Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Page a Day: Seventeen

            When the Never-born unslung their packs I dropped, kneeling and panting. Others went to work immediately, spreading through the wood to gather dead and fallen limbs or erecting the tents that the city guard had once used in patrols throughout the valley. I was not surprised when Jerem Cozak came to stand beside me.
            “A poor choice,” I said. “Meno marched. He could fight. He stopped that smilodon. The only thing I stop is all the other men.”
             Jerem Cozak frowned, searching through my pack. “You become yourself,” he said, uncapping the bag that holds my water. “Like all the rest of us. When this storm ends, you will be healed.”
            He offered, and I drank. “Meno and Cratyus were soldiers,” I said. I will never be.” I bit my lip, thinking. “But do you mean the machines of the Swarm will help? They are still with us?”
            “You are colder than you know,” he said. “We are not dressed for this. You would have died before sunset.”
            “But I can’t see them, and they did not save those men from the smilodon.”
            His eyes were distant in the fading light. “The animal mind is strange, and the machines have not yet learned all they know – will know. For the other? Each man is born in a house, and in that house he will be strongest. But in time each man will be strong enough to make other houses home.”
            I laughed, so that the Never-born who built and set the nearest fire turned to look at me as they worked. I quieted under their blank expressions. “Certainly you don’t expect me to understand that,” I said. “Who are you, really? Do you remember the Faith at all?”
            Now he smiled.  “I remember him better than he remembered himself, for I remember the boy who would become the Faith.”

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