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Guidance for the Shepherd [private/Altair]

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Solomon's Proxy

Solomon's Proxy
Ω-Tier
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Asisiak sipped at the freshly brewed tea, awaiting the arrival of the shepherd, Altair Loros. She was not entirely sure what the man hoped to glean from her country’s ruling structure, but a deal was a deal. He had brought her valuable information about the dungeon and so she would offer him advice and insight as best she could. While she was slightly friendlier than most of her tribesmen, she was still not accustomed to having strangers in her land, so it was unsettling to have one so foreign in her region. She did not see what was so special about how her country was ran, though she was aware other countries did it differently, this was simply the best way for their tribes to function. Taking another sip of the warm brew, she looked up as one of her guards announced the arrival of her visitor, letting an icy blast into the inner room that she barely felt. She nodded and rose to greet the shepherd as he was shown in.

“Greetings, Altair Loros, the shepherd. Come and warm yourself by the fire with some tea. I hear you humans are not nearly so accustomed to the chill the bosom of Imuchakk offers.”

Altair Loros

Altair Loros
A-Tier
A-Tier
Altair had gotten up early that morning to prepare for his meeting.  It was colder this morning than usual.  Given the people who lived here, he wasn't sure if that was a good or bad omen.  Altair put on nice clothes, enough to be presentable, but nothing regal.  He wore what he thought would be appropriate for him while here.  And also a coat, because dear Ilah it was cold.  Altair headed down the stairs and into the Bar below.  Himejojo was waiting there with a cup of something hot.  "Here my friend, this is for you."  Altair picked it up, and gave it a sniff.  It was a delicious broth made of Elk stock.  Altair drank the hearty drink, thankful for the warmth it provided.  "I can't thank you enough for this Himejojo.  Not just for the delicious drink, but also for having me in your home while i stayed here.  It will be a shame to leave such hospitable friends."  Himejojo's eyes became concerned.  "Where are you heading after you have finished your business here?  I have only heard rumors, but could it be you are heading back to your roots?"  Altair smiled.  Himejojo must have heard from Dantete about his meeting with Asisiak, and what it held.  "You are correct.  I have a responsibility to my people, Himejojo.  I can't just leave them behind when there is a way i can help.  I will be leaving soon after my tutoring is finished.  You've been very helpful Himejojo.  If all goes well, i will write to you of my success.  Thank you again."  With that, Altair shook Himejojo's hand, nodded his thanks, and left the bar for what may have been the last time.

Altair headed for Asisiak's meeting tent.  Strangely, there was almost no one on the streets.  It was somewhat somber.  Altair looked to the sky.  It was perfectly clear.  Not unlike those days of his youth back on the plains.  Altair shook his head.  Things had changed since then.  His sword at his side, and his staff on his back proved that.  He had a job to do now.  And it would require as much help as he could get.

He thanked the guard and walked into the tent.  "Thank you for seeing me Asisiak.  And yes, i'll have some tea, it sounds delicious."  Altair took a seat by the fire next to Asisiak.  "I thought that maybe we could start with a brief overview of your governing system, and from there i could ask questions to go more into detail about certain aspects.  That is of course you have some other teaching method ready?"


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Altair Loros' Vault

Solomon's Proxy

Solomon's Proxy
Ω-Tier
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Asisiak listened to the words of the shepherd, nodding at his thanks. She stood from her chair and approached the front of the hut, holding the door open and waving outside.

“This part will be brief, and then we will discuss more details. Look outside, tell me what it is you see.”

She indicated that he should look out at the scattered huts and the people marching between them in the deep snow. The signs were subtle, but you saw the nods of acknowledgement between the villagers and the small smiles. Though they were sparsely dressed, none seemed bothered by the breeze that picked up or the clouds that were just touching on the horizon. The children could be heard laughing as they threw snowballs at each other. Wood was gathered, food stores were taken from a centrally located hut and a large fire stood in the center, acting as a beacon and torch. This was one of the larger villages, being Asisiak’s home, and so there were more huts than in some of the other villages and the larger community was reflected in the quiet afternoon. Come nightfall, activity would become much more apparent as hunters and gatherers returned with their goods for the day and deposited it to the food hut and the massive pile of wood for fires.

It was obvious that the village operated as one massive family. Though each family had their own hut, food and supplies were more centralized. When one family fell on hardships, they were helped by the other families without complaint or resentment. That was the very core of their community, the sense of family and shared responsibility. She knew Altair was probably freezing as she held the door wide open, but she had to see if he could observe the subtle signs of their ‘cold’ culture that not many outsiders would ever see.

Altair Loros

Altair Loros
A-Tier
A-Tier
Taking a final sip of his tea, Altair placed the cup on the table and walked to the front of the building. He was told to observe, and tell her what he saw. Altair looked out into the snow, watching the people going about their daily lives. Given his background, it took Altair only a moment to realize what it was he was seeing.

He was home. The sun was high in the sky, and a gentle wind blew through the grass outside. Altair walked out of his tent and into the field. His favorite sheep, Gwen, came running up to him. Altair pet her as she rubbed against him. The adults were busy doing their chores. Some sheared sheep, others turned the wool into string, while others made raw hide out of the skin of cows and bulls. Everybody had their part to play. Altair heard the men come home from trading with a neighboring tribe. They had plenty of fresh grains and vegetables they had traded for wool and lamb meat. Altair saw it as one big happy family. Everybody cared for everybody else.

The cold wind shocked Altair back to reality. He smiled. "You work together to create a single body that functions for the whole, instead of the individual. In effect, you are an enormous family. You look out for each other, and while personal success is surely possible, and encouraged, it is shared with the community instead of being used against it. It eliminates the need and function of slaves, creating a cohesive unit. The same is true of the other tribes, and the relationship between the tribes. To speak in more encompasing terms, yours is a Socialist system, instead of a Capitalist one." Altair looked to Asisiak. "You prize every life in the tribe as unique and special. It is exactly what i am looking for in terms of governance."


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Altair Loros' Vault

Solomon's Proxy

Solomon's Proxy
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A rare smile cracked across Asisiak’s face and she nodded before closing the front of the hut and waved him back in front of the fire.

“Precisely. Each member of the tribe holds importance, offers something of value. In return, they receive stability, protection and kinship. Even a child offers its laughter and joy, to uplift the spirits of the adults after a long, cold day in this harsh environment. Each person is the responsibility of all the others, so that none are left alone, defenseless. Here, numbers equal safety.”

She sat back in her chair, pouring out more tea and chasing the slight chill from her fingers by the fire.

“For as long as any one of us knows, we have always had small tribes like this, scattered throughout the region. Each with their own Chieftain and rules. This worked well until more and more people came from other lands, trying to use the resources this land offers. With the influx of outsiders, defending out villages became difficult. We have strength, but numbers offer their own strength. Our people pride strength as one of our strongest and most valuable traits. I felt that it would be best for all the tribes in this land if there were one central leader, someone that could make the villages work together, when necessary, to protect us all.”

She frowned at the memory of how she had come to lead the proud nation, looking at the shepherd over the fire.

“It was not an idea that many embraced. There were heated arguments and fights, and many felt I could never be fit to lead. I proved them wrong in whatever way was necessary. Not many of us think outside of our individual villages, but I saw our people as a whole. It was not easy to finally take place as the High Chieftain of the Imuchakk people. Do not expect your own journey to be any easier.”

She would give him the chance to ask questions about what she had said so far before she continued. If he did not learn, his visit would be for naught and she wanted to ensure he understood each step of the process taken to unite her people.

Altair Loros

Altair Loros
A-Tier
A-Tier
"I can understand that struggle. It is not well known, but the Gats tribe, the one that the Loros originated from, used to rule over the various tribes in the plains over 100 years ago. However, their leader, a man named Najjar, ruled with an iron fist. He was a man who knew only power and wealth. He ruled for many years until the outlying tribes united against him, and after many years of battle, Najjar fell. It was decided then that the tribes would never allow a single man to rule over them again, to prevent such a ruler from ever becoming king again. That is what i will have to struggle against in order to protect my people. A history of strife against rulers and mad kings. That is why i cannot go to another nation for help. My people would never accept a single king as their leader. They would want to retain their individuality. I will have to overcome years of tradition. While your people value Strength, not just of body but of mind and soul, my people value History and Tradition just as strongly. New ways are not so easily accepted."

Altair took another sip of his tea. It would indeed be a difficult journey ahead of him. No one in over 100 years, over four generations, has even attempted what he was going to undertake. He would need every bit of help Asisiak could offer. "How would you handle the strict traditions of my people in a hypothetical sense, disregarding the actual traditions themselves?" It was an important question, and her answer would play a part in his actions to come.


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Altair Loros' Vault

Solomon's Proxy

Solomon's Proxy
Ω-Tier
Ω-Tier
There was understanding in Asisiak’s eyes as Altair explained the history of his people and the other tribes in the Great Plains. Tradition was always the hardest part to break.

“You would probably have the best results doing what I did. While I am Head Chieftain of the tribe, each village retains their own Chieftain and each one retains its autonomy. At any time, I could be overthrown or asked to step down for a more fitting centralized figure. I do not rule with an iron fist. Honestly, I am mostly a figurehead in times of crisis. Each village goes about their daily lives with very little interference or change. When there is danger to us as a whole or when a tragedy such as the avalanche strikes, the other Chieftains come to me for guidance. There is an understanding between most of the tribes of alliance and unity in times of need.”

She set her tea down and pressed the fingertips of both hands together in thought, organizing her words before speaking again.

“Like so many other peoples, not all of the tribes get along. I do not ask that they are a fully unified group for the majority of the time, though the interconnectedness of the tribes has spread. But when faced with the simple fact that there is strength in numbers, we band together in crisis. We forget the differences long enough to defend our land. In the case of the Great Plains, your biggest threat, as I understand it, is the Kou Empire and their conquering ways. Explain that you are there, not as a king or a leader, but as a guide… a shepherd trying to protect as many flocks as you can. Start with the more amiable tribes and clans, to set an example that you do not wish to destroy their individuality. And move from there. And always accept that you will not be able to convert everyone to your idea of unity. History is a harsh teacher and leaves deep scars for many generations, some will never overcome their fears of the past. If you attempt to force them into acceptance, you will meet with the resistance of the prior legacy. For the Imuchakk, strength is something that garners massive respect. On the Plains, I have a feeling you will need to use a gentler touch.”

She paused again, tapping her fingers on the table.

“You will also need allies, and you will need to prove that you have experience in battle if you hope to convince them you are capable of defending in case of attack. And I do not mean small fights or fights born in chaos, I mean organized battle. Do you have true battle experience, shepherd? Have you defended against an invasion force before?”

Altair Loros

Altair Loros
A-Tier
A-Tier
Altair listened intently to the Imuchakk's words. She was right. He would need to show that he would keep their individuality intact if he was going to have any course for action. So, Tradition would play an important part in diplomacy. There were various rituals, some of them almost barbaric, that he would need to respect. One in particular came to mind. It was his own tribes ritual for settling differences between tribes. They called it The Taming. Each participant would be given one week to go into the wilderness and then return with either an animal you have killed, or an animal you have tamed. In the case of both having killed, or both having tamed, the size, weight, and danger level of the animal was taken into account. However, if one kills and the other tames, the tamer always wins. This has led to a kind of tactic, where you spend six days trying to tame the animal, and if on the last day you fail, you kill it. For the tribes that respected the ability to raise animals, this was a perfect test. Then there was what the Gaius tribe did. They stood on the border of the Kou Empire, and were probably the most battle ready. They settled their differences in a test called "The Mark". In this test, the participants carved into their own bodies an ancient symbol for pain. This mark was then activated with magic. The symbol would glow, and cause wracking pain throughout the entire body. The last one to surrender was the winner. One could also ask for another mark, in which case the opponent would have to gain another as well, or lose the contest. It was a brutal test of endurance and mental fortitude.

Altair was so caught up in his own thoughts he almost missed when Asisiak transitioned to talking about allies. She asked if he had any real battle experience. The question struck Altair as odd. Of course he was an experienced fighter, but that wasn't what she meant. Had he ever led an army before? Altair thought it over. "In a literal sense, no i have not led an army. But, i am no stranger to leading the masses. You may as well know. If you haven't heard of me, you may remember what happened in Heliohapt with the mass freeing of slaves, that was started by The Sovereign. That was me. I led hundreds of people to safety even during the disaster that followed soon after. When they lost their moral, i drove them on. When they wanted to die, i gave them a reason to live. I am a born leader, Asisiak. But i wouldn't say no to learning how to handle an army."


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Altair Loros' Vault

Solomon's Proxy

Solomon's Proxy
Ω-Tier
Ω-Tier
Asisiak arched a brow at his confidence, but his admission of never having led a force made her sigh internally. Leading people in a time of panic when they were searching for guidance was generally a simple thing. They simply looked to the person offering them a direction. When it was not a time of panic and chaos, it was much more difficult.

“Shepherd, people are the opposite of sheep when it comes to herding them. Animals will generally be happy to follow direction until there is a panic. At that point, they panic and it is much harder to control or direct them. However, with people, it is the opposite. In times of peace, they are difficult to direct and lead, especially if they are resistant to being led by others. But when there is strife and chaos, they will seek out the one offering directions and follow them mindlessly. So while you may have led people to safety in a time of chaos, that is what the people were wanting. They needed someone to lead them. Would those same people have followed you if there was only a hinting at danger? If the threat was not obvious and apparent?”

She frowned slightly at his request for direction on how to lead an army.

“To lead an army? That is both more difficult and simpler, all at the same time. Once you have their attention and respect, they will follow you without second thought. But to become their leader? You must prove yourself. You must show them you are the strongest, the smartest, the most adept at directing them. I lead my people because I am strong and cunning. I have proven to my people I will not let them down. In our time of need, I managed to secure us the supplies we needed by doing what most others would not, I went out and I asked for help. We are a proud people, that is not something we generally are comfortable doing. But my people needed the help and I acquired it for them. If there was an attack, our forces would follow me because I have proven myself in battle. But our tactics will not be your tactics, young leader. Our environment alone is a boon to our forces. Your environment will not be nearly as accommodating. Honestly, I would suggest finding a military officer to speak with about tactics, to start. And do everything you can to make yourself stronger. That is something the Imuchakk could help you with. We can help make you strong.”

She tapped at the table again, thinking deeply before asking one more thing.

“Tell me, Loros. Do you intend to lead with fear… or love?”

Altair Loros

Altair Loros
A-Tier
A-Tier
Altair nodded solemnly. She was correct. Men and sheep were different. But in some ways, they were similar. More similar than Asisiak might realize. It was true that they were opposite when it came to panic and responsiveness. People looked desperately for a leader, while sheep would listen to no one. No one, but a devoted Shepherd. Sheep will not follow someone they have not spent considerable time with. But a devoted shepherd is different. They come to truly love and depend on the shepherd for their own safety, even going so far as to simply hide behind his back when danger approached. This was considerably harder to do with men, but it was possible. Asisiak was right. He would have to prove himself to be the strongest, the smartest, the most wise. "I would never ask for your tactics. And only a fool would give them." He chuckled. "But if you wish to make me stronger, i will accept your help. I know you have much to offer, not just in brute strength, but also in force of will."

Altair paused, considering her second question. "I believe that both have their merit. each has its place in command. Fear is potent, and commands respect. Love is caring, and demands admiration. When used together, you create trust. Like a God, one must be feared and loved at the same time to command the greatest loyalty and respect. But i am not so high as to call myself something even close. Does this answer your question?"


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Altair Loros' Vault

Solomon's Proxy

Solomon's Proxy
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Ω-Tier
Asisiak chuckled softly and nodded.

“Good, you are confident, but not so much so to call yourself a god. That is very good to hear. And you are correct, love and fear both have their place. From what I know of the tribes on the Great Plains, your biggest challenge will be making the people believe your intentions are pure, not for power, but for the greater good of all on the plains. This will mean spending considerable time with each village, gaining their trust and admiration. You must make them realize your intentions are to provide protection for all tribes. Gaining their trust will probably be similar to gaining the trust and admiration of our tribes. Prove you are worth following. Help them with their problems and do it without expectation of anything but an open ear and mind. Offer your assistance in return for them listening to you. Do not expect them to agree with you, ask only that they listen. Once you have done this with enough villages, word will spread. Some may take advantage of your offer to help, but do not begrudge them this. It is simply how some are. Do not hold a grudge with them and do not carry any distaste on to other villages. And be willing to accept an answer of ‘no’. They will either come around, or they will simply be weaker for their refusal. Do not let yourself dwell on refusals. And if something bad should come of them refusing your offer, do not hold yourself responsible for that.”

She tilted her head to the side, looking over the man, trying to picture him as a leader. He had large dreams, but her people said the same of her when she sought to unite them. She could not judge, yet, if he would be capable of his endeavor. But she could admire his intent.

Altair Loros

Altair Loros
A-Tier
A-Tier
"You offer great advice, and i thank you for it. I will take what i have learned here and grow with it. I have many challenges ahead. It will take a great deal of time and effort to go and touch the tribes, but hopefully you are correct, and word of my actions will spread quickly. But i know of the tests that are to come. I will need to be much stronger in order to face them. And the fastest way to grow, is in combat. So, i will ask you this: Fight me. At your full strength, and i will not hold back either. We fight until one decides that they cannot continue. This may be a training, but it is not without risk. Fear is an excellent teacher Asisiak. And i feel we can both learn much from each other. Will you accept my challenge?" Altair looked Asisiak dead in the eyes. He offered something complex. It was a chance to form a strong bond. Not just between warriors, but potentially between nations. But this would be no simple fight. Neither one of them could end up the winner without severely injuring the status of the other. So, the only outcome that would be acceptable would be a mutual surrender. When two fighters accept that the other is powerful, but wish no permanent harm on them, they boost each others renown. Altair's timing was tactical. Here, in the privacy of this room, she could decline without pressure from her people, and with no negative consequences. It would allow her to make a decision based solely on whether or not she would support Altair's cause.


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Altair Loros' Vault

Solomon's Proxy

Solomon's Proxy
Ω-Tier
Ω-Tier
Asisiak laughed good-naturedly at his request, seeing the serious nature of his request. While she understood the impulse and she respected him for it, he was not yet close to Imuchakk strength. She wanted a truly fair fight, so she calmed her laughed and gave him a pat on the back, minding her strength to not cause damage.

“I admire your guts, shepherd. I will accept this fight, on one condition. For no less than one month, you remain here, help the village to gain strength of will. And then train with my warriors, to train your strength of body. I do not doubt your courage or your strength. But if I am going to fight you, I want to make sure it is a fair fight. As it stands, if I win, it will not be seen as a true victory to my people. And if you win, they will simply claim I took it easy on you. So train. Train here at least one month before you challenge me again. Let my people see you train, so they know you are not just a push-over. Half of leading is image, after all! If you can make my people think you are strong, you will have no problems convincing those on the plains. Does this sound agreeable to you, Altair Loros?”

Altair Loros

Altair Loros
A-Tier
A-Tier
"You are very wise. I had not yet considered by own standing among your people other than that i am liked. They do not yet see me as strong. I accept your terms. Perhaps i will ask Himejojo or Dantete to help me. They both have good standing in the tribe, and are very strong themselves." Altair stood up and bowed to Asisiak. "I will see you in a month then. And when we meet for battle, may the best Warrior win." Altair turned and walked out of the tent then. As he walked back to the bar, he found himself smiling a little silly. "Today was certainly eventful. I learned much from Asisiak about how to handle my predicament. And she even accepted my gamble. Not bad for a shepherd boy." he thought to himself, clicking his heels in the air as he reached the door.

[exit]


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Altair Loros' Vault

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