Story for the day: Aoidhe -- Part 2

While Aoidhe is responsible for making the crops grow, he is also responsible for bothering poor and unsuspecting clerics. Enjoy:

Aoidhe hardly had time for a word of thanks before the brother hastened away. He watched
him approach the cleric, who was standing behind a pillar, looking intently at him. Might he want to talk of him? Instantly he looked into his bowl, to keep from returning the cleric’s gaze and discourage suspicion, though he could not stop himself from hearing the slight echoes of their conversation.
“May I speak seriously with you, Brudha?” said the cleric, in a half whisper.
“I’m listening,” said the brother. “What is it, Cgneita?”
“Have you come to a verdict with regard to the boy’s case?”
“Yes, I think there was something of a general consensus. The boy will be removed from the old man, but he will be given a choice to learn or to work on a farm. We will not be putting him in the orphanage--”
“You must listen to what I am about to tell you” said the cleric, in a feverish hush.
Brudha stepped closer. “I hear you, Cgneita. What is it? Is there something about the boy you did not put in your report?”
The scraping sound of the spoon ceased. The cleric peered around the pillar and saw the boy waiting as though listening, his hand in mid-ascent, his head canted, his eyes averted and flickering back and forth as though searching for the susurrations his ear was no longer detecting.
“Come farther off,” the cleric whispered, taking the brother to the side, and not another word did Brudha say until they were safely outside the laver.
“Tell me what you will tell me, and do be quick. I don’t mean to rush you, but I don’t like leaving the boy alone just now.”
 “Whatever that boy wishes to do,” said the cleric, “you must let him do it. Do you understand, Brudha? You must not try to persuade him otherwise. If he says he wishes to go to the farm, you must allow him to go without comment. You must let him do what he likes.” Or be struck by something, I’m sure, the cleric silently added, though he spoke his conviction with fervent stares.
Brudha blinked  and was surprise. “Indeed, I had no intention of—I was not going to persuade him either way— but what is all this, Cgneita? I’ve never known you to be so persistent—“
“Where do you think of sending him? Which farmstead?”
There was an awkward pause. Brudha’s brow furrowed, and the cleric stared at him with adamant sincerity.
“There are a few where he might go—but I think I understand you. You’re concerned for him not being near his father. Certainly, we are all concerned, but--”
“Which farmstead is farthest?”
Brudha was silenced momentarily by the determination of his friend, and when he recollected himself, he replied, “Indeed, I do not know. There is one quite far north near town—“
“Send him to one in the country.”
Here was another awkward pause, one side all unyielding urgency, and on the other all grim confusion.
“Is there a why to all this persistance?” asked Brudha. “Do you have good reason as to why he should not be sent near town?”
“He must be sent somewhere where he can be alone,” was all the cleric’s answer.
“You fear for his mental wellbeing?”
“I fear for his general recovery, yes, and if you mean to send him away, send him somewhere remote, where he can be with his own thoughts. There is too much distraction in a town. He must be in the open air. Being in the fields and working with the earth will only do him good, and I fear, in his fragile state, he will be too easily influenced by others in town.”
It was as tolerable an answer as the cleric could contrive, and as Brudha hummed and deliberated over it, a small sigh escaped him, feeling relief from the unseen terror that lurked presumably somewhere above.
“You don’t agree that it would be better for him in a church, where he might make other friends his age?” ask Brudha.
“In time, yes, but not just now.”
 “Very well,” Brudha conceded, with a shrug. “I trust your counsel. I will ask if there are any farms west that are offering positions.”
Here the cleric must be satisfied, and he thanked the brother and marched back to the infirmary, while muttering to himself, “There. Thy will be done, or something like that. You wanted him to be alone, now he will be. I do hope you will make good on your promise to give some indirect aid to the boy and help him get on—“
Never promised that, said a voice.
The cleric stopped and looked charily about him.
Don’t bother lookin’. You won’t find me with yer eyes, lad.
So you do watch everyone in this way, the cleric thought.
Well, yer talkin’ to me. Won’t say nothin’ to you if you don’t want. I’ll just linger round, spyin’ on you and all.
Horror rushed on the cleric and he began to flounder. I did not mean to see ungrateful, My Lord. I was only surprised to be hearing anything at all.
Aye, everyone always is. They complain we don’t do enough talkin’, and when we talk, everyone’s always surprised. Can’t never have it right.We’re always talkin’ and answerin’, lad. You just gotta practice yer listenin’.
The cleric bowed his head to no one. Yes, My Lord. Clearly I do. He thumbassed and fidgeted. I hope you are pleased with what I asked Brother Brudha to do. You did say you wished the boy to be left alone.
Aye, but I ain’t rewardin’ you for doin’ what’s right. Virtue’s yer reward, or somesuch, whatever you got there written in that Book.
I do not think I asked for a reward, My Lord.
Weren’t you expectin’ it?
No, I don’t believe so, My Lord. The cleric paused and thought a moment. And I don’t believe I am lying either.
Well, then. Don’t gotta trouble m’self with givin’ you this blessin’ I done prepared.
The cleric did not know how to answer this and only stood quietly, endeavouring not to be flung into a passion against a heart much besieged.
There was a rumbling guffaw somewhere. Nah, I’m just coddin’ you a bit. I’ll give you the blessin’.
Oh, the cleric sighed, with deflated agitation. Thank you, My Lord. I am most grateful, but I did not ask for it.
I know. That’s why I’m givin’ it to you.
Oh. Yes. Curiosity suddenly seized him, and he asked,  May I know what this blessing is? With a sense ofdreadful fascination
The voiced seemed to be considering. Sure you wanna know?
It is not something in the nature of a blessing to be fruitful, is it, because I do believe I have been quite clear in my prayers that I do not wish to have any children.
Nah, not that. I was sure thinkin’ of it, jus’ ‘cause I wanted to rile you a bit—Here the cleric strained not to roll his eyes—Yer not good for wee-uns. Don’t got the bainne on you for havin’ ‘em.
Thank you, My Lord, said the cleric, his voice disgruntled, his shoulders withering.
Well, it’s what you wanted. Don’t be bellyachin’ about gettin’ what you ask for. You’ll know the blessin’ when you see it.
See it, My Lord? But the voice said no more. The presence that had weighed down his conscience was gone from his mind as quickly as it had arrived, and the cleric exhaled and rubbed his forehead, looking wearily at the door of his infirmary. “Now, I will agonize over whatever this blessing is. Knowing Aoidhe, it is probably a fat wife waiting to attack me when I walk into my office. I know he is supposed to be the trickster God, but I hadn’t expected him to be this much of a riotous jackanapes.”  
Gotta amuse m’self somehow.
The cleric froze, and his legs shook. “I mean—what I meant to say was—My Lord is kindly, but—“
Bah, calm yerself, lad, said the voice, almost at a laugh. We don’t do none o’ that vindictivin’. Rather you just be who you are.
“I apologize for being impertinent, My Lord,” the cleric implored, bowing to the ether. “I—I thought you had gone—“
I know. Everyone o’ yous always thinks we’re gone, so you say a buncha things you sure don’t mean. But just when you think we’re not listenin’ to all that swearin’ and hollerin’, that’s just when we’re listenin’ most.
There was a silence, a suspention of time which drew out a moment to many. The nearby rushes whispered in the slight breeze, the psithurism of the chestnut tree in early bloom died away, the passing winds rose and fell, and the cleric stood in fearful anticipation, neither having felt the presence come or go. He pleaded with himself not to think or say a discourteous or irrenverent thing, fearing that Aoidhe might be lurking somewhere by. A notoriously vulgar and impetuous God, Aoidhe would delicitate in schemes and connivance, but he was still a God, though the cleric knew not how or why, and he dreaded the notion of being the object of his liking more than he did being his enemy. He felt that Aoidhe favoured him, which in Aoidhe’s mind, was enough to torment him, and as the cleric came to the door of his infirmary, the glamour of being a God’s servant diminished, and he began now to regret ever having acted on Aoidhe’s behalf. The boy would have gone to the farms without his insistence, and by playing on his sense of compunction, Aoidhe had used him as a medium for the boy’s redemption. His own guilt had brought him back to the church, and Aoidhe had tricked him into doing being the answer to the very question he had asked: who would act for the boy and help him? and though Aoidhe had promised he should not let his son struggle longer than was needed, the cleric had never expected to be the God’s messenger. He did trick me, the cleric decided, with a sigh. I wasn’t going to interfere, and here I have acted on his behalf.  
No regrettin’ now. Can’t take back the blessin’.    
 The voice seemed almost smirking, and the cleric’s head wilted against his chest. He closed his eyes, raised his features, and made a most exasperated sigh.

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