The Igilas walked three horizons after their escape, trekking over the hardened, uninhabited plains. After crossing the barrier sand dunes, the passage became easier, but a permanent destination was still several more horizons away.
They fled with minimal governance, boosted not only by desire for freedom but also by a constant supply of solar energy. Only when they achieved significant distance between themselves and the alien colony did they call assembly.
Half the available Igilas came; the other half scouted for water deposits. Lizaro, Migro and other adult males jousted for authority.
Lizaro said, “While we can continue to evade our captors, we mustn’t abandon our principles. We must appoint an emergency council and draft a set of laws. First and foremost, a war strategy to repel the invaders.”
Migro raised caution. “Basic necessities first. The aliens are a reality right now; we can’t deal with them until we rebuild our strength. Many of our soldiers have injuries.”
Lizaro protested. “They’re weakened now. We must strike. I was right not to trust them, remember?”
Another male added, “It was an alien that freed us. Right, Lizaro?”
Lizaro scoffed. “That’s a matter of opinion.”
A few males rustled their quills in objection to Lizaro.
Lizaro noted, “We can have the council vote on it, once we approve the laws.”
One Igila elder added, “We already have laws—the Five Laws of Gilana.”
Migro said, “Those were forgotten long ago.”
“Then I’ll unforget them.”
The elder, one of the few Igilas mature enough to have silver-tipped quills, announced his name as Ginzy. Some of the seasoned males recognized that his lineage must have come from the Sensig clan—descendents of the ancient Gilana Order. The males broadcasted this message throughout the area. All that received the message waited silently for words of wisdom from this revered elder.
Ginzy began with, “Some of you know that the Gilanas made history by being the first to travel out of the Silcaaray to escape the volcanic clouds that brought darkness over our land. To survive, they had to reduce their lives to the basic necessities. They created five main laws.
“Number One. The sun provides. It provides light, heat, and polarity for guidance. Follow it.
“Two. Remain in motion. Keep moving until night, and let the sun return.
“Three. Learn your role. We have different parts, but the sun illuminates us equally.
“Four. Ignore size. The smallest pod is as important to the sun as the sun is to the pod.”
“Five. Unite. Unite under one sun, divide your enemy, and keep them in darkness.”
Ginzy made no motion while the others collectively pondered the lesson. Each law, seemingly simple, was subject to wild interpretation. Thoughts echoed furiously.
“The first law tells us to follow the sun, so that means away from the aliens,” said one.
Another added, “The fifth law demands we must rescue the others.”
The consensus reply was the question, “Which direction shall we go?”
Ginzy replied, “Igila custom forbids me to make this decision. Elders may offer guidance, but only child-rearing adults can make the decision, for they have the most to lose.”
Lizaro, known for his decisiveness, brought forth a reasonable suggestion that he hoped would solidify his authority while keeping his battle plan as the next option. He said, “Brothers and sisters, we are safe here beyond the sand barriers. We can use this moment to learn more about the aliens. Let those who need rest have it, and those who don’t become scouts.”
Migro responded, “We aren’t fast enough to sneak in and out of their territory, and our soldiers would get cut to pieces if they get out-numbered.”
Lizaro replied confidently, as if he anticipated that objection, saying, “We have more than our own bodies available to be scouts. If I recall correctly, Ginzy, the Gilanas did more than follow a set of first principles. They learned how to communicate with the other organisms—the gwins that glide over us, the tiny sand mites that scurry below our feet, the Listas that used to swim in the ancient spotted seas before the Volcanic Droughts. It was that ability that gave the Gilanas vision and direction, and from that they navigated the Great Salt Basins of Milar and Mountains of Mageen.
“Give me good news, Ginzy,” said Lizaro. “Tell me that these secret abilities were not lost like the ancient seas?”
“They were not,” said Ginzy, “and their resumption will be necessary if we are to survive, but to develop them will take devotion and energy, none of which can be achieved without strict adherence to the Five Laws.”
Lizaro had no affinity for the words ‘strict adherence,’ so he immediately walked away, followed by many who had sworn allegiance. Migro and his companions also departed, leaving only thirty-two with Ginzy.
One young male, Igo, came to Ginzy and declared, “I will wait with Ginzy, wait for a sign.”
The others waited as well, not bound by loyalty but by indecision, unable to commit themselves to three distinct but unknown paths.