Story for the Day: A Godly Dissertation
Nothing like getting a pep-talk from the God of Fire and Passion. Oh, Aoidhe, you are a card.
from the village square, his consciousness partly remained with Cginta, who was sitting at his desk, looking wholly disenchanted, lounging languidly to one side, his back slumped, his knees wide, his aspect pretending disinterest. His arm hovered in front of him, with his cup still occupying his hand, but he was not sipping his tea, nor was he parituclaly eager to do so: the tea was cold, his cup being half empty since the other half had landed on his chest, and his robes were damp and maculated, and his leniency with the somewhat not so Great God Aoidhe all but done.
While Aoidhe’s form traveled beside the boy, as his son and the guard walked homewards
“No,” the cleric’s voice droned, “I think I shall just let it stay for a while. I rather like cold tea. It cannot scauld me.”
Didn’t burn you none when you poured the other bit on yerself.
“I believe you mean when you pushed my hand.”
There was a valiant tinge to the atmosphere. Can’t do that, lad. I ain’t really here, ‘member?
“Very well, when you thought to push my hand, which happened to move on its own whilst I was drinking, and splashed half my tea onto my chest.”
Got an unsteady hand there, lad. There was a muffled guffaw. Might wanna have a cleric look at it.
The cleric tried not to roll his eyes. “Oh, ha.”
Hear tea’s a good cure for shakin’ hands.
“Continue recounting your history and I shall consider having more tea. As you say, I must practice my listening, because apparently, according to you, I am dreadful at it and can only get better by having more tea thrown on me. Something to do with sound waves, I understand, and ear canals being opened, and so forth.”
As Cgnita instinctively brought the cup to his lips, there was a sudden anticipation and excitement that rushed on him which did not come from within. He realized, and in a thrill of panic, he lowered his cup and sat up, and the anxious expectancy in the air around him deflated diminished with an almost inaudible, Aw...
“I am considering this a patient visit, Aoidhe,” said the cleric stoutly. You are on clerical time now in my infirmary, and I will not be phisicked by a mischevious spirit who is very much in want of attention,” and in a soft mussitation, he added, “…and who acts very much like an ill behaved five year old. If only I had not taken an oath for counseling…” He inhaled and rallied himself. “You were saying about your brother’s treatment towards yourself.”
The voice began talking of Ancient Times, when remonstrances and disagreements between the Gods, brought on by Frannach, which Aoidhe was so good as to point out, cracked the earth and divided the land.
“You’re talking of the great rfit now,” said Cgnita, his brow furrowing, “the theory of Gallei, Frewyn, and Marridon as being possiblly one landmass thousands of years ago.”
Aye, that. Frannach kicked up a fuss over nothin’, we all started arguin’, and then Uscen’s gotta start with his I love Gallia and that’s that business.
“So, what you mean to say is your brother had his eye on Gallia, but Uscen also wished to court her, or whatever it is you Gods do besides give barren women children.”
Aye, just that, lad. Uscen ain’t one for looks. Lakes dry up when he try to look in ‘em, but talkin’ to him was sure better than talkin’ to Frannach. We’d much rather have Aul’ Hoseface around than Frannach, but ‘cause Frannach’s First and he liked Gallia, he thinks he’s gotta have everythin’.
“But presumably Gallia had the right to chose whom she loved?”
She liked both of ‘em, and she woulda gone with Frannach prob’ly if he hadn’t started a fight over it.She went with Uscen mostly ‘cause she couldn’t take Frannach no more.
“And Gallia is your cousin? Or however the Gods calculate their relations.”
We don’t got relations the way you know ‘em, lad. We don’t get born how you do. We just got an Order on how we Came To Be, and that’s that. We’re related, but ain’t related so matter o’ fact. I’m Diras’ boy, and so’re Frannach and Borras and Menor, but we ain’t got blood to relate us, if ya folla me.
“So, by that notion, Gallia could also be your aunt if she is related to Balane?”
Aye, that, or similar.
“Oh, that is a hideous thought,” Cgnita grimaced, “pining away for one’s aunt, even if not sisters by birth, or something in the same line. It is little wonder why there was opposition. But why the argument? Let Uscen have her, if she will go with him. It is her right to choose as she will, and as a Goddess, I don’t see that anyone has the power to forbid her. Why should your brother fuss over her when he may have anyone he pleases? Presumably there are other female Gods disengaged. Why must he have Gallia?”
‘Cause he’s a right bastard.
“Yes, I gathered. So, you fought, Uscen defected, and Gallia went with him as the legend goes. Is this why your brother is so difficult now, because he lost his toy?”
Could say that. He’s got a bit o’ fury in him since.
“Is that why so many of you—you as in the spiritual beings-- choose to partner with us, to avoid fighting amongst one another? Well, no, never mind about you, Aoidhe. I know why you come down here: to pleasure desperate women and plague me.”
Someone’s gotta love ‘em when they ask. Don’t see you pleasurin’ nobody.
“Yes, well,” the cleric hemmed, “as we discussed before, I am far too busy healing wounds and pandering to troublesome Gods.” Cgnita almost raised his teacup again, but he lowered it again, and said, with disbelief, “How ever did you attach Chune?”
I got right big bainne, lad, was all the voice’s exultation, said with a complacence that came from the confidence of being so richly endowed. I’m the God ‘o Passion for a reason, lad. Got alotta what to give, and girls right love it when I’m givin’ ‘em a hashiff and they can feel my bainne against their--
“Yes, thank you for telling me,” Cgnita groaned, resting the rim of his cup against his forehead, and sighing out his exasperation. “I did not think you needed to be quite so descriptive. I am a cleric, I know what bainne are.”
Sure about that, lad? Don’t seem to use yours, though we gave ‘em to you.
“I don’t even need to feel you smirking at me. I know you are doing it—and there is no need to appear and make certain I know what prodigious virility is. I have seen and examined men from Sethshire before, your patronage, and I know how very well they are gifted.”
How come you don’t got a bheann, lad? Yer a cleric. You got Ogham’s blessin’ and all. The girl’s oughtta be right killin’ ‘emselves over you.
The cleric gave no one a flat look. “Has it ever occurred to you that I might not be considered very attractive?”
The voice appeared to think about this. No.
“Well, there it is.”
He rested the rim of his cup against his lips and sulked, and an ethereal brow bent in confusion.
What’s all this about needin’ to be attractive? I never heard o’ this.
“No, I daresay not. You are a God, and the God of fire and passion, no less. You need only coo in a woman’s ear and she is in violent histerics over you, but on a human level, I’m afirad there is much more to it than that. Family squabbles and earthquakes are far simpler than approaching most women. And you forget that I am a cleric and must be professional. I cannot simply ask any woman who walks into my infirmary if they should like to have dinner with me, which is a horrifying notion in itself for someone who revels in having ten minutes to himself.” Here was a derisive huff. “I have probably examined and touched more of the distaff than you ever will,” he fleered, “and yet I have pleasured none of them.”
But the girls like it when you show ‘em Ogham’s blessin’.
“They might do,” the cleric carelessly acknowledged, “but they certainly never tell me about it.” He exhaled and lowered his cup to his lap. “Since you don’t seem to be understanding, Aoidhe, I will tell you that for anyone in the clerical line, it is rather difficult securing a girl, as you say, or a man, or anyone for that matter. We don’t get into the profession for the purpose of making women and men love us, though by your estimation, this is easily achieved by a show of ability, and while I do concede that it is possible to fascinate a woman or a man by a demonstration, it is far more trying to maintain their interest. Our profession is so dreadfully busy that there is hardly time enough in the day for a proper meal. Of course we want to help our fellow Frewyns—that is why we enter the profession, and when we heal a sick child or save someone from death or soothe someone from a chronic ailment, it is certainly worth all the trouble—but I must say, I am not surprised when I hear of those being born with Ogham’s blessing who have no inclination to become a cleric whatsoever. We are solitary creatures and keep little company besides other clerics, possibly a few enchanters, and Gods who plague us more often than we should wish.”
Here was a shrug. Least someone visits you. I gotta go round to everyone else for a bit o’ craic.
“To be fair, Aoidhe, it isn’t as though you have a stationary address, where anyone might step in for a minute or two.”
Sure I do.
The cleric’s face floddered. “What? You cannot tell me you have a home somewhere.”
Don’t have a house, lad. Don’t really need one, but we do gotta place where anyone can come visit us.
The cleric turned his head to one side. “You mean the church, I presume?”
That too, but I mean the Wyn Na Dail.
“You mean the enormous monument in the south with all the megaliths, the one that the people of Karnwyl still hold pilgrimage to every year?”
Aye, that one, only don’t go round Ailineighdaeth. Too many folk from Karnwyl crowd the place and make it hard to hear prayers.
“So the legends of that place being the sort of birthplace of proto-Frewyns, is that true?”
Called the Wyn a Dail for a reason, lad. Didn’t make that up to codd ya.
“So was that really the Seat of the Gods? Did you and all your family live there and welcome your children to visit back when you were allowed to make the visit which you are now not supposed to be making but are making anyway to spite your father and brothers?”
A chuckle turned over itself. Yer gettin’ good at this, lad.
“Thank you.” The cleric turned toward the window and abscently scratched his head. “I like to think I’m doing something right some of the time.”
Thinking himself safe from any jape of Aoidhe’s now that their conversation was got father along, the cleric lifted his cup to his lips and finished his tea, but as he was about to finish the last delibation, a pressure on his hand made him falter, the cup jostles, and the last of the tea splashed against his face. Tea tributaries trickled down his chin, the top of his robe at the neck grew damp, and Cgnita was very sure he should never like tea again.