by Max Barry

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The Tyranny of
Father Knows Best State

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3

The Grandfather's Tale

In a time before now, long before now, when the world was new, there was a god. The eldest son of Our Master, this god came to the world with a spear called Lerasi and a shield called Aegis. No one knows if they were named after him or if he was named after them, but we do know that their names were the same.

Lerasi was the source of his power, a commoner's spear, wrapped in a snake to represent manipulation, deception, power. As the conduit of Lerasi's power on Urth, the spear was power itself, and the source of Lerasi's divinity. It was a king's scepter and a warrior's spear, and Lerasi demonstrated its power as he wandered through the land, granting blessings to great kings and curses to those who would undermine the natural flow of power.

As he wandered the land, this god drew attention to himself, as gods living among mortals are wont to do. And so it was that the Dreamweaver hatched a plot to steal his divinity and all his power away from this arrogant newcomer. He gathered his followers, cultists of the Yustinian Mysteries, a faith of intoxication and corruption of the mind, heretical to everything that can be accomplished without the aid of magical poison. Ah, where was I? Ah yes.

He gathered his followers, cultists of the Yustinian Mysteries, and he approached the travelling court of the God of Kings, Power, and Politics, and he requested a private audience with Lerasi disguised as the exiled king of a far off kingdom. As the arrogant god of power sat in his golden throne, the Dreamweaver performed an ancient ritual, putting Lerasi in a trance.

With the god himself suspended in a dream state, the Adversary stole from him Lerasi itself, and with it, the god's divinity. When Lerasi awoke from the dream, he was lying in the dirt, his grand pavilion, all his followers, and all his possessions gone. The man, for now he was but a man, wandered the world for days, moving from kingdom to kingdom, surviving only off of the kindness of strangers and his own desire to return to power. His willpower kept him going.

Eventually, the blessing of kindness wore off, and the man was forced to rely on manipulating people, through various promises and lies, into letting him survive. As he did this, he learned that, while his spear was his source of divinity, it was not what made him powerful. He used his memory as god of power to win power, as god of manipulation to manipulate, as god of politics to control the politics of the kingdoms he travelled once again.

And so he wandered with a new purpose, ever promising, ever manipulating, ever gaining power. And so, even as a mortal, he earned respect and power. His influence grew, and soon, he was in control. Using his web of powerful servants, he found where the Dreamweaver's cult hid, and he travelled to it, manipulating the people he came across until he had an army of followers, gorging on the promises and lies of this expert deceiver. And so the disgraced god of power arrived at the Dreamweaver's lair, reclaiming his spear and thus his divinity.

With his power returning to him, Lerasi pointed his spear at the hideout, blasting a large crater in the ground, destroying the lair of evil, and rewarding his followers with the land. They would soon develop city states, squabbling nations that fought for power through war and manipulation. Just the way Lerasi would intend it. And thus the Aivintian people were born, and thus the most devout followers of Lerasi would pilgrimage to the crater to pay tribute to his remarkable power and ingenuity, until only we remained.

Now we tend the true shrine of Lerasi here, where the spear Lerasi seeped its power into the land so that we may live and thrive as the truest Aivintians, the sons and daughters of great men and women. And we have the highest honor of all in this task. You, my dear grandson, are a lucky boy.

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