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KiL III:4:Epis:206 (also AJarchive 42:7202): A Case of Multiple Enshrinement

 TO: Gracious Lord Sahtashtan, Hierophant of the Magi, Suppliant of the Transcendent Light Idovanus, Despoiler of Lies, Friend of Turos, etc. 


It was with some slight misgivings that I went forth on the mission so assigned by you, worthy one. I thought, "But this is an area where they consider any rite of divine worship less than a thousand years old to be a new rite, and have four priests of the old rituals standing by in case anything explodes. Surely there is nothing to worry about in the way of heresy. If anything, I may have to temper their zeal." O worthy one, it was my foolishness that led me to doubt your wisdom, but the Truth blazed before my eyes at last even as I wandered in the dismal murk of the Lie. 

When we came to the place under question, myself, two scribes, six others of the hazar rank, and eight peasant baggage carriers, I was immediately appalled to see the condition of the temple complex. They had removed what seemed to be half of the shrines, most especially the one to the Red Goddess of the east and to our benevolent ally her son etc. I looked about for a functionary to smite with my staff of office, or possibly even my fist. One came forth, but alas, he too was of the vizier rank and so I could do no more than perform the Vibratio Castigiationis at him. 

"What have you done?" I cried, sweeping my hand about the wreck of what had once been a noble temple. "Don't you know that defaming the Red Goddess will mean that you and all of the villages in the area will be lined up and told that she is very disappointed in you by the representatives of the ruler in the east? And then possibly put to the question, with the dread eyebrow of disbelief cocked against any protestations you may make? Where did you put the houses of the gods?" 

The vizier laughed at me. I brandished my seal of office. He stopped laughing audibly. "We have done nothing to defame her, and the houses of the gods are all within the sacred grounds of the temple," he said, coolly. "I will show them to you in detail."

"But where are the shrines?" I asked, refusing to follow him as he started off towards the shrine of Charmain the beneficent, mother of Oronin and of Carmanos.

"They were improper," he said, waiting ostentatiously, nigh upon insolently, for me to follow. At last, I did, stopping frequently to inconvenience the fool. He guided me into the shrine of Charmain, where I looked and saw to my horror that the statue of Lunarized Poralistorana stood in Charmain's grounds, in lascivious repose, eyes closed in rapture, as was witnessed by all the Magi at the time when the Great Sister laid hands upon Poralistorana and evoked her most deviously, most wantonly, and most corruptly, in every manner by which a heroine may evoke a goddess. 

"Now," he said, as I gaped in shock, "The houses of both are to be found here, as we have been granted insight. The light has come into our eyes. For you see, it was indeed the custom for a fair maiden to dance for Charmain alone in the olden days, ere Syranthir ever came across the sugar-sweet lake, and for her to gradually shed her garb and enter the water to commune with the goddess, and this was all right and proper and innocent. And this you well know, for you are certainly one of no small wisdom and great learning." 

"I am," I said. "This is so, and it is as you have said it, though I feel your tone verges on the impish." 

 "But when the Great Sister laid lips upon Poralistorana the goddess of the river, did not the river dance in rapturous joy with her? Did not Charmain, by this festival of the water dance, foretell and prepare us for the day when Deneskerva would offer the mismatched kiss to her daughter Poralistorana? And when Deneskerva inhaled deeply of Poralistor's springs, and the goddess arched her back and wailed, did that not shed new light on Charmain's proclivities? The two things, the two goddesses, go together, the old and the reborn." His voice grew sweeter and lighter as he went on.  

"Too, I received a strange dream one day, of lost Castle Blue, of Charmain herself, who was bound up in straps and chains, all of them leading to a delicate red hand, and I sought to try and free her from them, but she laughed, and there was light in her eyes, and I knew at once that this was something she delighted in, that she too had found rapture in such a thing, and another delicate red hand ran its nails down my back and I-" He laughed, as sweet as a songbird. 

"This I disavowed until others offered the reasoning, for such insight I thought untrustworthy, but now I see it differently," and he made a motion as if casting something aside, and there I saw at once that the form of the body before me had changed, had become a resplendent idol touch more slender and a touch less so at the same time, though along different points, and the hair was cut with the bangs of a noblewoman but otherwise with a vizier's stylings. And there were other matters as well, o, every detail of the makeup, the subtlety of the shadow around the eyes and of the blush on the cheeks, it is etched into my mind. 

"You have become a woman, then?" I spoke of this calmly, for you and I know, o great one, that this is hardly unknown, for men to become women and women to become men. "But why, then, did you deceive me? Are you fallen into the service of Ganesataurus, then? Are you a false and lying light?" For deceit in this manner is another thing entirely.

 "Not a woman, not precisely, but address me and speak of me as if I were one, that is the simplest," she said, her voice airy and cheerful even as I mustered righteous inquiry. "A lie is a false statement made with intent to deceive," she said. "Now, if I had simply shown myself before you unaccompanied by the paranjah of illusion, then I would have deceived you in that you would not have known that I was a marked vizier on your list, one of the keepers of this complex. So it was indeed an honest deed to wear the paranjah of illusion, and simply to take it off as I explained the revelations to you." She put her hand on her chin and giggled joyfully. "But this I only realized after thinking at length about what I heard when those red, red nails ran down my back."

"And what did you hear?" I asked, my eyes solidly set on hers.

"'A lie is a false statement made with intent to deceive', and that was all," she said. "I realized, after long thought, that there must be many things that lie between Idovanus and Ganesataurus, some with a foot in both camps and some totally unaligned, just as there is a narrow realm of pure honesty and pure lies, but much of what is said and thought and written falls into impure categories." She offered a hand to me. "But perhaps they are not so impure, yes? I can see the way your eyes track over me. Is my own revelation prompting one of your own?" 

I said nothing, for nothing needed to be said. She withdrew her hand. "The offer stands," she said. "But this is where the shrines went- by great effort we have understood these relationships of Time between old gods, new Immortals, and reborn gods, and we continue to learn more every day." 

"The Hierophant shall know every detail of this," I said, and turned to leave. 

"You trust in my good faith, that I shall let you go with your ill intent, to muster such arrows and catapults as you can," she said, quietly in the ears of the world, but loudly in my own. "You know that whatever the truth may be, this is nevertheless in no sense a lie, a heresy, or even a schism." Such are the depths of Ganesataurian power here.

I departed with no words. There was nothing to say. It is my recommendation that we gather several Magi to cleanse these places thoroughly and bless them with Idovanic radiance, above and beyond the necessary regiments of hazar troops and the vizier coordinators. The danger here is seemingly small, but it grows daily, I suspect.  

 

I remain, 

Anahita Kados Ki-Tarnils 

P.S.: Very apologetic for the haste of my writing, leaving certain errors of composition intact.


This was not the precise inciting spark of the Third Blood King War, but it was one of many such sparks flying about that led to the deposition of the last Shahzadeh and the banning of the worship of Carmanos in the traditional manner. Nevertheless, as we all know, the multiple enshrinement of Carmanos continues, and we understand Carmanos infinitely better than the children of the exile on the far shore. Great is their ignorance, great must be their mania. What will happen when the Ban comes down? 

 In the event, while Kados Ki-Tarnils vanishes not long after this letter, during the Jaranthiric Correction, an Anahita Oherstolos is noted in several documents, and we may hope that there is some undiscovered connection. 

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