Monday, August 9, 2010

317 - Mella

I glanced sideways at him.  “It happened to one of the pretenders the last time Chevenga did this.”

“He melted?”

“He laid profane hands on the Goddess.”

“Ohhh, Ch’venga wouldn’t do that.”

“Yeah.  His clothes and hair and nails all floating in this steaming mess apparently.”

“Ewwwwww.... Ch'venga, Ch'venga, don't do that!”

“No, he wouldn’t, She won't, She's with him... see?”  She'd laid her hands on him.

“She is?  That's good... Yeah, you're right, he's smarter than that!”

“You can only ask, from a God or Goddess, never take. The idiot tried to treat her like his woman, and this guy forgot that...”

“I guess he paid for that.”

I nodded, bumping the back of my head against Ili.  “Yeah.” My shoulders were starting to ache with his weight but it was something so distant I only paid slight attention to it.  The pressure of sun on our heads and the sound of the Temple together were like a weight on my chest.  Every time the Temple spoke it was as though something tugged at my heart, pulled at the tears living behind my eyes.  I wanted to feel what Chevenga was feeling, I wanted to know what He knew.

His face was full of God light.  He was perceiving Selestialis; I could see it.  I could feel it.

Chevenga had mastered whatever Mella had challenged Him with and the Temple said “Trn'l virom etre jess ted.  T'mr sree moft.” You could see Him cooling, sweat pouring.

Gannara said, “Yeah, look he’s got it.  What’s it saying?”

“The language of the Gods.  One of the old prayers. I know that one as a secondary prayer.”

“What does it mean?”

I didn’t want to answer him but there was no reason for me not to.  “I don't know.  I was taught it by rote.”  I remembered Tobias’s drone.  His teaching was as unlike this ritual as rotten meat was from gold truffles.  “It was one of the set of ten for each God or Goddess.”

"Third Ten!  Third Ten!"  People were already chanting, even before he was finished before Mella.  Chevenga reached forward toward the Goddess's statue and the whole crowd gasped.  He took up the cloth from Her hand and dried himself off with it, His sweat soaking it completely.  The gold threaded sweatband around His brow was as sodden as the cloth and He pulled it off.  Then He laid both gently into Mella’s hand. 

“Ayo!” Gan yelled, along with everyone else in the crowd who shrieked in startlement and amazement as the soaking wet, sweat sodden cloths burst into a gout of flame from the statue’s hand leaving behind only a soot smear on the painted marble that crinkled and evaporated even as the cries died down.

And Chevenga danced for the Goddess, light and high and wild as if He hadn’t just done some physically impossible things.  She accepted His offering.  Ili crowed and clapped, rapping his heels against my chest.  “Please don’t do that, little brother.”

Kahara, you just never know what’s going to happen next!”  People were starting to pray out loud all around us, and sing, low. Encouraging.  Extorting.  I wanted that.  They wanted Him to do this.  They showed their love by being with Him when He faced the Ten.

He was their celestial link, their Voice to Arko.  Because I am born my father’s son, I may never be that. I must never want that. I must choke down the envious longing.  He is the favourite Son of the Gods and that is right and just.  My desperate yearning is, in and of itself, according to the Book, an affront to the Ten. Perhaps this is my Hayel, being able to see this sacredness, this glory, know I trained for it and am still going through the shadow of it every day, and see that not only should I not long for this transcendence, I dare not.

I sacrifice my emotion to you, oh Gods. May it be pleasing to You. Chevenga’s dance for Mella moved to her Husband, the twined shadows glittering around him twinned again.  Perhaps Anae’s appeal to her second Husband made that possible?  The Worker God is a simple God who doesn’t like frills as much as His Wife.

I had tears standing in my eyes.  I was trying to be objective.  Trying to be calm.  But I couldn’t.  Then I grew more afraid for Chevenga.  Risae was next and the last time She had asked Him to cut His own throat before Her.  The stain was soaked into the marble and had been preserved by the priests and the dekinas.  Would She ask the same again?

Author's Note:

I have a short post today.  Tris's cast comes off.  We're seeing our friends off on their trip home. I'm writing to earn a new car.  I'll keep everyone posted. 

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