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Interlude: a Bitrani Mother

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April 2, 2019 by Lyn Thorne-Alder

“You cannot pace all day, and, if you do, you won’t have anything to eat for dinner.”

Kalia’s mother had been growing increasingly sharp with Kalia over the last few weeks.  Kalia did her best to ignore it – she was a woman grown and married, the de facto leader of the enclave when her husband and many of the others were out fishing, and the mother of three children.

The problem was that she was the mother of three children, and all three now had been sent to the Academies.

That was abnormal in and of itself; in most times, maybe three children from an enclave would be sent to Academies at any time, and they would all be from different families.  Not all three children of the leader of an enclave.

It wasn’t as if they were directly fomenting rebellion, either, not like the enclave down south that had been working right under the noses of the Calenyenni for years.  They were just… talking. They were specifically and carefully not doing anything that was against the regulations.

None of that helped comfort Kalia about her children.  Her children were out of her reach, they were in the hands of the enemy, and there was a rebellion fomenting.  If some other enclave actively started going against the Calenni, they weren’t going to take for an excuse that she hadn’t been doing anything.  They were going to take her children away, and take her away somewhere else, and she would never see them again.

“Are you even listening, Kalia?”

“I am listening to the wind,” Kalia replied, which had the unfortunate effect of causing her mother to stand up to her full height and glare at her.  Listening to the Wind could mean praying for advice.  It could also mean the person talking to you was full of nothing but wind.

She put up both her hands in supplication. “I am asking the Three for guidance,” she clarified.  “I am hoping that they will come up with an answer that does not mean leaving the children to the hands of the Calleni.  They are still young. They’re not at any fault. They haven’t done anything wrong at all. But I don’t think that the Callenni will believe that.  They’re just going to assume that all Bitrani are involved.”

“Then you have three choices.”  Something changed in her mother’s demeanor.  She looked, for the first time in a while, like she was listening. “You can go get the children.  The travel will be tricky and you’ll have to hide afterwards, but we have places. You can write to the Callenni and tell them of your worries, and ask them to assure you of their goodwill towards your children.  That would mean swearing to stay out of the rebellion – but anyone who complains to you about that can speak to me. Your children come first.”

“Or third?”

Her mother’s expression became even more fierce.  “You can fight the rebellion in earnest and trust that your children know what to do.  You raised them, after all. They know who and what they are.”


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