Posts Tagged Ierak

[partim] Ierak.

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The work has to go on.  I gathered the other officials and the chief priests and I let them know of the god’s mission and how long I expected he might be gone.  There would probably be extra services in support of the deity, and to focus the acolytes.

The closer the prospect loomed, the less interested I felt.

I left the temple and went out into the city.

[partim] Ierak.

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I tried to work out different solutions with Aiol, but there was really nothing else we could do without a continuous divine intervention, and far be it from me to demand so much of Aiol’s attention—he was the god of the power of wind, not the god of the rail…road.

“The god of roads, of travelers, what about him? Where is Erma, and would he be able to help?”

“Erma is god of many things,” Aiol said.  “I had his blessing when we began to build the roads but I did not seek to burden him by asking for his patronage as well.  But I suppose we must ask for him to involve himself.”  He sighed, a concession to defeat that in no way diminished his divinity in my eyes.  “Roads and travelers, messengers and communication, trade and commerce—All of it under his purview, not mine, though my rails are for all of them.  He has been set up at Logodon in Gallie; I should go speak to him…”

There was a rush of wind, and the god was gone, leaving me alone.  Gallie was three thousand miles away; the rails did not travel all the way there yet—the Galliks were friendly with Karkedon—so I knew I could not follow; at the god’s speed, it would take him a little over a day to make the journey, one way.

So I had two and a half days to myself.  I refused to be helpless in the absence of the divinity, as so many were, as so many weren’t—but my capabilities might be diminished.  The god’s presence energized us all, and his absence was always palpable.

[partim] Ierak.

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“Our cousins in Karkedon are feeling left out, are they.”  Of course he would already know; the wind blows where it wishes, and he always hears…

“A shame, of course—imagine what Kron’s city could be like under the tutelage of its god!  Instead… well, you have heard the depths Kron has sunk to?”

I hadn’t, unless—“You mean the children? A crazy rumor—no one puts faith in it.”

“There is the benign ritual, open to all… but behind it a darker one only seen by a select few… and the wind that fans the flames.”

He looked a little ill as he said that.  “We’ll bring an end to that, soon enough,” he said. “The bridge was a surprise.  Their agents must be protected.  You’ll need to put up a guard.”

The gods do have no sense of scale sometimes.  “Guard? Thousands of miles of road? There aren’t enough people—it’d take an army just to cover from here to Bousantie!”

[scrap] Silk Rail.

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I left my chamber and looked through the busy halls and rooms of the temple till I found what I was looking for: the god, who was sitting in a classroom teaching a half-dozen young jackals the principles of the steam engine.

I stood in the doorway and watched.  I still didn’t understand even the basics, even now.  Aiol once said that some people are not susceptible to the divine influence—whether that of one god, several, or even the whole pantheon.

But while that may be true of some, but the influence of the god was definitely on me—but not in his learning.  I watched him, reverently, until the lesson was over and the students had left.

[scrap] Silk Rail.

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Aside from disappointing the god, I was glad to be free of those classes. I was still allowed to stay at the temple, and from there my real career began.

Of course, I am digressing—I meant to talk about the sabotage.

Indeed, I believed the scale of the vandalism on the rail system was too great to be the work of idle peasants; as I received the message that the bridge over the Coudn had exploded, I knew my suspicions were being confirmed.

I had a fairly clear idea of who would have an interest in sabotaging the rails. There was no discontent among our own people, the people of the Ellad, or of any land in between; all had felt the benefit of the divine transportation. Nor indeed would there be any protest from the Eastern countries; treaties had already been drawn up by all, from Armenie to the country of the Tins, to build the rails, and all saw it to be in their interest.

The only sensible perpetrators would be the nations of the west—Liboue and Iberie, the kingdoms of Karkedon.

While the war between Karkedon and the Ellad has abated and there are no longer any generals in the field, the peace was shallow, and the terms of trade between us and the Ellad precluded any rail construction over northern Liboue to link Karkedon with the developing world.

Clearly they were beginning to chafe under this state of affairs. Why did they have to take it out on my expensive railroads? Why couldn’t they just invade Sikelie again?

[scrap] Silk Rail

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Not all gods can see the future—but I knew, when Aiol looked at me that day, that he didn’t see my future in making wheels turn. It was the disappointment in his face—so intense, it made my own heart sink, and I couldn’t look him in the face. I wasn’t sure whether I was going to be sick or if I was going to cry; luckily neither happened to me before the god turned his gaze away.

I suppose he spoke to the temple masters about me; I was never called back to the class again.

Scrap – Silk Rail.

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“Hey, who’s there?”

Someone was behind me, on the bridge.

Sucks to be them.

No, that’s not good at all. Bodies would be worse than witnesses. But the fuse was still going and I was too far away now to stop it.

Nothing to do but keep running, now.

The sky lit up behind me a split second before I heard the blast.

The damage was done. I only hoped there would be nothing left of the man to find; they’d look a lot harder for a murderer than a saboteur.

But I wasn’t ready to be a murderer.

The temple of Aiol at Aleksandreï is the largest structure in the city these days. Regardless of how important I became, though, I still felt like the smallest thing in it.

Not that I ever managed to become very important. From my first year in the service of the god, when it became clear I had no aptitude for the divine engineering, I was relegated to a clerical position. That, though, I was good at, and soon enough I was managing most of the temple’s secular affairs.

Then the railroads came—a perpetual headache.

It seemed simple enough in principle—Aiol, the god of winds, had handed down the principles of harnessing wind and steam and smoke to do the work of men. And, certainly, carrying trains of wagons to all parts of the world was work the divine engineering could handle, but it hardly seemed worth the expense.

After all, the trains would only run if the rails were perfect.

In the cities, that was easy. But even along the rail from Aleksandreï to Bousantie there was quite a bit of countryside—opportunities for thieves and peasants to steal the iron, for trees to fall, for lands to flood—delays and repairs, delays and repairs.

And now they want a railroad built all the way to Tianan in the country of the Sers—did they never learn ambition is a vice?—but with the support of a god, many things are ventured.

I had only met the god Aiol once. I was still, at the time, trying to understand the principles of steam-powered machines, when he came into the classroom where I was studying.

For those who have never seen a god, I should say they are very like their pictures—like a hornless satyr from the waist up, but with feet almost like an ape, though without the thumbs they have. He looked young; but the gods are young when they choose to be.