Sage Houses are governed by democracy. In a Sage House, decisions of the estate are made by the Executive Council of Elders or the executive board for short. The House Trilleck Executive Board is made up of twelve elders that serve as the representatives of their individual factions. The elders of the Executive Council of Elders were always known as Seated Elders. Each of the House’s six major wings had two seats and thus two Seated Elders per faction.
House Trilleck’s six major wings were the Fangs, Black, Myriad Rune, Slaughter, Firestorm, and Windstorm factions. Each faction had many noble and humble elders.
To become an elder in House Trilleck, one’s cultivation base had to reach either the Heaven’s Master Realm of the saint path or the Void Door Realm of the Sage path. However, to become an Honored Elder one had to advance one sub realm further than this. Only Honored Elders were qualified to be Seated Elders.
The opinion of each seat represented one vote to cast in significant decisions of the House. The representatives were elected from within their own factions. Whereas, the House Lord possessed two votes on his own, the Seated Elders from his own camp, as well as the right to veto. No one but the Grand Elders could go against the House Lord’s veto. However, it required a minimum of two of the three Grand Elders to be in agreement for the veto to be overruled.
There were a total of twelve elders positioned around the oval-shaped war table, apart from the House Lord himself who was seated directly across from where Jodye Trill and his mother currently stood. To his immediate left and right were the members of the Five Element Wolf Pack. The Five Element Wolf Pack was known as the Honored Pack, and its members were Guardians, the noble honored elders with the highest position outside of the House Lord and the three Grand Elders. Each of whom possesses their own title.
While the others didn’t notice the slight change in little Jodye’s eyes when they landed on his father, it did not go unnoticed by Osiris Trilleck himself, who raised a brow. He placed his full attention on Jodye Trill. Some of the elders felt Jodye had been possessed by his combat soul, or in other words, was maintained by a Fallen Body. They thought he would bring a calamity to the House!
The House lord knew that this fuss was started by his foster brother, Monte Trilleck, who had joined their father’s Windstorm faction and became the representative. However, it was also not so crazy as a theory. The threat was entirely possible! Many strange circumstances were surrounding his son. However, Osiris was genuinely fond of the little guy. Thus, House Lord Trilleck decided that the boy’s next actions would determine his stance in this matter. In fact, Jodye Trill was indeed a fallen body, but not even he understood this, for he had never even heard this term.
“Your lady greets you, my Lord. Greetings to you as well, honored pack brothers,” Lady Isis’ eyes were flirtatious as she greeted Lord Osiris properly, then turned and saluted the five elders closest to him with a smile and curtsy, as she retracted her aura. She then focused her sight back on the lord, completely disregarding the other elders. Seeing this, Lord Osiris felt a headache coming on.
“My lady, please thaw out my affairs manager,” sighed Lord Osiris.
“You do not need to worry, as he will return to normal in 20 minutes, my lord.” Said Lady Isis with a stoic face. “He dared to tell me that I was not allowed to be somewhere in my own Manor. Even worse, he dared separate me from my darling infant son. Your heir’s safety is my chief responsibility as his mother. How could I let him act so unruly? This is obviously challenging your authority, my lord. I will not stand for such an offense to you, from him or any of these elders. Therefore, he must be punished.”
As usual, First Lady Isis used her sweetest voice when she spoke to her husband. The lord had a helpless look. Except for the elders Lady Isis had greeted before, all the surrounding elders grimaced.
“You dare attack the affairs elder!? You are growing more rampant and lawless. Do you believe this estate is your playground, my lady? There are rules?”
“Are there?” replied Lady Isis indifferently glancing at this elder.
“You should watch your tongue, my lady. You would dare to talk back to your lord husband!?”
“I’m sorry, but are you my lord or husband? Is it your turn to reprimand the Lord’s woman?” Lady Isis looked to this elder and said.
“Little miss, you had best mind your position…”
“Be silent.” Lord Osiris’ voice boomed through the room. “Isis, the council has decided to test Joseph’s capability. Some of them feared you would object to this process, so they asked Ke Si to retrieve Jodye Trill once he awakened. We did not expect that you would come here yourself.”
“Test his capability?” Lady Isis frowned, changing her demeanor to that of a cold and emotionless ice queen, “House Lord Osiris, with all due respect, my boy is only a one-year-old child. He’s basically an infant, barely a toddler. This seems a little inappropriate, no?”
“Audacious! Who are you to question your Lord? Your position as the estate’s Frozen Night Master does not even qualify you to be so outrageous.”
“She has no respect, my Lord! A woman needs to…ah…sister Charlotte, of course, I was only…nevermind.”
“Hmph, many of us have said these same words as the First Lady. The boy is too young for this assessment. In normal situations, this assessment can only barely be given to three-year-olds, let alone a one-year-old. She is perfectly right to worry,” said one of the five elders closest to the lord, one of two females on the executive board.
“Indeed, we are putting the boy at risk here. Shouldn’t we consider this further?”
“Yes, after all, the young lord is ultimately still one of us, a Trilleck at that. He is of superior birth and talent, isn’t this something we should be celebrating? All of this fuss seems unnecessary.”
“You saw the terrifying fire produced by this child! Questions must be answered, we are at risk if we remain ignorant! How many families have we had to compensate since yesterday alone?”
“The Lady is too sentimental. It is merely a small test.” Said a short and chubby elder in crimson robes. He had small eyes and minor overbite. This was the elder named Blood Fang, one of the representatives of the Fangs Faction of House Trilleck.
“A small test?” Said Lady Isis through gritted teeth. Jodye Trill knew his mother was growing agitated when he felt that protective energy wave cover him once again, as his mother’s aura began slowly leaking out. Her voice rose into a low shout, “What kind of test is that Elder Fang? Source spirit assessment? Do you want him to use a fate gem? Both of these require a tremendous amount of stress on the boy’s soul. I will not allow any of you to harm or cripple my child!”
“Hmph,” snorted Elder Blood Fang, “I admit that your Void Door Realm cultivation base is impressive, but do not think you can swagger as you please with merely this.”
“Void Door? Hmph, you may think what you like you fool. Just know, that at the very least, I can easily kill you.” Said Lady Isis in a tone as cold as ice, before completely restraining her aura. Jodye couldn’t help but be impressed as he looked up at his mother. She was fierce enough!
“You..” Elder Fang’s face twisted hideously. Little Joe snickered, drawing the rooms attention to himself accidentally. After being bewildered for a couple seconds, Jodye looked up at his mother again, only to find her smiling at him.
“Ma, can we unfreeze Ke Si? He’s always so nice to me,” Jodye Trill looked at his mother with pleading eyes, actually giving her a timely way out of this tense moment. Isis gave her son a thumbs up in her mind, as she was just hoping to turn this around.
After all, she actually also wanted to test her son early. However, how could she just let these men do as they want without her consent?
The elders in the room, who but for a few were mostly unfamiliar with this third young master, were quietly surprised. They looked astonished as they stared at the little blue-eyed child. To speak out at this moment was definitely something only a child who couldn’t sense the mood would do.
He just wanted to help his friend. Some of the elders were pleased by this.
Lady Isis, who was just in the middle of planning how to deescalate the situation, was also startled by her son’s request. She had a feeling that his timing wasn’t a coincidence. After all, he had not reacted at all when she attacked Ke Si. If he was anything at that moment, it was only excited. This little boy was becoming more mysterious every day.
“As you wish, my little heartbeat,” Lady Isis eyes remained indifferent as she waved her hand. The serenity ice encasing Ke Si immediately shattered into pink and purple dust, as Ke Si fell to the ground shivering, “Ke Si, as my son has pleaded for leniency towards you, I will relent. For your own sake, I hope you do not make challenging me a habit.”
As soon as Lady Isis finished speaking, she felt her little son trying to struggle out of her embrace. She released him and used her magic qi to gently place him on his feet.
Jodye then dashed over to Ke Si with his little arms trailing behind. He stopped in front of Ke Si and crossed his small chest in salute.
“Ke Si, I’m sorry we froze you. You tried to bully my mom, but pops says it wasn’t your fault, on the count of it was the other old guys that wanted to bully mom. Don’t be mad at my mom, okay?” Jodye Trill stared straight into Ke Si eyes. Being penetrated by that gaze made Ke Si feel like this child could see through all lies.
Ke Si straightened himself up, then he knelt on one knee to look Jodye Trill in the face, “Yes, my little lord, Ke Si knows what to do. Don’t you worry.”
“Kay.” Came the boy’s voice from a distance. Jodye had immediately turned around and walked away after hearing ‘yes, little lord,’ leaving Ke Si a bit stunned before he slightly smiled as he stood back up, slowly fading into the shadows.
“Pops.” Said little Jodye Trill after he came and stood next to his mother.
Lord Osiris Trilleck was wearing black and gold clothes and a rare pair of glasses. He had never taken his eyes off his son from the moment Jodye and his mother walked in. Jodye was also acutely aware of this.
This was proof of suspicion.
An indiscernible glint flashed across his eyes, and no one knew what he was thinking. Osiris slowly sat back in his chair and spoke, “In this hall, you must address this father of yours as Lord of the house. Do you understand me, Joseph Trilleck?”
“Lord pops,” said Jodye Trill instantly, nearly flooring everyone in the room. This kid was so pure it hurt their ears. The way he spoke made it seem as if learning to speak was so easy for him that he failed to appreciate the subtleties of grammar.
Little Jodye would often shorten words or use unique phrases they had never heard. All of their imposing pretenses seemed like flies on the wall when the boy spoke.
Lord Osiris slapped his head with his palm, but suddenly couldn’t help but return to his usual smile as he spoke again, “What is it, my boy?”
“I had a dream.” Said Jodye Trill, in his most puerile voice. He had learned this trick from his second sister Kamila. Jodye Trill was not about to reinvent the famous speech of Martin Luther King Jr. or anything like that to save himself. However, he had noticed that the atmosphere was off.
Without carefully thinking about it, he realized that all this should have something to do with the inferno of magic fire he had somehow and inadvertently slept through burning inside. He even slept from beginning to end. Not to mention the miraculous changes that occurred to his body in the process.
That being the case, he knew that these people were on guard against him for some unknown reason related to that event. Perhaps the reason was the unknown itself? Thinking to here, Jodye Trill came up with several possible ways to approach this issue. The best solution? Since they fear a monster, he would just be a child.
Reciprocating the hostility isn’t something that a toddler that had rarely been outside his own courtyard would do. Likely a one-year-old child wouldn’t even sense hostility too well. Sure enough, Lord Osiris and a few the elders had suddenly become interested, and less guarded. Even though some of them were displeased, it was the minority.
“We do not have time for the ramblings of a child,” interrupted Monte Trilleck, who had been otherwise quiet. He frowned intensely as he turned and spoke to the lord, “Osiris, I hope you do not intend for us to…”
Monte Trilleck didn’t finish his words. He suddenly felt his heart stop, as if it was afraid of beating. A soul-wrenching killing intent that made him feel like a tiny rabbit in front of a vicious pack of wolves that had him cornered.
“Elder Monte Trilleck. Forgive me…but did you just disrespect our young lord?” said a beautiful female elder on the left of Elder Mercer and the Lord Osiris, in a voice that would be pleasant to the ears if it wasn’t as sharp and merciless as a blade covered in blood.
This woman was wearing a blood red body suit that perfectly hugged her hourglass-shaped body. She had long black hair, skin that looked smooth and beautiful like jade, green eyes, and the appearance of a 25-year-old woman. Jodye inwardly thought that this chick was a total bombshell! However, those green eyes of hers were cold and emotionless. She was apparently a murderer. Jodye was confident that this woman was the most insane of killers.
This hot lady had the demeanor of a hitwoman, but the face of a doll. This was the Hell’s Daughter Charlotte Slaughter, a Titled Honored Elder of House Trilleck, and a member of the Five Element Wolf pack. Her official title was Hell’s Daughter, while Charlotte Slaughter was her actual name.
Though she appeared young and sexy, she was actually a bit over three hundred years old. She served as the representative for the Slaughter faction, an all-woman faction founded by the Honored Elder herself.
“Elder Charlotte, you misunderstand. Please forgive me little lord, my lady,” Monte Trilleck chose to retreat in the face of such killing intent. However, he did not apologize to the lord, only the lady, and her son.
He would avoid offending that madwoman if he could, but he wouldn’t bow his head to Osiris. But damn, this was the hardest part about getting rid of Osiris! This mighty Five Element Wolf Pack accompanied him everywhere he went, they would simply never be too far away from the Lord. They even had a higher status than normal elders! He could only withdraw.
“Come on up here, Joseph,” Said Lord Osiris, patting his lap.
“Lord pops, it’s okay you can still say Jodye, okay?” Jodye Trill ran under everyone’s chair then climbed up into his father’s lap, before responding cutely.
Lord Osiris laughed in his trademark boisterous manner, and his tension from before was finally easing. If nothing else, this was precisely the same little boy he had already grown attached too. He could no longer bear to treat him indifferently, less the boy’s feelings get hurt for no reason, “Okay then, little Joe. Speak, be quick. Hurry and tell papa about your dream, kid.”
Jodye Trill then recounted his experience in the black space. Merely, he omitted the conversation between the two voices. He merely spoke of the sounds themselves, referring to them as indistinct. He only mentioned when a voice told him he was there too soon, and then an explosion that condensed a wolf made of fire. The lord, elders, and even lady Isis were all shocked. They all took turns asking Jodye what he was doing before passing out, and how his body and mind were feeling.
Jodye Trill just told them that he was meditating like his ‘pops’ would do during the night. While holding the medicinal herb his father had given him, he felt some strange power seeping into him for the last few nights. He claimed that on that particular night, he felt like something cracked in his head before it ached so severely he passed out.
This was all, of course, a mix of truth and lies. Jodye was diabolical with such things, he had far too much experience.
Lord Osiris had a contemplative look on his face, as he held Jodye Trill’s wrist, inspecting the state of the little guy’s body with his spiritual sense. As he was scanning, he noticed that it almost seemed as if Jodye had a look of curiosity on his face and seemed to be following the flow of energy with his eyes. Osiris felt this to be a misconception before Jodye spoke when the former’s sense stopped next to the latter’s heart.
“Pops it tickles there, move it, quick, move it.” Jodye Trill began to squirm and giggle in his father’s embrace.
Lord Osiris was momentarily bewildered, before withdrawing his spiritual sense, “Jodye Trill, can you truly feel my spiritual probing?”
“It felt like worms crawling inside,” Jodye Trill made a face and shivered.
Lord Osiris threw a look at the surrounding elders, who he found were all looking back at him as well. He then glanced at his lady Isis. Meeting his gaze, she sighed softly and sashayed her way over to pick up Jodye.
“Just us then, my dear. No one else,” Lady Isis spoke to Lord Osiris very softly in relent.
“Leave us. My honored pack brothers may, of course, remain.” Lord Osiris commanded the surrounding elders, whose expressions all turned sour. They grumbled and complained as they all rose to depart. Moments later, there were only seven adults and one child in the main chamber.
“My husband, will you explain what on Gaea is going on here?” as soon as the chamber doors closed again, Lady Isis had Jodye Trill in one hand, and the other on her hip.
Lord Osiris sighed deeply before explaining, “I have been contacted by my clan.”
Lady Isis turned pale.
“My father would like to be there during the assessments of my newborn children. He wants to respect my hegemonic position here, and will instead raise the best of my offspring in the main branch. Unless another miracle happens, Jodye is definitely the best of my offspring.”
“So, are we now a side branch?” spat Lady Isis. There was obvious sarcasm in her tone, “Must I send my son away just because it had been decided by others?”
“My love, this is not something we should see as a disadvantage. You must consider that my clan looks down at us from a much higher view than the Anubis Dynasty.” Said Lord Osiris in a calm tone. “My old man thought I died with my mother all those years ago…”
“Dear, how exactly did they find you then?” Asked lady Isis, full of concern.
“This…” Lord Osiris hesitated before calling out to the friendly neighborhood butler,
Ke Si suddenly appeared entirely out of nowhere behind Lord Osiris. With his arrival, Jodye Trill noticed that everything other than the space separating the three adults was now pitch black and silent.
“Force Field!” his mother had mentioned force fields to him on the way over. This was supposedly a mage rank power, whatever that meant! This Ke Si was able to create a Shadow Force Field!