Special Easter Story: Uscentis
For Easter, here is a piece from book 9 about the Galleisian sister holiday of Uscentis:
|Mr Craw in his party hat for Easter. He's so festive.|
The coming of morning saw a wave of Galleisian visitors to the capital, not to see the bright eyes and giggling features of Margilesse’s recent venture but to infiltrate Diras for the celebration of a holiday. To observe the festivities, the commander and Den Asaan were deployed along with Nerri and Connors one pair to observe the residential quarter and the other to observe the square. The merriment abound in Diras was of an odd tenor: Galleisian reels were being played, their hymns were being sung, purveyors were offering their foods, but the Church normally so eager to seize a profit for the day was silent.
The lack of services and dearth of pealing bells throughout the capital was concerning to the Den Asaan. He was suspicious as ever with seeing so many Galleisians being permitted to invade their capital, but the scent of their odious fare, the sight of cows being walked through the square, and the sound of their wheel fiddled had roused fresh circumspection. The holidays of the southern continent were of little consequence or understanding to him in general, but remarking the odd combination of customs before him had bemused every one of his senses. “You will explain this or I will demand that they leave,” Rautu grunted at his mate while pointing at a Galleisian family leading a heifer around the square.
“I shall do my best, Iimon Ghaala,” the commander simpered. “I’m afraid you shall not like my answer.”
“Does this commemoration concern your gods?”
The giant groaned and sighed.
As the commander was about to begin her explication, Unghaahi emerged from the main gate of the castle with Kai Linaa at his side. They had thought to take in the brisk morning air and enjoy a small walk along the castle battlements but when they observed the strange celebration in the capital below, their curiosities were struck and Unghaahi sought out the companionship of his brother’s mate to illuminate him as to the observances of the day.
“Amhadhri Anonnaa,” Unghaahi greeted the commander in his profound and purring voice. “I would ask that you explain this commemoration. Your people do not seem to be observing it but your visitors are.”
“Well, it is a Galleisian holiday, Unghaahi, and thought we aren’t the greatest of friends with Gallei, we do have quite a few Galleisian citizens.”
“Your Honourble King allows this commemoration to be practiced in your lands?”
“It’s merely a small celebration here but as I understand it, Uscentis is the most important holiday with regard to the Galleisian calendar. It is believed to be the day that the god Uscen returned to earth from the heavens.” The commander peered at her mate and noted him already begin to rub his brown in frustration. “Our shared holiday of Ailineighdaeth is to commemorate the reappearance of the gods in the sky after their parting. Many in Gallei believe that when the gods left us there was a civil war in the heavens, the factions of which were those gods who wished to return to their subjects to grant them absolution and those who were too busy enjoying their time in the heavens to care. Uscen, the god of rebirth, was said to have gathered a few followers toward his cause and led a rebellion which ultimately ended in his death.”
Unghaahi looked to the side momentarily bemused. “These gods are able to die?”
Rautu scoffed without waiting for the answer.
“Aha, but you see, Unghaahi, Uscen is the gods of rebirth and therefore cannot truly die,” the commander simpered. “His death was honoured amongst the gods by brining the spring, the season of renewal, in his name, which is usually accompanied by rain, terrible stews made from fish and eggs, the purchasing of new clothing and so forth.”
“I’m confused,” Kai Linaa said. “What does celebrating a god have to do with riding a cow?”
“You mean it isn’t obvious to you?”
“No,” Kai Linaa tittered, “And why is the cow wearing a bonnet?”
“Oh, those poor creatures,” the commander laughed. “After affairs in heaven were settled, Uscen was said to have reappeared in Gallei near one of the small villages in the east. It is written in the Book of Uscen that he returned to his subjects riding a heifer with a basket bearing gifts of eggs and fish in its mouth. The people of this village now called Uscent decorated his cow with ribbons, prepared a feast from his tribute and added unto it fresh rabbit to symbolize his sudden rebirth. He lived among his followers for a time, was said to have written his own book, and commanded his disciples to spread his teachings throughout Gallei. He claimed he was the one true god and would care for all of his children equally if only they would surmount the Church of Gallei.”
“Of course,” Unghaahi muttered in disapproving indignation.
“They succeeded fairly well until the king of Gallei at the time became aware of the insurgence.”
“Did their king obtain evidence of this god’s existence?” Rautu asked.
The commander looked at her mate with a pert grin and the giant groaned into his hand. “When the king came for a gander, Uscen had conveniently disappeared. Many Galleisians who practice his faith claim to have seen him in the eastern forests of Gallei yet every time an expedition is led to find his home, it always moves to another location.”
“He is a shy god, I see. How can anyone believe in a god that hides?” Kai Linaa exclaimed.
“Those who profess to have seen a god at all have more claim to their faith than those who merely believe in their existence while excusing their own successes to the attestation of a deity in their lives. Nearly one quarter of Gallei’s population practices Uscen’s teachings and are determined to share their beliefs with all the rest of the world.” The commander pointed to a Galleisian man dressed in a long black robe approaching various citizens with the Book of Uscen in his hands.
“Then one quarter of their people is even more uninformed than the rest,” Rautu asserted. “I will not allow them to spread their ignorance here.” The giant was about to charge toward the Galleisian missionary when he was stopped by the sight of Sheamas suddenly walking toward them.
|Sheamas and Boudicca|
Upon seeing his sister and all those in his intimate conversancy, Sheamas hurried toward them to great them with all his usual good humour. He had been charged with obtaining some of the holiday fare for his confined wife, for though he had wished to stay with her, she had just given birth and he was not disposed to argue with a woman in an imbalanced state of mind. Chocolate eggs were his object but seeing his family first would only increase his happiness. He was assaulted with questions by Unghaahi on the matter of his wife’s holiday, but could only respond with a, “Bless me, big fella, I got no answer for you. Mar doesn’t celebrate these holidays. Her folks and most of the Galleisian nobility aren’t religious, or so she tells me. She never really went to Church or anythin’. She went to the small chapel she had at her family’s estate but she was really only interested in participatin’ because she wanted the chocolate.”
Rautu’s eyes suddenly flared and he gave Sheamas attentive stares. “What chocolate?” he demanded.
“Aye,” Sheamas chuckled. “Farmers couldn’t afford to give up a whole basket of eggs for the holiday so people started giving’ chocolate eggs instead. Hunters didn’t want to give away their game either so in Frewyn we just celebrate by havin’ chocolate rabbits and lambs and all. Mar makes these cakes baked in egg shells-”
“You have said enough,” the Den Asaan bellowed. “You will show me where these chocolates are being sold.”
Sheamas laughed and led the giant toward the bridge where the cart from the Triumvirate chocolate factory was being set up. They hovered and waited, and the instant the stall was complete, Rautu assaulted it with his barrage of inquiries on the contents of each of the eggs for sale.
Kai Linaa giggled into a raised hand when observing the giant’s fervency. She leaned over to the commander and whispered, “I think the Den Asaan is now convinced that every holiday on the southern continent is commemorated with chocolate.”
“Would that it were, my dear Kai Linaa,” the commander replied smilingly. “Would that it were.”