Stelar is standing behind Venayo as he is deciding to be changed.
Stelar speaking to themselves: We really aren’t sure about all the things these people are doing. Everything is confusing and different, and what this witch has to say is terrifying on many levels we are not prepared to comprehend. We could be seperated, but into what? Do we want to be seperated? Not all of us want to be seperated. Not all of ourselves are ready to be alone with ourselves again. Wait….What is Venayo doing?
A high, boisterous voice speaks up in Stelar’s consciousness. It doesn’t happen often. But now that Stelar is among people who spark the memories there has been a loss of the unity they once experienced when they existed waiting only for death by the master’s hands. Now the voice is a warning of a strong memory approaching…a fragmentation of unity.
“He is out of balance. Oh, this is worrying. He is leaping before he has fully considered. Stop him. We must stop him. We must stop him….”
The voice fades as a memory surfaces, stalling Stelar’s mind as it overwhelms their senses. Suddenly, Stelar can smell sweat and leather. The air is hot and heavy with moisture inside a large tent that has been patched many times. They are leaning against a post in what looks like a wrestling ring, listening to a man talk excitedly about what Stelar can only assume is some kind of wrestling move. Stelar realizes they know this person, this is a younger Venayo, and when Stelar looks down they realize they are inhabiting a feminine human body which is small and densely filled with muscles. A voice emerges from their mouth, “So you want me to do a fancy back somersault into being thrown multiple times into the air like a bird. Are you insane? Do you know how dangerous that is? I could break so many bones your tribe wouldn’t be able to heal me up.” The memory fades a bit, and suddenly Stelar is flying through the air. They feel light like an arrow zipping across the ring, their legs still hurting from the gripping hands used to throw them. Across the ring, they can see Venayo waiting to catch them and they know that even though they have never managed to finish the Shipwreck, it doesn’t matter. Tonight in front of the crowd which yells and chants their names, Venayo will not drop them. Venayo will catch them and vault them into the final death defying moment of the most complicated move they heave ever attempted. Stelar tries not to hold their breath as they absorb the impact and soars gloriously free for that one moment in time.
“Consequences didn’t matter to us then...we had done it. But it did matter, I gained too much attention that night from all the wrong sorts of people. You know how we ended up. He isn’t thinking. Stop him. Please Stelar don’t let him become warped like us…”
Stelar jolts out of the memory, and immediately steps in front of Venayo. We must make him think. We must make him stop. What do we say? Susan would know what to say, but we aren’t Susan.
“You musn’t do this...This isn’t like the Shipwreck.”
Venayo is surprised. "The Shipwreck? What? You saw The Shipwreck?" The seeming non sequitur brings him up short.
Stelar says, "You can't just rush in. This is much more foolhardy than the Shipwreck. And yes we experienced the joy of the Shipwreck.”
"The shipwreck was a precision maneuver executed by two athletes in the peak of fitness. Besides, you just said it was a joy to behold. And I am not rushing into this decision. Priscilla has come to see this woman twice over an extended period of time and she has suffered no ill effects. We all drank her tea and we are all fine. She has had ample time to cause us harm and she has not. I now believe her intentions towards us are… If not good then at least not evil."
"No we said it was a joy to experience. Flying through the air was a moment of pure joy for Susan. It required all of her trust in you. But it had ramifications of which you have no idea. Just like now. This group could be prepared for many things, but we don't know the consequences of our actions. We do not know what consequences Priscilla's child will have to carry as a result of these rituals. We do not place all of our trust in this woman who is part of the very thing you are hunting. We do not know the Master's intentions when he created us... we hope we are not for evil, but it is not enough to just be "not for good" either. We do not want you to have to face the pains of introducing more uncertainty into your being. We wish for you to find the unity you are striving to find, not to become like us...."
Venayo freezes in stunned silence for a long moment. "Susan? Susan is... part of you?"
"The person you call Susan is part of our being. Since meeting all of you again, we have less unity and can see more of the people inside of us. Susan is concerned for you, as are we."
"Susan! I am so happy you are not... Wait, Susan must have died if is she is part of you." Venayo pauses, sadness plain on his face. "But she IS part of you! I am very sad that Susan is dead, but I am very glad that she is not gone. May I hug you?"
"We are not adverse to this...but please know we are not Susan. We are a vessel which holds her spirit, rather.. Well, we don't exactly know what we are yet. But we do know we feel pain for your sadness and loss of her." Stelar awkwardly opens their arms for their first contact with a being in many years and waits.
Venayo scoops them up in a huge heartfelt, but also cautiously tender hug. He holds them there, feet a little off the ground and quietly cries for a moment into their shoulder. Stelar awkwardly pats at Venayo's shoulder while he grieves. He draws a huge slightly shaky breath and sets them back down. "Thank you for being Susan's vessel. I am sad, but I am glad some of her continues."
He heaves another big sigh to settle himself. "But I still think this is the right thing. You worry that I will put myself into disunity. There is disunity in me, but for the first time, it is confusion between parts of me. Not fear of something living in me. I am already closer to unity than i was when you knew me.
"You are scared of what might go wrong, just as you were before The Shipwreck. I will ask Avitu."
Venayo turns to Avitu and asks, "If I take you up on your treatment will it be beneficial or harmful in any way?”
Avitu turns to them, “Neither of those words mean anything when talking about change. It's like asking ‘Are babies beneficial or harmful?’ ‘Is marriage beneficial or harmful?’ They aren't either. They just are.”
Venayo turns back to Stelar with a wry smile. "See? Nothing is certain. But I BELIEVE this to be right, just as I believed we could do The Shipwreck. I hope that you, who have experienced the joy and the fear and the thrill of success would understand that I accept that nothing is certain. But i believe this is worth it. Sometimes you leap and the net will appear."
After Venayo turns back to them, Stelar says "Avitu is evasive, and perhaps not to be trusted. We mean you no offense Avitu. Still Venayo, you are right. You were Susan's net to catch her in that moment. A moment had long lasting consequences. There are always consequences; a price you must pay for power even when the power is given freely."
Stelar moves their hand up to look at the glowing inscriptions as if looking to inspect the pieces of themselves given for power. "We do not agree with this choice, but we will be a net for you. We will offer our hands to catch you. It is all we can offer to you when you are foolhardy and determined." Stelar steps to the side with a dejected air to their stance.
Venayo puts a hand on Stelar’s shoulder. “Yes, please be my net. Thank you, Su—Stelar. But do not despair. I have not leapt yet.” He smiles at them. “And with you as my net, I do not fear.”