01/21/2023 Snippet, GHOSTS ON AN ALIEN WIND.


He started off by apologizing about even calling it Yánarta. “It’s not the name the original inhabitants used, obviously. The Chronicler was a linguist, and constructed my faith’s liturgical language from Terran one.” He smiled. “At least, my sect believes that. Other sects think that the Chronicler was directly inspired with knowledge of the True Tongue. I admire their enthusiasm… but not their scholarship.”
“I hadn’t realized Iluvitarians had sects,” I admitted. “You folks don’t seem the type…”
“To fall into schisms and counter-schisms, like pre-Reunification Christians?” He laughed, deep in his belly. “Oh, you have no idea. We have some very, ah, vehement people in our faith. Many believe that the Chronicler was more than a mere man. Some of them even think his books were true and accurate Histories!” Oft shrugged. “Fortunately, we have all managed to keep our disagreements strictly verbal — and to never let them become violent. Nobody wants their opinions to be transformed into guaranteed tickets to the colony worlds.”
I looked at the flight plan. “Speaking of going places, we’re on our way down. Anything should I know about this Fane of yours?”
“You know about as much as I do,” Oft replied, “at least directly. My faith believes it is a local place of worship, obviously no longer maintained — but hopefully still sanctified. Others, not of my faith, have visited it at least once, and reported that Yánarta was a ‘shrine of sorrow and peace.’ It is my personal hope that this sorrow might be mitigated by the return of a true believer, however distorted his understanding of our shared beliefs might be. And, truthfully? I want to see Yánarta for my own sake. Pilgrimages are said to be good for the soul; they’re certainly good for one’s reputation!”
“Gasp!” Yes, I actually said that aloud. “The tattooed saint has a real, honestly ulterior motive. …Is it lonely?”