Chapter Thirty-Four

Now, in the time after The Battle of The Fire and The Wind a great controversy rose among the women of Spirit. One group called "The Olders" didn't like having their daughters trained for battle, and some of their sisters going off to fight. "A woman's place," they said, "is in the home, not on the ramparts of the city, or on the battlefield with weapons in their hands. Better we give up these new rights The Lords have given us, and be llike the women of other lands. Why do we need to own property? Why do we need to serve? Let our men be our masters, and let us return to the place where we belong!"
2 Now, the other group was called "The Newers." They loved the freedom that The Lords had given them. They did business with their brothers and their husbands, as well as tending their homes. They could swing a sword or bend a bow with any man, and they often found the mark better than their brothers. "We will not," they argued, "return to the old way. I will own a share of the house I live in, and I will have a right to my allowance! No man will say to me 'You are my property, you will do as I say!' I stay in a house because I respect the man I live with, not because I am his slave. What's mine is his, what's his is mine. That is how The Law is written, that is how it shall remain. If my mate makes a debt, my goods are not bound to it, unless I bind them. Then it is not HIS debt, but OUR debt. Never will I return to The Old Way! I do not mind fighting for what is mine. The Lords way is the best way, and no one shall take it from me!"
3 Now, almost every Fifth Day, The Olders would rise to speak in The Temple, and The Newers would answer them. But many times the discussion would not stay in The Temple. The discourse spread to the streets, where The Olders and their supporters, and The Newers and theirs fought with fists and stones, and sometimes even clubs. Time after time fighting people had to be sent to break up the quarrels. City Speakers and District Speakers sent pleas to The Old Fox. "Help us, Lord," they begged. "Do something! As of yet no one has been killed, but if this violence continues, it is only a matter of time."
4 The Old Fox had the leaders of the two groups brought before him. "You made this ridiculous Law," said The Olders, "you send our daughters to die. Is it not enough that you must send our sons? Why must you have our sweet ones, too? Why must you put weapons in our gentle one's hands?"
5 "Lord," said the leader of The Newers, "The Law you have made is good, and the majority of your sisters love it! Do not listen to these cowardly ones. Let us keep our way. Let us be equal, with our brothers! Do not return us to the old servitude!"
6 Now The Old Fox was greatly troubled. "Your violence," he cried, "appalls me. That you so dishonor yourself and The Lords, brings shame on our land. But both of you are mistaken. I did not make this Law. It was not my idea, it was as surprising to me, as it was to anyone else. It was The Lords Way I gave you, not mine. I can no more change The Lords Law than take out my heart and put in someone else's. There is no way I can decide in the favor of those that wish to return to the old ways.
7 But to be fair, The Lords have spoken in my mind and They have said to me, 'Let not you decide, but let all the women of the land decide. This is what you shall do. For three months both sides may freely speak their mind. There shall be public meetings and both sides shall be given equal time to speak. At the end of that three months, The Speaker of each Church shall prepare a list of all women who are over ninteen seasons old.
8 On the appointed day, those women shall come to The Temple. They shall sign their name on The Speaker's List, and the Speaker shall give them a piece of parchment.
9 They shall go into a secluded place, write on the parchment "New" if they want to keep Spirit's Law, "Old" if they want to go back to The Old Ways. They will fold their parchment, bring it back to The Speaker, and put it in a sealed box.
10 When all the women have made their vote, The Speaker shall open the box, count the names on his list, and count the number of pieces of parchment in the box. If they are equal, he will then count the number of votes for The Old and for The New, post the results for all to see, write his totals on the top of the list, put the list in the box with the votes, seal it, and send it to The Northern City.
11 Here, the votes will again be counted. When all the votes from all the Land have been counted, whichever way it goes, I will honor. If the women say we should stay with The New Way, it SHALL be The New Way.
12 If the women say it shall be The Old Way, it SHALL be The Old Way, but I want your word, here and now, that this will be the end of it. That there will be no more discussion on this more fighting. That the losers will accept their defeat with dignity and keep their opinions on this question at home."
13 Now, no one had heard of such a thing. All were astonished at such a proposal, but they all agreed. And there was no more violence though there was much heated debate and discussion before the voting day came.
14 In Northern outside The Speaker's House, a great sign was erected. As the votes from each city came in, the numbers for and against were posted. Day after day the totals grew. Day after day The Olders fell further and further behind. When the final votes were counted, they were defeated better than two to one.
15 "I am pleased," said The Old Fox, "our women have stood with The Lords. Now let those who have been defeated honor their word, and those that have won also act with dignity. The Law of The Lords is forever, and it never shall be changed! The people have so spoken."

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