Corellan looked around the clearing and sighed. Although he couldn’t see anyone, he could hear a large group coming from the distance. Could the Picoth ambassador have been waylaid? He was tempted to investigate, but the hour was almost at hand for the meeting. How could he live if he shamed the Guto by leaving before the Picoth arrived? If the meeting failed, it would not be because he had failed his instructions.
The sounds voices came nearer. Corellan found himself gripping his staff of office. Descended from the ancient battle-staves, it still functioned as an awkward weapon. The white boneheart wood blended into his own God-touched skin, making the weapon appear to be an extension of himself.
The first person to enter the clearing was covered from head to foot in metal armour. A soldier, then. The man looked at Corellan before turning towards one side of the clearing. He was soon followed by several more soldiers, who formed a half-circle around his front. Then, several more men came. These wore finer armour but left their heads exposed. At the front of these was…
He couldn’t believe his eyes. A child led this group of soldiers? Two men walked beside the child, though slightly behind him. The idea of a child being in the company of soldiers was alien to Corellan. The child didn’t appear to be paying much attention, and didn’t seem to notice Corellan. One of the men behind her, a tall balding man, did. He cleared his throat and gestured toward Corellan. The boy noticed him for the first time.
“What are you doing here?” the boy demanded. With another shock, Corellan noticed that not only was this a child, but it was a girl. “Where is the Guto delegation?” She looked around, as if seeking more people in the trees.
Sudden awareness hit Corellan. Picoth had sent a group of soldiers to an ambassadorial meeting, as if they were negotiating a surrender! And they were led by a child - a girl! What kind of insult was this? Still, he mustered his composure and greeted the older man.
“I am Corellan Grelen.” He bowed slightly. “I have the honour to represent the Guto for this meeting.”
The girl looked at him, then rage appeared to fill her face.
“What is this? A single person - a deformed one at that! His face looks like…”
The grey-haired man put his hand on the girl’s shoulder. Although the words of a child could not cause offence, Corellan knew that the words were not the true insult. They had sent a girl - an obviously ill-mannered one - as ambassador. The fact that the older man had silenced her told him that he had some power, yet somehow this child outranked him.
“My lady,” the man said to the child, “Remember what your father said. Diplomacy.”
She frowned at him, then looked back at Corellan.
“I,” she started, then sighed. “I apologize for my words. I was expecting the Guto to send a proper ambassador, and…”
The man coughed and signaled the other escort. They both pulled the girl back and conferred. Then, the older man came forward.
“I apologize for the words of Lady Benniga. As you can tell, she has no experience in diplomacy.”
Corellan nodded. The man’s words had told him everything he needed to know. This meeting was a deliberate insult to the Guto.
Even as the meeting continued, Corellan planned for the coming war.
This was written as an experiment with sharing a single story with two points of view. Read the Picoth point of view, and an overview of my thought on this story.