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Who will like the boy?Edit

The other servants weren’t much comfort for the ex-prisoner. Their boss wouldn’t have liked that. Some didn’t think Blue deserved better than he got though others felt sorry for him and most servants were uneasy round him. Bond servants (slaves) feared the total power their master had over them while free servants feared destitution if their employer dismissed them without a reference. Servants didn't want to annoy father by being friendly with the young trouble maker. They knew making an enemy of the boss's son was bad too. There was just one old servant who did like the boy but he couldn't easily get to the youngster unsupervised. Patricians try very hard to guard the chastity of youngsters from their families at least till they get married. Anyway the youngster knew that Brown Tentacles still liked him a lot. Brown Tentacles was at the bottom of the pecking order even of the servant community and couldn't get to the boy often. Readers may think that was a good thing but both minded.

When father was away the boy went to his mother. He hoped she would make him feel better. Father wouldn’t have allowed even that when he was at home. Mother was busy with some long distance communication device but she asked the maid to take Blue Tentacles to a small mudbath.
“Can you come with me, mum?”

“I can’t talk to you now, I’ve got things to do.”
“Please come with me.”
“I’m talking to your Aunt Violet. It’s very important. Later you’ll understand.”
“Please be nice to me. Every one’s horrible. It’s worse than the prison.”
“I told you, you’ll understand later.”

"Whenever dad's away you're talking to somebody far away. Please talk to me mum."
Mother’s maid took the boy reluctantly away. Blue Tentacles longed for a mudbath but he longed for his mother even more. The maid was basically compassionate and there was that unexplained bond between them. She could hardly bear to watch him sticking mud dispiritedly onto his tentacles. The feminine compassionate side of her dual nature was definitely to the fore at that time.

‘She’ was a hermaphrodite Centaurian as all are. Interestingly ‘she’ was also trained as chauffeur and had driven the family back from the prison. ‘She’ appeared more masculine then. Of course she was neither she nor he. You can also say she was both she and he. It’s politer to say she rather than it. And we won't be rude to Purple Eye Stalks just because he/she was a slave.
“Remember you’re young and there’s plenty of time when life can get better, it’s good if you stay hopeful.” The maid started as Blue Tentacles had so often said that himself. Unfortunately Blue wasn’t in a hopeful mood just then.
“Am I so horrible now? Even my mother won’t speak to me."
“I don’t think you’re horrible just.....”
“What’s wrong, Purple? Whatever I do it’s never good enough.”
“May the Great Lord Sun give you the comfort you need.”
“Why won’t mother speak to me? She should speak to me.”
“I don’t know. It’s sinful to question my mistress who owns me. Mother said we should go to the Sun Temple afterwards.” Purple looked a bit uncomfortable.
“I want my mother to talk to me.”
“Let’s go to the Sun Temple and find out what the Priests say.“ Again Purple was uncomfortable.

The maid/chauffeur shifted about and was quite agitated in the Family Chapel. Partly that was because without the boy she would not have been worthy to be there. Even free servants couldn't go into the Family Chapel except to clean it and slaves certainly couldn't. Further she hardly dared to be in any Sun Temple as she was loaded with sin and guilt. Elderly Brown Tentacles had got her to steal small things, now he wanted her to steal something really big. He'd been saying tempting things like,
"Help me to run away with the boy and you can be free in another part of the planet as no Centaurian will know you're a slave there."
Then Blue Tentacles so often remembered that he was young and his life could still improve, and that so often stopped little Blue being too dispirited. Blue was a young Patrician and his life could certainly get better. What about a servile maid? Did she want freedom? Deciding things for herself could be wonderful, she'd never known what it was like to decide her own destiny. Would freedom be good? Terrans are sure slavery is evil and many work hard to Free the Slaves. Then Purple remembered how she'd been punished whenever she was even wistful about freedom. How could she even consider running away and all that? She should respect her master's property and she was her master's property. How could she even think of stealing herself? She shouldn't be near the Sun Temple with such sinful thoughts tempting her.

The maid and the boy lowered themselves ritually before the big glowing red image of the Great Lord Sun in the centre of the chapel. The maid pointed purple eye stalks at the Orb of the Sun and almost felt the Great Lord Sun judging her for her sinful wish. Blue Tentacles looked at the expensive decorations that had been part of the family worship as far back as he could remember. It was better than the prison Chapel and better than the large, cheaply decorated Sun Temple where servants worshiped. He felt just as lonely and isolated as he had before.
“What ails you, Blue Tentacles?” the one Priest asked.
“Tell us your problem, we will listen.” the second Priest added.
“Please ask the Great Lord Sun to make them all friendlier to me and to make me happy again.”
The Priests shifted tentacles guiltily. They had taught ethics when the Priests were learning their work and both felt they should do something to help the sad boy. They also knew their employer’s orders and wanted to keep their jobs.
“We must bear the burdens the Great Lord Sun puts onto us.” was all that the first Priest dared to say.
“Does the Great Lord Sun hate me too? In the prison they said we should be good so the Lord Sun will like us again. Does that mean He stopped liking us?”
“You mustn’t say that. The Great Lord Sun loves everybody.” the second Priest added.
“How?”
“Don’t question, only believe.” Again the second Priest shifted tentacles uncomfortably.
The two Priests together went through the rituals of reassurance.
“The Sun caresses all life with his warmth and blessings and the Sun caresses you, Blue Tentacles also. The Sun gives all life on this side of the planet the gift of His light and brightness and the Sun gives you, Blue Tentacles His brightness and light also. The Sun is Father and Mother to all life on this planet and the Sun Father and Mother to you, Blue Tentacles also.”
The first Priest told Blue Tentacles firmly the Great Lord Sun was with him, protecting and comforting him and the second Priest agreed. Blue couldn’t feel any protection or comfort and could somehow sense the Priestly manner wasn’t right. It was as if the Priests were trying to deny everything they said. From earliest childhood Blue Tentacles had learnt that it was sinful to question representatives of the Great Lord Sun so Blue tried to believe what he was told.

Chapter 16 The Priests who feel guilty

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