The Doom that Came to Mazatweidon, Pt. 3

Mazat’s godly ways made it the gem of that ancient land. Trade flourished. Rare jewels and exotic spices and unheard of pleasures, the kind of things that kings and queens of distant lands might see but once in their lives, flowed through Mazat like water through a river. But there was a man whose name has been purged from the historical record who did not appreciate Mazat’s godly ways.”

“’Every Who down in Whoville liked Christmas a lot, but the Grinch, who lived just north of Whoville, did not,’ hm?”

“I’m going to ignore you,” Josef said as calmly as he was able. “If I let you distract me, I’ll never finish.”

“That’s fair. Go on.”

“This man, who we’ll call the Apostate, because characters in stories need names, even if they’ve been suppressed–”

“You can’t really suppress a name like that. When Herostratus burned the Temple of Artemis, somebody had to record his name somewhere so that everyone would know who they weren’t supposed to be talking about.”

Josef took a deep breath. He fixed Howard with a glare, but a thought came to him, and the glare became a smug smile. “The Apostate was a native of Mazat, and had been a worshipper of some god or goddess or another, but he started having dreams of a new goddess: the Red Woman.”

Howard’s face twisted up. He frowned. “I don’t need to listen to this. I thought this wasn’t going to become a morality play.”

Josef smiled, his eyes bright, his hand over his heart as if he’d been wounded. “Why, I don’t have the slightest idea what you’re talking about. And if you don’t want to listen, you don’t have to. We can talk about something else.”

Howard made a low growling noise. He reached for his beer and took a sip, set the glass back upon the table, his eyes never leaving Josef’s. “Just tell your damn story.”

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