Imrama It is night on the plains of Harborhead. The roaming company of the Faithful of Ahlat have made camp for the evening, temporarilly turning the area around this low, grassy hill into the second largest settlement in the nation. While some practice crafts by firelight and a few manage to sleep, most of the freshly evangelized company are seated around the hillock in an ever widening series of concentric circles.(...)
Imrama At the heart of those rings burns a light bright enough to turn night into day: the pillar of sunlight emanating from their spiritual leader: Imrama Stormfound. He does not wear his familiar officer's coat, but instead is adorned in a three-part robe of red, white and black, his arms and feet bare and dusty.(...)
Imrama Seated around him in the first and smallest circle are a handfull of fervent converts, asked by Imrama to join him in discussion. Among them are Mungwuli, Kshak and Isoku. Ulen, the reformed slave merchant, sits between Bethnami and Gurren: both counted as his property just days before.(...)
Imrama In theory, this was to be a small, intimate meeting, but there are no secrets among the Faithful of Ahlat, and more than half the camp has turned out to listen to the sort of wisdom not suitable to be shared by the light of day.(...)
Imrama x1;ACTION surveys the silent, waiting multitude for a moment. Somewhere, near the base of the hill, an infant cries in its mother's arms - the only noise in the gentle dark. Imrama steps up into the air, walks over the heads of his followers, their hands reaching up to brush against his bare feet. He comes to the mother and reaches down to her with a betific face. Every aspect of his being tells her that the child will be safer than it has ever
Imrama safer than it has ever been before in Imrama's arms.
The mother beams with happiness, as those around her stare in amazement as she reaches up to place the baby in the Ishadhi's gentle care.
Imrama returns to the center of the circle pattern and sits down with the child, rocking it gently. The crying soon stops, and only then does Imrama speak. He posits a question to the first ring of folks. "What are the responsibilities of a child to a parent?"
The gathered apostles discuss between themselves for several moments before they begin to offer their suggestions. "To honor his progenitors," Kshak suggests. "To care for them in their old age!" suggests Mungwuli. Gurren speaks louder: "To do what is necessary for the good of the parent!"
Imrama nods at this last answer, and takes a moment to look down into the child's eyes. He shares a smile with it, and offers a finger for it to grab at. "What are the responsibilities of a parent to a child?"
As the baby gleefully grabs at his finger, the apostles speak up again. "To feed, clothe, and house him," suggests Bethnami. "To shape into a strong person," suggests Ulen. "To protect from dangers," offers Dwede.
Imrama "From what manner of dangers?"
The apostles confer together for a long moment. After a long pause, Suah, who is often quiet and lost in thought, offers up in a faint voice: "Those of body, mind, and spirit."
Imrama looks up to the stary sky, and brings his face back down with a sorrowful, pained expression. "And if a parent should betray those sacred responsibilities, what then must a child do?"
The apostles are quiet for a long moment, before one known as Adwoa answers: "Have the wisdom to correct the parent, that he might return to the right path, or..."
Imrama 's heart seems to almost break with the asking "Or what?"
"Or the parent must be supplanted," Kshak states firmly.
Imrama asks no more questions, and makes no more replies. He kisses the babe on its forehead, rises into the air again, and strides back to return the child to its mother with a look of deep gratitude. He then walks back and stands in the middle of the circle a final time.
Imrama "I must leave you now. I hope that it will only be for a brief time. When next we meet, it will be at the gates of Kirighast." With that, Imrama begins walking to the North, rising higher and higher into the air until he is just another star in the night.
Those gathered watch with awe as he ascends into the sky.