From her chair in the tower of the Choir of the Sky Elder Moon could hear the sounds of fosterlings at play outside. She had a momentary urge to get up and go to the window to watch, but the aches in her joints persuaded her otherwise. Without a hint of regret she admitted to herself that she was getting old. Not for her a centuries-spanning existence like the life of Elder Winter. She couldn't bear the absence of Mokuzai so long in any case.
Across the room, dappled by the rainbow light bouncing off the ubiquitous Nevergems, her son Hiro sat, looking serious like men his age often do.
"You'll enjoy being a grandfather, Hiro," she said with a concealed smile.
He seemed startled that she had interrupted the silence. "Yes, of course I will, but..." he frowned.
Moon drank her tea and patiently waited for him to work his emotions out. His youngest daughter, Lyre, was about to give birth to her first litter and something about the event was troubling him. As for Moon, she could hardly wait to meet the new kits.
"Mother, you know I'm happy for her, but she's so far away. Away from the safety of the Chantry or the companionship of her Choir. I just wish..." Hiro left the words hanging, and to her surprise his eyes began to swell with tears. Among the Prill emotions are usually expressed through song in a highly ritualized fashion. She supposed she had no one to blame but herself that her own family was so unconventional.
"Hiro, my son, you mustn't wish something different for Lyre. She chose to stay in the sanctuary cities. She is happy there. Those cities represent our hope for a lasting peace, it is good that so many like my granddaughter have the courage to make a life in common with the Children of Steel..." she was prepared to launch into quite a moving piece of oratory on this subject, but Hiro cut her off.
"You've misunderstood. I don't wish anything different for Lyre - it is for me. I spoke last night with Twilight. He has had a vision. You were right about the Riddle of Peace. You were right about all of that. That's the point. Twilight says our vow to Karia has been fulfilled. The forests are safe - and that this next generation will be the first to receive their vulpine forms back. We will be fox-children again!" He paused for breath, before continuing in a rush, "My grandchildren will live a life none of us has known for generations and I will miss so much of it. I wish Lyre was closer so that I could enjoy this."
Midway through his speech Elder Moon had begun crying her own tears, and by the end she was laughing and crying at the same time as the joy in her soul erupted.
"Oh Hiro! Every grandparent that has ever lived has wished their grandchildren were closer to home. You are not alone..."
She got up then, aching joints be damned, and crossed the room to hug her son. Neither of them said anything for a long time, but they clung to each other and looked out the window at a miraculous sky.