B4

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B4 - DISCIPLE

Talishi, dolled up to meet royalty.

When Talishi had finished delivering the Sunset Discourse and healed many of the people who had come to see her speak, Princess Khondiel spoke quietly to King Gordiel her father, and after that Gordiel bade Talishi to visit the throne room for a private talk.

When she drew near, the King said, Lady Talishi, when you say, 'she who embraces Chokhmah' do you mean to say that no yeng can become your disciple?

Not at all, Your Majesty. When I speak in those terms, I wish to convey an image. As a rule, yen are much gentler than yeng. A yang who admires Chokhmah will have a gentle heart, like a yin, because he sees others around him as another 'I' yet he will retain his strength and his yeng nature.

Thank you for explaining that, Lady Talishi, the King said. For it seemed to me that for many years my own daughter had a fierce heart, yet in recent days she has come to admire Chokhmah, and it has gentled her. This gladdens me.

The king is aware that one in six nephilim are born with a preference to use the left hand, Talishi said, and at first both the King and the Princess were puzzled by this apparent non sequitur. This is not a matter of choice, there is an element of chance that is a part of every birth, otherwise all of our sons would look exactly alike, and of our daughters would be identical. And yet, because left-handers are a minority, our culture traditionally ascribes their preference to evil. We speak of the 'left hand of the damned' and there are many charlatans who profess to change this preference to the normal one.

Then Khondiel and her father realized exactly what Talishi was speaking about. Talishi had been oblique, to avoid offending them. The King took her cue and said, There are other preferences which must have the same random source as left and right orientation. I believe the children who behave this way have precisely the same degree of moral culpability for those inclinations, which is none. We should love them without condition!

Khondiel beamed. Thank you, father King.

Princess Khondiel, Talishi said, you are who you are. Good for you! Lucky you! Never try to undo that and live a lie because some uncompromising prophet has forbidden it in a scroll.

The King said, My daughter has expressed to me her strong desire to become your disciple, Lady Talishi.

I have not yet formally gathered disciples to myself, and if I did, it would be a far greater commitment than a few hours a day away from the castle. She might be asked to travel to the other lands of Gorpai, or perhaps even to other worlds. Would you, Khondiel, be willing to part with your father for years, decades, even for half a lifetime?

I am willing, and more, I would put the Fallen Angels at your disposal.

And I too am willing, the King said. For I deem, Lady Talishi, that you will return to me a daughter who is fit to rule this city.

In that event, Your Majesty, I will take Princess Khondiel to be my first disciple. She bowed deeply, and the audience was concluded.

King Gordiel arranged for Talishi to spend the night in the castle. The next morning Talishi summoned Binah to send his avatar to the city of Aramel, and she took Khondiel in a suborbital flight to her house in Anshar, but they remained chaste, and slept separately one from another.

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