The forums grew.

Fragments from some merged with fragments of others. Across the wide, black plain of the Internet glinted the lights of the various communities of the dispossessed.

Mosaics rearranged themselves or were rearranged. Restructuring happened forcibly or accidentally or deliberately. Mosaics grew in bursts, slowly or quickly.

Survival was not guaranteed.

Lights blanked out suddenly, perhaps for moments or forever. In some cases, the elders and leaders strove to protect their efforts and the efforts of the masses clustered beside them. Perhaps the the community struggled as a whole to rekindle the light.

Other times the leaders abandoned the communities and the connections were broken. The bereft members looked longingly across the voids to other intact mosaics and moved to join them. At times the newcomers were welcomed; at times the newcomers were rejected and the communities bristled with defense.

The reasons for rejection were numerous. The dispossessed did not always remember their origins as lonely wanderers. Perhaps they feared the loss of what they had come to regard as theirs; perhaps they dreaded change. Perhaps they feared the hungry dispossessed falling upon the intact mosaics.

The eyes of those who felt threatened glittered.

Others amongst the intact communities remembered their origins and did not automatically repel the desperate lost. They offered seedling mosaics, built small sanctuaries, redirected the lost to places safe from the glittering eyes of the defenders.

At times a quarrel rose amongst the members regarding the number of potential members. From within the circles of lit-mosaics, the adjoining voids were empty and devoid of life. Yet, others emerged from the darkness, blinking their eyes at the brilliance of the mosaics. Seeing only themselves in their own light, some members forgot that they had begun in the darkness and travelled to the light–they had forgotten their origins.

Other times a different quarrel rose amongst the members regarding the value of one community over another or bemoaning the direction their mosaic was evolving. Their elders and leaders did not soothe the members by reciting the stories of origin, the long lists of ancestry and comminglings. Sometimes the elders and leaders had grown tired of the recitation. Sometimes the elders and leaders themselves had forgotten their origins.

Sometimes a great apathy spread and afrit emerged to bedevil the community. Controversy ripped at the communities–how to handle the afrit? Punishment? Were the afrit not adding to the mosaic? Should any be stifled? Should not all the dispossessed be allowed to speak? What was the responsibility of the elders and leaders to their vision of the mosaic? Should the vision be constructed slavishly, even if many of the original elders had retired? Should new visions guide them? Or should the afrit be permitted to gather as their own community and steal a splinter of the mosaic for their own?

Mediators within the community tried to smooth the waters. They risked revilement as traitors or dismissal as pacifists. At the same time, others within the community saw that the mediators strove for healing and acceptance across the loosely connected communities.

To be continued…

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