Sooooo, as a kind of self-flagellation, I have found I needed to regain some religion. Not necessarily the usual brands, of course. (I cannot do anything ordinary; even my posting of itty bitty bunny wabbit pictures is rather an ordinary act, granted.) No, I refer to the seven gods and nine goddesses followed, if not actually worshiped, by the various peoples of the planet Ghoupallesz, which is the location (along with Earth) of the tales recounted in THE DREAM LAND trilogy. That's right: fictional religion. At least to you and me, not to them.
Sooooo, returning to my Work-In-Production, we find our heroine, the unstoppable Gina Parton, a.k.a. Jinetta-d'Elous, faced with a whole host of obstacles--as every heroine usually is when stuck in a work of fiction by an unscrupulous author.
In the present scene, Gina has just escaped from an airship crash and the attack of a mob of religious fanatics bent on destroying technology and killing the scientists who make technology, including the hated interstellar spacecraft intended to evacuation some of the population in advance of a catastrophic comet. (Was that a spoiler?) Fleeing to an inn with the wounded co-pilot (naughty gal!), she connects to the Overlord (a.k.a. the governor of the city-state that is the Kobarel metropolis) via comm link. Because of the airship crash and the destruction of the fuel cell she was bringing to the Overlord, Gina fears she will not be able to free her young adult daughter from the re-education facility; the Overlord was supposed to grant that in exchange for the fuel cell, but you know how things go in science-fiction stories....
Anyhoo, Gina was previously captured and examined by the Overlord's staff, based on an unflattering report by Gina's nemesis/colleague Hanar-Santorak. They found interesting data from the lab report. The co-pilot from Gina's airship also suspects she's not quite the ordinary Ghoupalle woman she has been maintaining she is. Certainly, she could not be someone from a place called Earth! Long story short, they suspect Gina may be one of the goddesses come down to challenge them in their darkest days. And they may be correct!
EXCERPT from THE DREAM LAND Book III "Diaspora" Act IV
. . . “Are you a goddess?” the Overlord asked [via the comm link] in a suddenly different voice, a stream of phonemes coated in sugar, running fluidly from his tongue as though he had rehearsed the question for a week. “And if so, which goddess are you?”
* * *
The clanking she heard she knew to be the wheels that turned to raise or lower the metal gates of the castle in heaven where mortals were invited to stay for all eternity if they sufficiently displeased the gods and goddesses. Torture was routine, agony the order of the day, hopelessness the new blood flowing out of their veins. Not many had managed to return from such fate. Certainly not Interdimensional Voyagers, no matter what their class might be. Gina was a First-Class Voyager, but it had been so many years now since she had traversed a tangent that she was not very confident of being able to do so. She feared that instead of stepping through to an Earth she barely knew, she would find herself there outside the gates of heaven and see the chains pulling up the bars and the huge Guardian Iur-Fax swinging his thick, muscular arm toward the castle, a bull voice roaring “Sata!”—Welcome!
Gina remembered the lessons of her children, lifetime after lifetime, teaching them what all good Ghoupalle children should know.
Nourii stands tallest among the goddesses, presumed the eldest of Great God Zaul, red hair and pink skin, scars of war across her chest, breastless (one lost in battle, the other the result of self-mutilation after being outraged by the cheating god, Katoux); long, sharpened teeth and fingernails; rides a three-wheeled chariot pulled by three bintur—giant red badgers. People pray to her for strength during difficult times, though she seldom listens.Pemaa, the quiet sister, loves to cook and enjoys a clean home; plays with small animals; eats only three plants: eguo, blith, and resh, usually together in the same meal. Believed to care about young lovers, popular with girls who are popular with boys. She sleeps with snakes and plays with fish, often acting as a mermaid and tricking sailors.
Roloura is the smart one, the scientist of the family, the holder of stars and worlds, the measurer of everything, the decider of days and nights and lifetimes. People call to her for longer lives, shorter work hours, extra tries in sporting events, and a full growing season for crops. She seldom grants favors other than a single extra day for the truly righteous people who lie upon their death beds.
Garou has hair blacker than night, eyes of red, hands that sweat blood with six fingers each, feet with six toes each; long feet and long legs that stride the world, from kingdom to kingdom; who hovers over croplands to water the soil from her loins; who calls women to bow to the earth before giving birth. Mothers-to-be sometimes sacrifice to her, leaving one of their fingers buried in the soil of a garden.
Emmau is the child of innocence, the irrational waif who prefers to play games than take the fate of mortals seriously. She is often chastised for her lack of concern. She responds that eternity is long enough for both work and play; she will do her work later. The lazy people of Ghoupallesz pray to her, begging for excuses to skip work or school or come home to spouses after cheating on them. She laughs a lot, and almost always at inappropriate moments.
Furanna, the matron saint of the Furank people, is a warrior goddess with a silver shield who lives deep in the forests and rides a jalo. Always surrounded by fairies, often sung to by birds, given fish and fowl for food by mountain gnomes whom she prefers as bedmates. She carries a silver spear that can penetrate anything and is forever sharp. She takes it to bed with her.
Aburra is the happy one, full of juicy fruit and cuddly pet animals, the one who dances across the clouds. She wears flowers and nothing else, and carries small, divine pugua in her arms at all times. She never sits, not wanting to smash her buttocks, and believes her bottom has the most perfect curves in the universe. She is often painted as a nude figure admired by a circle of lusty men.
Sethi is thoughtful, kind when it suits her, helpful with household matters, believed responsible for the deaths of babies when the mothers are unsuitable. Men pray to her for a woman who will please them in the qala; they pray to Pemaa for a good, faithful wife, however. Most young couples have a Sethi icon hanging on the wall over the qala.
Memitha is the ornery one, always looking for ways to hinder progress; she loves throwing obstacles before mortals. Traditionally she has brown hair with streaks of golden locks throughout. Her body is the one men dream of as they mate with their wives, yet were they to be welcomed by her they would die before they could satisfy her. She never takes shit from anyone—god, goddess, or mortal. She loves playing handball with human heads and never loses.
Gina took a breath, let it out slowly, patiently.
The Overlord did not understand her reference to ‘burnt bread’ but he got the gist of her demeanor: the Overlord was nevertheless a mortal and had not been acting very decently in recent weeks. He was therefore subject to discipline and Goddess Memitha had been assigned to dispense it. First, however, she needed to get to Vazak-Mixerran’s country house and fly the aircraft to Kobarêl. Only then could the spanking begin....
Now she has to prove it with her special goddess-like powers...somehow. Perhaps storm the high-rise "palace" and capture the Overlord, force him to command the release of her daughter. Or perhaps she could use the jet aircraft, secretly built by her former colleague Vazak-Mixerran (who also built the fuel cell she was trying to exchange for her daughter), to buzz the conference of the International Aerospace Commission as they await the results of the Zetin's attempt to send missiles to destroy the comet. Or any of a number of other possibilities. With a Work-In-Production anything is possible. And everything is possible!
I promise you it will all be sorted out by the time you finish reading THE DREAM LAND Book I "Long Distance Voyager" (available now) and Book II "Dreams of Future's Past (coming this summer). Book III "Diaspora" is anticipated for early 2014.
NOTE: The accompanying pictures of goddesses are not intended to represent those particular deities described. As divine law prohibits any depiction of the gods and goddesses, I sought only to give some visual support to the text. No disrespect to the nine goddesses was ever intended. I shall perform the required penitence if any goddess deems it appropriate as a result of my lapse of decorum.
(C) Copyright 2010-2013 by Stephen M. Swartz. All Rights Reserved. No part of this blog, whether text or image, may be used without me giving you written permission, except for brief excerpts that are accompanied by a link to this entire blog. Violators shall be written into novels as characters who are killed off. Serious violators shall be identified and dealt with according to the laws of the United States of America.