Tales of Midbar: Religious Intolerance

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Summary

The main characters in this book are children but it will probably be enjoyable to older people. It's the first of a planned series that will mostly feature teenagers and adults. It deals with controversial subjects that aren't normally dealt with in children's books but which children should really be made aware of. If you're a parent or teacher, you may like to read this with your children and discuss the issues it raises with them. I would like feedback from parents, teachers and people knowledgeable about child sexual abuse. Mouni lives on the planet Midbar. Her parents suddenly decide to move to notoriously creepy village of Minris and assume false identities as followers of the despised Winemaker religion. Mouni is now Eleprin and the only children who will play with her live in a community of Winemakers who even other Winemakers think are weird. Strange things are happening, involving magic and psychic powers and Eleprin and her new friends have a mystery to solve.

Genre:
Scifi / Fantasy
Author:
Graptopetalum
Status:
Excerpt
Chapters:
15
Rating:
n/a
Age Rating:
18+

We're Going To Have An Adventure - Part 1

You’ve already got my body, what more do you want?

You know those stories where children go to a scary place; caves where ancients still lurk, haunted ruins from before the Cataclysm or a holy site with spiteful gods and their weird minions? Of course, it always turns out that awful things really do happen to children in such places. I went to a holy site, met the minions and the god and found out about the awful things and a lot of people got killed. I killed a lot of people. We killed a lot of people. Whatever! If you think you basically know this story, you’re wrong because this isn’t like those other stories!

Good enough?

Kerdnan says my writing’s rather advanced for my age.

You want more detail?

My name’s Eleprin, I’m nine years old and I’m from Grishnarl. Or should I say my name’s Mouni, I’m ten years old and I’m from Ermish? Either way, I’m from the northern plain of Pax, in the Great Basin on the planet Midbar which orbits a dark sun, what you call a brown dwarf, named Bet, which orbits a red sun, what you call a red dwarf, named Aleph.

Is that detailed enough for you?

Where do you want me to start? The Vineyard? Lishrashic? My birth? The Cataclysm? The Landing? How about with the funny man?


Mum took me shopping during blue day.

You know what blue day is! Do I have to explain everything?

Blue day is when the sapphires are on but Aleph isn’t in the sky. Midbar takes eighteen hours to orbit Bet, with our side always facing Bet, so Aleph is in the sky for about nine hours at a time, and then its gone for another nine hours but there are eclipses several times each orbit.

You know what sapphires are!

They’re magic blue lights in the sky. OK, cyan then! They go on and off to imitate days, nights and seasons on Earth.

Where was I?

We were in Ermish. It’s a normal town! OK, it’s a lot bigger than Minris. It’s on the plain so the land’s flat and there are a lot more plants and photoorganisms and they’re different from the ones you get here. It rains a lot and we often get thunder storms. Your temple’s in the middle of the town.

What should I call it then?

The Trulist Temple of Tianamet then!

Happy?

Most people in Ermish are faharnis. I’m a faharni! We have light brown skin, darker than bennis or quippas but lighter than idlan. Most of us have black hair and brown eyes but people with yellow or red hair or with blue, gray or green eyes are fairly common. Our eyes are round like bennis, not thin and slanted like quippas. A lot of us have more than ten fingers or more than ten toes or both.

Me and Mum ran into cousin Olaria and her kids; Jat and Aglin. We were in the central square. This was, probably still is, a square of old shops with a park in the middle, which had a children’s play ground. Me, Jat and Aglin went to play in the playground while Mum and Olaria went shopping.

Do you want to know what Mum, Olaria, Jat and Aglin look like?

They’re fairly typical faharnis. Obviously Mum and Olaria are grown ups so they wear harnesses ….

You’ve seen enough harnesses!

They’re those things with straps, belts or chains that most women wear on the outside of their clothing most the time. They vary a lot but normally are tight under the breasts and around the waste. Yes, I’ve heard some people say that they symbolize men’s control over women but I’ve also heard people say that they help women to control men.

Mum’s a lot older than Olaria, although she doesn’t really look it. Jat was ten and Aglin nine, like me. Jat has six fingers on both hands but nobody really cares. I got somewhat odd feelings from Olaria and Aglin.

We ran over to the playground with birds and flutters flying out of our way. The playground had a space ship. Not a real one, frames and slides and lots of tubes. We played on that for a while.

Then I came out a tube and found myself looking at two hairy legs with tattoos of stars on them.

“You’re a pretty little girl,” said a deep voice.

I looked up to see a very strange person standing against the sapphires.

I was sure it was a man although he was dressed like one of your... like a priestess of the Trulist goddess Tianamet.

That’s an awkward way to put it.

You know what I mean!

Black and blue dress with lots of red, yellow and gold stars with a yellow harness but it looked green as it was blue day.

Anyway this priest was even wearing a bra that looked black but might have been red as it was blue day.

His hairy arms were bear and his dress was low cut so you could see his hairy chest and bits of his bra. He was also wearing a space helmet that I think was pink but it looked more gray. He had lots of make up on his face. I got a strange feeling from him. I’m a good judge of character and he came over as weird but not really malicious. He seemed very happy.

“Are you a priest?” I asked.

“Yes. Are you a Trulist?”

“Yes. I’m going to be important. Why are you dressed like a priestess?”

“I’m a special sort of priest. You’re Sutaris and Sedria’s daughter, aren’t you?”

“Yes, I haven’t seen you in the temple.”

“I’m usually busy looking after a group of children. I’d like you to meet them some time. Anyway, I’ve got things to do!”

With that he marched away across the park.

“You shouldn’t talk to priests,” said Jat, climbing out of one of the space ship’s tubes. “Particularly not love priests.”

“He seemed OK. He was a priest!”

“Can’t trust priests,” said Aglin.

“And love priests are particularly bad,” said Jat.

“They serve Tianamet,” I said.

When Mum and Olaria got back, Jat and Aglin told them about the love priest. Mum seemed very worried but didn’t explain why. I asked her if she was angry with me and she said it wasn’t my fault.


A few days later, when I got home from school, Mum said, “I want to do something special tonight!”

Do I have to explain what I mean by “day”?

I mean period of twenty four hours, roughly twelve of them with the sapphires on.

Me, Mum and Dad got in the car and drove off heading east, towards the sea. I could feel Tianamet’s presence in the car.

Is that how you’d like me to put that?

Dad’s a normal looking faharni man but he didn’t have any tattoos on his face and then he had a beard.

Taking Tianamet was odd, we’d always left her at home before. Perhaps that should have warned me that something was wrong but I found it comforting.

We had a nice, large house on the edge of town with a big garden. I didn’t have many friends but I was happy.

That was the last time I saw my house or my toys and I never saw my friends or relatives, except for Mum and Dad, again either. Well except for, when Yoldaria used that revelation spell.


We went to Lascril. This is quiet a big port town near Ermish. They have lots of hotels, restaurants and theaters as well as docks and a ferry terminal and a beach.

We had a look at the boats and the ferry terminal. It was red night by then, which made everything look exciting in black and red.

Do I have to explain red night?

This is when Aleph is in the sky and the sapphires are off so everything looks red and black.

I remember it was windy. We found a restaurant, one of the boring sort grown ups like. However the food was very good and I ate a bit more than I should. Then we went to a concert, which was also fairly boring, except for a comedian, but I was getting tired.

“Now we’re going to have an adventure,” said Mum.

Usually when grown ups say something like that it turns out to be really lame. When the grown up describes the adventure it includes the words, “In our own back yard,” or “Right here at home.” I was tired so I didn’t really care and fell asleep in the car.

Yes I think they were trying to do something nice before things got bad.


I was awoken by the car bumping around to find it was black night. That’s when the sapphires are off and Aleph isn’t in the sky but, if there aren’t any clouds, you can see Bet and the stars. Aleph would have set about midnight so it must have been the morning of the first day of the light cycle.

Do you want me to explain that as well?

Aleph rises and sets in an eighteen hour cycle and the sapphires go on and off in a twenty four hour cycle, so that produces a three day cycle of periods of black night, red night, blue day and white day. White day’s when Aleph is in the sky and the sapphires are on.

Can I get back to the story now?

I couldn’t see much apart from what was illuminated by the car’s lights, showing that there were lots of trees and bushes near the road. We must have been somewhere out in the country. I assumed that we were between Lascril and Ermish. We were on a rough, narrow road.

“Where are we?” I asked.

“We’re nearly there,” said Mum.

“Nearly where?”

“It’s an adventure,” said Dad.

I really didn’t like the sound of this. I was starting to worry that they were taking me to a holy site to abandon me but we clearly weren’t near, you know which, temple.

We stopped and Dad got something out the trunk and put it in bushes at the side of the road. Then he got back in.

“What was that?” asked Mum.

“Something I don’t want them to take.”

We drove a bit farther and I started to feel more uncomfortable. Then we stopped outside an old, broken down barn with trees around it. We got out the car and Dad had a quick talk to a man I couldn’t see very well and we went into the barn.


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