By Harry Turtledove
Rhavas was once an exceptional, holy, and pious guy - and the cousin of the Avtokrator. He might most likely became ecumenical patriarch of the Empire within the capital, Videssos the city...if his global had now not without notice and tragically fallen aside whilst the Empire of Videssos erupted into civil battle and the Khamonh barbarians swarmed over the borders. because the domestic he enjoyed was once brutally sacked, Rhavas needed to flee for his lifestyles, then make his means via lands swarming with fierce nomads and with squaddies unswerving either to his cousin and to the insurgent. He might by no means see Videssos the town back, not to mention preside in its excessive Temple. He has consistently Phos, the god of sunshine and goodness, Videssos' god, and despised evil rival Skotos. those that fall off the Bridge of the Separator in the course of judgment within the afterlife tumble right down to Skotos' ice forevermore. but if evil turns out to have swallowed the total international, what's a cleric who reverences good judgment in addition to goodness sup- posed to think? it is a more durable query than Rhavas needs it have been.
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Another shrug from the courier, one that showed even raising and lowering his shoulders took effort. He said, "It's a good question, very holy sir. " Rhavas asked. The man nodded, also effortfully. Rhavas wasn't sure what made him think so. Not the courier's accent—that intonation had spread from Videssos the city for miles around on both sides of the Cattle-Crossing. But the cheeky way he'd finished his reply: yes, that sort of attitude belonged to the capital alone. " Zautzes asked. The courier yawned again.
If the good god is kind, we may have those forts manned again by spring. " Rhavas said. The borderers' officer shrugged yet again. "If there is no answer by spring, very holy sir, my men and I will still be down in the south. What happens up here won't be our worry anymore. " Rhavas glared at him. Petinos looked back, imperturbable. " "My fellow man sent me to the chilblain capital of the world," Petinos retorted. Rhavas wondered what he'd done to deserve getting sent to the farthest northeast.
Half a dozen men holding hands in a ring impersonated the walls of Skopentzana. Two men inside the ring showed it was Skopentzana: one wore a pasteboard model of the temple on his head, the other a model of the eparch's palace. " Half the contestants wore blond wigs to impersonate Halogai. The other half wore bushy false beards and furs and leather to impersonate Khamorth nomads. What the struggle was about was which group would get to sack the city. They finally compromised and destroyed it together.
Bridge of the Separator by Harry Turtledove