The Holy Bones of Cenotani

At the appointed hour, the Mightiest of All the Gods spoke to Her servant Cenotani, the greatest of all the prophets, and summoned him to serve Her in the City of Light. It had been twelve summers since the great prophet had left his rooms, and even longer since he had looked on the world with an undimmed eye. Though his frail body was bent and gray, his name was powerful among the righteous, for he yet spoke with the voice of The Mighty One.

At Her instruction, which Cenotani conveyed to the nine priests of the Inner Circle, speaking weakly but at length and with great specificity, they wrapped him in a supplicant's robes and carried him into the forest. In the secret grove, the holiest of all holy places, they laid his body on the fertile earth and covered him with the leaves of the sacred kutumba trees. There, they kept watch over him, taking turns in threes to guard him in the night, the forenoon and the afternoon. For eighty-one days, they fasted and prayed, drinking from the sacred spring and chasing the animals of the forest away from Cenotani's earthly shell.

On the eighty-second day, prompted by fasting visions and feeling the world spin and tumble around them, they removed the kutumba leaves and opened the supplicant's robes.

Cenotani, the greatest of all the prophets, had been taken up by the Mightiest of All the Gods. As a sign of Her great goodness, She had left behind his bones that they might support the One True Faith that Cenotani had preached throughout his long, long life. (The Sign of the Bones was first understood by the priest Sonara, who was then and there appointed the Leader of the Faith, the first to follow Cenotani himself.)

With solemn reverence and with the visions sent by the Mightiest of All the Gods playing before them, the eight priests and Sonara, the first Leader of the Faith, wrapped the bones of the prophet Cenotani in a cloak, freshly washed in the sacred stream. This holy bundle they carried back to the righteous, who raised a great temple and, in later years, renamed the city of Cenotanikatah (which means "bones of the holy one").

Within this holy city, seat of the One True Faith and most favored of the Mightiest of All the Gods, the righteous prospered and held at bay all infidels, until it was overrun in the Great Conquest some seven hundred years later.

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16 comments:

  1. I can't help feeling like they've been duped. Sonara seems to have made out rather well too. :)

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    1. Not a bad way to pass the torch. ;-)

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  2. and in 800 years they'd have Tv evangelists proselytising the Holy Writ... Nice line in religious mythology/symbolism here Tony

    marc nash

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  3. Being a prophet is a tough gig, but at least his name will be immortalized. Great stuff.

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    1. Who else gets a city named after him?

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  4. Well-written. Have a fight with your pastor about something? :)

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    1. Nah, just exploring the depths of the unknown.

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  5. There may be some deadly dogma twisted away into their structure, but I was most struck by the calm tone. You achieved it quickly and held it throughout, and it made me want to understand and even partake. I really enjoyed it, Tony.

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  6. "Until it was overrun seven hundred years later." Funny how that works, huh?

    The tone of this was pitch-perfect. Is this part of a larger piece?

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    1. Seven hundred years is a long time, unless it was 1400 years ago.

      No, this is just something I noodled out. What you see here is more or less off the cuff, words written down as I thought of them with a couple of minor edits at the end.

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    2. I envy your ability to do that!

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    3. Envy if you must, but that propensity leads to a lot of glimmers and dead ends. Be careful what you wish for.

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  7. Love the way this builds up to a massive ritual that is undermined by one simple conquest a few hundred years later...Great stuff

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