The house was low, very very low. They had dug into the rock below the sands and the grain to make the room so expansive. Hovering directly above the green carpets and deep wooden desks was the Parliament’s roof, mostly glass, the sky blanketting everything.
Hundreds of people behind desks stood as a slow procession moved towards the centre of the house, to a circular table in the middle. All the desks and people and carpets spiralled out from this centre, where the sun was darkest. More people decked the galleries, silent, watching the people behind a caped woman move towards the centre, spiralling closer and closer. Swords, animals, vessels of red sand, sceptres and fading ancient scrolls, symbols of kings, queens, revolutionaries, ideas past followed the cape, to be joined in the centre.
This was the third house. On either side of this house rested the second and first, carpets of red and blue. The third house was where both the Nelen and Jousen could sit, the most powerful of all the houses.
After all the gift bearers had left, and all had been seated, the house was cast in silence. The giant wooden doors on the south opened, throwing a long, thin shadow through the circle’s middle. Through the south, and only isle through the circle to the middle a suited man walked, bearing no colours, gifts or obvious significance. He paced to the centre table, which immediately found their feet, the rest of the house sitting in confusion. There was no chair for this man, at the table. All eyes on him, he turned to the southern door, still open, a chair was carried in for him.
Roggs Mallow and Mister Sherpie sat in the gallery.
“This seems a bit disturbing.”
“The missing chair?”
“The whole thing, Roggs.”
“One day we’re talking about war, the next we’re giving people their free choice?”
“It’s being forced upon everyone. The war, freedom, I doubt any of this is anyone’s free choice, its like Jardenia just gets pulled this way one moment, this way the other, like it was all planned, all written out and everyone’s tortured accordingly.”
“Have you been converted, Sherpie?”
“It’s just a thought I had, that’s all. It’s not like I believe it, but if you had asked me two years ago that this would be the way things are changing, I would have had you committed.”
“I get that all the time.”
“Not you, you idiot Roggs…”