On the other side of the forest, beyond the open fields of the less socially enclosed, changes in situations and attitudes moved slowly. Of course they continued the long tradition of slowing enterprise through the perceived requirement that all must move through the viscous medium of money. Psychologically this tradition was beneficial to tamp down escalation of anxiety and panic known to accompany rapid change in a society founded on desires for stability, safety, clear and consistent rules of the road to a successful life. We did not come all this way, brave all this unknown and inconvenience, start from scratch in an alien wilderness, to accept anything less.
Red brick roads.
Centered in a park of verdant glory, a fountain statue of a mythical god of the sea.
Bright colorful street lanterns shine bringing out the patterns of iridescent threads fashioned into clothing, flowing, open, light and merry.
No one hungry except by choice for the experience. None without their cubicle, apartment, palatial estate.
Comedies, tragedies, play out in street and theater. Venders sell their succulent or fanciful wares.
This is a city self-consciously fulfilling the needs and ambitions of a people who strive to be worthy of the style and livelihoods they embrace.
Earnest scholars comment upon every aspect of their cosmopolitan endeavors. Social commentators dumb it all down for easy access. Everybody knows what everybody knows. Everybody knows we all get along a whole lot better if everybody agrees to know only what we should. Not to say we don’t happily indulge in heated debate and individual choice. It’s just that everything has its proper place, that we may all fit securely in our urbane scene.
Sira’s parents had not even been born at the time of the exile. Their parents had been of the fortunate ones too unimportant to be pointed out, too meek and quiet to be concerned about. Really, there were lots of them. Being different only counts if you’re seen as a threat. The mainstream folk are perfectly happy to have lesser empowered dweebs with embarrassing secrets to feel above. You, freaks, don’t be threatening my position, my possessions, my profits, my popularity, and I just might let you go on your miserable way. Is that how it was? How it is? As her parents had been by theirs, Sira was warned, had bitterly sown into her earliest lessons in belief, don’t be noticed. Don’t let anybody know what you can do. This is inner family business, not for outside consumption. We are who we are; but no one else can know.
In fact there were a rather large group of them. A very small percentage of a large number can still be a large number of ones and twos in a small world of who we know, those people we carry in our minds between meetings. Sira’s friends at the academy, the private school they attended, were also of the secret society who could always know each other by reaching mind to mind. There was never need to speak of the secret aloud.