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Penitence and moreEdit

Even in the darkened temple Centaurians could make out father with his tentacles held smartly in a dominating, no compromise position. All the youngsters drew in their tentacles nervously when they saw him and Blue drew tentacles in more than the others. The brothers and sisters settled on the floor while older ones helped the younger ones arrange their tentacles decoratively in ways they hoped would please the Sun God. Blue was sorry he had no mud to make his tentacles look attractive like the others and he hoped the Great Lord Sun wouldn’t mind. Even Blue’s robes looked unfitting for a Patrician as father wanted the boy to be convinced he was ugly and father didn’t want Blue to suppose he could get a better marriage partner than the old sadist who was negotiating to marry him. Blue tried to arrange his robes more appealingly but the Sun Priest pointed at him and told him not to fidget during worship of the Great Lord Sun.

Father considered his sins uneasily but held a masterful posture and knew better than to fidget. Did the Lord Sun mind because father had insisted that the Sun Priest teach his children decorum? Surely that was what servants should do and not proper work for a representative of the Lord Sun, he felt just a bit troubled but wouldn’t change his orders. Father so much wanted to marry his children off to high ranking Centaurians so he could raise the standing of the family and he knew they would listen to the Sun Priest. What about father’s other sins, what about the way he didn’t show proper consideration to his family and his servants? Father didn’t even dare to think about that.

The congregation drooped their heads, drooped their tentacles and raised only eye stalks to look at the Sun Priest who was starting his sermon about sin. The Priest knew what his Lord the Sun wanted him to say but he also knew what his employer wanted and he couldn’t please both. Awkwardly he shuffled tentacles as he spoke
“Our Lord the Sun desires that we show compassion towards Centaurians who are beneath us, we should be kind to those who depend on us and especially there should be concern for those who are helpless.”
The Sun priest warmed to his task, he knew he was preaching as his God the Sun wanted and that gave him strength. The priest hoped so much he could stop some of the younger Centaurians becoming cruel like their father he continued, perhaps, just perhaps with the help of his God the Sun the Priest hoped he might even get to his stony hearted employer.
“The Sun Our Lord shines with compassion on the weak and helpless so let us treat them well. It is good if those who are weak and helpless pray for us with sincere thankfulness because we treat them well, the Lord Our Sun listens compassionately to the prayers of the helpless. When we treat humble Centaurians well the Sun shines with Divine Light and Divine Blessings onto us and also onto them. “
The priest straightened his tentacles as he sensed that his message was getting through, the impressionable youngsters were no longer resigned with drooping tentacles rather they were listening eagerly. Had the priest reached the most important Centaurian in the congregation? The Sun Priest turned hopeful eye stalks towards his employer. Father was no longer quietly masterful, he was furious. The Priest went back to lecturing about sin and repentance as his employer wanted. He told the youngsters their duty was to marry as father wanted, not selfishly as they wanted, the priest tried not to think about what marriages father planned for them. The Sun Priest told them to act unselfishly and please their father. All the youngsters gulped at that, they knew they could never please their father, always father demanded more than they could do, always father punished them when they failed.

Very much later the service ended and the youngsters left the chapel with relief all over their tentacles. An older sister [1] thought over what the Sun Priest had said about compassion for those who are helpless and then gently, comfortingly she ran tentacles over Blue. Blue relaxed as he felt cold, slimy tentacles sliding around over him, he felt loved and cared for, he felt part of the family again. Blue linked tentacles with his sister, then they saw father glaring at them, both stopped.

Eventually a very penitent Blue Tentacles was alone thinking over his position when his mother’s maid came to collect him.
“How are you, little thing?” she asked,
“If my robes were better perhaps Our Lord the Sun would like me more.
The maid tried to arrange Blue’s robes more attractively but in reality she envied even Blue Tentacles because he could wear the robes of a free Centaurian. Some kinder masters allowed slaves to wear the robes of free Centaurians when they went out but her master insisted that slaves must wear servile robes wherever they were as he felt that prevented them from getting ideas above their station. Wherever she went others looked down on her and treated her as a slave. The maid wished desperately that she were free but feared that longing was sinful.


Chapter 15 Who will like the boy?

Footnotes

  1. The compassionate, female side of her dual nature was to the fore, she was caring like her Aunt Violet so we’ll call her a sister.

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