Today’s blog is the continuation of, Welcome to the Valleys. If you would like to catch up with the tale, the first section can be found at this link
The debate continued on for several hours after Walter revealed his evertorch. As Jeremy was unaware of many of the laws and customs which guided the debate, he found himself zoning out of much of the discussion. Finally, the fate of The Coastlands was tabled for one week, while the gathered Senators and Representatives examined the mining records Walter had submitted for review. In fact, there was only one conversation from the later part of that Senate session which Jeremy clearly remembered.
“The President calls Jeremy to the witness desk.”
Startled by the sound of his name, Jeremy glanced up to the Presidential podium. Satal’s eyes brought the youth fully back from his day-dream and, after she nodded and extended her hand toward the desk where Walter remained standing, he took to his feet and made his way down. Once he was positioned before the dais, Satal continued.
“Walter, you present Jeremy before this body to be accepted as both pathfinder and representative?”
Walter nodded, “I do, Madam President.”
“Then we will need confirmation.” Turning her back on the seated legislators, Satal addressed the public gallery. “Healer Ama, do you have your pathfinding stones?”
Ama stood and nodded. “I do, Madam President.”
“Then, please, administer your test.”
Murmuring began to file through the chamber as Ama made her way over toward Jeremy. It grew silent as she reached into her satchel and withdrew the same stones Jeremy had breathed upon his first night in The Valleys. Smiling she held the stones out in her palm.
“Breathe, Jeremy.” He obeyed and gently exhaled upon the stones, which immediately glowed with a golden light in Ama’s palm.
Jeremy wasn’t certain what he expected the response to this moment would be, but even in his wildest dreams the roar of a standing ovation had never occurred to him. The chamber erupted into applause, as both legislators and public witnesses cheered. Even the presidential aides, who had remained mostly silent up until this point of the session, stood and loudly applauded.
Once more, Satal banged her gavel on the lectern and called for order. It took several minutes for the crowd to settle down, but once they did the silence which followed was filled with anticipation.
“Very well, let it be recorded. This day Jeremy of…” Satal tilted her head down toward the witness desk and asked, “Jeremy, where are you from?”
Jeremy paused and cleared his throat. He glanced over toward Walter, who winked and nodded for him to respond. Finally, he lifted his head toward the dais and replied, “I’m sorry, Madam President. I don’t know.”
A rumble of confusion rolled through the chamber, though it was quickly silenced by Satal’s gavel. “Walter, how can this be?”
“Madam President, I discovered Jeremy along The Boulevard not a week past. He was asleep by the side of the road and I assumed him to be an unwise youth from some wealthy family who was chasing the dark.
“I awakened him only to discover his memory was fragmented. He knew his name, but not much more. I resolved to help the lad…”
“The Old Fox does love his strays,” Satal interjected with a smile.
“As I said. I resolved to help the lad and brought him to Healer Ama in Water Gap – hoping to restore his memory.”
“And, by his response just now, I am assuming your attempts were unsuccessful, Healer Ama?”
“That is correct,” Ama replied. “I used every known restorative in an effort to clear Jeremy’s memories from the fog they are in. Some of my efforts were almost successful, but the cloud remains in his mind. It was during my session with him I uncovered he was a pathfinder.”
“And why would a pathfinder be discovered alongside The Boulevard with no memory of his past?”
“Madam President, I’m sorry to say I do not know any more than Jeremy does himself.” Ama placed a hand on Jeremy’s shoulder and released some calming energy into his spirit. “If I were permitted to use sheer conjecture…”
Hearing the unasked questions in Ama’s tone, Satal voiced her permission, “Please do, the conjecture of Healers is often better than another’s facts.”
“Very well. If I were to use sheer conjecture I would surmise Jeremy suffered some heart-felt trauma and doesn’t want to remember his past. Deep down he is, in fact fighting all restoratives. This is not an uncommon occurrence, and I believe his memory will one day be restored.”
“And what might cause such a trauma?”
“There are no great houses reporting a missing youth, so I must surmise Jeremy is from one of the many unnamed homesteads between Water Gap and Plantation. Perhaps his home was overrun by the Shadestalkers. A fate not infrequently suffered by those who unwisely settle deep in the forests beyond Water Gap without Senate approval.”
As the sound of the word, “Shadestalkers” Jeremy’s communication crystal grew cold against his breast. “She doesn’t mean it, calm down!” he thought at his unseen friend. The pain of the cold lessoned, but not completely. Sheilak was already upset at having to remain hidden during the Senate proceedings.
“Jeremy must have fled,” Ama continued. “And his hidden abilities as a pathfinder allowed him to survive the assault on his home. He could have moved wildly through the forest, and collapsed in exhaustion as he came across The Boulevard.”
“Very well. Then it appears our new Representative has no locale which can claim him. Therefore I must ask this body who will volunteer to mentor him.” Several Senators stood simultaneously vocalizing their desire to take Jeremy under wing – including both Kaitlyn and Merkot. Before Satal could respond to the petitioners, however, Walter spoke out.
“Madam President, there is no need to ask for volunteers. I found Jeremy and have helped him this past week. I will continue to do so as his mentor in the Senate.”
“Point of challenge, Madam President!” Merkot shouted.
“The President recognizes Senator Merkot.”
“The Old Fox has no seat in this Senate, at least until the petition of The Coastlands has been resolved. It would be hugely irregular for a new Representative to be trained in such a way!”
“Point of response, Madam President?”
“The President recognizes the witness, Walter Old Fox.”
“Seated or not, my station has not changed. I am qualified to become Jeremy’s mentor on that basis alone. However, I will agree to a compromise. Jermey will not be fully recognized as a representative until the petition from the Coastlands is resolved. Should this body favorably respond, both Jeremy and I will be seated for that region. Should the petition be denied, Jeremy will accompany me home, where we will help The Coastlands develop it’s independence as a friendly neighbor.”
“Very well. Are there objections.” No Senators stood to voice an objection, though Merkot scowled slightly in his seat. “Then the President agrees. Jeremy’s fate is tied to the both Old Fox of the Senate and The Coastlands petition. Until that time he will be afforded the honors of all Representatives on a provisional basis.”
Several Senators began to stand to voice opposition to this last pronouncement, but were silenced by Satal’s gavel.
“This meeting is adjourned.”