Saturday 31 October 2009

Pen asked this question:

Is the second to the Khor always the opposite nature of the Khor, as with Sorin and Osh, Vash and Paul?

Usually, yes. But it’s not a rule, and it couldn’t be a rule because it’s not an official position. The Khor usually knows who his Second is, but there is no place in the protocol for that designation. Humility requires the elf himself to call himself the Fourth; and, to play it safe, most elves usually refer to all three of them as “Sorin’s Fourth” if they must speak of one of them individually.

It’s worth pointing out that it’s not just the Khor. The elven court and the rebel “army” are both organized according to Fours, all of which have a First. And everyone knows who the First is. For example, back before Osh was banished and Ris got promoted to Sorin’s Four, we’ve seen the Four consisting of Ris, Polin, Talan, and Dru son of Illir. Ris was First there, and now Polin is. But again, nobody is officially his Second.

Naturally, with something so ill-​​defined, there is intrigue and politics involved. If someone calls an elf someone’s Second, that is a deliberate and meaningful breach of protocol. If the First himself does it, then everybody had better sit up and take note.

So who is the Second? It’s usually the First’s closest friend and adviser, which due to their natural tendencies is usually an elf of the opposite nature. And usually it’s painfully obvious to everyone who it is, as with Vash and Paul, Sorin and Osh, or Lar and Dasi.

But sometimes it isn’t obvious, as with Lar post-​​Dasi. As I said, it’s usually the First’s best friend and closest adviser, but it can also be the elf who is effectively running the show in the place of an unfit First. (One wonders what’s happening in loopy Sorin’s world, now that Osh is gone.)

Or it’s the elf who has the First by the balls. That’s where the politics really start coming into play. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are elves who openly refer to Imin as Lar’s Second, essentially daring Lar to call them on it. Perhaps Imin has even taken the title for himself.

Lar and Imin.