NaNoWriMo 2013: Excerpt from “Among the Savages”

It’s the end of week two and I’m still hanging in there to get my daily word counts in, (1,667 is a much bigger number after two weeks), but it seems that in my frenzied wailing on the keyboard I’d completely forgotten to post an except last Sunday. NaNo claims yet another deadline, ah well.

This except is from my third short story, Among the Savages, a dairy from a man sent to convert a tribe of savages to his religious order so that his country (run by said order) can use the resources of their land without resorting to killing them.

Again, I feel obligated to warn you that this excerpt is raw from the field with nary a spell check to comfort it. You may want to turn away now if you have an uncontrollable urge to correct grammar or continuity errors.


Entry: Meeting a God – 10th of Sowing, 4598

I saw him. I saw their God, Salek. The one they refer to as The One Who Hungers. This, this Salek is a great wolf, shaggy brown. I’m told his breath is cold, but… Well, I didn’t get that close, not nearly that close, but the rest of it… Forgive me, my mind is running so fast my hand can scarcely keep up.

The creature was enormous, twice the size of other wolves. They were, that is Salek and a pack of hounds were feasting on the bones of a dead bear. The Madara’roa and I were sharing one of our daily walk in the woods when we saw them. The Madara paid him no heed, knew he was there of a certaintly, but acted as if there was nothing more natural. I… truly do not know what to say to that. I believe in Inahu and the other seventeen Gods of the Order absolutely, but I’ve never actually seen them before, and this god of death of theirs I only acknowledged as one of their pagan beliefs… there it was.

He matched their description to the letter. Large, shaggy grey and white coat. The air was filled with the smell of the spices the Hatak burn in their burial rights. As I said, I couldn’t get close enough to see if his breath was truly cold – refused to would be a better term – but it was his eyes. Eyes black as pitch, but with two bright burning gold rings. He stared at me and I could do nothing but stare back. I felt as if I was being drawn to him, but I was terrified to even more. And then the Madara’roa turned my head away from the God, and just shook her head and said something that chilled me. She said that people who look too long into Salek’s eyes will be devoured by him. Never look into his eyes, she said.

Those eyes were utterly terrifying. And it was no wolfish look, no true animal could stare with such calculating intelligence. It was the God Salek, of that I have no doubt.

I am at once awe struck and terrified at what the implications might be. As any Eidonian will know, but should this record be picked up by some other I will explain. The God of the Void, our Eidonian God Nihil, it is also said that you must never look into his eyes, for they contain the gateway to the afterlife. Such a similarity between two Gods of Death, I am compelled to wonder if there is some type of connection between them. Is it possible that two gods from two entirely different regions, different cultures, and having no knowledge of each other, could they still be the same god?

Is it possible there are only a certain number of gods in our world, and they simply go by different names based on the people worshipping htem?

It is trues that both the god of fire and water are also worshipped in Bauradim – Arac can attest to as much – but this can be explained by general history. Before Kesh came to power, all of the gods were worshipped to some extent by one of the warring tribes or another. Bauradim was still too wild to be tamed when Kesh was founded, but the believers persisted. How their people went from several dieties to only two is something we may never know. Arac refuses to speak of his heritage in even a vague sense (I rather doubt he knows regardless. The Bauradim have a writing system even worse than the Hatak and it is unlikely any truth can be found in an oral history that goes back more than four thousand years). I think it is a subject that is truly worthy of research. Perhaps when my expedition here is done, I might convince the High Priestess to allow me the time to study it.

However, it also bring up – renews rather – the possibility that these Hatak could, in fact, be converted. It is certainly harder to do with a people who can directly interact with their gods on a daily basis, but the theoretical possibility remains.

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