Tales of Midbar: Poisoned Well

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Orientation - part 7


“I’ve drawn up a chart,” said the priestess. She pressed some keys on her hand held computer and a chart appeared on the wall behind us.

Normal Winemakers - Just want to be left in peace. Feel intimidated by other groups.

Universal Winemakers - Follow teachings not in Scripture. Mostly Paxian quippas. Discourage psychics from breeding or marrying.

Intellectual Winemakers - Don’t believe scriptures and just follow them in spirit.

Haprihagfen - fundamentalist, turning to Scriptural Winemakerism. Only certain Winemakers allowed to join, usually contacted at 12 or 13. Only allowed to marry each other.

Avatars - only 2? Scriptural Winemakerism.

Scriptural Winemakers - connected with Nuhar Zorg’s wife. Believe in following scripture and being more like Yohoists.

High Families - few Winemakers, mostly Hecrini.

Parallel universe Winemakers - only 2? Believe Yoho’s avatar lived in another universe. Haprihagfen.

Off-planet Winemakers - about 100? All Haprihagfen.

“I wast never Nuhar Zorg’s wife!” snapped Dwendra. “I wert his bride but the marriage wert not consummated!”

The priestess jabbed fingers at her computer and the Scriptural Winemakerism entry changed to connected to Nuhar Zorg’s bride (the marriage wasn’t consummated).

“Do we really have a serious problem here?” I asked.

“We’ve proved that our scriptures are just symbolic ...” the “intellectual” Winemaker started to say.

“You’ve proved nothing!” I said, “Except that some people ignore evidence to believe what they want to believe!”

“Basically you’re just trying to justify your sinful desires,” said Breeze.

“No I’m not!” screamed the “intellectual” Winemaker. “That’s precisely the sort of fornicating judgmentalism we expect ...”

“Can we be nice!” shouted Varmigan.

“She accused me of being a sinner!” snarled the “intellectual” Winemaker.

“Everybody’s a sinner,” said Breeze, “except Yoho’s avatar. I’m a sinner!”

“I still find this uncomfortable,” said Griafona. “It seems a lot of confusing stuff and I don’t relate to Yoho like that!”

“I think your problem,” I said, “is that you don’t have a thought out ideology with arguments to support it so you can’t defend your non-position.”

Griafona stared at me and asked, “OK, Universal Winemakers don’t want psychics to get married or breed. What do the others do about psychics?”

“The avatars are psychics,” I said. “They’ve nothing against psychics.”

“We’ve nothing against psychics marrying each other and having children,” said Breeze.

“I’m not really sure what most the Winemaker High Family members think about that,” said Printorac. “Personally I’ve nothing against psychics marrying, including to each other, and having children. The Blue Badges are mostly psychics and usually marry psychics so magi can serve the High Families generation after generation.”

“I don’t think psychics exist,” said the “intellectual” Winemaker.

“Psychics art a blessing unto society,” said Dwendra. “They shouldst marryeth each other and produceth children. Scripture dost not sayeth anything against such and even includes allusions to selective breeding of psychics including interbreeding nibeyim and katcheyim to produceth anavim.”

“I’ve nothing against psychics,” said Tenacious. “My parents were both nibeyim and were happily married.”

“What about teleporters!” Tan shouted.

“Don’t exist,” said the “intellectual” Winemaker.

“There are a bunch of people here who’ve witnessed people teleporting,” I said.

“Well one of your lot apparently teleported the Wild Magis,” said the “intellectual” Winemaker sarcastically.

“I didn’t see that happen,” I said, “but I’m fairly sure that avatar was at my wedding. Didn’t you see it on The Style Show?”

“I don’t watch that,” said the “intellectual” Winemaker. “Why was your wedding on it? For that matter, why was there an avatar there?”

“I married Printorac and I’ve already spoken about our relationships with Aublelma and Mildras.”

“What makes you think this person was the avatar who took the Wild Magis?”

“She dematerialized along with a girl who should have been impossible to teleport. Teleporters told me that.”

“Excuse me,” said a scruffy, bearded idlan man from the audience who spoke loudly in a Hecrini accent. He looked older than most people present, somewhere between 25 and 175. “But I think you’re missing some important points. My name’s Hirgorim and I’m doing a doctorate in Politics. I really don’t think religion is important and I’ve never attended a Winemaker meeting in Pax before. In Hecrin, everybody assumed I believed much the same as them and that was OK. Here people assume I’m a Winemaker because of my race, which would be OK except that they go on to assume I hate Nuharas and quippas and homosexuals, which isn’t true! Sometimes they’re really quite hostile towards me because of these false assumptions.”

“Yes,” said an idlan woman, “I was raised in Laraget and all through school, my Trulist and Nuhara friends kept telling me how Winemakers were racist, sexist, orientationist, korbarist, mad and stupid. When the son of a local rabbi and lawyer who nobody liked, the son, not so much the father, converted to Winemakerism it only made things worse. I wasn’t at all sure if I should come and was surprised to see a lot of women, faharnis, a surprising number of quippas and there even seem to be some psychics and magi here, it was clear that the reputation was exaggerated.”

The older idlan man continued, “Increasingly I’m being asked about Molgren, Sixteen, psychics and teleporters. I don’t know much about any of those things but I have trouble persuading people of that. People dislike Molgren and what you call ‘intellectual’ Winemakers because they feel their beliefs don’t make sense. They don’t like Haprihagfen and Scriptural Winemakers because they think they’re extreme. They don’t like the avatars because they think they’re traitors to Trulism. They don’t like psychics, magi and teleporters because they just find that sort of thing scary. It doesn’t help that every so often some Winemaker leader, or perhaps just a famous Winemaker, says or does something controversial. I think a lot of Winemakers are probably in a similar position to me and you’re not really addressing us!”

“So you’re suggesting we have a PR campaign?” I asked.

“We give out leaflets about Haprihagfen, Winemakerism, Scriptural Winemakerism, Psychics, magi, teleporters and off-planeters at the Vineyard,” said Breeze, holding up a leaflet to demonstrate.

“Now,” said Varmigan, “are there any groups we’ve left off?”

“Bisexual Winemakers,” said a man from the back. “Even the Chancellor made a joke about bisexuals in the orientation speech!”

“Why don’t you just live like a heterosexual?” I asked.

“Because that’s not my identity,” said the bisexual.

“But being promiscuous and having homosexual relationships art unscriptural,” said Dwendra. “Also scripture doth sayeth that homosexuality art associated with rape and science doth agreeth!”

“We understand that such teachings are outdated,” said the “intellectual” Winemaker.

“Just want to fornicate whoever you like,” said Breeze.

“No,” said the “intellectual” Winemaker. “Unlike you, we’re guided by love, not some ancient books.”

“I think,” said Varmigan, looking towards the bisexual, “that as you’re choosing to go against scripture, you’re basically an intellectual Winemaker.”

A woman with dark skin but a wide-rounded nose and curly hair jumped up. She was probably part idlan and part faharni. She was wearing a frilly blouse and a long skirt, fashion from a few centuries before the Cataclysm! She started marching towards the stage. “I think I need to speak for fundamentalist Winemakers as opposed to Scriptural Winemakers!”

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