Letter LTen thousand years before Homecoming and Tourist Trap a disease crossed over from Humans to the R’il’nai. Although a mild, flu-like disease in Humans, it was deadly to the R’il’nai and to those hybrids with a high proportion of R’il’nian genes. A cure and an inoculation were found, but the aftereffects of the disease, and also of the inoculation, included a drastic reduction of an already low fertility. Between the direct effects of the disease and the aftereffects, the R’il’nian population could not maintain itself. Although hybridization with Human volunteers was re-initiated, the purebred R’il’nai of the Confederation were slowly approaching extinction.

Lai was the last survivor. The only thing that saved him from suicide, in the first lonely years after his father Tarl’s death, was the love of a human woman, Saroi, nicknamed Cloudy for her pure white hair.

Lai is fine-boned, like most R’il’nai, with black hair, green eyes veined with gold, and dark bronze skin. Here he is speaking from a couple of years before Homecoming starts.

Homecoming coverTwelve years ago, today, she left me. Oh, I have mementoes. That mobile, a delicate thing of spun glass, still hangs above what was our bed. I filled the vase she made with sweet lemon blossoms today, and thought how she loved the fragrance, but all I have left is memories.

Why did she leave me? Why did her note say only that she begged me not even to try to find her?

She loved me, as I loved her. Not for her appearance. Her tri-dee is still there, but Cloudy’s image is far more vivid in my mind. Pale, clear skin, light brown eyes, hair as white as the puffball clouds of summer. That white hair, beautiful as it was to me, terrified the Genetics Board. It meant she had the Koven gene, which when not blocked by the protective gene she also carried interfered badly with the development of the nervous system. Koven and projective telepathy together was too much to risk, they insisted, and refused to allow her fertility to be restored. Did their decision bother her that much?

I think, now, that I could have assured that any child we had – not that it was very likely – would not have been affected by Koven. I am not sure, but if I have interpreted the history left by Jarn correctly, a R’il’nian father may have far more ability to influence his child’s makeup than anyone suspected. I’ll have to try it out before I am sure, and for that I’ll have to find a partner. Perhaps Elyra?

I’m doing my A to Z blogs from my books, both characters and background information. For characters I’ll introduce them quickly, say what point of time they’re talking from since their situations change drastically through the books, and let them talk. The format of background information will vary according to what I’m talking about. Bold type indicates that more information has been or will be available in another A to Z post. All of these blogs will be scheduled to go live just after midnight Alaska time.

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