“Those that protested, ‘I had no choice,’ obviously lacked an imagination.”
Kione’s family are not noble; the Remerdiis are what is known as ‘Landed Gentleman’, which means that they get a surname, but are barred from officially naming their territories or taking on slaves bound in gold. For services to the king, Kione was promoted to the rank of pseudo-nobility, given the title of ‘Lord’… but his home and lands were not given an official name. Instead, after a bit of social fumbling he was nicknamed ‘Lord Kione Remerdii, of blue crystal’ after his new crest, a piece of celestite shining in the dark. This combined the gentleman and lordly titles, and aside from some prestige bestowed very little special privilege. Given the service he was performed in exchange, some might even think that he was robbed. Kione accepted graciously instead.
The hierarchy, to be clear: Royalty > High Nobility > Nobility > Landed Gentleman > Gentleman > common men.
When Kione was eight years old, he was put in charge of his family’s dogs, to teach him to rule. Dogs, his father theorized, were the perfect way to raise his son: they would flock for food and favors, and were easily trained, easily led astray. This was much how the senior Remerdii saw his people, which he organized into strict routines and rigid groups, all heavily moderated. Kione adopted the same practices, training the animals, then using them for mundane labor.
Two years later, Kione was with his animals when a much younger boy– probably five or so, and noble-born on top of it– thought it would be fun to run among them and hit them with a heavy stick, normally used for chastising the dogs. Kione caught and held him, wrenching his stick away from him and demanded that the child desist and leave. The boy swore and refused, reaching back to take back his weapon as he struggled. Then the boy’s father came into view.
Immediately the child threw himself on the ground and began sobbing. The father shouted and scooped him up, asking his son what had happened and giving Kione a very unpleasant expression as the boy pointed a finger at the stick, but seemed too wrought to make out the words. Kione’s explanation seemed to be disregarded.
When Kione’s own father called on him later for an answer, Kione again tried to explain that he had not been in the wrong. His father cut him off, affirmed that he already knew what had really happened. Then he went on to explain that it was unimportant. Truth was, ultimately, less important than appearance. He was to find other ways, other options, but always must appear blameless, regardless of his intentions, the presence or lack of guilt. Then Kione was punished as if he had attacked the little noble, to the satisfaction of their guest.
Kione learned his lesson, and did not make that mistake again.