Take From This What You May

Excerpt from The Bonehunters (Malazan Book of the Fallen #6) by Steven Erikson

A conversation between L’oric and Greyfrog, a demon.

‘I would tell you a tale, brother. Early in the clan’s history, many centuries past, there arose, like a breath of gas from the deep, a new cult.

Chosen as its representative god was the most remote, most distant of gods among the pantheon. A god that was, in truth, indifferent to the clans of my kind. A god that spoke naught to any mortal, that intervened never in mortal affairs. Morbid.

The leaders of the cult proclaimed themselves the voice of that god. They wrote down laws, prohibitions, ascribances, propitiations, blasphemies, punishments for nonconformity, for dispute and derivations.

This was but rumour, said details maintained in vague fugue, until such time as the cult achieved domination and with domination, absolute power. Terrible enforcement, terrible crimes committed in the name of the silent god.

Leaders came and went, each further twisting words already twisted by mundane ambition and the zeal for unity…our people were plunged into a paradise of fear, the laws made manifest and spilled blood the tears of necessity. False regret with chilling gleam in the centre eye. No relief awaited, and each generation suffered more than the last.’

L’oric studied the demon at his side. ‘What happened?’

‘Seven great warriors from seven clans set out to find the Silent God, set out to see for themselves if this god had indeed blessed all that had come to pass in its name.’

‘And did they find the silent god?’

‘Yes, and too, they found the reason for its silence. The god was dead. It had died with the first drop of blood spilled in its name.’

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