“Order! The Beta Council will have order!” the Sargent at Arms yelled over the din of several dozen voices arguing. He was tall and well-built, with mostly black fur over his body although his ears were tipped in a rusty brown color.
“Thank you,” said the Alpha of Daranaea, a war hero named Acreon. “We will speak of the proposal now. First, to speak will be the proponent of this bill, Vidam.”
Vidam stood up. He was still fairly young. It was his first year as a Beta Councilor, following in the footsteps of his father, the disgraced Arnis. He had been elected by those who remembered seeing him as a boy, brave and unyielding, defending his second mother at her trial. That had been nearly twelve years before, and he was no longer a callow youth. His fur was completely rust-colored, and his nose was rather triangular in shape, making him looking even more fox-like than most Daranaeans. “I, I would like to put forth a bill that would grant Daranaean Prime Wives the right to vote.”
There were murmurs in the room. “Go on,” Acreon said, trying not to show favor, but it was difficult not to. Vidam was one of his sons-in-law, by virtue of a marriage to Acreon’s own Morza. And Vidam’s brother, Trinning, was a son-in-law, too, by virtue of a marriage to Acreon’s daughter Kathalia. So Vidam was family in a lot of ways, and a protégé to Acreon.
“We, we all know that there are differences among the female castes,” Vidam said, “and the Prime Wives are given the most education, still. They are certainly the best informed about the issues of the day, and, and they would, I am sure, use this new right wisely.”
“And now Boestus will present the opposing viewpoint,” Acreon said.
Boestus was older. He rose. His fur was off-white, with brown spots. “I hardly think I need to tell this chamber about what would happen if Prime Wives got the right to vote!” Most of the Beta Council chuckled. “They would vote for more shopping days, and for lower prices! And they would vote for holidays and picnics! And, and what would happen if they got the notion to put up a candidate of their own?! Can any of you imagine taking orders from a Prime Wife?”
“I hear Vidam and a lot of the others in the younger generation already do!” said a wag, in a stage whisper. His neighbors laughed.
Vidam got up, a bit red about his nose and the tips of his ears. “This is not about my home life.”
“But Ethara has you wrapped about her littlest finger, or so I hear,” said the wag.
“Now, now, gentlemen, this is a time for debate and not for gossip,” Acreon said.
“Is this true?” asked Craethe, a field reporter for the ever-present Daranaean press.
“I am the leader of my own house,” Vidam said, “It is not something that I need to assert or prove, to the press or the Council or the people of Daranaea and all of its provinces.”
“Wouldn’t the vote for Prime Wives lead, perhaps, to a debate about a vote for secondaries?” asked the reporter, “And then where would it lead? Wouldn’t, eventually, someone think of giving the vote to, to the last caste females?”
The members of the Council shuddered, seemingly as one. “We cannot have this,” Boestus said, “I call for a vote now.”
Acreon could see that he could not delay a vote on the matter. “All right, we will vote.”
The Council stood as one. “All in favor will remain standing!” called out the Sargent at Arms. There was a loud sound of shuffling as dozens of chairs were pulled back and dozens of Daranaean butts returned to their seats.
And in the end, showing their support for giving the vote to Prime Wives, there were only two men left standing.