Eralon’s… Gender

The Restrictions of Foros

This is written as part of my NanoWrimo 2020 Compendium of Completion. 

It is part five of five and comes after The Second Restriction, Eralon Explains, Eralon Discovers, Eralon Shouts  Eralon Commands and Eralon Questions.

After the – he’d been counting – seventh she, Sparrow decided that he needed to be brave before one of the more junior members of the temple got themselves in trouble. “And then – pardon, your brilliance.  Many of the books of the temple list, for instance, Jonnarrin the Night as he.  And yet you have referred to the Night One as she on all but one occasion – when you referred to Holy Dark Jonnarrin as they.  Could you please explain?”

“The books are wrong.”  The smile on this particular oracle’s face was amazingly smug.  Sparrow had to wonder if that was the oracle or the god inside. “That is – ah, your language is a little bit limited in this case.  He, she, they – these refer to positions of your bodies, yes?  That is, you are a he, the body this one is is a she.  These two and those who choose to eschew those two make up both your genders and your biological sexes, correct? Baby-seeder and Baby-carrier, and those who do neither.” Continue reading

Eralon Questions

The Restrictions of Foros

This is written as part of my NanoWrimo 2020 Compendium of Completion. 

It is part four of five (depending on how I divide it up) and comes after The Second Restriction, Eralon Explains, Eralon Discovers, Eralon Shouts and Eralon Commands.

When Sparrow woke, there was another oracle on the chair.  The oracle Aisha, who had been sitting in the chair, was sleeping next to Sparrow, cuddled against him in a way that would probably be considered most unseemly – and perhaps would have, if Transom Achares, the Lead Lesser High Priest, wasn’t sleeping on the other side of Sparrow, cuddled just as closely.

There were three duty scribes – different ones – writing, and three more listening and waiting.  There were two other lower priests looking over the whole thing, and more people milling about than this room ever held, except possibly on the Grand Festival days.

Sparrow brought himself to his feet as the Higher High Priest of Evening stepped into the room. “I heard-” he began, and fell silent.  He hurried over to Sparrow, this time very mindful of the red line.

“What is happening?” he hissed.

“I just woke up – when the god commands it, you sleep,” he added ruefully.

“Well, then, why did the god command you to sleep? And how – how could you – ah.  Well, when the god commands it, I suppose one cannot say no.”  The Higher High Priest of Evening cleared his throat.  Eostrix Duremes Oster was a good man, if a rather hidebound one, and was known to actually think on occasion. “So, what was happening when you slept?”

“Eralon had – ah.  He had an altercation with the Lead Lesser High Priest here – do not be too harsh on him, he was doing his job – and it came to be known that there were, ah.” Sparrow didn’t like this part. “There were those books of faith which Eralon did not know about. So he demanded they be read to him.  This, ah.  I reminded the god of the frailties of those who act as vessels – something he also had not heard of – and that is about when I slept.  There is much that he wishes to learn, our god of the light.  It seems that, perhaps, we have not so much strayed from the teachings of the gods of Foros as we have, mmm, embellished upon them somewhat, and that has left him – and me – concerned.”

“And I.”  The Higher High Priest of Evening frowned. “It seems there is quite a gathering here, but there ought to be.  I, ah, just awoke.  I found myself not defrocked, for which I imagine I have you to thank-”

“Well, had I been intending on spreading the information, I’d not have had a moment to do so,” Sparrow admitted, “but Eralon says such that a smiting like that is not meant to remove one from the priesthood, as well.”

“But the books of Callorme say-”

“Ah, and there is the rub.” He brought himself to his feet and looked over the gathered group.  At the moment, it sounded as if Eralon was explaining something in depth – ah, he was going through the Restrictions.  That was what had started this whole mess, so it was good that he was clarifying those. But hadn’t he wanted the books of Callorme read to him…?

“Ah, friend Sparrow!” the oracle called.  This one had a voice like the sunshine.  The Lesser High Priest of Evening bowed deeply.

“Your most Brilliant Light, greetings.  I thank you for the time of rest, and-”

“And for the cheese and wine you are about to partake in, yes.”  The god-in-the-oracle gestured one of the handmaidens over to him; she was bearing a tray carrying those things and more. “I see you are calmer now?”

“I’ve reached a state that could be called calm, yes, your brightness.”  Sparrow bowed again. “And you?”

“I am doing quite well.  I decided that it would be the most fair to wait for the books of Callorme until you woke on your own, so we have been discussing the questions of those here in the temple, and they have been answering my questions.  Ah.  I have sent one of your handmaidens to send word to the border that there will be several people – women – coming to the border to come here.  They have been Called.”

“You have Called new prophets, your brilliance?”

“New oracles, new vessels.  They were always meant to be of the line of the oracle, of Our line of conduits, but because of a border change that We were not aware of – well.  I’ve hopefully sorted that out.  There are those who can be the conduit to the gods without such pain – although the vessels here I have spoken to tell me that they like this post and do not wish to be sent away from it.”

“It comes with status, your Brilliance, and a good place to live and good food.”

“Ah.  Well, all of those of Foros should have those, at least the last two.  How long has it been since We have been involved thoroughly enough? It seems there are things that We will need to address.”

All of those of Foros should have… Sparrow considered some of the recent famines, some of the issues with hoarding, some of the problems the temple had attempted to deal with – with variable results at best. He wondered if he was going to be smote next.

“Yes, your Brilliance.  I look forward to your enlightenment.”

“Then, friend Sparrow, why do you look as if you are about to be dragged through muddy rocks while being pelted with excrement?  Come now, this will be interesting!  There are likely things that have changed in the world which We have missed and I look forward to knowing all of them.”

Sparrow gulped. “Your Brilliance, I remind you of your reaction when you found our interpretation of the Third Restriction.”

The god-in-the-oracle laughed. “I confess, you have Me there.  That is a very good point.  I will not yell at you, friend Sparrow, and I will spite no-one who is simply telling me how things are and why. I understand – I do now, at least – how it can be to be told something and have no context in which to understand it.  And I believe We were guilty of a failure of context many times during the Early Days.  But that – that is for another time.  This vessel has -” The god-in-the-oracle gestured at an hourglass. “Some thirty-seven minutes left before I need to change vessels.  It is time to begin the books of Callorme in between your wine and cheese.  Come, friend Sparrow!  We have much to read!”

Thirty-seven minutes.  Sparrow could read for thirty-seven minutes.

He took the chair that one of the Lesser Low Priests offered him – this one was barely able to grow a beard, a child who had been honored to join the temple just a few months before, and he looked terrified, as, perhaps, he well ought to.  He took the wine and the cheese and the first book of Callorme; he gestured a spare duty scribe to his side for his own notes, and he began to read.

It quickly became clear that he was in less danger of his throat drying out than the scribes were of their pens running dry of ink.  He would read a verse, perhaps half a verse, and then the god would interrupt, either to agree, or, far more often, to disagree.  Sometimes it was something in between – he would agree that the tone was correct, or that the message was more or less right, but would point out that large portions of the wording was ridiculous, or say that I have never heard the God Jonnarrin speak in that manner, not in prophecy or in oracle or while taking a walk.  It is not a thing that she would say. 

She was a word that came up far too often for Sparrow’s comfort – it seemed to amuse and please the handmaidens-slash-oracles who were waiting for their turn, those who were not sleeping, as he could see them looking at the priests, looking at the god, and doing the best to hide their giggles and titters behind their hands.

A goodly two-thirds of the gods that the books of the temple had listed as male, Eralon referred to as she.  Several more, Eralon used the pronoun they for.  The duty scribes were checking each other’s work, checking each other’s hearing.  They would poke one another, point to the page, and then start writing again.

Sparrow, however, had nobody to check with but himself – and the god.


Want more?

Eralon Commands

The Restrictions of Foros

This is written as part of my NanoWrimo 2020 Compendium of Completion. 

It is part three of four or five (depending on how I divide it up) and comes after The Second Restriction, Eralon Explains, Eralon Discovers, and Eralon Shouts.

The Lesser High Priest of Evening bowed down as deeply as he could. “I beg your pardon, your holiness.  I cannot-”

“Perhaps I can make it clear.”  The menace was clear despite the sweet tone. “Transom Achares, I am speaking with these people here, with this – this Lesser High Priest of Evening–?”

“Sparrow Teleme, your holiness.”

“With Sparrow Teleme.  And with these two duty scribes, this handmaiden, and these acolytes.  The information I choose to impart to them – or to ask from them – is my business, and is beyond protocol.  Do you understand this, Transome Achares?  I am the god Eralon and I will speak when and where I want to.  DO YOU UNDERSTAND?”

While the oracle had been speaking in a voice which suggested divinity before, this voice was, without question, divine.  It shook Sparrow Teleme – it shook the Lesser High Priest of Evening down to his boots.

One of the duty scribes passed out. The handmaiden squeaked.

The Lead Lesser High Priest whimpered as his nose leaked blood. “I do – I do not understand, your most bright light.  I cannot understand.  The protocols are handed down from you yourself.  From the gods themselves.  The protocols are how we maintain order in this place.  The protocols are of the gods!” Blood dripped down his face, ignored.

“The protocols are – explain.”

“It says so in the book of Callorme, most bright one.  It says that the gods handed down the order of the ways and the hierarchy of the priesthood so that things might  continue in a sensible manner.  It says that this is the way!”


The god’s voice had taken on a dangerous tone, a tone which the Lead Lesser High Priest seemed to be oblivious to.

The Lesser High Priest of Evening answered carefully. “There are three books of Callorme, most brilliant light.  These ones were dictated to three scribes by the prophet Callorme, who himself was an early priest in the Order.  It is from his books that we get most of the structure of the priesthood and many of the titles and names of our priests and the others here in the service to you and the other gods.”


There was a rumble that changed the tone of the oracle’s voice from light and quiet to dark and deep.  This time, even the Lead Lesser High Priest noticed and took a step back.  Sparrow Teleme took a move braver than he thought he was and stepped forward.

“That is as we have been told, your brightness, your most holy. Callorme conveyed the words of Kokaru, from Fazemis, from Afekosiil… and from you, your brightness.”


“Callorme, also called – before his ascension to the priesthood – Gherick Dorunson, of the town of Smallriver, on the edge of the Fazemia Mountains, who came here to the Grand Temple in the seventeenth year of his life because he was seeing the words of the gods in his sleep, which would have been the seventeenth year of the second Kokarun cycle, the year before the flood which destroyed three cities on our western coast and washed away much of Smallriver and its neighboring towns.”  He might be babbling, but the Lesser High Priest of Evening thought if he could perhaps – what, jog the god’s memory? Gods, they were told – although not by Callorme – did not forget.

“The flood.  That was the flood which washed away Ton-Foren, yes?”

“Yes, your most brilliant.”

“Callorme – Gherick.  I remember Gherick.”

The tone was no less dangerous and no more pleased.

The scribe who had fainted had sat up again.

“I beg your pardon, your most brilliant light-”  Sparrow turned to the handmaiden.  “Please go and find the best copy of the books of Callorme you can, and please have them send in another scribe and, if you could, food and water for all of us.  And perhaps a chair for yourself and one for the Lead Lesser High Priest.”  He had a feeling it was going to be a long night. “Your most brilliant light, I propose that we read to you the books of Callorme.  But I also propose that we have weak and mortal bodies, and that we must care for them.”

“The books of Callorme are sacred,” the Lead Lesser High Priest mumbled. “They are given to us by the gods.”

“They were given to you by someone.”

The oracle’s voice no longer sounded anything like her own.  Somewhere in the back of the Lesser High Priest of Evening’s mind, something he had read early in his training was trying to make itself seen.

He couldn’t quite get to it, not with the god breathing down his neck, as it were.

“The books were given to us by someone.”  He grabbed onto the words that he could follow, even if they were nothing compared to the echoes in his mind. “But, you are saying, not by you.”

“Not by me, no. There is a possibility that another god gave them to you.  I will accept this might have happened.  But I find it unlikely.  You will read these books to me, and you will tell me everything of your structure here, everything you believe was gods-given.  Everything.”

“That, ah.  That will take quite a while, your most brilliant light.  It is going to take days, at the very least.”

He hesitated as the thought he’d been reaching for finally came to him. “And, your most brilliant light, one oracle cannot take the might of a god for that long.  You will destroy her mind.  You will render her less than an animal.  It has happened before, in the times before we had the books of Callorme, whoever they came from.  And I would honestly rather that it not happen again.”

“We can?”  Eralon paused. “Why is that?  What is it about this vessel that makes her unable to contain Me for any length of time?”  He didn’t seem to be interested in an answer, instead falling silent for several minutes. “Ah,” he finally said. “That is very unfortunate indeed.  When did this happen?”

“As far as I know, it has always been thus, your most brilliant self.  The Oracles are as strong as we can find, but they cannot take the presence of the god for too long.”

“Well, then.  You have other oracles, yes?  Bring forth several, and I will move between then on the hours, if hours you do indeed still have.”

The god sounded so dry and irate at that point that the Less High Priest of Evening was more than a little afraid to find out what might happen if he had to tell the god no.  Luckily for him, in this case, he did not; he sent the handmaiden, as soon as she returned from her other errands, to call on all of the oracles who were then awake, and to then have the others called for when their shift for wakefulness began.

He hoped it would be enough.  They had twelve oracles.  That had been considered an exorbitant number not that long before, and the reason why the oracle here now was also serving as a handmaiden.

They waited, the oracle saying nothing, nobody saying anything.  The Lesser High Priest of Evening had in front of him all of the books of Callorme, but he was loathe to start reading, because he did not want Eralon to become distracted and forget that he could harm his vessel.

The silence had gone on long enough to be truly uncomfortable when the god cleared the oracle’s throat.

“How long did it take to discover that a lengthy visitation by a god could destroy the being the god inhabited?”

“It was long before my time, most holy, but from what I recall – three decades.  The gods do not, as you may have noticed, often visit for all that long.  There is also – ah.  Well.”

He had not meant to take the conversation in that direction, certainly not with the Lead Lesser High Priest still sitting there glaring at him and at everyone else.

“Yes?” the god murmured.

“There is the question of when the oracles are actually possessed by a god.  We do take down everything they say when they are in the chair.”  He gestured to the duty scribes. “But very rarely do the gods make themselves as clearly known as you have in past days, and thus, we may have missed the signs because the oracles, when on the chair, often sound unclear, and the oracles sound similarly unclear whether possessed by a god or not.”

“You’re saying that Our Vessels are treated as the word of the gods whether or not the god identifies themselves?”

“Well, most brilliant light, the gods very rarely do identify themselves.”

The ground was slipping out from under the Lesser High Priest of Evening. He thought he might need to faint. What if everything he had been told came from the gods did not? What if their entire faith was based on the mad ramblings of drug-addled women?
How could he think that anything else would be the gods’ voice when what the gods sounded like was so clear in front of him?
“Easy, easy friend Sparrow. Someone, do get him a chair! Friend Sparrow, I believe you are beginning to think in directions that are – well, sensible but not correct.”

Someone put a chair behind him and pushed it until he sat down; he fell limply into the chair and looked up at the god.

“Your – your most brilliant one?”

“I am, yes.  And you are thinking, I believe, that if many things that you have read and believed to be true are not, then what things are true?”

“Something – something like that, yes, your most brilliant.”

“Then I believe we will have to do a more complete review.  It is time – past time – for such a thing.  Words can be misinterpreted, after all, and using prophets is more tricky than using oracles,  but as you mentioned, there are issues with oracles.  We will tell you the truth of things, my friend, and I believe that you will not find it to be nearly as troublesome as you are worried.  but for now-”

The oracle stepped down off of her chair and walked to the Lesser High Priest of Evening.  She put a thumb on his forehead.

“Sleep, friend.”

Sparrow slept.


Want more?

Eralon Shouts

The Restrictions of Foros

This is written as part of my NanoWrimo 2020 Compendium of Completion. 

It is part two of four or five (depending on how I divide it up) and comes after The Second Restriction, Eralon Explains, and Eralon Discovers.

You people!

The god Eralon in the oracle’s body was angry.  He was shouting.

The Lesser High Priest of Evening took a prudent step backwards, making sure that Yobu, Stecker, the clerks, and the handmaiden were also well back.  The god-in-the-oracle was not supposed to be able to smite anyone past that red tile line, but then again, there were a lot of things the god-in-the-oracle wasn’t known to do and speaking conversationally with a priest and standing up to shout at that priest were definitely on the list. Continue reading

Eralon Discovers

The Restrictions of Foros

This is written as part of my NanoWrimo 2020 Compendium of Completion. 

It is part one of three or four (depending on how I divide it up) and comes after The Second Restriction and Eralon Explains.

Some oracles of the temple were suspected to be not that well connected to the deities, if at all. Some of them used a voice that, among the cloisters of their dormitory, they called The God Voice – that was, those who were remotely in control of themselves during their time on the Oracle’s chair.

Some, however, were truly taken by the god. Continue reading