My name is Criollo. I am in my third year of Final Form. Master Breton has asked each of us to keep a running journal of our lives – how we perceive our culture – how our homes operate on a day to day basis, and the observations we make about the world around us. We are a pretty homogenous people with many of the same lifestyles so this isn’t to enlighten us. Master Breton has a very specific reason for giving us this assignment, and it is because we have a new Dragonhorse! When one of these remarkable men rises to rule, Equus always takes on a much more expansive role in galactic politics, and I’m sure Master Breton is thinking all of us will be explaining our planet and our culture to people who don’t know much if anything about us as actual, everyday people. This is his way of making sure we practice before such a situation arises.
A bit about me, just to get started. As I said, my name is Criollo – Ah’din Criollo Teal. My dam is Krush Ah’din Teal and my sire is Ah’clare Teal Gidran. I am studying within the walls of the Great House of Equus in Thura, our planetary capital. Many students come here to the various schools depending on their field of interest, or if they are working as pages for the ambassadors, or if they are learning a specific skill. Mine is the latter. I am learning how to restore old books. Sounds boring, I know, but it’s really fascinating. My lifelong friend and next-door neighbor, Timor Ah’brianne Ah’mae, serves a page to one of the ambassadors from Kohath Zadok, and she has some very funny stories which I will ask her to share with you sometime. (I should say, I think they’re funny. I’m not sure she is amused.)
Here’s a brief lesson about how names work in our society:
I am male, so I carry my mother’s name first, then mine, then my father’s. Ah’brianne has her sire’s name first, then her given name, then her dam’s. If she marries, her dam’s name is replaced with her husband’s name. For instance, (and this is only an example so don’t get any ideas), if she married me her name would become Timor Ah’brianne Criollo.
Before I close this first journal entry I must tell you about the Thirteenth Dragonhorse, because his rising as Firstlord is what has prompted this assignment. General information first, I suppose.
Most of the time Equus and her affined worlds are governed by the priestesses and the Great Council. They help make decisions for our people, and they govern with a light hand, protecting, nourishing and maintaining what is already in place. Every seven hundred years – fourteen Equi generations – a male rises to be Dragonhorse. He is raised without knowledge of who he is – nor do his foster parents know. That is done so he gets an absolutely normal upbringing, with the required schooling and the chance to be an everyday citizen of Equus. On his one hundredth Birthing Day – the day he gains full maturity – all that changes. Abruptly and painfully. He is strapped in an ancient contrivance, and molten metal is poured into the molds on his biceps, marking him forever as Dragonhorse, absolute ruler – over the priestesses, the Great Council, and, as of this rising, eleven of the most powerful planets in the Seventh Galactic Alliance. He reigns on average about one hundred and fifty years. It is the Dragonhorses who really get out and about in the galaxy. They see who needs help beyond our borders, and who may need reining in. They are the ones who make sweeping changes. If new planets are added to the Affination, it is in that time period.
We have had a couple disappointments, an assassination or two, and one real despot over the last ten thousand years, but by and large they have moved us forward. I know that will be the case this time, because I know this man on a very personal basis.
The Thirteenth Dragonhorse was born Ah’rane Ardenai Krush. He is a breeder of fine horses, mostly polo ponies, and one of the top Computator Design Engineers Equus ever produced. He teaches Creppia Nonage – five and six-year-olds. He was my teacher, and he is my uncle. I know … I can’t believe it either, and I’ll bet he’s still shaking his head, because Ardenai is a very unassuming individual. He has a deep, gentle voice and kind eyes and people are naturally drawn to him. He is going to be very good at this, I know. He has been very sad the last two years, because he lost his beloved wife to wasting disease, but he rose immediately to the task of being Firstlord, and by nightfall of his second day in office, he was gone – seeking our ancient enemies, the Telenir.
I have no idea what he’s doing right now, and I’m not going to talk much about him because that is not the assignment. I will say only that my Grandparents are worried half-sick, and so is my mother, Ardenai’s sister, Ah’din. I have every reason to think my father is out there with him, and I await news with no less anxiety than anybody else.