The Press Conference

Tal walked to the podium with a mixture of apprehension, and excitement. This was it. The time to make up for everything. Milla and Malen stood beside him. He took a deep breath, eyeing the Icecarls, Freefolk, and Chosen in the crowd. If only it could be like this all the time. It can and it WILL be.

"Thank you so much, everyone. This is really intended just to...um…clear the air a bit about…certain things, mainly to address any concerns or questions anyone, especially the press, has. Are there any uh questions or concerns at this time?" He asked nervously.

For approximately half of a Chosen second, there was a perfect silence before everyone started shouting at once.

"Emperor, what are the laws regarding-" "The Underfolk-" "Is there any way to-"

"ENOUGH!" Tal shouted, raising the violet keystone. The crowd fell silent immediately. "Please. I think, perhaps, we should focus on the key issues. Any questions about Spiritshadows may be asked now. In a logical and orderly manner that is! Yes, you sir."

A short man clad in orange robes asked, "The ban is absolute?"

Tal nodded. "Yes. Spiritshadows are banned, whether they are free, or bound. I realize there are many Chosen who have not yet given up their Spiritshadows. This is acceptable, for now. Every Chosen has six months to get rid of his or her Spiritshadow, or they will face consequences."

A Blue raised her hand. Tal nodded at her. "Does it h-hurt…losing a Spiritshadow?"

Tal shook his head. "If unbound correctly, no. In an hour or so, my friends here," he gestured to Milla and Malen. "Will talk to you. They'll talk about unbinding and other stuff." Tal added awkwardly. Malen nodded. "We are going to establish a Crone Embassy here at the castle. The Crones can return Spiritshadows to Aenir, without any pain or damage. Are there any more questions?" The crowd was silent, apparently lost in thought

"Next we will discuss the Freefolk, formerly known as the Underfolk. They are no longer to serve the Chosen. Those who wish will be given Sunstones, and allowed to enter the Lectorium." There was a collective gasp. Tal continued, "I will take questions when I have finished telling you the plans. Obviously, the Underfolk need to be replaced. However, we will not create a class of slaves. I would like each person to be responsible for cleaning their own rooms, and areas of the Castle they use, and to cook and take care of their children independently. However, if you do not wish to do these things yourself, you may hire up to three servants. These people will be compensated for their work. I will take any questions now."

As Tal had suspected, almost every hand went up. "I will take questions from those in the Red Order first." He nodded to a woman nearby.

"Who will these 'servants' be?" She asked suspiciously.

"They will be volunteers, in a sense, from the Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, and Blue Orders. Other questions from the Red? Yes, go ahead."

"How will they be compensated?" The man sounded puzzled.

Tal responded quickly, eager to make the details clear. "For every twenty-five hours of service these servants provide, per week, they will be advanced several levels within their Order. The results will be similar to winning an Achievement. Any other questions, Red Order?"

"How will we get our food?" a rather fat woman questioned.

"That will be another task for the servants. Anyone interested in becoming a servant should write their name, Order, tasks they can perform, any physical ailment, and any task they cannot, or would not do, on a piece of paper and give it to me. Are there any other questions from any order?"

"No? Are there any other issues or concerns anyone has?"

No one raised a hand. A few members of the crowd shook their heads. It was a lot of information to digest. "I hope if anyone has any concerns or questions, you will come and speak with me." Tal said. "In half of an hour, we will hear from Milla, the War-Chief of the Icecarls, and Malen, a Crone. They will tell you all about our new friends and allies. Please make sure to come and listen."

As the Chosen wandered off to go do whatever they did at this time of day, the Icecarls and Freefolk approached Tal, Milla, and Malen. The Icecarls clapped their fists at them, and they returned the salute.

"You spoke well." an older Icecarl remarked.

"Thank you."

The Freefolk mostly nodded and scurried away to their hideout.

"Milla? Do you want to get away from here for a little while? All of you are welcome to come."

"Where?"

"Ebbitt's?" Tal asked with a grin.

Milla smiled.