Oorgo clung to the knobby knee of Thurgod's immutable godflesh, as he watched his mother, sister, and father wave goodbye atop a journey cart. Thurgod watched the screws in the frame and the horses bits, and listened to the boys' sniffles.
"Why do they have to leave, Master?"
"For each person is his life, and for each life is a place, and work. They should go back to theirs, and you stay with yours."
"Why can't I go with them?"
"Because the Queen would not allow you to leave."
"Would you let me leave?"
Thurgod pointed his face at the boy. The crude belt buckle could not betray the boy's feelings, but the increasingly sticky mess accumulating on Thurgod's kneed did. "That is a question with no answer, for I am under the Queen, and you know her word."
"But if you didn't have to do what she wanted..."
"All within the Rim must do as she orders, for there is none stronger than her."
"Maybe she wouldn't notice me leaving."
"But maybe she wouldn't care."
Oorgo slammed his little fist into the back of Thurgod's leg, then clutched his arm and squelched a cry.
Thurgod squatted and caught the boys shoulders. "You must be careful with godflesh, or you will hurt yourself. It does not give to anything."
Oorgo looked up, then brushed his hand along Korlythe where it met Thurgod's forehead. "Anything?"
Thurgod whispered, "It gives to one thing."
"Is it stronger than godflesh?"
Thurgod's teeth chattered. "Yes."