“Natural beauty ignored and hand built wonders disdained, here I find you with your nose in that book.” Ch’loi looked up at the voice of Counselor C’yashi. “If I did not believe you were Ch’voga’s disciple before, you have successfully removed all doubt.”
She looked out at the view of the city and surrounding countryside they had from the palace tower. The quick refocus of near to far hurt her new eyes so she turned back to the book. “There is much to learn and buildings and mountains are mute teachers with little knowledge.”
“What? Little…? Could you be so blind, child? Each building tells the story of the builder. Each home reveals the life of those who dwell within its walls. All collected they tell the history of a culture and a people and predict its destiny!
And those mountains, they have seen it all. They stood there ancient, unchanging, unfazed and unmoved long before men dreamed up the words in Ch’voga’s book.”
“One does not know how to read sticks and stones.”
“Perhaps one just needs a teacher?”
She looked at him as he sat down on a bench near where she squatted. “Perhaps,” she allowed.
“After all, once you didn’t know how to read the words in Ch’voga’s book either and apparently Chofa’s tutors have that remedied. As you say, there is much to learn and not all of it can be found in books.”
“Is the Counselor offering to teach one?”
“Is one asking the Counselor to teach?”
“One has teachers.”
“Yes, I’ve seen. Many teachers, yet all they teach is that book. A rather narrow curriculum.”
“One felt the words of this book make fire.”
“I confess I have no idea what that means.”
“One is content.”
“Ah, I see,” he said. She turned back to the pages and he seemed lost in thought. He interrupted her reading a moment later, “you know, it’s a funny thing, destiny.” She looked up at him. “If you think about it. Just a few short years ago, I sat in this same spot, having a very similar conversation with Ch’voga. I have a.. a talent for seeing the future. It's what gives me value as a counselor. I hesitate to call it a gift. It’s a blessing and a curse really. Did you know it was I who convinced Ch’voga it was his destiny to be a missionary? I sent him into that desert. What grief I bore when he did not return! What guilt!
But now I look at you and think, no. No, I was right all along. It was his destiny to find you. I had not misread the signs. So, in a way, I’m responsible for bringing you here. And now here you and I are, in the same spot and destiny verily dances in the air around us.”
“One is not familiar with destiny. One heard the Fire-maker. One made choices. One obeyed the Fire-maker’s words. One is here.”
“Of course you did dear. I’m not saying any of that is not true. I’m just saying there are forces arrayed which we do not always perceive but are true as well. As true as those mountains.”
Ch’loi looked at the mountains, faded and hazy with distance and her weakened eyesight. “Does the counselor perceive a ..destiny for one?”
“No child, such is not the question you should be asking. No one has the right to tell you what your destiny is. I cannot claim to know your destiny. I’m merely … a guide.”
C’yashi smiled. “To your destiny. The question you would ask, if only you knew to ask it, is: what do you, Ch’loi, legacy of Ch’voga, most fervently desire?”