As we walked around the strange gray grounds my nerves eased. At moved beside me in quiet. The pieces in my mind clicked together as time passed. Finally, I was able to talk. “Tell me.”
“The Jirth did not believe in or support the Go On Don. It goes against many of the fundaments their society is built upon.” At paused.
“In what way?’ I did not understand much of the Jirth. If this Runnil could explain their society, it would be beneficial.
Silence prevaded as quiet thud of our feet filled the air. “Jirth society is based on giving up all individuality for the benefit of the group. There is no one person, or thing, everything is joined in a single unified goal. Their race is descended with an insectoid race, so it does not surprise me. People of great mental ability, or more commonly known as Mentals, are very low percentage of their race. And, even the ones they have been quite weak.”
The concept of insectiod still a bit strange to me. People who are insects, I shook my head. “Why aren’t they powerful Mentals?”
At gave me a look I could not decipher. “Genetics.”
“Genetics?” The term was completely unfamiliar to me. A single thought could not be summoned in relationship to it.
The strange hooting sound returned, as At slapped his leg. “The Jirth did not tell you about genetics.” He shrugged. “I suppose they didn’t need to know about being a ‘teacher’.”
“What does Teacher mean, to the Jirth, exactly. I have a vague idea, but I don’t understand the full depth of it.” It was disconcerting to be called a title, which you didn’t really comprehend.
At paused for a second. His glossy black nose wiggled. “I’m not sure if I can easily explain it. Jirth have many different castes, or groupings. The teacher is generally someone higher up in the hierarchy, but is exclusively involved in educating younglings, or youths. They aren’t expected to have advanced knowledge of any kind. Jirth realize that other races do not have everyone assigned to a specific job. Generally, when they encounter someone, or try to add them to their society they pick whatever role they performed that has highest ranking.”
I glared at the thought. Personally, I had always found the fact I ran an entire district my greatest achievement. Not teaching children how to use their figures, and words. “Educating young children hardly seems higher rank than administer.”
“To you perhaps.” At grinned with all his sharp teeth showing. “But, since Jirth only live for society, educating children to serve is a great honor.”
I made a disgruntled snort. “Okay, explain genetics.”
At clicked his tongue for several minutes. “I’m not sure I can.”
“Try.” I smiled.
“’Genetics is what makes everything what it is. A flower knows whether or not it’s purple or pink, because of it.” He rubbed his forehead, and came to stop. “I’m probably over simplifying it.”
“Hmmm.” I patted his arm. “Don’t worry about it. I’ll research it later. But, genetics are different for everything. And, that’s what makes a Jirth a Jirth, and Einlari, an Einlari?” My mind reeled a bit from the implication. I swallowed down the bile that had risen in my throat.
At huge eyes blinked. “Don’t let it upset you. But, you are a Mental, I’m certain. The Jirth won’t approve of it, but I would like to run some tests with you over the next couple of weeks, and stay with you as the Jirth continue to educate you, if that is acceptable to you?”
“Let me think about it.” I could not explain how relaxing it was to talk to someone who seemed to think more like the people I came from. Yet, it was hard to grasp I might be something other than an Einlari. A Mental, the word disconnected from my old knowledge, and my new. How could I have a great mental ability? My father was a farmer, and my mother an innkeeper. What if it was true, that was the real question? I ran into this situation, and accepted it. I would not let go of an opportunity, because it scared me.
The door to the office wasn’t far away. I turned to At. “Might as well find out. I’ll be glad to take your tests.”
At sharp teeth flashed. “I’ll inform the Go On Don, and I’ll look forward to spending a few weeks with you.”