June 22, 2015 by Lyn Thorne-Alder
“So did you do it? Did you and the northern girl put the goat up on Onadyano tower?” Darnio sidled closer to Saydrie, whispering his question in Bitrani, as if that would help if they were overheard.
Saydrie sighed. The Tyono House boy was trying, even if he was from home, or, at least, very close to home. “Tairikie is in my team,” he answered in the same language. “Therefore, she is my family.”
It was a sentence that meant much more to another Bitrani than it would to a Calenyena. He watched Darnio’s eyebrows go up, taking in the implications. “You call her kin?”
“No. I say that she is kin.” Saydrie shrugged, a gesture he’d picked up from his grandfather that, loosely, meant the world is as it is, and nothing we say can sway it. His grandfather had been known for very expressive body gestures.
“So the goat. If you did do it — and I will not ask you the things you do with family–” Darnio screwed up his face, as if to mention family was distasteful, but Saydrie had invoked the ancient rules, and even someone as frustrating as Darnio wouldn’t go against it. “–but if you did, it is an affront, is it not?”
Saydrie sighed. It was one thing, talking to Calenyena, who thought religion was another fun concept they could play with, the way they played with aether or poetry or engineering. But talking to other Bitrani…
“Goats are not holy to the Three, any more than any other creature. The head of a Philosophy Teacher is to be revered, I suppose, but it is not holier than any other head. Are buildings holy?” Saydrie shook his head. “If a goat can urinate, the Three made it so. The goat statue is an honor to the Three’s work.”
Dario’s mouth worked a few times. Finally, he said, in a tone usually reserved for chickens, “Onadyano House. You’ll make a good priest, Saydrie.”
Saydrie bowed, though he knew it wasn’t meant as a compliment. “Thank you.” He thought, as he walked away, that Taikie and Enrie would be proud of the way he’d handled that, and that the Bitrani he’d grown up with would probably agree with Dario. It was a feeling both warm and confusing.
Much, he considered, as many things involving kin were.