Chapter 22

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Astrin stepped into Nazar's quarters while it was empty. No one was there. Seizing the opportunity, he added more herbs into the clay cup at the ledge of his desk. A single paper was left unwrapped. A candle over it shined perfectly for Astrin to read.

Solon's accounts, Utopia, the city of sea people.

Astrin peered his eyes into the texts.

"Atlantean society is classified into three types of blood; those with golden blood, those with silver blood, and those with bronze blood. Golden bloods are the aristocracy, the ones who waged war against the world. Silver bloods are their auxiliaries, the deviants responsible for scorching the world. Bronze are their serfs, a race of conquered people bred to serve their masters."

Nazar stepped inside. He raised an eyebrow at the sight of Astrin, "enjoying yourself there?"

Astrin jolted, and turned around toe face Nazar. Nazar raised a palm to calm him. "Relax, I'm only surprised you know how to read. I've nothing against someone interested in learning."

Astrin gulped, and stepped away for Nazar to return to his work desk. He looked down at the scroll and huffed a laugh. "This is just a copy of a copy. I'm wondering how inaccurate it is, I had to rewrite it from memory."

Astrin's throat was tight. When he followed Nazar into the city, it was both because he was threatened and because he wanted to see to Gaiana's wellbeing. Astrin asked, "Nazar... Are deviants truly Gods? That purple blood I saw... Are they of the same race?"

"There are many theories, but I believe so. There is something very divine to the deviant race, it only make sense if they carried the blood of gods in their veins. Perhaps they are bastard children, condemned from the heavenly realm by those who deny them."

"Then... How can you do this? What makes you willing to... Defy Gods?"

Nazar let out a kind smile, "have you heard of the story of Arachne?"

Astrin shook his head.

"Arachne was once a human weaver, so skilled that she boasted that she was a better weaver than the Gods. Athena took offense to this, so she challenged Arachne into a weaving contest. They both spun tapestries more beautiful than anyone had ever seen. Athena's tapestry depicted the Gods, showing their glory and power, and their divine will over the mortal world. Arachne's tapestry showed the exact opposite. She depicted the Gods as despicable. Abusing their powers, lying and cheating with one another, Zeus abusing mortal women and Gods, and all unadulterated injustice the Gods brought unto mortals."

Astrin shook his head. "Blasphamous."

"Indeed. The story ends with Athena transforming Arachne into a hideous spider. Forced to weave webs forever, as a vile little creatures." Nazar pointed over to the corner of his room. A spider skittered about, running away as soon as the story finished.

Astrin said, "I think you miss the moral of that story. That story is supposed to scare Greeks, and warn them against disrespecting the Gods."

Nazar shook his head. "No, the average Greek sees it as a reason to never defy the Gods. To me, that story shows exactly why we must question them. Arachne was right. Many Gods are unjust, and when faced with that injustice, they wrongly punish those who expose the truth."

"But if these deviants are truly Gods, and Zeus protects them as he does all his children, are you really willing to face the wraiths they might bring?"

Nazar nodded. "When Arachne was challenged by Athena, she knew her time was up. So rather than lose and face punishment, she humiliated them. Facing them with all the dignity she had left intact."

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