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So Fooyan & Shakra's Story 1

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I

t is a blustery morning when Lirixa, So Fooyan and Shakra set out for Shakra's home, taking a slighter different path than before. Lirixa is wearing an ill-fitting coat, presumably given to her at the fort. She limps after So Fooyan and Shakra, but makes no complaint. Presumably in her long journey from Sorevv to Qenar she has seen worse hardships.

[If no one else brings up a conversation topic along the way...]

On the way they pass a pile of small rocks in the shadow of a great pine, each rock an offering from a passing stranger to the spirit of the tree, in return for good fortune. The custom is a familiar one to Shakra and So Fooyan, but Lirixa eyes the rocks with evident wonder. As So Fooyan glances at the pine, he feels a deep peace. Indeed, none of the rocks seem to have fallen from their precarious perches on each other.

Lirixa says to the two Qenaren, "It is a strange thing to me, this tolerance of other customs. Is there no church in Qenar, to guide the people's faith--or to oppress it?"

"Oppress?" says So Fooyan. "It is the duty of every man to find his faith; to find the paths leading to enlightenment. But as there are many gems that are beautiful, there are many truths that are beautiful. Guides there should be, yes, but there should be nothing to stop people who wish to find their own paths--for they may become the guides for those new paths.

"There are many faiths; however, there are only few that I would contend against."

A peaceful walk, all in all. The wind is gentle and the birds are less wary of the humans as they might be.

However, Shakra realizes something is amiss when, as they approach her home, she spots a thin trail of smoke drifting toward the sky. For a moment her dreams--not so long ago, those dreams--return to her: smoke. The haze and hell of war.

Smoke. From her home, or a place so near home as to make no difference.

So Fooyan continues walking toward it.

flame

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