For Dinner: Nibbled a variety of foods at
the various vendors
Mood: . Spookily anticipating the future.
Written in the Year of our Lord 3580, April 5th, Friday night.
Location: At the river Nebulon, during the Sia festival.
We went out as a group into the festival, Tiafen especially watched me. The Sia spoke a language among themselves that, although obviously related to the main language of Naviscan, which I couldn't follow. I was the wonder of the festival, of course. With my height, and my alien looks, they all followed me as I walked.
One older male came up to Tiafen and talked with her a second. Evidently Tiafen un.dterstood some of their language, for she snarled something incomprehensible to me and the male backed off.
"Feel flattered, Redwine. I was just offered a lot of money for you."
"To put in their freak show."
A thousand different smells wafted by, from all the street vendors and their food. Running some of them through the nanoprocessor, they tasted pretty good. I noticed a good number of the young females standing to one side, and asked what they were offering.
"Sex for sale. Some males like the exoticness of Sia females."
Tiafen nodded. "Since only people over forty are males, they tend to have more goods and property then the younger females. By the same token, there are fewer males than females, since we Lokiites rarely live to a ripe old age, so they are in demand. So it's not usual...but if a female is exotic or skilled or different enough, she can name her price.
"Why? Don't you have those who sell sex on your world?"
"Rivalries are fierce between different groups in the Sia. Almost like how the hierarchies go at each other, in miniature. But it's much fiercer, being more personal..."
"Moreso than the usual Lokiite?"
"Oh, much. Being more mobile, they don't fear the consequences as much. But they usually leave the non-Sia alone, save to fleece them of funds. If one of the major hierarchies ever turned their attention on the Sai, and tried to exterminate them, the Sai would be no more. So your were gild keeps you safe. Maybe."
We spent the afternoon browsing, and I observed with interest the wares sold. Many of the vendors offered fortune telling services, for instance, again reminding me of the Gypsies I have read about. Yet it makes sense in Lokiite terms that they would be interested in anything that could tell whether they would succeed for fail.
I asked Nirut, the Fanist priest, if that was a usual thing, and how his religion viewed it. "We don't officially approve, although we have done some fortune telling in the past."
I thought of the Prophets of the Old Testament, the Ummin and Thummin mentioned therein also, and nodded.
"Most of us feel the future is what you make it, and nothing is fated to happen without fail...else Fane could not have been able to deceive the Creators. If the Creators had created such a foresighted plan, they would have known of Fane's plot and tried to stop it. We feel that we decide, from minute to minute, how things will turn out."
"You feel you have....free will."
"Free will? An apt phrase. We have had religions, though, that rely deeply on the future being fated. The Sai belong to such. And many people want to believe, even if they know it's against their teachings...it's seductive to think they might know what the outcome will be."
"Yes. In the Cluster, there are some who believe in astrology, which is based on an ancient Earth-centerd approach to astronomy, long after Earth is gone, and think it will predict the future. Many use it knowing it is nonsense, but doing it anyway."
"Would you like to see a Sai fortuneteller at work? They are usually the priests or shamans of their religion also. I'll pay. I'd like to see them react to having to read an alien's future."
We entered a rocking houseboat and there was a Lokiite waiting for us. He was male, therefore old, but seemed very, very old. He was bald and as I realized as I saw him feeling around, blind. There were no whirling flakes in his insectlike eyes. Yet he was very alert, and very cheerful.
"Ah, two to see the Seer who doesn't see. Welcome. One is...strange. His tread doesn't sound right. The other...?"
"I am Nirut, a Fanist priest. My friend
is a human priest from the Cluster. We came to see you ply your rubbish."
"Ah! Three priests together, from two worlds." He gave a high laugh.
"Wait a second...how did he know we weren't robbers?"
"The Sia watch after their own,"
the Seer mocked. "You can call me Lairg. Well, let's see...."
Then he picked up a dead Lokiites' skull, gaily painted, with an opening in the top of its skull. Covering the opening, he shook it repeatedly, and out of it came several finger bones, but carved with markings, when he let it go for a second. Then he felt the markings, like blind men used to read Braille.
"Ah. So it's only the human priest who needs a reading? You are too proud to submit, Nirut?"
"Too wise, to heed a Liballist fraud."
"So true, so true. Of course I would not dream of contradicting you. Well, our human friend has been sent on a mission by someone he does not entirely trust....and he is wise to distrust him, there are webs being spun by that one which span worlds and will bring death...to others, not to the human. Death rides with him, yet will not touch him. Yet he will come near it several times...one time within a day or so. He will be lost, lost, in a strange place. Later discovered, but he will hunger for a familiar face. He will tour and travel, and feel oh-so-strange. He will be the center of a killing storm, yet be unharmed. He will return and be sent again, to another place, where the wiser than the wise live. Past that....I do not see."
"Does that make sense, Redwine?"
"Only the way any fortune telling does. Half truths, no more."
"Ahhh, yes. Liarg is just a liar...but a liar who nees to be paid."
Nirut threw a few coins at him contemptuously.
That was a good introduction to
one of the other religions of Loki.
Return to Redwine at Dinner.