This is a recent revision of Chapter 1. As you can see, the finishing / polishing of a manuscript is like an artichoke. There are lots of layers to it, but when you get to the middle, it's yummy.
Ch.1 - Sorting Day, revision of Saul's speech to the parents:
“This is SUCH a waste of time,” whispered Pazos via a tight-beam message from the wrist-band that he wore, which mimicked an adept’s ability to communicate using only a pulsed beam of light. Saul needed no such apparatus to understand what the little man had to say. “We could have been on our way back by now.”
Saul steps forward, and a podium of simple light rays assembled in front of him. He waited for the last of the children to settle, then cleared his voice.
“Welcome, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Saul, and I speak for Light.” He set his staff into a holder behind him, and looked over the little ones, all glancing about, some focused on him, some noticing everything else. He grinned. “I’m so glad you’ve come today. I know that you’ve had to take time from your busy lives to be here. This ceremony is almost as old as the Realm itself, and it has been my honor for many years to preside over it. Since you’ve all performed the traditional Communing when your children were born, they all have the touch of the Heart of Light upon them. Our task today is to begin helping them learn about what that touch means to them, whether it just means that they have a photic yellow’s skin-sight, galvan blue’s zap-touch, thermal brown’s convection sense or even the rare clear’s ultra-sight. We should be able to guess at what their eventual power-level will be. Brothers and sisters in the Light, remember, every child here has great potential. Many will show rudiments, and thus join our society at large. A few will show the potential to use the Spectrum more actively, which could mean that the Core might choose them as Apprentices when they graduate. Out of that group, a very select few will to become one of the Twelve Realms’ brightest champions, Adepts of the Spectrum Light.” He paused a moment, knowing that all the adults were hearing the words and dreaming of what their little ones would accomplish. Even Saul had a vision or two in his mind, but he suspected that his were a wee bit different from everyone else’s. He returned to his introduction: “We are here to celebrate new life, and hope, represented by these children. They are our future, and it is our duty to guide their steps in the Ways of the Spectrum to the best of our ability, so that they can realize their potential. To that end, I come before you, to help you choose the starting path best suited for them.”
Pazos, grumbling about time wasted, had stepped to the side of the podium and was pulling out a series of non-descript metal rods from his dull grey briefcase. He worked with precise motions and in less than a minute, he had assembled a child-sized archway. Still grumbling under his breath, his face almost petulant, he picked up the contstructed arch and moved forward till he was in front of the podium. He set it down in the sand, and tapped the apex of arch once with the flat of his hand. The rods glowed with a milky light that flashed yellow, blue, smoky brown before turning completely clear. It settled back to the sheen of dull metal after this.
“This device is able to sense the hidden gifts - the potential, if you will - within each child. Each Realm has something similar for its children.” Saul continued over the hubbub of excited parents. “It will glow with the type of topaz power your child resonates with the most. Sometimes it is the same as your own which is most often the case, but sometimes the Heart of Light chooses a different topaz colors of our children. It is impossible for us to know why, but we trust must trust the Core to have made the right choice. It is the best way that we can help your little ones learn to their potential. When you are ready, have your children step through the arch, one at a time. Once they are all through, we will record the results. I will remain here to answer any questions you have.” Saul stepped back and to the side of the podium, beckoning to the listeners to forward.