The Coin Keeper, episode 13: Returns

The last seats filled quickly and the colossal lunar stadium overflowed with anticipation. The elders all sat in a row lining the back of the stage at the center of this mass of humanity, and when the Chief Elder rose and walked ceremoniously into the beam of light at the center of the stage, a sudden hush fell across the crowd in waves as they held their collective breaths to hear what he would say.

Moshué was a great, broad-chested man with long flowing silver hair that fell to his shoulders from around a glistening bald pate. Inhaling dramatically, he made several valiant but failed attempts to clear his throat and just as the sound of the low rumbles made their way to the upper balconies, Moshué began to speak.

"One hundred and twenty years ago, Man turned the cradle of life into the death bed of millions." The tone of his voice was that of a man who loved giving speeches. He seemed to think that everyone else loved the sound of his voice just as much as he did, and so he lingered over every syllable and crisply enunciated each phrase in his deep baritone. "The planet that had nurtured life for eons was in 7 days reduced to a toxic death trap." The tones of his excited oratory began to rise in a dramatic crescendo. "And from the midst of the chaos and confusion that followed in the wake of her destruction, arose a leader who showed the way of escape from death. He sustained us for 90 years, and then, just as quickly as he had appeared, he was gone. He promised to return one day and show us the way to a new world." By now Moshué was shouting, unnecessarily, as in the perfect acoustics of the great stadium, his voice could be clearly heard all the way in the highest balconies. "Now, after 25 years in the far reaches of the galaxy, he has returned!!! It is with highest honor that I give you... the Big L!!!"

From the shadows of an unlit entrance, the Big L walked forward to the center of the stage. He did not take proud, quick steps, but humbly took the spot where Moshué has just stepped away for him. The applause and cheers were deafening, but with a gentle raise of his hand, the Big L silenced the thousands who surrounded him.

He spoke softly, with a sure smile, and an easy tone. "My friend the chief elder, it seems, would paint me as a god..." Again the crowds cheered, and again he raised his hand to silence them. "He would paint me as a god, but what I did, I did for love, not glory. Not for the love I might receive, for that love can come and go like a moon in the night sky. I did what I did, simply for that love which was in my own heart. I love my people, and you are all, 'my people.' My father said truly, that love unlived is lost. If I love and do not act that love out then my love is dead. My deeds, great or small, have been what I felt were those a man ought to do, who has true love in his heart. My children, a new home, a new world awaits you,”

At this a roar erupted from the crowd, and the Big L once more calmed the crowds with a wave of his hands. “I do not seek your praise for this. It is only what I felt was my duty to my people." His hand went up again, but this time even he could not silence the thunderous, grateful outpouring.

Finally the applause died down, and the Big L spoke again, but this time he cast his eyes not out to the cheering balconies, but down to the rows around the foot of the stage.

“There are several people here with us tonight,” his countenance was thoughtful as he spoke. “Several people to whom so long ago I entrusted all my possessions. In an exchange of good faith, as they trusted their futures in my hands, I asked that they take what was mine and care for it in my absence, that when I returned I might see it had been put to use and multiplied just as their trust in me has been fulfilled. So then, my dear friends, as I have now brought you the hope of a new world and a bright future, have you the gifts I gave you? Where are the gifts I placed in your care?”

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