Reign of Error: Chapter Three

Read ‘Reign of Error’ from the start (=link to ‘Prologue’)

Previously in ‘Reign of Error’: our cleaning droid, CD-2, is crashing down, while on the planet below a boy Isaac is looking for mushrooms in a cave. Isaac is angry with his father, the village chieftain, for having sacrificed an innocent lamb to the Wargod.

“…As Isaac slowly went deeper into the cavern, it became more and more difficult for the daylight to illumine the contours of the cave. Groping his way along the dank walls, he could only hope that the cave wasn’t the hiding place of some unfriendly animal.

After several hundreds of steps the bright sunlight had been reduced to a mere glimmer. Even mushrooms need some sunlight to survive, Isaac thought to himself, and he was about to turn around when he saw a faint glow emanating from beyond where the cave made a sudden turn. Isaac carefully stepped forward to peek around the corner.

What he saw then stunned him with amazement. Right beneath a hole in the cave’s roof, a reddish, golden, bin-like piece of pottery seemed heavenly illuminated. Isaac didn’t know whether to kneel or to run away as fast as he could. The pot seemed to be grinning hideously at him, but its color inspired him with awe. This must be what the Elders have talked about for all of those years, the Wargod has finally sent down his emissary! Not knowing what else to do, Isaac decided to kneel down before the heavenly pot, and began to pray. When he had exhausted the numerous appellations of the Wargod, he got off his knees, took off his tunic, and gently wrapped the piece of cloth around the object.

With skillful speed – gained through years of scouring caves – Isaac quickly found his way out of the dark cave. Terribly excited about his find, he hurried back to the village. It was becoming darker, and Isaac could already feel the cold air of the encroaching night raise the hairs on his skin. He couldn’t move too swiftly, because he had to watch closely where he stepped, as many of the smaller reptiles chose this hour to appear from their nooks and crannies.

The sun had all but sunk beneath the hills, when Isaac, all sludgy and covered in sweat, finally reached the village’s wooden stockade. Passing the central watering place, Isaac dashed straight to his father’s hut. Out of breath, with the pot firmly under his arm, he knocked loudly on the door. Impatient of the stumbling within, he knocked again, this time even more loudly.

The Chief had invited the Council of Elders to discuss the recent dispute with the neighboring town. When he heard the heavy knocking, he frowned irritably, and slowly moved to the door. The eyes of the Chief widened in amazement upon the discovery that his very own son was the cause of the disturbance. The hour of the deed made it into an outrage indeed!

When Isaac saw the anger in his father’s eyes, he quickly uncovered the object he had found in the cave, telling his father of his interpretation of the facts. “This must be the Wargod’s emissary – look at its color!” But the Chief paid no attention to what his son had found, and looked the boy sternly in the eyes. “Let us not jump to conclusions young man, and let’s first discuss the fact that you had promised to return home before sundown,” his father replied grumpily. “But the Wargod…” Isaac meekly interrupted “The Wargod wants us to be aware of the consequences of our actions. What would happen to our pretty little community if everyone broke promises as easily as you?”

Isaac did not wait until the moralizations had finished. He rushed past his father and burst into the adjacent room. He saw a small group of beardy old men squatting in a circle. Upon seeing the object, they started whispering excitedly. “The emissary…it is the emissary!”

According to one of the Old Poems, one day the Wargod would send an emissary to guide his chosen people onto the true path of eternal happiness by his unfaltering advice. “We must thank the Wargod for this gift!” The oldest of the men raised his arms into the air and started praying aloud. The other men likewise raised their arms and joined the prayer. As Isaac watched his father join the other men in an ecstatic dance around the pot, he was suddenly overwhelmed by the absurdity of it all. How could this pot-thing ever give the advice they needed – or any advice, for that matter?  

On the following day, the Council of Elders decided that the Pot should be put in its own temple. A special cottage was built in which the Pot was to be placed on a pedestal, and henceforth, all decisions concerning the fate of the village would have to be ratified by the new oracle. Seven days and nights the villagers celebrated. They joyfully danced around the Pot, and covered it with garlands of sweet-scented flowers. The new era, the era of light, was at hand!”

Will CD-2 be able to give to the villagers the advice they seek? How will he do that? Will he even understand them?

Find out for yourself in the next episode of ‘The reign of Error’. Don’t forget to subscribe to the updates on this blog so that you receive the next episode automatically! 

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About fbenedictus

Philosopher of physics at Amsterdam University College and Utrecht University, managing editor for Foundations of Physics and international paraclimbing athlete
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1 Response to Reign of Error: Chapter Three

  1. Pingback: Reign of Error: Chapter Two | The Tricycle Down The Rabbit Hole

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