Raising Kain: Diseased God
The funeral pyre burned for eighteen days straight, that had been the tradition as it was passed down by the High Lord Kellinock in the days since Death had first entered into the world, but none of the Clan of the Wrathful God ever thought that it was their own lord, High Lord Kellinock fifth child of Apolla Sola, to be the one they were performing the Rite of the Dead on. Kellinock had been one of the thousands of the Children of the Sun, but his barbaric tendencies and his forbidden love of the moon caused him to be cast out of that society.
Kellinock had gone, decreeing he would not become a broken down sun worshiper, and went on to found his own civilization far in the frozen north, as far from the sun as he could possibly get.
Now a god who thought that he would live forever lay on the pyre, just as he had when his sons and clansmen set the pyre ablaze eighteen days ago. It was obvious to all who witnessed it that the Rites of the Dead were meant only for mortals.
Odin, Kellinock’s greatest heir and a man of great wisdom and battle prowess in his own right, was to receive Kellinock’s god-head along with the title All Father, a mantle Kellinock himself had worn and promised to his son when the time was right, at dawn the next day. But, now, at sunset, he and his brothers were unsure of what they should do with their father’s corpse since the flames would not consume it, Vili and Ve looked too Odin.
“You said the Rite of the Dead would destroy his corpse?” Ve yelled ready to lash out and beat his elder brother into the ground. Ve was a frost giant who towered over top of his brothers by almost eight feet. He was also the youngest by eight hundred years.
“The clan will know we lied to them. They will know you lied to them!” Vili said gabbing his gnarled finger at his eldest brother. Vili was a pig faced orc, his skin green, and his hair thick and coarse, growing everywhere on his body. The orcs were a species Kellinock had created in an attempt to build his own society, they were brutish and anything but beautiful, but they were brilliant fighters. That’s what Kellinock loved about them.
“Will you both be quiet,” Odin replied to their comments. Unlike the other two, Odin was truly Kellinock’s flesh and blood child, born from the womb of the moon child that Kellinock ran away with and raised on the field of battle. Every member of the Clan of the Wrathful God implicitly trusted Odin, and it had been Odin who concocted the lie they told.
Odin and his brothers told the people of the clan that Kellinock had been slain in battle, his foe slicing him to a point where he was impossible to recognize, which was the reason the trio had him on the funeral pyre within hours of returning.
Kellinock had not died on the field of battle, though, and only had one wound on his entire body. It was a single laceration right on top of his left ankle. It hadn’t even been deep enough to be called a scratch, but from it a terrible disease spread throughout his entire body, and claimed his life within hours.
The reason the brothers had not wanted anyone to see their father’s corpse after they returned from their hunting trip, and the reason they rushed to put Kellinock’s body on the funeral pyre, was because of the sickly pale yellow coloring of his skin, and because after changing that color it achieved the consistency of fire dried crinkled paper.
The fact that their father lay there in the same condition they had placed him on the funeral pyre terrified them to the deepest parts of their immortal souls. They had not known a god would not burn, and barely knew that a god could die.
After Death had come to the land, and the mortal men joined the Clan, Kellinock began to venerate those who had died in battle above all others. If the clan found out Kellinock himself had not fallen in deadly combat, it would destroy everything he worked to build. That is why Odin lied to the Clan of the Wrathful God, and that was why he would continue to lie to them. He was protecting his father’s dream, and now he knew how.
“The caves in the mountain range to the south are still free of vermin, right?” Odin asked his brothers. Vili had been in charge of clearing them out since Ve was too big to fit into them. The orcish brother nodded.
“They have been since we drove the vermin lizard men out. My patrols will run across those damned dwarves from Romana every once in a while, but never in large numbers, and it’s always been on the southern face of the mountains, not within our borders,” Vili said to clarify his nod.
“Good, without father’s powers, it’s a three day trip down and another three back. Vili, Ve and I shall set out tonight with father’s body, after we are gone you are to take a cow and incinerate it before sunrise. That will leave a sufficient amount of ash to convince the clansmen that father burnt up. Ve and I will tuck the body away in a cave, and hide it there until we can think of a more permanent way to dispose of it. Tell the clansmen we were called away on important business in the south. Tell them that we will return at dawn seven days from now.”
Odin finished the statement with a great heaving sigh. The heir to Kellinock’s legacy hated lying, and could have thought of a thousand different ways he would have liked to start his reign. Being late for his own coronation was not one of them, and he prayed to the Aspects and the Greater Gods above them that he would never have to lie to his people on such a scale again.
Copyright Ryan M. Smith 2014