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Love is the foundation of society.

--The Aphorisms of Kherishdar



CHAPTER ONE



Let me first put your hearts at ease by saying that I do not blame you for the unfortunate events that saw the House of Flowers remade. Many of you look upon our caste system and believe us incapable of understanding that all species are made up of individuals... but we do, and so I know that the acts of some aunera--aliens such as you--do not reflect upon you all.

Nor do I think the situation with House Qenain was without its compensations... for it is because of the problems afflicting Qenain that I came to meet Shame.



There is a word in our tongue to describe when an inevitability comes into life, brought there by changes your spirit requires to grow. It is a beautiful word to scribe, and I often embellish it with silver leaf: such things are precious and deserve the extra art. My particular paisathi began in an alarmingly intimate room, prostrate before the god of Civilization Himself, Thirukedi, Emperor of Kherishdar. Since He had elevated me to osulkedi, the topmost rank of the Public Servant caste, I had been called more often into His presence, but that had not accustomed me to it. It is our belief that Thirukedi is the same man who founded Kherishdar thousands of years ago, reborn into new bodies with each lifetime to continue guiding the development of the empire. You have only to meet Him to see that it must be so, for such an aura could only be born of generations of patience and witness.

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