Chapter 9: Linfal and Sashang
Iader recalled the Greater World in dusk, a cold wind blowing across the plains from the Mountains of Chaos. "C'Don...I do not know." For once she would not plead for mercy. Yet she could not find it in her to pronounce doom.
"But...but...I am with child. By Sagin. Shall my child never know his father?" From her eyes started tears, both of pride and of shame. "What of me who aided him?"
"You knew his plans," Linfal said. "That was plain to see. You also counseled against it. That was also plain to see. You stopped Angusin's first leap out of love for Sagin. But you also cushioned the fall of C'Don's form, out of love for C'Don."
"Indeed," came the voice of C'Don. "I cannot say, if you had come to me beforehand, none of this would have happened, Sashang. But if you had, if you hadn't given him support, Sagin might have backed down. As always, the decision was Sagin's. But you helped him somewhat."
"Will you lock me in a tower? Erase me from existence, but don't rob me of my freedom!"
"No. You merely follow your wild nature, as you always have. This is my sentence. Go your way, wayward and free. This punishment only do I put on you.Your first child...by Sagin...will be free of any stain on it, since it was conceived before Sagin committed his crime. But should you have any other child, each will be less than you, less than Kaan...and each succeeding child will be less in power and potentiality than the elder."
Linfal cleared her throat. "What Sashang did for love, I did for love...love of a sister. That doom must fall on me, also. Indeed, my penance should be greater, because I bear the most wisdom...but allowed my love for my sister to overcome my judgement."
C'Don said,"It is not a mistake to listen to love. Where you erred...where your wisdom was less than mine, and your love less than mine...was letting what Sashang willed to be confused with what Sashang needed."
"Then my penance must be greater than hers. This is not your doom, C'Don. This is my own. I will wander the sky observing, rather than stay in a settled place. I was the keeper of books and knowledge here, but I ammassed it in one great library..."
"A fine library it is."
"But not enough. I knew the booklearning, but not true wisdom. I gathered, but did not observe and experience. Now I will do both." She took a black cloak, and encased her silveriness, until only a small sliver of the silveriness shone forth. "And I will wear this as a mark of my shame. And I beg to accept the doom of my sister, also. Her shame should be my own."
"Whether you wander the skies or cloak your beauty is your own decision, though it saddens me. That doom affecting your offspring is mine to give or withhold, however. I will grant it...under one condition."
"That for part of the time, you will not cloak your beauty. That Wisdom can be seen as it should be, shining in the sky. That you will wander, for a time, in the sky as you are now...and then reveal more and more--and then, for a span, dispense with the cloak altogether. For I have forgiven your offense, because you have asked. It is you who will not forgive yourself."
"But though any children you have will not be Kaan, they will be of great beauty and a joy in the coming world. Nor will the succeeding children be lesser than the first, although their grandchildren might be. That also I grant you, unasked, because of my love for Wisdom, and the gentle Lady of it."
Sashang spoke up. "Linfal, no! There is no need for this..."
"Yet there is every need...for myself."
"There are needs, a'plenty." C'Don turned his attention to the new river that ran out of the Lake called Eternity. "I name this river, Noth, which means Time. Now I must ask for a decision of all of you."
They all looked attentively at C'Don.
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