Lines written from a Dahlian before exile to his Evan lover:


I wanted to leave a gift for you, but I had time only to pluck this flower before following the Caravan’s back trail. By the time you read this, I will be gone.

I could say that this lily, with its curling, folding petals and open throat, reminded me of you. I would be lying, and you would know it. I will not end my time with you with a lie, love.

No, you are no flower, but rather my roots, hidden from eyes that seek only flamboyant beauty -- silently, endlessly giving nourishment and keeping beauty alive. It may be that I will wither and die without my roots, but you know as well as I that no Dahlian can keep roots down for long.

Instead, keep the lily as a reminder of something far more important than even our time together. I remember we once heard a rogue Keeper spin a tale that began with "Consider the lilies of the field…" I forget most of the rest, save that he spoke like a Dahlian, of traveling through life with no worry about the future. He spoke of the freedom that comes with letting go. You couldn't understand such a thing, and I couldn't explain.

That same freedom is what we so loudly protest that we enjoy; we are free to wander about Vimary, trusting only in our caravans and ourselves. Free to enjoy the splendor of the Goddess’ lands. But last night, as I watched Jonah's family revile him and saw his friends stone him and strike him down, I saw the truth, and with that truth came the pain of knowing that I could not stay with you or the Caravan.

We wear more shackles than you Evans with your fields and the Shebans with their laws. We have the freedom of the land, yes, but they have the freedom of their own minds and hearts. Your Fatimas punish you for speaking out, for your actions. Dahlia punishes us for our very thoughts, our feelings. We are a happy people, love, at all costs.

That cost has grown too high for me. Jonah's exile after the death of his lover cut deeply into this caravan, but none of us dare show it, or even speak of it, for who knows which of us might simply be one of Dahlia's masks?

So I leave you and the Caravan behind. I leave you with a token, something to remind you of all that we have become. You showed me a garden once -- the same garden that grew this lily. There were too many flowers there, and weeds. You said the roots of the entangled plants would reach out and smother the weaker plants. This lily once had roots, and without them, it will eventually wither and die. Yet those same roots were strangling it, and those around it.

Our roots, here in the Tribes, are strangling us. There is too much holding us. The Fatimas that should be nourishing us are killing us. Rather than let myself by smothered, I'll take the chance of cutting away my roots and living free on Hom.

There is a freedom there that no Dahlian will ever touch. Letting go of the fear of being watched, of hiding who we are. That is a greater freedom than all the caravans and all the dancing, twisting roads of Vimary could ever provide.

Love, consider this lily from your field. Will you let it die or will you carefully replant it, safe in a place where it can grow free and form new roots?

If you replant it, I think you know where it should grow. I'll be waiting.

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