A Poem as Lovely as a Tree
The Head of the Shaytonian Council sat idly on the pitted rock fence that visually separated the City from the Wilderness. Listening to the hoarse cries of the eagles swooping down to an uncovered prey, she wished she was free to be out there with them. But who was she trying to fool? She had her Duty, as did every Shaytonian, and that was to ensure the City survived. And that meant endless hours in Council, dealing with all and sundry, the thousand little details that meant she must submerge her own desires to the point she did not even remember the time she had a name of her own. Of course, she could feel the barely controlled power of the force field that was the real reason they were no longer dying in droves. It held back the constant tremors and tidal waves caused by the writhing of their world. Channeling the energy of every citizen of the City into the shield had been a move of desperation at the time, but now, it was a part of their life, as normal as breathing. It meant they were all linked, that the Council could literally read every thought, note every change and use it to balance out the shield. So as one of those in charge of the power, why was she so worried about using it?
Grimacing, she admitted the truth that many had forgotten but that she never could. The link that kept the City safe also smacked of slavery, the very thing they had thought they had escaped in this world. It was time to change the system, and this time... she hoped it worked. Sighing and settling against the rough bark of a tree that sheltered on the safe side of the wall, she felt the faint trace of someone approaching. A sniff told her it was Melinski, probably sent to call her back to the Council for some new crisis. Melinski surprised her by instead settling on to the wall next to her.
"So, it is time to summon the wayward waif back to the fold."
The Head shook her head, at first thinking Melinski was referring to herself. The seriousness of her friend's face told a different story. With a soft snort she replied, "It is amazing that someone I know cannot get through my mental shields can read me so well."
Melinski shrugged, "It is hardly a difficult thing to do in this case. I know you have been holding session times down and that always means you have something exciting to tell us. That was the most likely possibility."
The sour look on Melinski's face showed how thrilled she was with the possibility and Head could not blame her. After all, the last few attempts were all so successful, ending with the King driven mad and his daughter exiled to Earth. And for Melinski, there was a personal side. The exiled daughter that would need to return for the plan to begin, had been raised by Melinski. Closer to the child than her mother would have ever been, Melinski was now the exile's friend. And this would hurt them both, all over again.
"Well, it needs to happen soon," Head said lightly. She did not need to explain that thought to Melinski. They had been joined in fighting the Council member that represented those that been chosen to follow Battle as their life task. Battle was pushing hard for a new Head of Council and if that happened...Head shuddered. Not liking her own control over the shield and not liking the idea of Battle having that full control, was on a whole different level. They had to start the plan to save Shayton before Battle could wrench control away.
Melinski's question broke into her thoughts, "So who is to tell Lisa?"
Head shrugged, that part of the decision at least was an easy one. The exiled princess held no love for the Council, but she would obey...eventually. "I will probably send Marcus. He is her brother and not part of the Council, which should reduce the friction of the command, and strong enough to fend her off if she objects."
"And the male we will need to impregnate her? Will Marcus provide that function as well?"
Head shook her head, "No, we need a human."
"A human! Why?"
It was rare Melinski showed her reactions that obviously. Head realised she had misjudged just how concerned Melinski was. Head thought for a moment how to phrase this next part. Melinski would need to be behind her plans one hundred percent if they were to succeed. "There is a poem on Earth, one I think you know. In it is a line, 'I think I shall never see A poem as lovely as a tree.'"
Melinski nodded, "Joyce Kilmer, I met him once at Columbia. A very simple man. I liked him."
Head nodded, glad her friend had accepted her short side track. "It is that humanity we need. I have searched for others like Kilmer, well read but still simplistic, not naïve, but still filled with wonder. And I believe I have found him, but I wish to be sure. Lisa is about to travel to America, yes?" Melinski gestured agreement with a flick of her fingers. "Her current favourite lover is starting to age, she will be looking for another. We must vet this possible male and ensure he is suitable before she does that. That way, they will seem to be together naturally. I have ensured members of his family have visited Lisa's dance troupe and they enjoyed her performance. I am sure it will not be too difficult to arrange for them to meet. A suggestion in his mind to visit her hunting grounds perhaps."
Melinski, "It is possible. I can implant a dream in his mind easily enough."
"Good, now all that remains is to meet the young man myself." Melinski obviously thought there was a great deal more to do than that, but she held her tongue. Head continued, "I believe it is time for me to revisit my beloved Orient Express. You my dear friend may deliver him the invitation to join me."
Melinski snorted, "Oh may I?" Nodding she agreed, "Very well, I will make the arrangements today." With that she left. Head watched her go for a short moment and then turned back to the Wilderness. It was starting, and Fates knew where it would end. She only hoped, this time, that it would not hurt Lisa too badly. Still, Earth had been reasonably kind to her. Head wondered idly what Lisa was doing now.