The weaver punctuated each of her remarks with a flamboyant hand gesture, as if trying to hold the interest of a schoolroom. “The world was never cruel to us, nor were we singled out for punishment,” she said. “It was simply life, as life has been lived since the world was birthed, and life seems like cruelty to the living.”

“I wonder if that platitude would give solace to all our folk who have died of want, of pestilence, or on the teeth of the hungry in the wilds,” said Archon Gjyallis.

“I wonder if it would give solitude to the hungry she-wolf devoured by her peers, or the seedling that wilts for want of sunshine in dark corner, were it in their power to understand,” replied Weaver Fioran.

“Somehow, I doubt it,” said Gjyallis. “And more’s the better, I get all the whining I need from my children…and the weavers.” The council chamber echoed with titters, and the Archon smiled wanly.

“We have been beneath the notice of the world,” Fioran continued. “Much in the way a single ant is beneath notice in the average home.”

“So be it, then. The world and its gods are cruel because we do not amount to much. If that is what you think, let us seek to better ourselves.”

“You mistake me, Archon,” said Fioran. “We are not beneath notice now. Ants in a home may not be noticed, but if you find a line of them, or if they have gotten into your pantry…you notice. When the ants begin to remake your world to suit their taste, you notice.”

“I suppose,” said Gjyallis. “Or my servants do, at any rate.”

“We are the ants,” the weaver said firmly. “We have been in the sugar, and the world is starting to care. We are no longer beneath notice, and the world has begun its response.”

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