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Amanda grows in the human city called Seattle, in the lee of the Olympic Mountains.

Her father broke faith with his family some time ago; her mother is of Ashkenazi descent, but she is not observant. Then none of them were. Amanda has seen her cousins at awkward events, the young girls all in skirts, the married women in wigs to keep their real hair a gift for their bonded ones alone; their husbands and God. Amanda tries to understand the life and the words, but her father says religion is useless. He says now that the world is so much bigger than during the age of the book, there are too many quantifiable things to learn about to spend time dwelling on what can never be understood. Her mother says faith is complicated, and blinding.

Amanda studies philosophy.

In graduate school she meets a guest speaker at her seminar. He speaks of the Kir'shara, vessel of wakeful tidings. He says, "Only one human has ever touched it." He says, "It is my privilege to convey the teachings of Surak to Earth, as it is my privilege to represent all aspects of Vulcan culture to your people." He says, "I can show you," and their first wedding is performed by Amanda's cousin, the rabbi, on the shore of Puget Sound.

Amanda lives in the Vulcan city called Shi'Kahr, in the lee of the L-langon Mountains. In some stretched-out seasons it feels like nothing so much as a crucible — gravity's ominous pull and the heat of the Forge pressing on her from above and below, a law of chemistry her father wouldn't believe she still knows. Long sleeves and stiff fabrics at this point seem like a test, and Amanda returns to her studies, waiting out the discomfort.

She is the second human ever to lay hands on the original Kir'shara. Sarek sees to that. She thinks he thought that if she read the teachings of Surak on her own, she would agree with all they said. She laughs at this and reminds him how they met. On her wall she mounts the ketubah that was her aunt's wedding gift, her parents' signatures bearing shaky witness to the marriage of Amanda and Sarek, illustrated with a painting of two trees whose roots intertwine. She sees her son's struggle to prove himself to the Vulcan children, and covers her ears in solidarity, finding that wearing a hood for love is no great sacrifice after all. She reads to him books from her childhood, rainy nonsense about boiling seas, and she can only hope he might one day understand.

On her terrace, under a strange sun, Amanda tends to her garden.