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he took the path that led past the bridge, pausing there, trailing a hand over the design
on the metal. He had not set foot there since that horrible day. He could not bear to see
his lover s body held so cruelly. He had to understand that Satarin no longer existed.
There was only Taridir, and that being did not hold love for Mikon.
He laid his forehead against the doors for a moment, trying to find a glimmer of
hope in his heart, but there was none. The gods were not merciful and he should not
expect them to be. After all, who was Mikon? He was not important, merely another
soul under their rule.
Mikon grunted in disgust at himself and walked away. He had to stop looking to
the past, stop being so pitiful. Surely he could find a place among Satarin s people. It
was all he had, because Jakob would never leave his husband and Mikon could not lose
this last link. Jakob was all he had now.
He rolled his shoulders, trying to shed the tension that seemed to tie every part of
him into painful knots. It was then he truly began to notice the silence. Not a sound.
Frowning, he changed his route. It made sense that most of the Masaari would be
outside, but surely a few would have remained. This hollow emptiness boded ill in
some way he could not define.
His strides lengthened, concern for Jakob rising in his throat. Something was off.
As the turn in the corridor ahead came into view, he could see the natural light
reflecting off the metal walls. So the outer hatch was still open then. The closer he came,
the more he could hear, and his concerns lightened somewhat. He was just being
paranoid. Nothing was different.
He reached the hatch, squinting slightly in the almost-forgotten sensation of
sunlight. Shading his eyes, he watched the scene with confusion. Everywhere there
were pavilions, some still being erected, but most completed, piles of possessions being
carried within.
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The Chosen
Horses. Many horses, some he recognized from the ship itself.
Watching with a frown, he soon came to the conclusion that everyone was settling
in for good. This did not seem to reflect a temporary measure or the Masaari would not
have brought everything they owned out. He knew that a portion of the people would
probably stay here, but what of the others? He had imagined that they would wish to
leave, would continue to live upon the ship until this visit was over and they could be
on their way.
By the numbers represented in the pavilions, this assumption seemed to be slightly
off. Were more of them making the decision to stay?
He glanced at the horses again, trying to make sense of it all, and his heart spasmed
as he saw a man leading a familiar stallion. Meptis. Mikon sucked in a breath, trying to
control the pain that rose. Satarin s stallion.
He jerked his head away, unable to watch, trying to cast aside the memories of that
lovely day spent riding, Satarin s gentle smile as he watched.
That was all gone now.
His blurred vision registered movement, and he focused, realizing a small robed
figure was approaching the ramp.
A woman with a familiar child on her hip.
He stepped aside as she began the walk up the ramp, only to freeze in place as she
came to stand before him, vivid eyes fixed upon his face. She lowered her veil and he
quickly bowed his head, a sign of respect that she would grant him the favor of
exposure, a sign he realized the importance of such a thing. It was the Masaarian girl
who had been raped, whose child he had rescued. He had not seen her since that time,
even aboard the ship. It was not unusual for the women to remain separate, although he
had been told that in their own settlements the women had more freedom, that they did
not even have to remain veiled if they chose, although most retained their mystery
willingly.
She smiled then, a gentle curving of lips, soothing the baby who fussed for a
moment before sucking on a fist.  You must wonder what is happening, Her voice was
as beautiful as her face.
He could only nod, wary of doing something that would insult her or have her
husband down upon his head. She tilted her head, a quirk of her lips indicating that she
understood where his concern lay.
 I was sent to speak to you, it is fine.
He eyed her with trepidation. Women were so fragile, so strange in their thoughts
and actions. He usually avoided them for that reason.
 We do this for you. We do this for our Imar. Her tone was calm, yet with a steely
determination behind the simple words.
A frown furrowed Mikon s brow.  I don t understand, was all he could offer.
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J.C. Owens
 We have come to a decision, all of us. Our Imar sacrificed everything for us, left
the one he loved more than life to give us life. We will return to what is right. We will
return to our world, our way of life that is peaceful, content. Those who feel differently,
who wish to continue the existence of space travel will wait for one of the other ships to
visit and leave with it. The rest, most of us, will stay here. Right here. We will live on
this spot until our Imar is returned to us. We do not want the ship, we do not need it. It
is a symbol of something that we wish to leave behind. So we will pray to Anin until
our leader is returned.
Mikon stared at her. Speechless. The love in her tone, the love that motivated the
Masaari to leave ease behind and return to a harsh way of life was beyond anything he
could comprehend.
 He is a god now. Anin will never let him go. It is what a god was meant to be, part
of this ship. That is what he told me before he left. There is nothing else. Your sacrifice
will be for nothing. He heard the confusion and pain in his own voice.
She shook her head, laying a hand upon his arm.  He was meant to lead us as no
other ever has. Even if he has become a god, then that is still within him. It was too
strong to be destroyed by what occurred. We need him. So we pray to Anin for his
return. If we no longer have need of the ship, he will have to be released. The
simplicity of it all was staggering, and yet, the utter faith in her eyes was solid.
He swallowed hard.  Anin will never let him go. Janizar died in that case. Perhaps
all this will do is condemn Satarin s body to death. [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]