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The Marketplace

“Good morning, Elder Tahn,” spoke a middle aged mother, accompanied by her two young boys, as they passed by him in the village market one cool October morning.

“Good morning to you,” replied Tahn, with a slight bow of his head. He recognized the woman, Asara, and her two boys, Joseph and Kem. He knew their exact ages and remembered almost every detail of their lives. Just as he knew this family, he knew all others equally well. “How is your brother, Ronne feeling? Better, I pray?”

“Ronne, he’s feeling much better, yes thank you. The medicine that you suggested worked well to reduce his fever.”

“I am pleased to hear it.”

“I must admit, I had a somewhat difficult time collecting the flowers needed to finish the brew, since the panda lily only opens just before dusk and it is forbidden to set foot within the forest after the sun dips below the horizon. I had to ask my boys to aid me too, as I’m not nearly tall or athletic enough to reach the high vines within the upper canopy bearing the succulent flower.”

“I would of course have offered to aid you myself, had you asked,” Tahn smiled softly.

“No disrespect Elder, but I’m not entirely certain that you would be capable of reaching them either,” she smiled gently.

Tahn chuckled. “Am I too old now to be bothered for such tasks? I suppose I do turn seventy six at the end of this month,” he sighed, stroking his long, nearly white beard.

“While age may be capable of claiming your physical strength, Elder, your knowledge and wisdom have always been invaluable to us,” she stated, bowing her head in respect.

Her kindness brought joy to Tahn’s heart. He smiled. “I suspect that your brother will make a complete recovery and be back to work soon. The village could use another able bodied man helping to prepare for the festival leading up to the ritual sacrifice, which remains scheduled for the end of this week?”

“Yes, I do hope so,” she nodded. “He seems much healthier, and it’s only been two days since he began drinking the herbal remedy.”

“Once again, I am pleased to hear it. Give him my condolences, won’t you?” Tahn said with a friendly wave as the two parties moved passed one another and carried onwards in their own directions.

Several others stopped to speak with Tahn as he made his rounds through the village’s central square, which became a bustling marketplace each morning. The inhabitants of the village all knew Tahn, and he knew each of them. He enjoyed walking the dirt and stone streets each morning to greet their smiling faces. For Tahn, this simple activity was perhaps the most rewarding icon of the Council and his own success.

Here in the market, opening each morning at sunrise, everyone brought their own unique cultural heritage, goods, skills and understandings to the community. Small tents, shops and even certain houses were transformed into a lively economic powerhouse. Constant chatter exploded over the previous silence of the long night as chickens and monkeys played in the streets, women carried woven baskets atop their heads or on the backs of bicycles, and flocks of children attempted to contain their excitement over the bounty of succulent food items available on display. The atmosphere was lively, much like a festival. People greeted each other kindly. They helped one another, drank beverages, bargained and traded in a cultural melting pot that rivaled a party.

The majority of the goods that the people offered were a product of the nearby oasis, reshaped by human intellect and creativity into various functional items. Baskets, fishing gear, clothing, furniture, tools and supplies… everything imaginable. Each person had unique skills and each person crafted unique items. Everyone had a place, and a purpose. Everyone felt needed, loved and wanted. People got along well, and if ever disputes should arise, the Elders were there to calm the populous and sort through whatever issue had stimulated the disagreement.

The currency for trade was barter and in some cases, love. Citizens would help one another out, simply because it was the right thing to do and they knew that in time, their kindness would be repaid in greater measures. Their society was focused on the survival of their entire people, not the success of any single individual. Yet, individuals worked exceedingly hard, for they possessed pride and passion in their work. It gave their lives meaning, direction, focus and above all, purpose.

To love another, was to love one’s self. The more you loved another, the more you loved yourself, and consequently, the more love would return to you. To harm someone else intentionally was unthinkable. To be jealous of another’s possessions was vile and retched. To think down on any being for their form, method of speech, appearance, ideologies or intelligence was considered barbarism. Even the mindless beasts of the forest showed greater respect then to belittle their kin, thus for a human being to act in such an irrational manor was considered to be the work of Kadralin.

As a result of this means of thinking, there were no major conflicts, no wars, few fights and virtually no unnecessary deaths. Murder, was a fictional word… an unspeakable concept of immense fright. Hate was an unnatural emotion for one to feel towards another person. War was beyond the comprehensive understandings of most, and violence was only to be used in self-defense if absolutely necessary. In addition to these methods of thought, philosophy was champion, intelligence was king, kindness was law, imagination was freedom, love was a currency, and acceptance was a way of life.

There were of course abnormalities and flaws within this system of virtue. Religions from the old world had long since been done away with. The notion of people killing one another over improvable, illogical rationalities in the name of their likely nonexistent God’s had long since infuriated the Council and Tahn. Hens, very near the start of their village, after the bright lights faded away and the cold shed way to the scorching heat, the Council removed all existing religions from the minds of its future generations. What was taught instead of any preexisting religion was that there was a force beyond comprehension, which most called Mother Eun, who oversaw the universe and the lives of those within. This ideology of a single unifying, all loving God, helped to solidify a future society based upon acceptance, forgiveness and ultimately, love.

Tahn himself was one of the least likely to accept the ideals that Mother Eun was truly an actual figure, which permeated their reality. His scientific mind prevented him from accepting such sparse logic as truth, while his spiritual consciousness remained open minded, allowing him some degree of consideration for the supernatural to dictate his judgment. If anything, he realized that he was far from wise enough to assume that he knew the truth behind much of anything.

He recalled often how such arrogant, shallow minded thinking was largely responsible for the destruction of the old world. He would never allow himself to become so close minded. Weather he believed in Mother Eun, or not, this explanation did appease the population’s thirst for a higher understanding of what the meaning to all their lives could possibly equate too. And for now, that would suffice.

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