Lugh and The Box
#1
Nicholas had enjoyed an adventurous youth, but had grown to be a very wise, very old Edofasian who spent his life searching for the truth and dispelling superstitions. He invented much and created many theorems and logic structures that bore his name. But much of the world still puzzled him, and nothing was a greater enigma to him that the nature of the Admin and Other. Over the course of his research, he came to the conclusion that many of the Gods were entirely fabricated by man.
Nothing, however, was a greater question to Nicholas than the limits of divine power. Were the Greater Beings the masters of the entire world, or did the humbler creatures have the strength to forge their own destinies? As Nicholas found himself nearing the end of his life, he felt he must understand this last basic truth.
Among the sage's acquaintances was a holy Cenaesian priest named Antony. When the priest was visiting Scarlao, Nicholas told him what he intended to do to find the nature of divine power. Antony was terrified and pleaded with his friend not to break this great mystery, but Nicholas was resolute. Finally, the priest agreed to assist out of love for his friend, though he feared the results of this blasphemy.
Antony summoned Lugh. After the usual rituals by which the priest declared his faith in his powers and Lugh agreed to do no harm to him, Nicholas and a dozen of his students entered the summoning chamber, carrying with them a large box.
“As we see you in our land, Lygh, you are the God of Bronze and Trickery and all the mysteries therein,” said Nicholas, trying to appear as kindly and obsequious as he could be. “It is said that your knowledge is absolute.”
“So it is,” smiled the Golden God.
“You would know, for example, what is in this wooden box,” said Nicholas.
Lugh turned to Antony, his brow furrowed. The priest was quick to explain, “Lord, this Edofasian is a very wise and respected man. Believe me, please, the intention is not to mock your greatness, but to demonstrate it to this scientist and to the rest of his skeptical race. I have tried to explain your power to him, but his philosophy is such that he must see it demonstrated.”
“If I am to demonstrate my might in a way to bring the Edofasian race to understanding, it might have been a more impressive feat you would have me do,” growled Lugh, and turned to look Nicholas in the eyes. “There is a red-petalled flower in the box.”
Nicholas did not smile or frown. He simply opened the box and revealed to all that it was empty.
When the students turned to look to Lugh, He was gone. Only Antiny had seen the God's expression before he vanished, and he could not speak, he was trembling so. A curse had fallen, he knew that truly, but even crueler was the knowledge of divine power that had been demonstrated. Nicholas also looked pale, uncertain on his feet, but his face shone with not fear, but bliss. The smile of a Edofasian finding evidence for a truth only suspected.
Two of his students supported him, and two more supported the priest as they left the chamber.
“I have studied very much over the years, performed countless experiments, taught myself a thousand languages, and yet the skill that has taught me the finally truth is the one that I learned when I was but a poor, young man, trying only to have enough gold to eat,” whispered the sage.
As he was escorted up the stairs to his bed, a red flower petal fell from the sleeve of his voluminous robe. Nicholas died that night, a portrait of peace that comes from contented knowledge.
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