An Interview with Asphodel

094Fungi

 

Me: Good morning and thank you for agreeing to this
interview.

Asphodel: Good morning. I am pleased to help you in your
work. It must be difficult getting people to talk. What is it you
want to know?

Me: Tell me a bit about life in Rindissillarshan, please. I am sure
my readers would like to know about how the elves live.

Asphodel: The capital of Rindissillarshan is Quantissarrillishon.
It is a beautiful city. When we went there, the Wolves and I,
they thought that we weren’t there yet. It is built in the trees.
I mean literally built in the trees. The trees themselves are
opened up into homes. We take great care not to damage
them so they cannot live, but many are hollow anyway.

Me: So you live inside the trees?

Asphodel: Yes. Many of us do. Others build houses in the
branches. they are so built that they are almost invisible to
anyone on the ground if they don’t know what they are
looking for. that was the case with the others, and they were
astonished when they saw the homes, shop and inns.

Me: Your people are very eager not to damage nature then?

Asphodel: Yes. We live with nature and don’t try to tame it. Our god, Grillon, taught us that we should respect all life, both plant and animal, and that we should try to have as little impact on nature as possible.

Me: Are you all vegetarian then?

Asphodel (laughing): Oh, no. We eat meat. It is an essential part of our diet. We were designed to be omnivorous. We respect the animals that we eat, and apologise to them when we have to kill them. We also say a very brief prayer to Grillon to take the animal’s soul.

Me: Very interesting. Perhaps we should respect our animals a bit more. Tell me about the politics of your land. How are you ruled?

Asphodel: We are ruled by the Elflord. It is a hereditary position and is held for life.

Me: A bit like a king then?

Asphodel: We-el, sort of, I suppose, but the Elflord can be deposed easier than a king can be. It takes two votes of no confidence by the government to depose him.

Me: Who would take over then? Who would be the next Elflord? Would you the government vote for a new one?

Asphodel: No. His sister’s oldest son would take over.

Me: Is the Elflord always a man?

Asphodel: Yes.

Me: Does that not seem a little old-fashioned? Most countries on Vimar, or at least on Khalram, now have equality for the sexes.

Asphodel: Don’t think that women have no power in Rindissillashan. They can hold any position except that of the Elflord, and even then they can have a great deal of power. Heard of ‘The Power Behind the Throne’? Many an Elflord’s wife, mother or sister have, in effect, ruled the country through him.

Me: How is it decided who will inherit?

Asphodel: We trace our family through the female line. Thus the Elflord will always be the eldest son of the previous Elflord’s sister or nearest female relative if either she has no sons or he has no sisters.

Me: That sounds complicated.

Asphodel: Not when you get used to it.

Me: Why do the elves use the female line then?

Asphodel: Many long years ago there was a dispute. We used to follow the male line like many other people. Then there was a dispute as to whether the son of the then Elflord was actually his son or the son of another man who rumour had it had had an affair with the Elflord’s wife. It nearly came to a civil war. It was resolved by making the son of the deceased Elflord’s sister into tthe Elflord. It was certain that she was the mother, and that she was of the Blood Royal. So from then on it was decided that, because there was no doubt as to the mother of a child, we would henceforth trace our descent through the female line and not the male. It has been that way ever since.

Me: I believe that you, yourself, are of House Royal. Could your son be Elflord someday?

Asphodel: Very unlikely! I am quite a long way from the throne and I have an older sister who has a son, not to mention cousins who are closer to the throne than I am.

Me: Thank you very much for your enlightening conversation. I will let you get back to your healing.

Asphodel: Thank you. Good bye.

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