And Yu-Shan Wept
Arrival In Gem
My journey to the city of Gem, though lengthy, was as peaceful as a walk through the warrens. The Desert provides for its Chosen, and no righteous creature dares to challenge those so appointed. Remember that the Desert will shield you from the heat, turn sandstorms from your path, and ease your thirst, so long as you give her your loyalty and your faith.
Further, destiny saw fit to bless me with potential companions even before my arrival. Two strange men sheltered in a cave just outside the city, wanderers with a mark of strangeness upon them. One was a foreigner, wearing the garb of a priest, and certainly held the confidence and aloofness that comes from a divine hand upon your shoulder. The other carried sadness with him as surely as he carried his violin, and determination as well, as though he refused to submit to fate’s designs. They remained coy as to their identities, and that suited me well enough, though it did pique my curiosity.
They kindly offered me a share of their breakfast, but I saw no need to deprive them of food when I was not yet hungry. Why not accept it as tribute, you ask? My dearest child, I am not Chieftain here, but merely a missionary and ambassador; it would reflect poorly upon our people if I threw my divinity and importance in the faces of kind strangers. But that is a lesson to be touched upon later. Returning to the tale, our band of three finished our journey to the city, partook of refreshments to celebrate the journey’s end, and I went to seek out lodgings.
I must tell you, sweet Noree, that Gem is both wondrous and disgusting. By size, it could hold all the tribes of the Glitterflame at once, and still not overfill its walls. Caravans loaded with food and water are common sights entering the city, each one able to feed our tribe for a month. And yet, for all this wealth, there is such corruption! I could smell it; the stench of empty hearts and empty bellies, people without hope. Even as the Despot and the nobility feast, there are those dying of thirst and hunger, toiling away in the dust. They do not know they are strong, for their most common meal has been lies of their weakness and unimportance.
Who shows greater strength, greater fitness to rule? The poor woman who sells herself daily so that her children might eat, or the woman who was rich from birth and has never known hardship? This is the truth I shall teach them. The Highest Ones have seen their plight, and sent me to raise them up.