Tuesday, 18 October 2016
"'To keep going through endless hardship, [the Ivanhoans] must believe in something greater than themselves, like the Imperial dream of Dahia or the freedom of the desert. They're ready to die for those ideals.'" (The Van Rijn Method, p. 335)
Dahia is an old ruined city. A Dahian says:
"'...Dahia was the crown of an empire reaching from sea to sea. Though it lies in wreck, we who live here preserve the memories of our mighty ancestors, and faithfully serve their gods.'" (p. 324)
What are the gods like? We are told only that:
"...a few priests carried on rites behind porticos whose columns were idols..." (p. 323)
A desert dweller says:
"'This country is ours. It is strong with the bones of our fathers and rich with the flesh of our mothers. It is too holy for an Imperial foot to tread.'" (p. 330)
Ancestor worship? Nature worship?
When offered "things" (trade goods), the desert dweller replies:
"'Do you imagine things matter more to us than our liberty or our land?'" (ibid.)
When both Ivanhoan factions realize that the Earthlings are not mere materialistic merchants but are prepared to celebrate Christmas and to practice its message of peace, their attitude changes. Perhaps these Earthlings will not just side with whichever faction offers them the more profitable deal but can indeed be trusted to negotiate in good faith with Dahians and desert dwellers alike and even to broker peace between them? In fact:
"'They should have special wisdom, now in the season of their Prince of Peace.'" (p. 334)
Pagans can recognize Christ as a powerful god as evidenced by the deeds and achievements of his followers. In Anderson's Mother Of Kings, it is thought that Christ must be especially powerful during the season of his death and resurrection - if I may interpolate an Easter note into a Christmas story.
Where do we go from here? I think that we stay on Ivanhoe but move a short span pastward to the time when Falkayn was there and the Ivanhoan religion of another continent interacted with Jewish mysticism.