A Libarrian Tribe Tries to Leave Conatikut

Hurricane Season begins abruptly this year, just as we approach the Harford Libarrow on our way to the Conference at Abani Libarrow. Our shamans haven’t yet met this year, so we don’t know the name of this storm.

The Harford Libarrow, with its Book Room, kitchen, and Bindery
The Harford Libarrow, with its Book Room, kitchen, and bindery. The sun rises to the bottom right of the map. The prevailing winds come from the west, but Hurricane Season comes from south of that. It’s slightly elevated to prevent flooding and moisture damage. The door is small — you duck to get in.

We expect some storms, sure, but we checked the stars in the clear air last night and the time of year isn’t right. Too close to the Solstice for more than normal thunderstorms. Not the ones like this bruised blue-gray cliff of clouds that approaches from south of west.

A hill of bamboo forest marks the spot of the Harford Libarrow, ringed by peach trees — a symbol every tribe knows — and we can tell that others are already sheltering there from the hurried tracks they’d left not two days before. Enough footprints to be a small band, maybe a dozen people, so there should be plenty of room for all in the Libarrow, with its well and potatoes and just maybe some of last year’s pickled peaches, even if there’s no time to pick them this year. But Nisha points out something that gives us pause despite the approaching storm: wheel ruts to one side. Wheels are part of the Hoarder religion. They carry so much with them that they think it’s better to wish for roads than to carry less.

I go with Nisha to get Jerone so we can confer about what to do.

“We have to get into the Libarrow,” pleads Jerone, their broad, smooth features knotting in concern as the wall of wind approaches. “And we can’t let Hoarders rampage around a Libarrow without assistance.”

Our family begins to accumulate around us to listen to the conversation.

“Yeh,” I concur, “But if they’re planning on hoarding here, they’re at least as dangerous as Nameless, as she approaches from south of west.”

Mika addresses me, “Benna, Hoarders leave survivors. Hurricanes don’t.

Jerone answers, “Yeh, I think we have to go in and be prepared for the danger they bring.”

“Yes,” I agree.

“Yes,” agrees Jerone.

The rest of the family has arrived. In a few minutes, they confer on the conversation, repeating exactly until everyone has heard. They’re concerned about the Hoarders, but not as concerned as they are about Nameless.

We approach the hard bamboo door of the Libarrow, engraved deeply into its wood with flint chisel, the grooves repainted each year while we rest there, the words, “Enter, Those who Learn; Disperse, Those who Teach.”

Modular systems are a function of industrial society. But do people of The Fifth World still know how to agree to standards? With their acute interest in efficiency, I think they might have carried that lesson forward!

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