Elath’s Story

Elath was a wealthy young D’ni man following in the path of his father, Meotah. Into his bedchambers one morning came a large vasara [1]. It reared and splayed its spines and spoke to him.

“I am the Maker and the Destroyer and I come with knowledge for you.” It said. “You will be visited and tempted by five sins tonight. After them, I will appear before you and judge you.”

And so it came to pass that on that night an enormous feast was held in the main hall. His father had brought over a business partner Rasamem and his wife Onosath and treated them to a full meal filled with lavish entertainment. But Elath was a clever young man and knew that this was just a test by the Maker for his family had eaten only an hour before. But he sat at his place for he knew that it would be impolite to simply leave.

“Elath, my son,” Meotah called from the head of the table with a large goblet in his hand. “Won’t you join us in this feast? Onosath has brought with her a vorimath [2] of such tenderness.”

But Elath knew it was a trap and politely said. “I’m sorry to miss such a fantastic meal, however I have gotten a vision from the Maker and I am fasting for the night.”

“Such a religious boy,” Meotah said. “You must talk to Onosath. She is a priestess in the temple.”

And so Elath sat through the meal, allowing none to touch his plate, and as Meotah took Rasamem on a tour of his gallery, Elath met with the lady Onosath to discuss his religion. But Elath was a clever young D’ni and knew that this too was just a test as Onosath had the look of an off-worlder, someone no D’ni would marry. But he sat next to her for he knew it was impolite to simply leave.

“You are a handsome young man.” Onosath said. “Rasamem is old and focuses too much on his money. The Maker desires that we focus on the essentials, don’t you agree?”

“Indeed he should work to make you happy and honor the Maker.”

“Would you do that for me as well?” Onosath asked.

But Elath knew it was a trap and politely said. “Though you are a beautiful woman, it is Rasamem who must. The Maker desires that we honor him and it would be a dishonor for me to do as you request.”

“Such a smart boy,” Onosath said. “You must talk to Rasamem. He deals in business and business is always looking for smart young people.”

And so when Elath’s father returned with Rasamem, Onosath left with Meotah to see the family’s prayer room. Rasamem sat with Elath and began to talk of his business in the construction of homes in the ages of the wealthiest of D’ni. But Elath was a clever D’ni man and knew this was a trap for his father was among the most respected of D’ni businessmen and talked to his son routinely of his business partners yet Rasamem had never been mentioned. But he listened for he knew it would be impolite to simply leave.

“Your father has told me of your helping him with the business. His mention of your advice regarding the sale of the great manith [3] proves your shrewdness in business.” Rasamem said. “Your father should be lucky you have remained with his company with so little compensation. But were you to work with me in organizing some of my projects, I would pay you three times what he does or more if you do well.”

But Elath knew it was a trap and politely said. “As pleasurable it would be to work with you, my loyalty is to my family’s business and I take joy in helping them.”

“Such a clever boy,” Rasamem said. “You will surely outwit me when you come of age.”

And so Elath excused himself for it was late and Rasamem and Onosath left for their home and Elath went up to his chambers. As he was preparing for bed, a large vasara entered the room and spoke.

“You have done well and do well in honoring me. Keep these lessons with you at all times for temptation can come in any form.”

And so the vasara left and Elath prepared for bed. As Elath sat in prayer, his friend Mej’ahnem came to the door and offered to take him on a tour of an age. And so Elath went to the age of Talashoy and toured the great temples of the natives and sampled from its markets. And later Mej’ahnem offered to take him to the great arena at the heart of the age and Elath agreed.

But Elath was a foolish young boy and gambled with his friend. The slave master Lom-Poragot was their bet and he won. Time and again crushing the skulls of his foes and roaring. And then the last battle of the night against a young worker from the temples who had been added when the real opponent had fallen with a crippled leg. And so Elath put all his winnings into Lom-Poragot and he grinned and thought of what he might get with what he won. And the match began and Lom-Poragot charged at the temple worker who merely stood and prayed until Lom-Poragot was less than a span [4] away and then he leapt to one side. And Lom-Poragot slammed into the arena wall which crumbled under his power and crushed him beneath the rubble and Elath lost all his winnings. And a large vasara emerged next to Elath and spoke though no one else saw or heard it.

“You have dishonored me after such goodness before.” The Maker said. “Tell me why have you forgotten my teachings so quickly?”

“I will not lie.” Elath said. “I let myself be tempted for I thought your tests had ended.”

“And yet my tests are always there. Jakooth does not time his visits. His temptation is everlasting. Do you not see your folly?”

“I do, Yahvo.” Elath said.

“Then go and honor me with your kindness and cleverness.”

And so Elath returned to his chambers and slept and began his life anew the next day. And for the rest of his life people around him knew him to be religious, smart, and very clever.

Notes:

[1]: A vasara was a species of snake. Unsure of many details other than that it was considered one of several animals said to be able to speak with the Maker and to foretell events. It is similar to our superstitions about black cats and other animals.

[2]: Vorimath is a species of armored creature similar to a large anteater which dwelled in the Age of the Scale Forest and was considered the most delicious of meals to prepare. Due to its size, a thigh may have supplied well enough for the meal described in the piece.

[3]: The great manith being an ornate vase passed down through several kings until it was bought (along with several other items) by a number of wealthy businessmen.

[4]: For the record, a span in D’ni is 3 feet.

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