The next in our series of letters from Fourteen Stones‘s people. Here, a member of Namora’s governing Council introduces himself and Namoran politics.
Galvo Dendraikas, at your service. I am a sventin, one of the seventeen members of Namora’s ruling Council serving our leader, the Tavin. I have been here in our capital city, Sostavi, for many years. You could say that when it comes to the braided, woven, and often simply tangled life of our leadership, I am as near expert at following and parsing those threads as one can be.
You wish me to speak of Namora’s government. On the surface, it’s simple indeed. Our Tavin is the head of Namora, presiding in Sostavi’s Great Circle House. You have heard from my colleague Ribas Silvaikas, who spoke of the life of a zhinin in a small village. As Zhinin Ribas is to Lida’s Circle House, so the Tavin is to Sostavi’s Great House, and therefore to all of Namora. We seventeen on the Council support our leader and assist in all decision-making and intricacies of government.
So far, so simple. But you might be able to imagine that where seventeen come together to discuss and debate, simplicity quickly vanishes into a mist on the edge of memory. Of course, not all of my colleagues would agree. Some would say the term “mist” is misleading. Others would speak of the treachery of “memory.” Still others would contend that “vanishes” is far too dramatic. And so on: I believe you understand.
For me, navigating the dance of Sostavi politics has been a life’s work. I have had little else: no marriage, no family, few real friendships. Once, many years ago, I did have a close friendship I valued very much. My own actions put an end to that, which remains a source of lasting regret. I have shared the details of that with two people only, and will not repeat myself here – at least not now.
I come from Laiva, the capital city of Namora’s Pajura region. The move from that city on the coast to Sostavi, which is the city on the coast, felt quite natural to me as a young man. I believed Sostavi would be familiar. It was not. In splendor, elegance, and sheer busyness of life, no other place can rival our capital. The Great House, which, some believe, is where our Goddess Kenavi lived as a mortal woman, has no equal among the many Circle Houses throughout the country. My first years here were a slow process of finding my footing, while hiding my confusion and presenting the right face to the world. In the end, I was rewarded with this place in government, which is all an ambitious man might aspire to.
At least, it’s all I did aspire to, when I was young and believed I knew what mattered. As I have grown older, I have come to find – often to a return of confusion, and sometimes regret – that life has more shadings than I knew.
Namora is a beautiful place. The most beautiful in the world, many of us would hold. Although, in fairness, many of us have seen little of the world apart from our own towns and cities. Few are curious about what lies on the other side of our little country’s boundaries. There are some exceptions, and I, in my steadily advancing age, am proud to number myself now – I was not, as a young man – one of them.
I wish to know more about the world. I am glad, in fact, to know that there is more “out there” than I once imagined or cared about. I would like to learn about other places and people. Surely, a lifetime of navigating Sostavi politics is useful training for other complex weavings. Many of my colleagues on the Council do believe that the world is simple, in that Namora is the center of it. With however much time is left to me, I wish to challenge myself to see more clearly.
I have spun enough words here for the time, so will close. Yours in the peace of the Goddess,
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