He and his family are not merchants, of course not. They are precursors to greater damage, the prelude to a visit from the Speaker. The Speaker for the People, the mighty title, the traitor’s office, will come to a godless land. How will we survive this?
I get up and stand in the doorway, letting the wind freshen my mind. The coming weather has picked up speed, it will be here by evening. The faithful sea understood this first. I am afraid that I do not yet understand, and that I do not want to. I must tell Koso about all of this, however, for I cannot keep a storm such as this from him.
I hate Isiore with all my misery, now. He has brought more pain that will multiply even upon itself. We are a broken people already, how can he tell us that we have been wrong? What could we possibly have done?
There is no one on the path, lunchtime is still in full swing. I see this path in my eyes, but I see another path in my mind, a path from the past, one that does not even exist. People, these people, my people, walk endlessly, to a place they know that they will hate. My family, already destroyed from loss, is counted in the marchers. Little babies are strapped to their mothers’ backs, but cry and cry all the same. I hold my momma’s hand, but even she gets tired.
The further we march, the more hope flickers out. There are more shouts the farther we go, as one by one, we each discover that we are missing a part of ourselves. We children keep our faith the longest, keep our Gifts the longest, but we, too, give up in the end, and lose a sense of self. The cries go on and on.
I don’t remember Koso there. He had fled from us. My father walked with us still, though he, too, would begin to flee- further and further into his silent mind. His silence, amiable and often broken at first, turned stony the longer we walked. By his departure, he would speak to no one, not even to Mom, not even to me.
When I was older, Mom told me that she believed he lost his Gift before all of us, as punishment. My father had been king. We had been his responsibility, his failure. He never cried, not even for Ithan, but his shoulders sagged as we walked.
My father had once been a lion in his popularity. He laughed with his stomach and criticism washed over him like rainwater. His golden hair was once long enough to shake when he shook his head, an endearing factor to Mom if to no one else. By my first memories, all of my father’s rich hair had been cut short, intensifying his features.
I inherited his brown eyes and Ithan got his arrogance. When Ithan came of age, the world was ready for him. His youth was a breath of fresh air, the novelty my father had ceased to provide. When things began to go wrong, the blame was cast upon the old. Some of it may have been justified.
The public blamed my father for Ithan’s death, for our deportment, for our suffering. I blame him, personally, for different things, most of all for his intentional ignorance. I wanted a dad; I got a father. His warm glory days had passed. From his coldness, the season of family must have been autumn, a slow and meaningless downfall. I blame him, too, for leaving Mom and I alone. I was always my mother’s son, but I had no great desire to see my father go.