"What does eternity look like?” she asks Before, the Liete that is not Liete, head gently resting against a man’s knee. Funny, that she should remember that and not her name or his face; it is lost to the sands of time, just like Alent and Angelou and all the rest.
Her father—not her father, she has many fathers, no fathers, is Liete and has always been Liete—combs his fingers through her hair and says nothing. She can't see his face but she knows, now, for it to be grieved.
Eternity is a color, after all, and that color is red.
Liete watches and waits and remembers past remembering. Such is the fate of the name she inherited. She is a keeper of histories even as she forgets her own. Liete is Liete, has always been Liete, and will always be Liete, and there are tablets colored red as far as the eye can see.
Justin believes wholeheartedly, the way only children can, but she has spent too long waiting for eternity to cast off disillusionment that easily. She knows better, has seen how static history really is. Tragedy is doomed to repeat itself and when she looks at Feena she sees all the ways in which the circle of fate will not be broken, not now, not ever.
There is a universe in Justin’s eyes, a maelstrom of hope and determination that shines brighter than any spirit stone. It begs Liete to reach out and touch even as she wants to recoil away. They’re all so terribly young: Rapp and dear, departed Sue and Justin and Feena. Children fumbling blind in the dark and it makes Liete feel the weight of all her collective years, of a thousand tablets and names and histories. She has only ever known the watching and the waiting. Passivity is an old friend but hope is a stranger and she thinks: Perhaps children are the bravest of us for it.
When Justin goes, she follows.
Liete is Liete, has always been Liete, and will always be Liete, but she dares to take fate in her hands and color in her tablet herself.