Lukin and Merin knew what Sira knew. Anxious since his exile to the academy, Lukin has been monitoring his mother’s progress and anxieties. Lukin and Merin had been developing a meeting of minds. Smart, shrewd and meticulous in his knowledge, like his grandfather, Lukin had not the years of idolatry and indulgence to mar the clarity of his vision. Merin, shaken out of his self-obsession by the seriousness of their immediate peril, could still indulge in grand pride for his grandson’s gifts. Merin, for all his grandiosity, had never even considered the kind of distant and multi-leveled mind to mind communication that came so easily to Lukin, developed with the extended cousin network but originating with Lukin’s own natural talent. In times like these, when normal methods of communication are far too open to surveillance, Lukin’s talent was made to order. There’s some kind of saying: When the student is ready, the teacher will come. Perhaps when the times require it, the talent will come.
The Harmonic Academy, being a somewhat wealthy, prestigious facility at this point in its history, had an arrangement with a farm not too far south of the city, to provide fresh produce and such. Part of the agreement involved periodic field trips so that young students might experience the bucolic realities of food production. Fortuitously, such a field trip was scheduled in the not too distant future, just before the end of term school vacation period. Even more fortuitously, Merin had several former students who had formed a conscious experimental community down in farm country.
South of the city, several families had decided to make their own way, thank you, outside of restrictive city laws. They produced the food necessary for all those city folk in return for high profits and an unspoken agreement that they were to be left alone. To the east of the farm lands, outside the arable zone, were the military/police academy and barracks. This school of martial arts and military discipline was the original City Council’s solution for useful deployment of aggressive youthful energies that could not be adequately addressed within the city frame. Once properly disciplined, indoctrinated, these otherwise troublesome youth became excellent enforcers of city civility, or if not tame enough for that, excellent prison guards out east. On occasion farm folk and police cadets would find commonality in raucous celebrations or simple conversation while gaming or otherwise socializing. Mostly, each group kept to itself, that being part of their misfit natures.
Of Merin’s merry band of misfits now farming in the south, one was quite familiar to Lukin. Toriv had been an uncle to him for the years Toriv had been with Jenia. He now apparently ran a school for the kids of his community and others of the farm land who wanted to attend. He had a son a bit older than Kesia called Kirin who lived at the school with him. Merin might not mind-talk over distances, but he had plenty of other sources of information. Those would not be of help now. They needed to make contact with the farm folk and arrange for shelter for seven witch kids about to find exile preferable to the likely alternatives.
Lukin reached into his memory to find what he knew of Toriv’s mind. Reaching into a familiar, inarticulable process in his own mind, Lukin created a conduit. Before long, he was there, feeling Toriv’s presence questioning: “Is someone there?”
Not sure of what level of “voice” he needed to negotiate the distance and unfamiliar with the mind he was sending to, unlike the familial children he was accustomed to, Lukin considered the situation. Anyone who picked up on his message would be by definition of their kind, on their side. Keeping it simple, direct, an opening volley, Lukin called to Toriv: “Help! We need your help. We are of your kind; and we need you.” Soon Lukin felt the response he was seeking. Toriv, sending a clear signal of willing agreement, asked what was needed of him. Thus, the conversation proceeded. The pertinent information was exchanged, along with planning for continued dialogue as the venture should solidify, move forward.
Lukin’s pleas also reached another whose response was much less direct. Like a melody carried from some far off transmitter, Caela felt the call as she stood, mind open to the breeze, at the edge of the forest. It was a call that carried some element of distant past completely caught up in the immediate now. Caela felt something of a destiny calling, perhaps from her future. She walked into the forest because it was the next obvious thing to do.