Æran hurried into the clearing with Ilyrath in tow. The rest of the Veon, just over twenty elves, was already assembled, waiting for the two latecomers. Æran slid into the crowd of elves, while Ilyrath stood at the front all by themself, their vibrant green eyes glistening in the afternoon sun.
“Apologies for the delay, my Veonalyr,” Ilyrath said, clutching a stack of papers in their hands. They quickly made sure everyone was in attendance, before taking a deep breath. “Shall we begin?”
A wave of murmurs passed through the assembled Veon. Ilyrath raised their hand to silence them. With a nod to themself, they continued. “Veonalyr,” they addressed the gathered, “our Veonschal has passed, and we are here to elect a new one. Those who wish to nominate themselves rise and stand behind me. Then, we shall begin voting.”
Æran glanced around. It seemed that nobody wanted to be the first to rise. Steeling their resolve, they pulled themself to their feet. “I’m putting myself forward as a candidate,” Æran declared.
Ilyrath nodded, writing it down. Æran made their way besides them, looking over the assembled Veonalyr. “I’ve served as the leader of Kolanis’s military for almost six years, working hard to maintain peace and protect the village, and I believe I could serve the people even better as the Veonschal!”
Æran was the directed to sit in the space behind Ilyrath. Two more Veonalyr stood up as candidates, each giving their speech to the crowd. They seated themselves in a line next to Æran, waiting for the next step of the election.
“Is that all?” Ilyrath asked, when no others made any effort to step forward. A moment of silence engulfed the Veon, before another rose to their feet, an older member with almost a century under their belt.
“I’m putting myself forward, too,” declared Alædos, their voice booming across the clearing. They shuffled to Ilyrath’s side before continuing. “I have stood by the late Veonschal as their right hand for many decades. I helped create Kolanis, and then I helped lead it. Even before that, I was at the forefront of the Veon’s leadership. I’m experienced, and I know what needs to be done.”
Ilyrath noted everything down and directed Alædos to join the candidates. “If no more wish to step forward, let’s begin the vote. The candidates are Æran, Namir, Faliel and Alædos.“ As they said that, a younger elf, not yet a part of any Veon, placed a bowl in front of each candidate. “To vote, put your object into the bowl of your choice.”
With that, a mass of elves stood up, pulling out small stones or trinkets from their pockets. Æran, too, pulled theirs out, a small carved token. They dropped it into the bowl before them, giving themself the first vote. Slowly, they watched as it filled up with various objects of small size. Ilyrath themself placed theirs in Æran’s bowl, offering a supportive smile as they did.
Soon all the votes were cast, and Ilyrath counted them with the help of the younger elf. As they were writing down the results, everyone bated their breath, awaiting the numbers.
“Æran has received 8 votes, Namir 4, Faliel 6 and Alædos 9. With that, Namir is eliminated, and a second round of voting shall commence.”
The votes from Namir’s bowl were redistributed back to their owners. The second round was over quickly, and Ilyrath recounted the votes.
“Æran and Alædos are now tied at 10 votes each, and Faliel is eliminated with only 7.”
The loser’s votes were cast yet again. Six of the seven quickly added their votes to the two candidates left, Æran receiving half and Alædos the other, while one remained undecided.
It was Dalenor, the oldest of the Veon. All eyes turned to them as they stood there, their stone in their hand. “It seems the next Veonschal is up to me, then,” they said, chuckling to themself. “I have known the late Veonschal for a long time. They were a good person, always looking for ways to push us all forward.”
They first locked eyes with Alædos, then with Æran. They paused there, silent for a moment. “I believe one of these candidates is not dissimilar in that.” They took a few steps forward, towards Æran’s bowl, before dropping the small stone into it.
Ilyrath smiled, and went off to officially count the votes again. “Æran has 14 votes, while Alædos has 13. With that, I hereby declare Æran the new Veonschal!”
The Veonalyr cheered as Alædos muttered something to themself. Dalenor patted the new Veonschal’s back, nodding at them with a wide smile.
“We need to send the news to Æredos,” Ilyrath said once they managed to make their way to Æran, who was now being swallowed by the crowd.
“True, true. Send Elanil, they’re fast on a horse and very reliable,” Æran responded.
They shared a quick hug, before Ilyrath ran off towards the village and Æran was left to the mercy of the Veon.