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In a World without God Chapter 10

Updated: Jan 17

It is said that when a person dies, they become light. Starlight to guide the lost at dawn. Moonlight to caress the hair of the sleeping. The sunlight that gives life to all things rooted in the earth. The source of all this light is the goddess Lutea, and to worship her is to meet the departed.  

  

It was Kurzina's mother who told her this story in a coughing fit. Kurzina was only five back then.

  

"Zina, your mother is not leaving you. On the contrary, I will always be with you. When you clasp your hands together toward Lutea, remember that I am the light that hovers over you. To be close to Lutea is to be close to me."

  

Kurzina believed those words. When her mother, after coughing up blood, lost consciousness and eventually rested in the soil, Kurjina prayed with folded hands. May her mother become the brightest and warmest light in the world. May she become someone who can recognize that light.

  

 Now, Kurzina is convinced. That she had finally met the light. 

 Kurzina knelt before Edulis. Her white, slender hands grasped Edulis' hands. A tear fell from her ebony eyes. 

  

"Oh, Saint. Our master. We are foolish, and our eyes were blinded and we did not recognize the light, and we have done you a great disrespect...."

  

Then Aruru, riding on Edulis' hand, cried out in excitement. 

  

"Scion of a witch, a descendant of Bosha is your slave! Why do you claim to be a slave? What have you done? You are no ordinary man after all!"

  

Kurzina glared at Aruru and said. 

  

"Watch your tongue, foolish field mouse! He is not the offspring of a witch. He heals the wounds of his enemies and rekindles the extinguished life... He is the source of all light!"


"What?! How dare this little one call me foolish! I'll bite your ankles off!"


"Bi... Bite me? You little mouse. If you...!"

  

Edulis clamped his mouth shut and looked around. His anger dissipated. Aruru was alive and chattering away, and Yug was stunned, his eyes glazing over.

 

Edulis squinted, trying to piece together the information. Something had happened while he was out cold. Apparently, it had caused Kurzina to mistake Edulis for Lutea. What was it?

  

It was strange. So was the process of blacking out. It didn't feel like falling asleep or passing out. It was as if his consciousness had sunk into the depths and someone else had taken its place. 

  

It was then that Edulis continued to ponder.

  

"Stand up, Zina,"

  

Raghad said, coming up beside her. When Kurzina didn't get up, he shook her shoulder and raised his voice. 

  

"Zina, do you realize what you're doing?! A descendant of the heroic Bosha stoops to the knees of a descendant of Ygraine, that's.!"


"Brother, didn't you see it, too? The way the white, warm light enveloped Tug and the mouse. That's a miracle no one can duplicate. That must be...."

  

"No, it can't be, how can the cursed blood be imbued with Great Lutea?"

  

Kurzina said, glaring at Lagarde.

  

"The believer sees Lutea in the darkness without a single spark of light, and the unbeliever cannot grasp her hand even when she reaches out to him... Right now, my brother, you are not taking Lutea's outstretched hand. You have seen the true light, but you deny what you have seen. If it's imbued with Lutea, doesn't that mean it's not cursed blood?"

  

"Nonsense. His silver hair and the scars on the back of his neck are proof that he is the descendant of a witch!"

  

"What are you claiming, brother? Is there anyone else in the world, besides Great Lutea, who can rekindle life that has died? Are you going to call that the work of a witch? If it is the work of a witch to give life and show mercy, aren't we right to serve her?"


Raghad was unable to respond to Kurzina's words. His obsidian-black eyes shifted uneasily from side to side. Clearly, he saw the same thing Kurzina did, but unlike Kurzina, he was not ready to accept what had happened. 

  

Raghad was a direct descendant of Bosha, and he had been touted as a possible heir to the throne. Unlike Kurzina, his pride in his family was far greater than his faith in the goddess, and now, according to Kurzina, that pride is being denied. 

  

As Raghad shook his head, Edulis spoke. 

  

"Stand up, Zina"

  

Kurzina smiled and said.  "I am honored that a saint would remember my name!"

  

Edulis felt strange. Neither Bosha nor Edulis had ever been treated like this before. Those sparkling eyes... they looked like the eyes of the people who called Ygraine a saint. This child believes with all her heart that Edulis is Lutea, that she is the same as Ygraine. 


It was an opportunity. A chance to spread truth in a world of lies! Who is Bosha? Before he was called the Red Fox of Kaldura, he was known as Bosha the Trickster, Bosha the Bonehead, and more. He can't pass up this opportunity. Edulis repeated to himself.

  

"Henceforth, I am Lutea, and I am Ygraine.”

  

Bosha’sspecialty was acting. Edulis thought of something Ygraine might say. Then she spoke to Kurzina in the most benevolent voice possible. 

  

"Rise, wise child, for I want no one to prostrate or kneel before me."


"Ohhh.... Of course...!"

  

Kurzina's slender neck trembled with emotion. Kurzina rose at Edulis' command. Aruru tilted her head, glancing back and forth between Kurjina and Edulis.

  

"You have eyes to see the truth, yes. Ygraine was the name of the body I took to defeat the witch Granadilla, but my foolishness and incompetence allowed a lie from overtaking the world. And now my flesh and blood descendants are being unjustly persecuted."

  

Edulis felt a little uncomfortable as he spoke. Ygraine hated lying. If Ygraine could see Edulis' shamelessness now, she would have frowned.

  

'Sometimes a lie is necessary to tell the truth, though you would never approve”. Edulis muttered to herself. 

  

As Edulis spoke, Kurzina's face, smooth as a hard-boiled egg, contorted, forming shallow wrinkles. Even if she had heard the news of her parents' death, could she make such a despondent expression?

  

"Ah, in that case, our family is committing an unforgivable sin! Placing shackles on those who should bask in glory, humiliating them in front of the masses... How can we atone for such sins?"

  

As Edulis had expected, Kurzina accepted his words easily. The problem was Raghad. He couldn’t accept Edulis' words. He stepped in front of Kurzina and shouted.

  

"You say it was Ygraine who defeated Granadilla? That is absurd. That's absurd. Are you saying that our ancestor, Vosha, is not a hero?"

  

"Give yourself the benefit of the doubt, brother!" Edulis answered as if he had been waiting. 

  

"You are afraid of the truth, child. Captain Bosha led the Black Fangs through Cyros territory. He was killed in battle, single-handedly defending against Granadilla's spawn. He died young, leaving no children behind."

  

"Bosha... Captain? Leading the Black Fangs...? Why would the eldest son of a duke join a mercenary army?"

  

"Captain Bosha was an orphan. He has no connection to the Duke"

  

Raghad's face reddened. Furious. He had reached the conclusion Edulis intended to convey.

  

"...No, it can't be. If that's true, then who are we, if not the descendants of the hero Bosha?"

  

Edulis thought to himself "I'm wondering about that myself, asshole.”

  

***

  

Back home, Raghad was in anguish. Until this morning, all he could think about was taking the first seat at the Festival of Saints. When he wasn't studying with his tutor, he was training his magick in the study hall, but now he couldn't bring himself to do it.

  

Kurzina and Yug were usually the closest relatives to Raghad, but they had both fallen for Edulis’ words. It was understandable for Kurzina, but he hadn't expected Yug to do the same.

  

“We must give the saint a place to stay. We have treated the noblest of men with the humblest of hospitality. It is only fitting that we should prepare a fur bed and a silken quilt for him... but we need to avoid the eyes of the elders of the house....”

  

As Kurzina spoke, Yug, who had been sitting in a daze, stood up. Yug was wary of even looking at Edulis. His disdain for the witch's offspring was replaced by awe for Edulis.

  

“Uh... why don't you come to my house, we can hide from prying eyes in the warehouse, it's less used... and my parents aren't there.” 

  

Yug's father is the third captain of the Saint Defense Force, and his mother is a clerk in the local government of Vaidor. They are both very busy and rarely come home. 

  


“But... what about the medic who comes to check on him every day?”


“I'll do something about that. It's only ten days until the saint's festival.” Kurzina replied to Yug's words. Kurzina then looked back at Lagarde.

  

“What are you going to do about your brother? Are you going to tell Ashur?”


“I....”

  

Raghad paused for a moment, then shook his head. This was a first in his life. To see corruption in his own family and turn a blind eye.

  

Hiding in his room with his head in his hands, he couldn't think straight. Raghade left his room and headed for the library section of the study hall, intending to read a history book. 

  

The ones he had read over and over again since he was very young. They told of the heinous deeds of the witches' forces and how the heroic Bosha and his allies had driven them out. History books detailing the events fill one wall of the library. How could this all be false? 

  

If Bosha is an orphan, what are the people of the Fey now? He had asked Edulis, but he didn’t answer. He only told him to find out for himself.

  

Lagarde read the book as fast as he could. He wanted to confirm that he was a descendant of the hero Bosha, and there were plenty of books that said so. But no matter how many books he read, the white light he'd seen in the daytime wouldn't leave his mind. 

  

It was then that the book caught his eye.

  

I had never read this book before.

  

It was titled The Astanian Racial Dictionary. It was over 1,500 pages long and the handwriting was so fine that he hadn't gotten around to reading it. He was sure others did too. 

  

"The Astanian Racial Dictionary is a book that explains how the races that make up the kingdom of Astania are organized, where each race originated, and where and how they migrated. Normally, he wouldn't have bothered, but he picked it up out of curiosity. 

  

“A race with black hair...... Ah, here it is.”


- The Ascidians. They trace their origins to the Stone Age people who lived in the caves of the Ascidian coast. Their diet consisted of fish and seaweed, and their jaws were narrower than those of landlubbers. ....

  

"What's with the long explanation?” His eyes were aching after only a few minutes of writing. 

Still, Raghad persevered. He wanted to confirm the origins of the Fey family somehow, to see how the Ascidians had traveled to Vaidor. He skimmed quickly, flipping through the pages....then a passage caught his eye.

  

- The unusually white skin is the result of a long cave life. Whether red eyes are related to cave life remains to be studied. 

  

 "Red eyes?” 

  

The hair and eyes of the Fey and Bosha people are all black. None of them have red eyes. 

  

"Then I guess we're not Ascidians.”

  

Raghad took the book and headed for his room. He was going to check it out. What race had black hair and black eyes? 


Once back in his room, he flipped through the pages. Over and over again. After flipping through all fifteen hundred pages, he returned to the first chapter. He turned back and began flipping again, rubbing his bloodshot eyes to make sure he hadn't missed anything. He did this until the moon set and the sun rose. 

  

Lagarde's face was pale. He couldn't tell if it was because he'd been up all night, or the shock of his discovery.

  

There was no record. 


A black-haired, black-eyed race did not exist in the Astanian racial dictionary. 

  

Raghad closed the book and stormed out. Ignoring the servant who brought him breakfast, he ran to his father's room. His father would have answers, he thought. A knowledgeable and trustworthy father, a stern but compassionate father, the next head of the family, Ashur.

  

"You must be in a terrible hurry, barging in at breakfast time. You don't know how rude that is."

"Who are we, Father, what race are we, where do we come from, how did we live?"

  

Ashur replied."How did you become interested in anthropology suddenly? We are Ascidians. Our ancestors ate fish in coastal caves."


"No, we are not Ascidians. Ascidians have red eyes, and ours are black as night."

  

  

A deep wrinkle formed on Ashur's forehead. It was the most terrifying face Raghad had ever seen. Ashur didn't contort his face like this even when he scolded Raghad. 

  

Ashur shouted. His voice boiled with anger.

  

 

"Ascidians have red eyes? Who told you that?"

  

"I read it in a book." 

  

"Bring me the book!"

  

  

Raghad did as he was told, and brought the book to Ashur.

  

Then magick fluttered in Ashur's hand. Without even turning to the page Raghad had marked, Ashar muttered."I can't believe you still have this book."

  

Flames leapt from Ashur's hand and itconsumed the Astanian racial dictionary. Ashar threw the burning book out the window. 

  

"Father?!"

  

Ashur said, turning to a startled Raghad.

  

"You have seen nothing. There is no such book in this world. Do you understand?"




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