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it transcends far beyond such limits by denying one of the fundamental
teachings given to us in the Holy Scribings: the Doctrine of Temporal
Representation and Succession." He paused again, turned to address the whole
chamber, and raised a hand in front of him.
"The world was created in a form designed by the Lifemaker to provide a
constant reminder that the Church and State function as the divinely ordained
instruments of His authority, and that their organizational hierarchies
constitute visible embodiments of His will. Thus the solid canopy of the sky,
beyond which the mortal world is not permitted ever to look, symbolizes the
Supreme Archprelate" the Prosecutor turned and inclined his head deferentially
in Frennelech's direction "who sits at the highest position attainable by
mere robeings. The sky is supported by the unscalable mountains of the
Peripheral Barrier that bounds world, just as the Supreme Archprelate is
supported by the spiritual and secular leaders of the civilized world, who are
chosen to command heights unclimbable by ordinary robeings, one of whom, of
course, is His Supreme Majesty."
"May the Lifemaker protect the King!" Horazzorgio shouted.
"Let it be so," the bench responded.
Rekashoba continued, "The lesser mountains support the higher, and the
foothills support the lesser, just as the lower clerics and officials of the
State support higher edifices above them. And below, the plains and deserts
must reconcile themselves to their rightful place in the scheme, as must the
masses." He extended a warning finger. "But the masses must not make the
mistake of imagining from these considerations that their lot is a harsh or an
unjust one. Indeed, quite the opposite! For, just as the lowlands are
sheltered from the storms that rage in the mountains and nourished by the
streams flowing down to them from above, so the common masses are protected
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and receive spiritual nourishment from the Lifemaker through the succession of
higher agencies that He has appointed."
Rekashoba's voice took on a harder note as he looked back at Lofbayel. "But a
round world would be incompatible with the sacred translations of the
Scribings. Since the Scribings cannot be questioned, a round world cannot
exist." He waited a second for his argument to register, and then continued in
a louder voice, "But, more than that, any claim to the contrary must therefore
constitute a denial of the Scribings. And such a denial amounts, in a word, to
... heresy!" A murmur ran round the chamber. Lofbayel clutched weakly at the
bar and for a moment looked as if he was about to collapse. The full penalty
in the event of a charge of heresy being upheld was the burning out of both
eyes, followed by slow dissolution in an acid vat. Horazzorgio's eyes glinted
in gloating anticipation; the arresting officer had first option to command
the execution in the event of a death sentence. The Council members leaned
forward to confer among themselves in low voices.
Seated behind the officials and scribes, to one side of the chamber, was a
rustic-looking figure, simply attired in a brown tunic of coarse-woven copper,
secured by a heavy, black, braided belt, and a dull red cloak assembled from
interlocking ceramic platelets. Thirg, Asker-of-Forbidden-Questions, drew in a
long stream of nitrogen to cool his overworked emotive circuits and took a
moment to prepare himself. As a longtime friend of Lofbayel, a fellow inquirer
after truth, and one who had enjoyed the hospitality of Lofbayel's house on
many occasions during visits from his solitary abode in the forest below the
mountains, Thirg had promised Lofbayel's wife that he would plead her
husband's case if the trial went badly. Thirg was far from optimistic about
his ability to achieve anything useful, and what he had seen of Rekashoba's
femaker.txt (37 of 222) [1/19/03 5:15:02 PM]
ifemaker.txt led him to fear that the mere act of speaking out in his friend's
defense might well be enough to make him a marked person in future, subject to
constant scrutiny, questioning, and harassment. But a promise was a promise.
Besides, the very idea of not trying was unthinkable. Thirg braced himself and
gripped the edges of his seat.
Frennelech looked back out over the chamber. "Does the accused have anything
to say before the Council's verdict is announced?"
Lofbayel attempted to speak, but fear made him incoherent. Frennelech shifted
his gaze to the Court Warden. "One is present who is willing to speak for the
accused," the Warden said. Thirg took off his cap of aluminum mail, and
clutching it before him, rose slowly.
"Who speaks for the accused?" Frennelech demanded.
"Thirg, a recluse dweller of the forest, who describes himself as a friend of
the accused," the Warden replied.
"Speak, Thirg," Frennelech ordered.
The court and the priests of the Council waited. After a slight hesitation, to
find his words, Thirg began speaking cautiously. "Illustrious members of the
High Council and officers of the Court, it cannot be denied that words have
been uttered rashly, which a moment of prudence and wisdom would have left
unsaid. Since truth and justice are the business of the Court, whatever
consequences must lawfully follow, it is not my desire to dispute.
But the suggestion of heresy, I would respectfully submit, warrants further
examination if the possibility of a hasty decision unbecoming of the elders
and wisest of Kroaxia is to be avoided." He paused to look along the line of
faces, and found a modicum of reassurance that he was being heeded.
"For by its very definition, a heresy, we are told, is a denial of the truths [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]


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