Thursday, November 22, 2007


Over the years, many other young men and women would find their way to the island and make their home there. The community grew, and eventually Tsuda was forced to draw up a rule of life for those who lived there. At first, she resisted being the leader of the community, insisting that the blessed Mede knew more and was more suitable to the role; Mede declined, claiming that her family needed her time, and she would not be able to give enough time to the order.
So Tsuda became the head of the new movement, and took the name Sulan; she left the former name as she left the former life she had lead…
And so Sulan bound a book of her remembered lives, and all that she had learned in her sixty years on the island among the Children of Suk, setting down the rule of the order, and the command to leave behind hatred and fear, learning to love. The book was richly decorated in her own hand, and the Children of Suk have preserved it intact ever since. They will not reveal where the book is kept, but when a novice is ready to commit completely to the service of Suk, it is said that they are shown the book.
And so, having completed her life’s work, the Blessed Sulan lay down and her soul took flight. Some of the younger novices said that she had flown to the stars, but those who knew her best claimed that they did not see her soul in the sky, and that she had merely flown into the next life.
They buried her on one of the central islands, and to this day, the exact location of her burial place is not known, for the order keeps it a secret, for fear that the Temalans should descrate her remains. But they erected a memorial to her on the first island; it was a large winged figure, reaching for the stars, a design purportedly taken from the book she had made. It can still be seen there today.
-------from the Life of the Blessed Sulan, by Mei Nevrekti

Nephan stirred, groaning, and sat up. His head was a roaring maelstrom of pain, and it took a moment for him to remember where he was. He could still feel the flies crawling on his skin, and made a motion as if to brush them away. His fingers quickly met the wires, and he let his hands drop. His head pounded, and he took a deep breath. He heard a small hiss from the wall nearest the bed, and the pain in his skull eased as the oxygen content in the room rose.
“Greetings, Master Nephan.” The voice spoke calmly into his mind; the new interface had a slight accent but he couldn’t quite place it.
“And who are you?” he grumbled, slipping into his red robe. His head still throbbed, and he sat on the edge of the bed for a moment before standing and walking into the room that held the machine.
“I am Ked.”
“You don’t talk much. An improvement on the last one, then. Good. I am going to the Guild Hall to speak to the Recorders. I believe my hook-up is long overdue for a cleaning. Please see that it is done so that the machine is ready for use again as soon as possible.” He walked out, and stepped onto the walkway. His thoughts raced; there were many causes for awaking with a headache after a projection. It was tricky business, and somewhat difficult, even for those as practiced in the art as he was. But the possibility of an error nagged in the back of his mind, and he could not completely ignore it. Had he made a change, by sending the Ersan to his death? He shrugged slightly, unwilling to keep the thought in mind. The headache was fading rapidly, and it was probably nothing. He walked through the door to the Guild Hall, and headed directly for the room of the Recorders. Only one Recorder was currently available, and he entered the room quietly.
The Recorder looked up, and almost winced. “You are Adept Nephan of the second order? Yes, I see you are. What brings you to the Recorders today?”
“I need to find a good shell for Projection into the Kedonese Renaissance. I know that few of our people were present on Kedon at the time, and I would like to see if there is anyone who could make an appearance without too much danger of changes to our own time.” Nephan kept his voice low and controlled, masking the urgency he felt. When the Council realized he was in the building, they would surely ask to see him, and he wished to avoid that if at all possible. Rudeness to the Recorders, however, would get him nowhere, so he held his peace for the moment.
“Hmmm…not too many deaths then, comparatively. There was a change in policy regarding the training of novices, and training deaths become virtually unknown. It weakened the ranks, but we had greater numbers. The usual ebb and flow of customs, you know.” As the Recorder rambled, the green light flickered over the whites of his eyes as information was brought to him. “Ah…now there’s an interesting one. Apparently, Temalta sent an ambassador to Kedon. It doesn’t say why. We didn’t go far beyond our own lands at the time, but perhaps the masters wanted someone to keep an eye on the rising power of Kedon. At any rate, a lightning storm sprang up around the ambassador’s ship, and a bolt hit the mast. It fell, and crashed through the deck, killing the ambassador. The ship finally made it to the Kedonese lands, but just barely.” The Recorder looked up, his eyes clear again. “Will that serve your needs, Adept?”
Nephan nodded, anxious to leave the Hall again as soon as possible. “Yes, that sounds wonderful. Please have the information necessary sent over to my machine as soon as possible. I plan to set out again as soon as the machine is cleaned.”
He turned and exited the room, his red robes whispering along the floor. As he walked by the statue of Learan the Projector, one of his colleagues stopped him. “Nephan, were you just on a Projection? Did you change anything?”
“Yes, but I don’t think I changed anything of any significance. Why?”
“Because a good hundred of us developed screaming headaches earlier today. You know the dangers in making changes. Even small ones can cause a small disconnect; and a significant change will drive those involved mad.” He focused his piercing green eyes on Nephan’s face. “You are getting reckless. You changed something, and the Councilors will know it soon. Be careful.”
The Historian shook him off, and quickly walked down the hall and out the door. As he sped along on the walkway, his eyes were drawn to the moon that hung large in the night sky outside of the dome. He could make out the complex that held the telepaths, and wondered briefly if his short venture into the Guild Hall had already been recorded and stored in their brains.

He had been noticed by the optical sensors in the gates as soon as he entered the hall, but since the Councilars had not expected him back so soon, they had not programmed the gates to alert them to his presence. The record of the green-eyed man passed through their fibers and machines, and up to the moon. A telepath stirred slightly at the sight, eyes fluttering. The moment passed, and she fell back into the deep dreaming.
Nephan plugged himself into the machine, noting the new wires. The old ones had gone out of date while he lay in the Projection, and Ked had instructed the cleaners to replace them after they had finished cleaning the machine.
The Historian lay back in the bed, and his machine flashed the images and memories of the dead ambassador into his mind. He fixed his thoughts on the past, and slowly slipped away, body trembling, then lying perfectly still.

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