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[Holy Newdale] On Religion

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[Holy Newdale] On Religion Empty [Holy Newdale] On Religion

Post by Hibiki Fri Aug 27, 2021 3:35 am

Hibiki had done his best to keep a rather low profile in this strange new world that he found himself in. His surroundings were new, but they weren’t entirely foreign. Many of the pieces of civilization that he had come to know in his former worlds were present here as well. There were only so many ways that life could evolve it seemed. Well, that said, there were plenty of differences though. He had only barely managed to get a grasp on the different races that seemed to exist here from his time in Engloria. Frankly, there were probably still several he had no clue about. Oh well. It didn’t really matter.

For the time being, Hibiki had a few goals in mind. He needed to keep a fairly low profile while he didn’t know what he was doing in this world, but he also couldn’t afford to do nothing. Literally. He needed funds if he wanted to survive here, and he didn’t have any currency. Work was a necessity it seemed, given that he had nothing of monetary value with him, and no desire to live in the woods. That said, it wasn’t a smart idea for him to go make a big name for himself, at least not yet. Once he knew more about this world he could focus on influence more if it was necessary, but it was more important to not accidentally say things he shouldn’t. He’d already slipped up a few times and made people suspicious of him. Best to avoid that.

An opportunity to learn more about the world caught Hibiki’s attention. Apparently the citizens were trying to make a new Church of Floovir or something in a nearby town called Newdale. Interesting. Learning about the religion of a world was certainly important to understanding it, so he offered his help to those who sought to build it in exchange for provisions to complete the labor. An easy trade that they were plenty happy to take, given his ask was well below market rate. “Don’t let me starve please” is a pretty easy request for most religions after all.

This bargain sent him on a journey back whence he came. Hoptus Forest. Though he hadn’t known the name of the forest before, he was able to put together that it was one and the same from a quick look at a map they provided. Along with a small party, Hibiki left from Engloria towards Hoptus Forest with a fairly easy mission: gather materials for the church’s construction. They needed lumber, and there wasn’t enough available locally.

Of course the presence of others on the journey meant that Hibiki couldn’t use all the tricks at his disposal to make the job go more quickly. Felling an entire forest wouldn’t be too hard for him at his peak, but that just raised another issue. He still felt off. His normal power still hadn’t returned. He’d tested a few Kido in private, and none of them had anywhere near their old power. Oh well. He’d figure that part out once he had taken care of the more immediate needs. Information was the most paramount for now, but he’d need to get back to sorting out income eventually.

Money was tomorrow’s problem though. This journey was all about information. There was rarely a better group of people to get information from than the religious fanatics. They often quite loved to hear themselves talk. Well, at least where Hibiki came from they did. As they walked from Engloria to Hoptus he asked some questions in an attempt to get more information out of the folks he travelled with. “So, what all do you think about the Church?” It was an easy question, designed to get them talking.

A middle aged man, maybe 40, was the first to reply. His voice was stern, but warm. It matched his sturdy build quite well. “I think I can speak for us all when I say we support the Church, but that’s not what you were asking, now was it?” Hibiki smiled warmly back at this man and answered him. “But of course not. None of us would be here if we didn’t support it. I meant spiritually. Everyone has their own interpretation I’m sure.” The same man answered. “Well that’s probably true. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone agree on all the details, but I think it’s safe to say we all agree on most of the major tenants at least. I believe in Fleuve'ir exclusively. None of those minor gods or any of that nonsense. All that matters is the river. From that came everything, and thus it is most deserving of my worship.” Murmurs of assent and dissent bubbled throughout the small crowd.

A younger boy was quick to snap back at the first man. “Greg, surely you must recognize the importance of the others? The world is far more vast than a single river, and we should be thankful for all of it, not just the source.” The younger boy, whom Hibiki knew was called Alex, got a far more clear response of acceptance. Not mere murmurs, but rather an active affirmation. Even a “here, here!” Greg and Alex devolved into bickering for quite some time after that point. Each argued back and forth for their side for quite awhile before they both turned to Hibiki, the one who had started it all. In unison they both heatedly asked him:

“Well, who’s right!?”

Uproarious laughter echoed out of the Shinigami’s mouth. “Well, I’m afraid you’re both wrong.” That was a bad sentence. The eyes of the entire group were on Hibiki because he had just said something incredibly bizarre without thinking about it. In his eyes, they were all clearly mistaken about the origins of existence, but then again, this wasn’t his world. Between Greg and Alex, the two major viewpoints of this world were clearly represented. Praise be unto Fleuve'ir, or praise be unto all things. Those were the opposite ends of the spectrum really, so what answer did Hibiki have that ignored their spectrum entirely?

“Well tell us why we’re so wrong then?”

With the weight of their eyes pressing upon him, Hibiki answered them in full, accompanied by a flourish and a pompous hair flip. “The only god you need worship is me of course!” This was the strategy that Hibiki had found to be best. Tell them the truth, but know he wouldn’t be believed. Of course he was correct. His reply was met with nothing but laughter from the whole group.

“Oh forgive us your godliness,” Alex choked out between tears from laughing too hard. “I didn’t recognize you because of how stupid you looked.” More laughter from the crowd. Though it wasn’t his style by any means, Hibiki played the fool rather than reveal the truth. He was indeed a God, at least in name. A Shinigami. A God of Death. That was, in truth, his job more his category of being or species. But there was obviously no need to explain something like that. Instead he followed up with a mere joke in its place. With the tone of a disappointed drama teacher he snapped back. “Ah, I suppose we’ll have to get you some new glasses then Alex. It’s such a pity that my magnificence is lost on you.” Yet more laughter from the crowd.

They continued on until they reached Hoptus Forest. Hibiki prodded every once in awhile with other questions that got him more insight, mostly about Fleuve'ir. By the time they were done he could even pronounce it right. The work in the forest wasn’t exactly his favorite thing, but it was certainly useful. It wasn’t just his spiritual energy that was off. His physical qualities also were nowhere near what they should be. Only a week ago he could have covered the distance between Engloria and Hoptus in minutes, maybe an hour at worst. It had taken far more time than that, and he still felt tired after that long of a walk. Whatever that portal had done to him, it was more serious than he initially thought.

The work of felling trees was quite laborious, but it was refreshing. It had been a long time since Hibiki had to do manual labor. It had to have been what, 80 years? Yeah, the last time had been in the military, back when he was alive. He still only had fragments of his life when he was alive in memory, but this experience brought back a surge of memories from basic training. Lord did they love using logs for weights for some reason. The team lifting a large tree overhead and loading it onto a wagon was an exercise he had done so many times he couldn’t possibly count them. And here he was, nearly a century later, returning to that task for a far more worthy purpose. Though he “knew” they were wrong about the whole religion thing, he recognized the good that organized religion could do, and thus had no qualms with helping them. It wasn’t like Christians worshipped Shinigami either.

On the bright side, as he exerted himself, Hibiki could slowly but surely feel some of his strength return to him. He’d never been all that physically strong or brawny, so that was one of the areas he was close enough to normal in. The rate of acceleration in his capacity didn’t match a natural strength training regime either, that was for sure. He felt like he was pretty close to his original level just from a few days of chopping down trees and lifting them. Perhaps his spiritual energy could return in the same fashion, and the portal had merely given him a severe case of spiritual and physical atrophy? He still hadn’t been able to sort it out, but this was an encouraging sign that his strength could return faster than he had originally acquired it.

Eventually their wagon train was full, and the journey to the building site of the church began. For the journey back, one thought dominated Hibiki’s mind. What if they were right? He hadn’t really wanted to consider that they could actually be right, because he had literally been employed in the afterlife, but the rules of the universe here were rather unknown to him. There were certainly no Gaiyans or Eldritch in Soul Society or Hueco Mundo. Only two conclusions really existed there. Either they had no souls, or they went somewhere else. Oh no. Bad Hibiki. “I should kill someone and see if they have a soul” is not a good thought, even if there was no intention to act on it. The scientific method is not a source of morality. This is why internal review boards exist.

This outing had left Hibiki with quite a few questions, but also with many things to pursue. He needed to learn more about religion in this world, given he was so closely the reality of creation and the afterlife in his own realm. Was it possible to actually meet a God? Could prayer allow him to commune with a higher power in this plane? Did they actually exist? There were plenty of questions that he doubted any one person could actually answer. Perhaps someone convenient existed that could force a deity to manifest, but he doubted he would find anyone that useful. Oh well. That part would have to remain a long term goal.

As they neared Newdale a different priority was at the forefront of his thoughts. The Shinigami needed to find a way to regain his former power. He could only keep going about his life as a “normal” “human” for so long. If he could regain his former power then he need not fear “normal” people finding out what he was so much. It could have political or social consequences, sure, but not life threatening ones. That was all he was really worried about. Thankfully this adventure had worked out in his favor. He’d learned quite a bit about the religious structure and beliefs of the people in the world through some time with them, and he was quite sure that that knowledge would serve him well as he continued to learn about the world he was stuck in and the people who lived here.

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