Abiha has been banned from her home in the village of the first forest. Once she left, she must wait for an invitation to return. Finally, her mother needs her to return to gain the permission of the elders for her sister’s wedding to a local young man. Abiha is on the next transport home.
She changes into the traditional garb that is all that is ever worn in the village, leaves all her tech behind, and after a security check, she enters the walled forest and inhales the scent of home.
Her mother is as cold as she remembers, and her sister is as charming and loving. Once she drops her things at her family’s house, she goes to the temple to greet the spirit of the first forest, formally asks the elders in the village for permission, and hears the forest spirit agreeing to the union on one condition. She has to agree to him.
Kiloh has watched the village for generations, watching and waiting for the genes to create someone compatible with his energies. When Abiha returns, his wait is over.