Sunday, October 4, 2020

GLoGtober #25: Myth

In accordance with the post-a-day challenge by SunderedWorldDM, whose dreams bore the Orbseeker and whose deeds send the world shuddering. 

The Death of Attai

Of the childhood of the prophet Attai, much is spoken. It is conceded that he was raised in the wet, hidden places in the north, Herbad or perhaps Kolaj-Denron. A shepherd was Attai, who trained kine in jumping and flight so that no beast would entrap them in its claws. It is said that Attai served well his duty, for in the earliest days he had failed a charge, and said to Rektrine that he should offer his own life in trade. To this, god said only that the fullness of his duty was yet to come. Five years passed, and his heifer died in birth, its child sickly and frail, itself dying that hour. Again Attai offered in trade his life, but the Justifier refused him. And when Attai became a man, his mother dead and his tears fresh fallen to the grass, he set out to travel through Selmat and was called the weeping prophet.

In that time the successors to Elijah had fallen to folly, and the wastelords ruled much of the byways and roads, for the lords of Holy Selmat had been prodigal in turning them. Attai the religious courts advised that they should spend the money that had been given to them to build thick strong walls, instead of the gold mosaic and baubles of their custom. But the prophet was not heeded, and the judge Hensiah told him this: “Who are you to command us so, we who are most high?” And Hensiah told the kings of Selmat to ignore the prophet Attai and his family, and provide them no succor, and the hearts of the kings were hardened, save Eliyahu of Apres and Corsum of Apres and the executor of Marit. 

And in three years the legions of the wastelords roiled, and broke upon the walls of Apres and broke upon the walls of Marit, but when they met with the forces of Luto they entered the city and put many to the sword, and there was a great wail heard throughout Holy Selmat. Weeping Attai came to Hensiah and said: ‘See now what you vanity brings to the people, Hensiah. Can a mosaic keep out an invader, or a bauble?” And the judge grew hot with anger, but his fear grew larger still, and he bowed before the prophet and said: “I hear you, oh voice of Rektrine the infertile, and admit my folly without reservation. What shall I command of my people?” And Attai grew still and wept no longer, though his despair abated not, and the prophet said “It would have been better to build strong the walls to protect us, but now ten times that cost have you incurred. Go out and form from the faithful an army, and I shall lead it to victory at Gath.”

And Hensiah agreed and left the prophet to fulfill his wishes, but he lacked conviction and as soon as he had done so he came to the wastelord Sozreman and said “This prophet has made a great deal of trouble for my people, who want only peace within their walls. Vouchsafe Birit and Ckem-Sudam and Nidhgon and Skarbor, and I shall confer on you the lands of my God elsewhere.”

So when Attai led his people out of the city, he was attacked, for Hensiah had shown the children of Sozreman where to find him, and convinced him to fight not at Gath. For three hours the wastelord’s men harried Attai, and a thousand Selmatis died in the first hour, a thousand in  the second, and a thousand in the third. Hensiah told Attai this: “Oh prophet who weeps for the death of a wren, your tears are fresh and fresh again for the men each who die this day yet need not. Your people are far fewer now, and it would be better to ask for peace, since we might live.”

The weeping prophet struck him a blow with his knife and said this: “What has the law to do with peace? It is for your account that death fats itself here. Go feed it.” And he rose again and in the second blow smote Hensiah the judge. Attai rode his chariot to where fighters fiercely gnashed, for each man was needed, and the loss of one may set the day to loss. But like a shepherd rode Attai, who shielded his people and led them on, so that Sozreman could not entrap them, and in the fourth hour the Selmati had prevailed over him and his people.

In time the armies of Attai swelled with the spears of the righteous, and like a cloth that strikes stain away he did battle with the wastelords on the byways of Holy Selmat. By Algol he defeated Kuruc. By Birit and Ckem-Sudam he defeated the Anevi Sursalai-Ta. By Shade-Sherat he defeated Talaiman and his brothers. At Gath he defeated Sozreman and Rugal and Retze and Yenzar and Jether. Everywhere he went the prophet wept for those slain in battle, but everywhere he went the prophet brought death like a hard-parted gift.

For five years Attai scoured the byways, until he sent out a missive to the priests of the wastelords, the servants of Iron and the naga kings and the twins Szel and Yetz and Sozreman. The prophet offered to Rektrine his own life in trade, that mercy may be bought them, but this could not be. Before Gath he invited them to a symposium space, and when they came he put them to the sword, he and his five sons striking with strength granted to them by the builder of souls. And when from fighting he emerged, Attai was covered from the top of his head to his knees in the blood of the priests, save those spaces besides his nose where the tears had kept clean his face.

And for some time Attai was blessed in the eyes of Rektrine, but he forswore his station. He practiced not the law of the god and instead returned to husbandry, selling his cattle on the days of the Sabbath as though it were any other, and smoking often from a pipe in an unscrupulous way. Attai who had been a prophet paid no tribute to any king or ruler, and offered only meagre offerings at the small shrine in his home. 

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