Story for the day: God's Day
I love Mondays. So much work gets done, mail gets delivered, and the world is in motion once again. I know many others enjoy the weekend so here is my ode to Gods' Day, Frewyn's day of rest.
|Rautu hates your weekends.|
There was one day of the week in Frewyn upon which most of the businesses in the kingdom enjoyed and ebb and flow of trade. The last day of the week in the Old Frewyn calendar was reserved as Gods’ Day, so named by the Church in honour of what was expected on such a day. Worship was called within the chapels, people rejoiced in celebration, and everyone exulted the names of the gods as one collected people. This was how the day was meant to be commemorated and so it was for a time, but as the numbers of devout in Frewyn receded from the unrelenting invasions from Gallei, Gods’ Day became less a day of worship and more a day of reprieve. Services were still held and prayers were yet reiterated for the masses but many could not help but feel that the gods, though benevolent and seemingly omnipotent toward their subjects, had abandoned them.
Over the decades of waning faith, the Church became desperate in their tactics to fill their cathedrals once more with flocks of obedient parishioners. They had petitioned the various kings of Frewyn for donations, enticed the eager young with promises of guidance, created holidays in favour of certain gods that held greater consequence with their people, and though the number of devout slowly climbed due to such immense exertion, it could not compare to the amount of open worshippers that once was. The Church had succeeded in gaining the regard of the Frewyn royalty, building an orphanage to glean remunerations from the treasury, and converting those deemed misguided or unwanted into Brothers and Sisters well looked after by the Reverend Mother, and though these were small successes, the belief in the gods attained was merely imitation, insincere and remorseful. There was little love for the gods, as such sentiment and affection was all replaced by how much in the way of contribution one felt obligated to give.
The institution would have been well enough sustained until those of the Frewyn Church began meddling in the affairs of the throne. When the Reverend Mother took notice of the empty seat beside King Allande each Gods’ Day, she began to form designs on finding him a queen, possibly one of the more devout among the Frewyn nobility. She had combed through every house, quizzed every countess and every lady, and yet there were none who could excite the king’s interests. War was what roused him and when the Reverend Mother comprehended the Allande’s obsession for glory against his enemies, she made a prediction that their complacent king would not be long with them. The coming Galleisian invasions had secured her suppositions: Allande had been murdered and now was the time for the Church to see its revival.
When young Alasdair was considered for the throne, there was some opposition within the halls of the Church. The level of his religiosity was in question and his firmness in character was unknown. It was wondered whether he could be persuaded to support their ancient cause and if so could he be influenced to divulge another few coppers from the royal treasury, to marry one of their faith within the auspices of their sanctified edifice, and to keep an advisor of religious significance within the Diras castle keep. In the first year of his rule, Alasdair could not be moved in his convictions for or against the Church of Frewyn and therefore his character remained undecided, but in the subsequent months following his return from the battle at Varkne Plain, his decided temper and goodwill was evident. He had done with shiftless advisors whose only object was to remove his attention from his beloved subjects. He had begun to suspect antagonism and conflict from within the various cathedrals around the kingdom. He inspected their dealings and found that the chief of the remunerations paid from the treasury to the Church was being used ill, mostly to fill the pockets of officials, leaving the poor and those orphaned by the wars to fend for themselves. Alasdair resolved that the Royal Guard was to watch the motions of the Reverend Mother and give an appointed amount to the charities in place that rendered assistance to his people. He allowed no recompense to be given to the Reverend Mother in punishment for her calumny and cruelty toward those who looked to her for guidance. The machinations of the Church had failed and Alasdair had been their undoing.
This ordinance had made Gods’ Day more valuable to the Church than it was to Frewyn, for it was now the only manner in which those presiding in the cathedrals could collect compensation for their tiresome sermons and false promises. Many throughout the kingdom still believed in the gods, as they had seen evidence of their creators in their survival and renewed abundance, but their faith in the Church was all but extinguished. People had begun to believe more in themselves and their abilities rather than the idle notions of those who proclaimed to pronounce the word of their lords, making the people’s attendance on Gods’ Day more of a social gathering than one of a dutiful obligation.
Those who attended Gods’ Day mass in the morning suffered through all the tedium of the sermons given from their Good Book only to afterward make their escape to the homes of family friends or to the taverns for a communal meal. The markets enjoyed healthy swarms of eager customers all willing to participate in reduced prices and special items only presented when the turnout was certain to be high. Gods’ Day soon became a day for consumption of every tenor, whether commercial or provisionary. The spirit of the day made everyone deprived and famished, and the denizens of Frewyn capital were only too pleased to spend their coins on everything before the markets closed at sundown.
While the morning and afternoon of God’s Day were filled with bustle, the evening was another matter entirely. Once the sunlight had dissipated over the horizon, the appearance of the stars brought the closure of taverns, the desertion of the markets, and an unnatural quiet to the streets of the kingdom. Citizens once animated and willing to purchase anything and enjoy the day suddenly could not be asked to leave their homes, even for the pleasure of the cool breeze of an evening walk. They dreaded the coming of the following day, for it meant they would be required to arise with the warmth of the morning sun and work. Working was everyone’s malaise, and though there were many satisfied with their occupation and situation, the notion of being made to perform so needful and desirous an action was abhorrent to them.
The night before Gods’ Day had become something of a ritual due to this odd evening’s stagnation. Everyone was meant to celebrate by feasting and drinking themselves into the ground so that the God’s Day sermon could be borne with all the patience a lasting drunken languor would allow, but the night of God’s Day was a horror and meant to be spent huddling in terror for the coming of the workday.
The world moved again once Gods’ Day had done and the sun peaked over the prospect of the kingdom to signify motion renewing. The herald brought the post to the inhabitants of the keep, the air around the capital held the humid scent of daily bread beginning to bake, and the kingdom was wholly rejuvenated. There was a strangeness to this ritualistic motion of the days surrounding the one reserved for the gods but as everyone was engaged with their work and with complaining how they detested the first day of the week, no one was willing to question it and God’s Day prevailed if not to be celebrated than to be observed for the adherences around it.