Suzu makes a decision regarding the father of her future heiress.
The next morning Tatiana woke early and hurried down to the kitchen for breakfast. She arrived even before Orion had cooked anything so she put together a plate of leftovers for herself and went to sit at the dining table. Slowly she nibbled at her food, looking around her as if waiting for someone. When she heard footsteps to her left she straightened up and pretended to eat in earnest.
“Good morning, Ms Tatiana!” the cheerful voice of Phoenix greeted, setting down his plate and plopping down next to her. “You’re up rather early today!” Tatiana looked over, feigning surprise, and beamed at him.
“Hello, Phoenix!” She breathed, “I wanted to get a head start in the garden. It’s almost harvest time, you know.” Phoenix nodded his understanding and took a large bite of egg.
“Of course!” He said through muffled bites, “I’ve got some cleaning to do this morning, too. I think I’ll probably end up practicing my martial arts at some point t-”
“Me, too!” Tatiana burst in, her voice high and excited. “I-I’ll be practicing my yoga over that way as well! Perhaps we could practice together if you’re not too busy?”
Phoenix looked a little uncomfortable at Tatiana’s outburst and suggestion. He didn’t seem to know what to say.
“I would not want to distract you from your practice, Ms Tatiana,” Phoenix said quietly. “It is important that you stay focused for such an activity. I fear that, together, we would be too exuberant to achieve the goals we both have.”
Tatiana fell silent, looking at her plate. Sensing the awkwardness he had created, a look of panic came to Phoenix’s face. Before he could speak, Tatiana rose from her stool.
“I think I’ll actually go read for a while in my chambers. Have a good morning…”
Tatiana quickly headed inside the women’s chambers and towards the stairs to the bedroom, looking glum.
“Tatiana,” A musical voice sounded from behind the door. Tatiana stopped in place and exhaled, turning around to face Suzu. Suzu sat on the cushioned bench and it appeared she had been waiting for Tatiana to come back from breakfast. “Come, sit with me.”
Tatiana did as she was told and put on a smile.
“You’re up very early. Would you like to me read to you a while, Lady?”
Suzu shook her head.
“Actually, I have something I wish to discuss with you.”
“I have seen how you interact with both of our attendants. You have such an easy way with them.” Suzu paused, a little embarrassed about what she wanted to ask. “I… I wonder… have you thought about who you would like to have a child with?”
Tatiana felt her cheeks flush as she tried to think of how to respond. She was curious as to why this conversation was happening.
“By your expression I will consider your answer to be yes,” Suzu smirked. Tatiana looked up at the ceiling dreamily.
“Lady, I find both of them to be agreeable…” Tatiana wanted to ask who Lady Suzu liked more but she was afraid of the answer. Instead she sought her advice. “Do you have an opinion about who would be best suited for me?”
Suzu smiled and nodded, looking at her hands in her lap.
“I think that if you were to be with Orion it would be… difficult for you to work with him in the garden while you waited for your child to be born…” She peered sideways at Tatiana, trying to gauge her reaction. She continued, “That and I feel that Phoenix would be a good physical match for you. His physical traits would harmonize with your own to create a beautiful daughter or handsome son.” Tatiana gave a pleasant sigh.
“I think you give excellent advice. Do you think he would be happy with such an arrangement?”
“I think he would be honored,” Suzu touched Tatiana’s arm in support. “That leaves me with Orion but I believe that he would give my potential heiress his very best traits…” Both women looked at their laps with concealed delight. Suzu was pleased that Tatiana agreed with her. Now all she needed to do was convince the community council that they were making the right choice…
In this unique community there was a beautiful temple where important decisions were made and special ceremonies held. Each clan leader held council meetings and invited the women of the community to impart their wisdom on the topic at hand. As the individual clans grew they usually held fewer community meetings and instead met with only their own clan members.
Suzu’s clan was still very small so she gladly accepted the advice of the more experienced clan leaders on the topic at hand: producing an heiress. The women first assembled in the throne room where they introduced themselves and decided who would continue on to the tea ceremony. One of the ladies (in pink) felt that, as the gardener of her clan and mother to a son, she was not suited to offer the best advice for this meeting. Suzu wished that lady would stay and Lady Caliente leave instead but the other women agreed her departure was probably for the best.
With their small group decided, the women made their way up to the tea room. They sat on comfortable pillows and Suzu cleared her throat, opening the discussion.
“As the current leader of my clan I must produce an heiress to take my place upon my death.” Her voice was clear but she felt strange speaking like she did. Her death seemed so far away but here she was making plans for it. She continued. “Currently in my clan I have two attendants: Phoenix and Orion. They both have amiable qualities but I believe I have reached a decision.” She glanced towards Tatiana hopefully, seeing her sister give an encouraging smile.
Lady Caliente let out a laugh.
“I know who you have chosen for yourself: Orion, my old attendant.” She looked slyly at Suzu. Suzu swallowed, worried what Lady Caliente might say. “Although he did not work for my clan, for yours he may be good… He seemed to have high spirits when I visited you last week…”
Suzu let out the breath she hadn’t known she was holding.
“You are correct in my thinking, Lady Caliente. I thank you for your words.” She turned towards Tatiana. “As for my sister, I feel that she would be best with Phoenix.” Tatiana stared straight ahead, nervously.
“The main issue we have is that we know that these men are both excellent workers and that it would be a major loss to our clan if they left.” The older women in the room nodded in agreement; Suzu continued, “However, the qualities they would each give to any future children is more important for us. With both of your blessings we will move ahead with our plan.”
Lady Caliente and the other woman exchanged several looks between the two of them as if they spoke a silent language. Finally, the older woman nodded to Lady Caliente and spoke aloud.
“We give our blessings to your choice. May you be graced with daughters.”