Our earliest writings refer to a list of promises made by the original nine. Most of those promises are lost in time as their specifics had been forgotten by the time of written records. All our histories say is that Melarx, founder of our farming made promises that led no, and did not need to be kept. We do not know why. It’s likely he set down plans for farming based on conditions in the old village and which proved unworkable in the special climate of our valley. Whatever the reason, we do not know what his promises were, only that he, like all nine made some and his were not kept. That is still more than we kno about Avez’s promises. We only know she made any because the records all agree there were promises from all nine. But no reference to her particular promises was ever made. And all other references to her was that she was essential as a mother and expert in childbirth. Perhaps her promises related to that in some way but it is never mentioned.

But Vanka’s promises are not only known but still kept bus.

1.) We will never again risk our village by making its location known to those who might harm us. Hence our intense secrecy, even with those we bring here in trust.

2.) We will, in secret, maintain an equal knowledge with those who might harm us.

“But I’ve been told there are three of Vanka’s rules.”

“Yes. It is common to say that. We think of Vanka’s Promises along with what is more properly called Vanka’s Legacy. Legend tells us it was Vanka’s last wish. It is impossible to tell if that is true. It likely did not come from her directly, but arose naturally out of following her intentions. Vanka’s Legacy says that we should, in secret, influence those who might harm us into balanced and if possible, peaceful relations with each other. The aim is to keep them from starting wars that would threaten us in any way. It has become a de facto way to run the world. We are its secr monarchs. Or as our philosophers have dubbed it, exarchs. For we rule from without.”