The return home was a slow. I felt anxious to return home, but it gave me time to make a plan. Of all Einlari and other peoples I was only given freedom of movement. From what I could gather the Jirth wouldn’t destroy anything, they would uproot everyone and make them leave it all behind. I’d announce I planned to get community and calm them. While I visited I’d gather what I could have of every culture and preserve it. The recording device and image grabber would be invaluable in saving my people’s various cultures.
They took me to the Einlari and had dragged every administer to an open field. All of them either afraid or angry as I stepped onto the podium the Jirth brought. “Administers!” I waited for their eyes look my way. “Hear me out.”
A young one I didn’t recognize, I knew many of them personally, shouted. “Why should we? You are with those creatures.”
I lowered my head in acknowledgement. “I am. However, I went with them before I realized what was happening. They came, they intrigued me, and I left.” I waved back at the Jirth. “They are going to enslave everyone, we have no choice, and we have no way of stopping them.”
A buzzing of anger rose up, and I let it. To convince them I needed passion to ignite their hearts. An older woman marched up the podium pushing stray strands out of her face. “And, why should we trust you? Why should we believe you?”
I considered her. A strange detachment came over me, but I shook it off. “Perhaps you should not. I went with Jirth the first day I met them. They told me everyone else was terrified of them. I went with them, because they represented mystery. The journey since then opened my horizons. I know, and see more than I ever have.” The woman’s wrinkled brow furrowed. “And regardless of my actions Jirth would still enslave everyone. I gained respect, and power to help us.”
Many of them surged forward to stand closer to the podium. Shouts of ‘what?’ ‘how?’ and other similar questions filled my ears. I sliced my hand through the air. They fell silent. “Most of it is too hard to explain, but I have a high rank with the Jirth that allows me great freedom. And, I have the ability to live many lifetimes. I’ll do what I can to free us.”
A tall man I knew stepped forward. The black sharp brows above the dark eyes pierced me, First Administer Francas. “Rilas. You are free why do you care for our plight, and what can you really do?” He pointed at the Jirth. “I don’t even understand what they are.”
“They come from the stars, they fly on ships that traverse the sky instead of water.” I smiled at the incredulous look on his face. “I’ve been in one, I’ve travelled the sky, I assure you it is real. I am not free, only more free than you. My plan is to get more people promoted to my rank, but it might be difficult. There is a group much like the administer’s who govern sky people who make laws can be petitioned.”
Francas seemed to absorb the news. He trained me as a youth. He seemed to never age to me. His hair as black as it had been in my twenties, but lines had sprung up across his face. “It won’t be easy, will it?”
He spoke as if I was the only there. Pain lanced my heart as I realized he is a man I could have loved once. “No. I fear it may be generations before we are free.”
“What do you need?” I wondered if he might be a Mental himself. He seemed to take in this knowledge with alacrity.
“While I do what I can to free us, I want to preserve our culture. They won’t allow art, music, or anything like it. I’m going to go to every settlement and gather up what I can to save as most as I can. You need to return to your districts, and tell them gather what they can in some central locations. Anything someone wants to preserve should be there as well. I’ll save everything.”
Francas gave me a curt nod. “It will be done. I have faith in you, Rilas. I’ll make sure they listen to your orders.” He waved the rest after him. I stood at the podium watching the last bit of my old life fade.