Birds busily prunes the trees in the aviary, whistling a cheery tune. Smoking Mirror is there, examining his reflection in a pool.
Thirteen A spear-butt tapping on the ground announces the presence of Thirteen Blooming Flowers, who politely stands and waits for Birds to finish dealing with a particularly tricky branch.
Birds steps down toward Thirteen, "Afternoon, Thirteen. What brings you to the birdcage?"
Thirteen "I hope it does not upset you to learn that I have been perusing the works of your personal library, including your histories of your fellow Circle members and the texts of the Faith Ecliptic."
Birds "Not at all. My covenant with Iallu has me keep certain things closer, but the library is for everyone's use."
Thirteen "Your ideas, and Zahara's ideas along a similar line of religious reform, are intriguing. However, I feel there is a vital deficiency in them that must needs be addressed."
Thirteen "Who is the primary deity deserving of worship in your plans?"
Birds runs a hand through a stand of clacking bamboo. "What might that be?"
Birds "Hm. That's not an easy question; at one point I would have said that no deity is held farther up than his station, and none holds the station of 'deity supreme above all others', but... I think Lucent will suggest otherwise."
Thirteen "Allow me to preempt him, in that case."
Thirteen "This is our religion."
Thirteen "We create it, we procreate it. Those who worship under it will pay homage and fealty to us; they will recognize us as the greatest among them."
Thirteen "Why should we acknowledge forces greater than us, especially in our most cherished tenets?"
Thirteen "There are no gods but the Circle of the Sunlands. All others are underlings or enemies."
Thirteen "This is the truth which I desire you to set down."
Thirteen "The people may worship the other gods, of course, enough to keep the machinery of bureaucracy in good repair; but their primary devotion must be to us."
Birds puts down her shears.
Thirteen "What, after all, is the purpose of your poetry, but to inspire those who have never met you to devote their lives to you?"
Birds "That would put us at war with the gods of heaven and earth..."
Birds "But that would not be a change of conditions."
Thirteen "You have anticipated my comment."
Birds "There is one thing that I would suggest. That is, if we are to become kings and queens of the gods, then they become our subjects."
Birds "This means that they are our protectorate, and it's our duty to keep them both healthy and happy."
Birds "For that reason, I suggest a slight excess of prayer devoted to them, just more than what's needed to maintain Heaven. Perhaps we can even raise it back to its former glory."
Thirteen "The internecine details of Heaven I will leave to you for now, until I know more. I am sure your decisions on the matter are sensible and justified."
Birds "I can't argue that it would be both elegant and pleasing to elevate the Sunlanders past all others in worship, though. I'll examine the doctrine and see where it requires alteration."
Thirteen "This also simplifies the task of constructing a holy text."
Thirteen "Through your efforts, we already possess a compendium of legends and stories of the adventures and travails of the Circle."
Thirteen "What better tales can there be to illustrate the greatness and worth of the Sunlanders?"
Thirteen "Lastly, I wonder what your plans for dissemination are. Surely, given time, we may together construct a system of education sufficient to convert all the Sunlands."
Thirteen "Excuse me. Your mention of Lucent Copper Haze actually brings to mind one further potential stumbling block, to wit, Lucent Copper Haze."
Thirteen "The boy must be convinced that he has no masters, only equals."
Birds starts to reply to both questions at once, stops, and starts again. "Since the documents are incomplete, I intended to begin dissemination as a cult puzzle--fragments of the books would appear scattered across Creation, concealed with help of the gates, and treasure hunters and our own conspirators would unearth them."
Birds "They will be enchanted with a fugue of attraction, so that they draw in readers and they feel compelled to assemble them. Soon we will release the completed volumes, in unblemished form, as authoritative texts, constructed by some anonymous analyst."
Birds "There is also the possibility of using the more persuasive members of our band as demagogues."
Birds "This raises the problem of Lucent Copper Haze."
Thirteen "I presume your goal here is to prevent others from assuming that this is merely a tool of the Sunlands to exert force upon the world."
Birds "The goal is twofold, that being one half. I think Iallu likes puzzles, too, so it's also a massive act of involuntary worship, performed by the entire world."
Thirteen "Ingenious, Birds-of-Trinity. You are truly an artist."
Birds takes a little bow.
Birds "You have inspired me to make my plans more dramatic."
Thirteen "I hope you have a similarly dramatic solution to the second point."
Birds "I don't know of a way to change Lucent's perceptions of the world without breaking him entirely, which would entail betraying his trust. That, I cannot do."
Birds "Were I him, I'd accept the claim that we were acting as proxies for the Sun, and worship directed to us is, since we are his children/servants/chattel, directed to him, in a subtle manner."
Birds "And it's an unfortunate but necessary smokescreen that we must use to perform our Solar duty."
Thirteen "Do you truly believe he will accept this argument?"
Thirteen "You will have to be exceptionally careful with regards to your treatment of the Unconquered Sun in your text."
Birds "Are you familiar with the excellent barbarian leadership technique? I have seen it performed by some worshippers of Ahlat in the south."
Birds "The leader in question shouts a person's name, or makes a command, or an assertion, with such suddenness and fervor that the listeners cannot help but obey."
Birds "I think that we can implement this with Luc, provided that we catch him at an appropriately unbalanced moment."
Thirteen "This tool could prove generally useful, if it turns out to in fact be effective."
Thirteen "I believe we have reached a suitable understanding, Birds-of-Trinity. I eagerly await the day our plans come to fruition, and stand ready to aid you however I can."
Birds "I'll see you at dinner, then!" She tucks a scented rose in his robe.
Thirteen "And you, Birds." He absently runs a finger along the contour of the rose as he departs."
Tags: (:tags Faith Ecliptic, Iallu :)