to speak, but Viktor cut him off, “And never make excuses.” Tristan turned away and the two were silent until they reached the villa that served as the Xenatos family home. But in that silence Tristan swore a silent oath never to allow his voice to crack again, to always know where he stood and why he stood there, to always be certain of his actions and the repercussions of those actions, and lastly, the never be caught dumb again.


* * *

Tristan stared into the glass as the memory seemed to melt away with the ice; melt into the past. Recent events with Commander Teykier had caused the memory to rise within him. He had been harsh and insubordinate with his superior and he knew he was in the wrong. But her unsure voice, her uncertainty in her actions, and the way she had addressed the Science team left him unnerved. How was she supposed to lead when she was not even entirely certain what to do herself?


Not helping the situation any was the PADD sitting on the table. Meraina had given it to him before the Excalibur had left Camelot. It was a series of letters from his brother, sisters, and mother. As was to be expected, there was no writing from his father. Tristan had gone a long time avoiding his family for multiple reasons, but has found himself compelled to read the letters. There were five in total, each one a request for more contact from the ‘wayward’ Xenatos as his father was apt to call him. Still, even after all this time, none of them truly understood why he had left or why he had chosen the path he had. The Xenatos family was one of tradition and skill; skills in art, in music, and in words. None of them could fathom why Tristan had chosen to leave home and study the sciences aboard some distant vessel.


To be perfectly honest, Tristan really had never figured that out either. But until he did he could not return to his family. He could not rejoin them and pretend like everything was fine. He sighed, maybe he could not fully return to them, but he also could not continue to estrange himself either.


“Another?” the waitress broke into his thoughts. “No, thank you,” Tristan replied. He had already had two and getting drunk was not going to solve anything. He stood and walked towards the door, his father’s words on that long past day seeming to reach from the past to haunt his already troubled mind.


And one must always know the issues at hand and where he stands. One must always know exactly what he believes is right and should be done.


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