Story for the Day: Aoidhe
The Gods of Frewyn often visit their children. Sometimes they visit through dreams, sometimes through action, and sometimes through direct address, and sometimes, when they can concede to make a visit, they leave something behind. Sometimes they leave a memory, sometimes they leave material intimations, and sometimes they leave behind their direct progeny-- in this case, a young boy. The God Aoidhe, known for his wantonness, enjoys answering prayers, especially those made by young women in desperate want of a child:
|Sewynpaudir: Frewyn prayer beads|
The boy need not say more to invite the suspicions of the cleric, who was already taking It must be so: He saw now why Matias would resent such a child, though he should rather be treated as a blessing than a blight. He placed his hand on the boy’s back once more and tried again to search for hereditary expressions, wanting a confirmation of the two faces he had discovered. He strained to contentrate, his features forming a pained glower, he closed his eyes and pressed hard against the boy’s back. The two faces began reconstructing themselves as he applied his conscience, and there, in the most furtive corner of the boy’s mind, was proof of his parental line. Wyn Abhaille, the cleric breathed, that I should be fortunate to see such a miracle in my time--pains to prove the validity of the father’s ill vaunted claims. He had his own methods for detecting any hereditary link between parent and child: he pressed his hand against one of the boy’s wounds and concentrated his efforts inward, propelling his consciousness, searching the inner chambers of his heritable composition for traces of his lineage. His essence vibrated as it traveled, caroming along every vein, every nerve, every impulse, transmitting signals and conveying an image to his subconscious. He knew this image, but it obscured itself, attempting to hide while under scrutiny, moving a little farther off the closer the cleric came to deciphering it. His consciousness pursued it: it formed a shape, materialized momentarily, and then was gone again, off to some distant corner of the boy’s subconscious . He tried again, searching with a more spiritual eye, peering around the corner of every cell, every organelle, every microcosm of molecular mystery. The storms of the mind, the brontide of wakefulness, the rush and rote of the boy’s undulating feelings burst on him in a fulmination of sound and sentiment, and there, hiding between receptors and conveyers, behind the fremescence of bereavement and longing, collocated with the face of a woman was the familiar presence. It turned to acknowledge him, and the cleric gave a small start, gasping and removing his hand, his surprise and amazement unseen by the boy, who was bent in inconsolable dejection. He stared at the boy, remarking his structure and features once again under the new idea of his parentage.
Aye, that’s enough now, said a voice, at once abrupt and familiar. No more proddin’ him. The voice sounded playfully displeased. Ogham’s wee-uns sure like pryin’, and I sure don’t blame ‘em, but you best heal him and let him be.
The cleric made a genuflection seemingly to no one.
That’s a good lad. You help him now and let him alone. He’s a strong-un. He’s one o’ mine.
The question of Why don’t you save him? rushed through the cleric’s mind, and though it was the thought of but an instant, it was attended and responded to.
‘Cause he’s gotta find his own way. I look out for him, but we got a rule here: no interferin’ or that’s ol’ man Diras on us.
But you have already interfered, the cleric thought as humbly as he could.
No, I answered a prayer. Ain’t the same thing. She needed someone to love her, she wanted a lad, she turned to me for help. What’s the sense in havin’ believers and children askin’ you for things if you don’t mean to listen to ‘em?
But he is now a bastard child—
Aye, but that don’t mean he don’t have value. Give him a bit of a push at the plough, and he’ll drive ‘em down the field to furrow.
The cleric was silenced.
Now, you go on way outta here, and no more pokin’, hear me? I’m watchin’ him.
Yes, Your Excellency.
There was a pause. Excellency. Never heard that one before. The voice was almost laughing.
The cleric became nervous and felt afraid of offending. But how else should you be addressed?
There was an ethereal shrug. Dunno. However yer wantin’ really. Most folk what talk to me just say please and then ask me what they’re gonna ask me. Huh. I don’t even get no swearin’ named after me. Nobody got no trouble sayin’ Borras’ name a hundred times. Folk in Tyfferim even call out for Chune, but no one says what about me ‘less they want a few wee-uns. I know, it’s ‘cause they think I don’t got nothin’ to do with money or luck and that.
The cleric hesitated. Well, you are associated with fertility and bountifulness—He tried for a less opulent title—My Lord.
Lord, eh? Lord. The voice effected to be deliberating. Don’t mind that one too much. Not many folk use it, but ‘till do. No more Excellencies, though. Makin’ me think I were my brother. He’s got ideas from drivin’h is chariot all day. All that sunlight. Makes his brain go soft and all.
The cleric chanced a thought here. Do you watch all of us in this way, My Lord?
The voice seemed to smile. Some o’ you. There was a pause, and then, If you pray hard enough.
There was the intimation of a smirk, and the cleric imagined a wink somewhere in the ether.
You should know all about that, havin’ Ogham’s gift, though he was always a few apples short o’ the cart.
If the cleric could have contracted his brow and frowned in such a state, he would. Is it not blasphemy to speak this way about a God?
You say what about yer siblin’s and it ain’t blasphemy. And if it were, you’d still say what about ‘em ‘cause that’s family regulation: I grew up with him, I rile him.
The cleric supposed this was fair, as a Being of such Eminence was proposing it, and indeed it was His own family—but just as the cleric was suddenly desirous of asking a thousand questions now that he was become more comfortable speaking to the voice, a pressure began pushing against his conscience.
‘Mon, now, the voice sang, in a plaintive tone, that’s you outta here, lad. Leave my boy be.
The cleric winced and fought to remain in the boy’s subconsciousness. Are you with him because he is meant to be a a grant man amongst the Gods’ children?
There was an implied shrug. Dunno. Hope so.
The cleric was seriously confused. How can you not know? Are you not a God?
Sure I am, but that don’t mean I know everythin’. Not even ol’ man Diras does.
The cleric’s expected his features to glunch. But the boy is your progeny—directly so, My Lord. That must mean he is destined for something.
Ain’t gonna tell him what to do.
But he is your son…the cleric weakly projected.
Sure he is. I got lots o’ wee-uns runnin’ all over the kingdom. Gotta sow seeds if I want what to grow. I look after all my wee-uns, but this one’s my fav’rite.
The cleric thought that there were no favourites amongst the children of the Gods and supposed he must have been mistaken. But if you love him, as you seem to do, My Lord, is this suffering necessary?
Nah, he don’t need it. Hasn’t made me angry yet.
The cleric paused and hardly knew what to answer.
He won’t be sufferin’ long. Don’t be wringin’ yer robs over it.
You will help him indirectly, then? but no answer was given, and he grimaced as a subrisive voice writhed in mirth and forced him out of the boy’s subliminal mind.
In a moment, the cleric was returned to the infirmary, the image of waking life blurring into view, and he saw only the boy and heard only his sorrowful lamentations, and wondered whether he was aware of the strength of the spirit he carried with him. He must not be, if he despaired so far to be in such a wretched state. Telling him, however, he knew was impossible; the clouds should part and a bolt of lightening should crack the sky and destroy him if he dared divulge such a secret. He had been given instructions to leave the boy to himself, he had been given assurances that the boy would be well, and as he should never even consider disobeying a command when it came from such a channel, after the boy’s wounds were tended to, he called for the guard to come and escort the boy home.