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Edgar leaned on his stick and watched his grandchildren play. The light breeze made the summer heat bearable. The river was running swiftly, a testament to the large amount of rain they’d gotten that spring. It was an abnormality he’d seen before, though his daughter and her husband claimed it was because of a change in the climate of the planet.
He sighed. They were right, of course. It was. But it wasn’t entirely man made, as they were quick to say. The planet had a lifespan, like so many other living creatures, and it was reaching another milestone in it. Of course, the results of this milestone would bring mass extinctions, natural disasters, and a large decrease in the human population, but that was something you came to expect when you got as old as he was.
He thought for a moment. It would be this planet’s second cycle. The last world he’d lived on had gone through eleven before it became unlivable. He missed that world. He lost his beloved Anyalisi in the destruction. He’d been chosen to leave on the colony ships. She was forced to remain behind.
Senalimaa was a good wife, and she’d provided him with five beautiful children, but Anyalisi had been with him for far longer than any other wife he’d had. It still hurt as he thought of watching her sapphire eyes watching him, full of tears, as he was forced at gunpoint onto the ship.
His musings were interrupted by screams. He looked over where his granddaughters had been playing. Velamara was at the edge of the river, shrieking and pointing. He saw a white haired head bobbing in the middle of the water as it was swept along. Belaminari was being carried away by the torrents.
Edgar grounded his stick and closed his eyes. He located his youngest granddaughter’s life energy and wrapped his mind around it. He stopped her momentum and lifted her from the water with the energy he drew from the world around him. He carried her back to the shore and set her down next to her sister.
He opened his eyes. “You two, get back from the river. Right now,” he snapped.
“Yes Elder,” Velamara said. She took her sister’s hand and dragged the soaking wet girl into the house.
A few minutes later, Edgar’s daughter Gemisidara and her husband Hamunixaru stomped out. “Father, what did you do?” Gemisidara asked, her voice high and frightened. “You know the Visionnari have forbidden the use of such powers.”
“Would you have had me let Belaminari drown?” Edgar asked, not turning around. “If I can save a life, I will.”
“I’m going to have to turn you in,” Hamunixaru said, not sounding sorry at all.
“Do what you must,” Edgar said. “It’ll do you little good. The Visionnari won’t do anything against me.”
“We shall see,” Hamunixaru said. He stalked off, followed a moment later by Gemisidara.
Three hours later, he heard the familiar booted footsteps. “Edgar, we were told you used forbidden powers to save your granddaughter,” one of the Visionnari said in a monotone voice.
“I did,” Edgar said, again without turning around.
“How many lives saved does that make?” another Visionnari asked.
“Since we got here? Five hundred and seventy three, unless you want me to count the infants I’ve helped deliver and kept alive,” Edgar said. “If you do, that puts it at well over a thousand.”
There was silence. In unison, the Visionnari behind him spoke. “Then we find no crime has been committed here.”
There was a muffled gasp. “How can you say that?” Hamunixaru asked. “He used forbidden powers?”
“For Edgar, there are no forbidden powers. He is Father to All Worlds,” the first Visionnari said. “It is to him we owe our existence. It is he who found this planet for us. It is he who granted us life. We honor him by granting him the ability to live his life as he sees fit.” The booted feet marched off, the sound dwindling into nothing.
“Father, what did they mean that you are the Father to All Worlds?” Gemisidara asked.
“Did you pay attention in your history classes? About how humans came from a planet called Earth?” Edgar asked.
“That old story?” Hamunixaru asked. “You don’t believe it, do you?”
Edgar finally turned to face his daughter and son-in-law. He pushed back his sleeve and showed them the tattoo on his forearm. There, in all its pulsing glory, was the mark of the Esper. It was the mark given to those who’d been genetically engineered to have some kind of extra sensory powers. Those like him had been the reason Earth was abandoned. “I am one of the last Espers in existence. Most have committed suicide or been killed by those who don’t understand us. I continue to live, to spread my DNA in the hopes that someday those like me will be welcomed again once more.” He turned and, pressing his stick into the soft dirt as he walked, headed towards town.