The cathedral doesn’t dominate the landscape, but the gem does. The cathedral is hidden behind a fog of swirling mists and tendrils of smoke that protect the cathedral inside from the armies camped around it, ready for the signal, waiting for the charge. The gem seems to float above, sparkling in the sunlight of high noon. Away from all of them, on a hill that overlooks the battlefield, Speaker James Marshall, known generally as Detail, stands ahead of his trembling flock of villagers and other local inhabitants, puts his back to the mess behind him, and continues.
“Where there is darkness, we need hope. We gather around one person’s hope like moths heading to a candle and – like the moths – we start to carry the flame ourselves. Hopefully, our flame of hope is less fatal to us than to the moths. Hope is not like a bottle, to be passed around until its empty, or hoarded for yourself. Hope is a flame, that catches to everybody else, that is not extinguished unless you neglect or kill it, that can spread forever if you nurse it, and that lights up the world.
If people tell you that hope is easy, they will be lying to you. Hope is hard. When the rains of failure damp your soul, when the tides of fate lick at the edges of your island, when the water around you is rising and you cannot keep your hope aloft, then you will lose hope, and the only way to get it back is to find someone who still carries the flame within them, and light your own taper. For the good of your own fate, then, for the good of your own happiness you should keep your hope alive, and spread it to those around you, so that when it dies your friends and your family can pick you up, even if your own strength has failed.
Where there is hope, there is order, or its possibility. There are the foundations for the things you need to build, for the things you need to learn, for the tasks you must undertake to get from where you are now to where you must be. With the fire of hope spreading as far as you can fan it, tasks become more trivial, help becomes easy.
Where there are people with hope, there are people who cause despair. There are those who will take your hope from you, who will work against you, who will restrict your endeavour, who will attack and kill your dreams and yourselves. Defend against them, by all means, but make them fear the consequences. Make sure they know what will happen when they break your rules.
And I could go on, for a long time. I was given the title Speaker before I came to this land, and it was not without consideration. I could tell you of the aspects of the Weaver, how the fire of hope licks against the feet of all of us. I could spread my wings out to the rest of the faiths, stretch the foundations of hope and learning all the way from the Builder to the Teacher, stretch the doing of what must be done from the Midwife to the Smith, Stretch the justice and darkest hours from the Spider all the way to the Huntress.
But I’ve never felt that’s the most important thing. What you do is important, how you do it is even more so. If you do the best good in the world, but you do it on a road constructed from the corpses of everyone else, your good is tainted. As so do I feel about the doing of anything without the thought behind it, doing the thing that must be done because it’s the thing you thought of first, rather than the thing that fixes the problems best.”