Saira watches the goddess leave the grotto from a vantage point on a boulder half-hidden by the rushing waterfall. There is no doubt that the Dei have pulled a good save with the Pearl. People are recovering and the neighborhood seems to be getting back to its usual self. With one tiny difference…
Something new walks the streets of Three Rats, riding the hearts of its people, hiding in unsuspecting eyes. A new light. A new feel to the place. A different taste in the air.
Hope. Exotic and embryonic, it hides in the mind, awaiting nourishment. And what a terrible little thing it is to the minds of the poor and to the hearts of these people who have long learned not to expect better days.
Still, what if…? What if they could hope? What if they could believe in these newcomers? What if the Dei really could care about Three Rats?
As if listening to her thoughts, the pale, eerily beautiful goddess that even now, in the early lights of dawn, looks like little more than a ghost made solid, freezes in her steps and looks straight up at Saira, locking the intensely blue pools of her eyes on the woman’s light-brown gaze. Nodding a small, solemn greeting, she seems almost to reply to Saira’s internal musings, her silent stare saying only, I remember.
Saira nods in return and then watches the goddess as she resumes her march and leaves her field of vision. Shaking her head slowly, the woman struggles with her thoughts, visions of old friends and memories of long-learnt truths pushing Hope’s vain promises away from her hardened heart.
…Give the poor no hope, lest they dare to dream.
Allow them no dreams, lest they choose to act.
Let them not act, lest they manage to rise.
May they not rise, lest they strive and conquer…
Remembering those old words, wishing… No, hoping for the first time in years that they can bear a different meaning, Saira sighs quietly and turns to leave. Disappearing into the night, she whispers quietly.
“Let us see just how good your memory is, goddess.”