Friday, February 5, 2021

House of Worms, Session 212

His clan mates having joined him, Keléno then introduced them to Mitsárka hiWashára, a priest of the pariah god known as The One Other masquerading as a priest of Belkhánu. Keléno expected his clan mates to be as appalled as he was by this revelation, the worship of any of the pariah gods being punishable by death by order of the Petal Throne. After all, the fifth emperor of Tsolyánu, Trákonel I, known as the Blazing Light, spent much of his reign suppressing the cult of this forbidden god and his edicts against it had remained in place ever since. Surely his companions would feel as incensed as he did.

As it turned out, they did not. Znayáshu stressed that, as pariah gods go, The One Other wasn't so bad. More to the point, this proscribed deity played an important role in the ancient epics, The Lament to the Wheel of Black and the Song of the Reaper of Sighs, which recounted the Battle of Dórmoron Plain. When Ksárul challenged all the gods for mastery of the cosmos, those same gods turned to The One Other in order to erect the walls of the Blue Room in which Ksárul would be imprisoned. If this divinity were wholly untrustworthy, why then would the other gods of Pavár's pantheon have accepted his aid? And since their present mission involved traveling to a plane on which the Battle still raged, would it not be wise to follow their example and accept the assistance of one of The One Other's priests?

Keléno had no good response to this and soon found that all friends and clan mates shared Znayáshu's opinion (or simply did not care, arguing for some variation of "we could use all the help we can get"). Keléno acquiesced to their wishes but, later, visited the temple of Sárku and tasked its adepts to produce for him a Chlén-hide dagger enchanted with an execration spell intended to harm devotees of the pariah gods. He suspected that Mitsárka would eventually betray them and, if so, he wanted to be prepared. Later still, he paid a visit to his first wife, Hmásu, herself supposedly a secret priestess of The One Other, according to Mitsárka, and calmly upbraided her for her duplicity. He stressed how disappointed he was in her and how he wished that she had been more forthcoming with this information. For her part, Hmásu remained largely silent and made no attempts to defend herself, knowing full well that it would little to assuage her husband's righteous anger. Nevertheless, Keléno asked Hmásu to share a meal with him, as suspected that he might soon never see Hmásu – or Tékumel – ever again.

Elsewhere, Keléno's newly freed Naqsái slave, Chanchayánto, was formally enrolled into the House of Worms clan, with the assistance of its clanmaster, Grujúng hiZnáyu. As a token of her new life, she adopted a Tsolyáni name, Chankúra hiMissál, and has made it known she intends to accompany her new clan mates on their journey to the Plane Beyond. Grujúng and the clan elders also deliberated regarding Aíthfo's wedding to Ta'ána hiKhanúma of the Black Stone clan. Since the purpose of this marriage was to cement the place of the House of Worms clan in Linyaró, the question at hand was how extravagantly the wedding was to be celebrated. Back in Sokátis, it was commonplace for high-ranking clans to lavish great expense on weddings in order to display their wealth and influence; as the clan of the colony's governor, it was decided that the House of Worms needed to "put on a good show," but not one so expensive that it bankrupted the clan.

The wedding itself went off with out any problems, beginning with a procession from the bride's clan house to the palace of the governor, where rites, officiated by a priestess of Avánthe, occurred. This was according to the custom of Sokátis, since, in Tsolyánu, marriage is not strictly a religious matter, though, in some locales there are religious connotations. The rites were followed by an immense celebration, both within the palace and without. The palace celebrations were by invitation, limited to those of rank and influence within the colony, while those outside were purposefully open to all, in order to demonstrate the magnanimity of the House of Worms clan. In the midst of these celebrations, both Znayáshu and Nebússa spent much of their time keeping an eye on various guests, looking for evidence of any suspicious behavior. They directed much of their intention at Mitsárka hiWashára, since they knew little of his background or true allegiance.

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