Madness in Solidar

Madness in Solidar by L. E. Modesitt Jr.

Book: Madness in Solidar by L. E. Modesitt Jr. Read Free Book Online
Authors: L. E. Modesitt Jr.
    Alastar had always been amused about a confession to a deity who was supposedly without a name, but in fact named as the Nameless.
    In the silence that followed the response of “In peace and harmony,” Iskhar moved behind the pulpit and looked out at the imagers gathered in the anomen. Finally, he said, “Good evening, and it is a good evening.”
    â€œGood evening,” came the muted reply.
    â€œAll evenings are good evenings under the Nameless, although it is said that Rholan the Unnamer begged to differ, and many of us would agree in our hearts with that sentiment…”
    Alastar certainly did, although he listened as the chorister stated the point of his homily.
    â€œâ€¦ but sentiment should not be the basis of our acts or our judgments. Good feelings can come from either the Nameless or the Namer, and some feelings, such as unselfish love or compassion, spring from the best motive…”
    Does it matter if the best of intentions spur the worst of actions? Or the worst of intent leads to a better world … or Solidar? Iskhar’s words led Alastar to consider Ryen. Thwarting Ryen’s desire to raise tariffs would only increase the already nearly unchecked power of the High Holders and weaken Solidar as a whole. Alastar was still pondering those implications as Iskhar brought the short homily to a close.
    â€œâ€¦ for while an imager without compassion is an imager without understanding, an imager whose compassion and sympathy override judgment is an imager who cannot be trusted to do what is right and just, for when the currents of feeling are unchecked, so is the power of imaging. Unchecked power used in service of the dictates of feeling can unleash the worst evils, such as righteous revenge, or striking out at those who we feel have somehow dishonored us, or have rejected us in one way or another, yet who have not actually injured anything but our self-respect. Feelings should inform us, even inspire us, but letting them drive us farther only makes us tools of the Namer, who always uses self-pride to turn us from the pursuit of true goodness toward the chimera of self-praise and empty honor.” Iskhar paused, then said quietly, “Listen to your feelings, but do not let them become your master, for that way lies the worst of Naming.”
    Does it, really? wondered Alastar.
    Iskhar stood there silently for a moment, then began the closing hymn—“For the Glory.”
    â€œFor the glory, through all strife,
    for the beauty of all life,
    for all that is and will ever be,
    all together, through forever,
    in eternal Nameless glory…”
    Once the last notes of the hymn died away, the chorister offered his benediction, “As we have come together in the sight of the Nameless, may we go forth renewed in understanding and in harmony with that which was, is, and ever shall be.”
    When the imagers began to leave, Alastar saw that Khaelis and Narryn joined Shaelyt and Tiranya, while Alyna departed with the four girls.
    Instead of going back to the Maitre’s house immediately, Alastar took the stone walk north along the west side of Imagisle, into the park-like area comprising the northern quarter of the isle. Although Erion was low in the west, with Artiema almost full there was enough light that he didn’t worry about tripping over something … or possibly surprising young imagers who might be about. Frowned on as that was, they did have the freedom of Imagisle until eighth glass. At the north end of the isle, the stone river wall rose a good two yards above the ground behind it. Alastar left the walk and stood behind a head-high boxwood hedge. Then he bent over and concentrated, imaging hot ceramic around water.
    Shards of pottery splattered against the gray stone wall.
    What if you tried that with a bit more water and some iron fragments?
    He did, but the explosion was not that much greater. A third attempt,

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