Set approx 750 years before the Rin & Girey novella
Ektatkya studied the holy book. The Tabersi had, she’d discovered, a lot of gods. Lots and lots of them, herds of them, packs of them. No wonder they needed so many priests. No person with a field and herd to attend to could keep track of all of these.
And they’d left so many of the Tabersi priests behind. The tribes had their own, of course, priests and god-chasers, gods (but not that many. Not enough to needs books, just enough for a statue here, a carving there, a token off a saddle somewhere else). But this was a new land, and they were no longer going to be the goat-tribes. They were no longer going to be a different people from the Tabersi.
For that to happen, both peoples had to change. And a place to start would be these books. She looked up at the Tabersi priest; he looked at her solemnly.
“Can it be done?”
“Of course it can be done. The question is, will you pay the price?”
“The price?” He was offended. Of course he was. The Tabersi’s god-chasers were not the same as the tribes’. They had Position. They had Status.
“Both will have to move. Your god-people must let someone else rule. Ours must learn to stand forward in the town, not at the back edge of the encampment.” The tribes-people who were here had been living in Tabersi cities and towns for generations, but they still acted like, thought like, nomads. That would need to change, too. This was not the warm pastureland of their home.
“Let someone else rule?” He nodded, slowly and reluctantly. “Yes. I see. To take a role that will not seem so strange to your people. And the gods?”
She would not rip pages out of a book. They had too few left. But she made the gesture as if to. “You need less. We need more. We take these, and make them less-and-more.” She flapped one hand negligently. “Make prayers a dirt-grubber can remember.”
“And still fancy enough for a money-counter?” The priest’s expression had changed. Ektatkya knew this one; it was that of someone seeing a challenge. “It will take time. But we can do it.”
“We must do it.” She nodded, but she was smiling as well. “The peace demands it.”
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