Mirrored from Sythyry.
Later that afternoon, I cornered Namie in her bedroom. She had a messy pile of old clothes in one corner that she slept in, a few cushions, a closet full of the monochrome cloaks that she wore when she had to wear anything, and not much else. One perpetual light spell; apartments inside of Kismirth have no windows, and I don’t think Namie can afford candles. No art to soften the stark white meng walls and ceiling and floor. As un-Heavenly a place as possible.
(And yes, whenever anyone talks seriously about killing gods, the matter is immediately referred to the nearest available wizard, in this case, me. Or, if there is no wizard to be found, one gets the nearest available fur-stylist or puppeteer. The results are equally good.)
(And no, I can’t remember anyone ever discussing deicide in any sort of serious terms before.)
Me: “You want to kill Mircannis, the goddess of healing.”
Namie: “Yes! She must die! The sooner the better!”
Me: “What happens then?”
Namie: “Her wickedness is revenged upon!”
Me: “Wickedness is such a gelatinous term. She’s one of our nicer deities. Still, leaving aside the practical matter of how you can manage deicide, do you know what killing her will do?”
Namie: “Wizard, you are a child compared to me, a snidlet with of a tiny fraction of my age.”
Me: “And the reciprocal of a tiny fraction of your education! You didn’t even know what a ‘child’ was until seven years ago. Whereas I have studied theoretical theology with Ghulmannis himself!” Afram oa Ghulmannis being the first professor of theoretical theology I remembered; he was an adequate teacher and an adequate scholar, but nobody famous. I could trust that Namie had no idea of that.
Namie: “Well, I daresay you’re going to stay here until you tell me, or chase me through the corridors and avenues shouting theological theory at me. So talk.”
Me: “For one thing, it will deprive all that lives on the World Tree of healing, for as long as she stays dead.”
Namie: “A pregnancy-length without healing? That is nothing! I sometimes go for that long without the slightest injury!”
Me: “You’re being heartless and foolish. The World Tree is a violent place; accidents are frequent. Actually I have no idea how long she’d stay dead. Probably for just an instant. Perhaps forever.”
Namie: “What, she is so ill-liked that her sisters wouldn’t re-enbody her?”
Me: “I don’t think that creator gods reincarnate each other by pregnancies, the way you did in Heaven. I have no idea how they do it, if at all. We’ve only seen one god die — Hressh-Huu — and she’s simply a very large air elemental, more different from a creator god than you are from a pigeon pie. Mircannis resurrected her in an instant, and a good thing too or everyone would have died from lack of air.”
Namie: “I do not care about such things! Mircannis must die for creating a Heaven as her private torture chamber! When she returns she will be more considerate!”
Me: “She’s one of our nicest deities. And if we started blaming deities for everything that’s wrong with their worlds, what are we hoping for? Are they to stop creating worlds unless they’re perfect? We’d have lots fewer worlds then. And besides, everyone thinks that your world is an attempt to be perfect.”
Namie: “My world is a perpetual swirling of psychological and philosophical stagnation!”
Me: “Why don’t you try to figure out what a perfect and endurable and wonderful universe would be? Then see if a couple World Tree natives agree with you — one prime and one non-prime, say. You might ask Vae as the non-prime. She thinks about that sort of thing a lot, and, if anyone in Kismirth were able to help you fight a goddess (and nobody is), it would be Vae.”
Namie: “Now you’re trying to get me killed and buried and un-resurrected and away from your twispy little goddess.”
Me: “Well, no. If I were trying to kill you, I’d just do it.” Which is utterly untrue! I do not kill my friends, clients, acquaintances, siblings of friends, fellow primes, or anyone else I take seriously. Even if, say, they betray me and embezzle everything I own.
Namie: “You are the very tail of Mircannis! So awful and rude!”
She turned and buried herself in sleeping-cloths, and refused to come out or talk more even when I poked her foot with a claw. At which point I seemed to have a choice between actual violence (such as pouring a cup of water on her and on her bed, or, as a later resort, breathing my candleflame breath barely-weapon on her exposed toes) or retreat.
Me: “I cannot imagine how Namie could be a threat to Mircannis. Namie is very quick with a dagger, to be sure, but she has no magic, and in any case all magic comes from Mircannis herself or from her friends and relatives. Nor, I think, is there anywhere on the World Tree a dagger which could hurt her. Indeed, Mircannis is not even reachable without considerable travel. So the main danger seems to be that Namie will hurt herself in some extravagant attempt. I could give her a bodyguard.”
Namie: [muffled] “I will knife any bodyguard, piercing them to death!”
Me: “That you won’t.”
Theological Considerations of Deicide
Me: “… And that’s the full story, Arch-Preceptor Lenske, save for whatever details I have forgotten.”
Lenske: “A story indeed!” He is the oldest mortal Rassimel I can think of having met lately; his fur is quite white. Maybe he bleaches it to match his robes. His ecclesiastical rank entitles him to wear a wooden crown carved with cherries, which he does does with grace and aplomb.
Me: “What should I do?”
Lenske: “Clearly you should prevent this Namie from killing Mircannis.”
Lenske: “I would not dream of trying to teach you wizardry. However, given the power gap between the two, anything you do, up to and including using the fullness of your abilities to help her kill Mircannis, will prevent Namie from killing Mircannis.”
I disentangled that a bit.
Me: “So, anything I do will keep Namie from killing Mircannis?”
Me: “This does not leave me much more advised than before.”
Lenske: “What have you done so far?”
Me: “I have imprisoned Namie in the Supremely Slow Sector, so that three months of our time is just one day for her. She is guarded by a floating silver Khtsoyis golem of admirable power, which watches her constantly and — in principle — keeps her out of trouble.”
Lenske: “What if she stabs it?”
Me: “She has done, several times. The automaton repairs itself though, more quickly than she can stab. Also it takes her knife away whenever she stabs it.”
Lenske: “An estimable precaution!”
Me: “Still, a temporary one. In the long term — which is now eighty-one times as long as it might be — what should we do with her?”
Lenske: “Sadly, I lack useful advice. If you had imprisoned the goddess Mircannis herself, or even one of her angels, I should be happy to tell you more. Namie, though, is outside the scope of my theology.”
Me: “She is a creation of Mircannis.”
Lenske: “As am I. Nonetheless I do not feel moved to kill my creator. You must look elsewhere for advice.”
See sythyry.livejournal.com for a poll about advice