depending on how far you have read into this series, this thread may contain spoilers. don't say you weren't warned!
of the many emotional paths Gemquest has sent me down, the heaviest one for me was that of deification. over the generations, the peoples of the earth have deified the Lalas. purposely, or not (and i don't think it matters), they have come to see The First Lalas as a major god. "firstspeed", "may the first be with you", etc. with no evidence of any other religions, this seems to be it for them.
which is totally fine.
but the Lalas are not gods. that their wants and needs coincide with those of earthlings is coincidence. and when they don't coincide? sure, a character could say "they must have done this for a reason, right???". it has been ingrained into these people that the Lalas care about them, care about their well-being. The earthlings have come to expect certain things from the Lalas, and when those things don't happen, it may be crushing.
they have deified someone/something that isn't interested in being worshipped, isn't interested in answering prayers, may not be interested in doing things humans expect gods to do. the people will feel the deepest kind of betrayal, the deepest felt "how dare you?" when their supposed gods never agreed to help them in any way, in the first place.
within the Gemquest world, and outside of it, how could a society possibly survive something like this? what would it do to a society that did survive it?
and Gary, you've handled this is such an amazingly gentle and subtle way. i fear (i've gotten really attached to some of them!!)for the pain i know many characters will have to go through to get through this crucible. sure, i'm able to view it in a "for a rebirth, there must be pain" type of way, but i still fear for them.