Love, Tested

Loving couple Hindu

Photo credit: boblstraveling via Flickr

Zakir and Azik’s marriage was so happy, even the god Dyphental was jealous. He cursed Ranamanar, the Two-Hearted.  “You have overreached with these two.  I will break your spell upon them.”

Ranamanar said, “You cannot.”

Dyphental made Zakir’s business decisions fail, leaving them in wretched poverty.

Zakir said, “I am sorry, my love.”

Azik said, “I have all the wealth I need, in you.”

They embraced.

Dyphental spread rumors that Azik had been unfaithful.

Azik asked Zakir, “Do you believe I’d ever do that?”

Zakir said, “No.  Never.”

They embraced.

Dyphental made Zakir a hundred years old: twisted, wrinkled, ugly.

Zakir said, “You deserve better.  Find someone younger.”

Azik prayed for the same transformation, and was granted it.   “Now we can be old and ugly together, my love.”

They embraced.

Dyphental gave up and returned the spouses to their former state.  He cursed Ranamanar.  “Why be so stingy with your gift?  Why not give everyone the same happiness?”

Ranamanar said, “We cannot.  Mortals’ hearts are their own.  Until they choose to be open, generous, and trusting, love can find no purchase.”

Ranamanar gazed upon all those lost mortals–the bitter and blaming, the lonely and broken–and they cried.

Word count: 200.  Written for this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt challenge.  Thanks to Al Forbes for hosting, and for E.A. Wicklund for supplying the original photo prompt, below.  Click on the link to read the other stories written for this prompt, or to join in yourself!

Eneana world-building note: The Pyanni believe that two deities, Ranam and Manar, loved each other so much that they joined to become one, the plural deity Ranamanar.  It’s an interesting story, but it makes for weird pronouns.  Depending on who you ask, Dyphental is either an evil god of greed and lies or a useful god of trade and wealth.


Photo © E.A. Wicklund


25 thoughts on “Love, Tested

    • I always love it when a reader gets exactly what I was trying to get across. Thank you so much for that comment, Eric! Also, maybe you can answer this, since you were the one who took the photo: who is the statue really supposed to be depicting?

      Liked by 1 person

    • Glad you liked it – thanks for the comment!

      Hermes is associated with so many things (as many of the Greek gods are) that there’s bound to be some overlap. But Dyphental is really more about conducting business and gaining wealth rather than the travel aspect of trade (for travel you’d pray to Celuturne, who’s associated with passages like life transitions and travel and death, fate, time, etc.). The lying comes in because Dyphental’s followers don’t seem to care much what they have to do in order to succeed, but he’s only secondarily a trickster. Most trickster stories involve Condeanta, goddess of wine, song, luck, sex, and shiny objects — also, messing with mortals just for fun.

      It can be hard to follow the deities in Eneana because the same ones might be worshiped under different names in various cultures. For instance, unbeknownst to their followers, Dyphental is the same deity as Akjat, mentioned in this story:

      Liked by 1 person

      • I wonder how much you were inspired by Hindu mythology in creating your gods? Though I understand the North American gods are somewhat similar, Which is not to suggest anything other than nothing we read ever is wasted. Every writer draws from a lifetime of influences, stories read, films watches, theories thought, dreams . . . dreamt. Yours is a very rich and detailed world. It’s good you share it.


      • I’m influenced by a lot of mythologies, including all the ones I read and forgot about and am using unconsciously, I’m sure. My main goal, really, is to mix up my deities and religions enough that they don’t sound *too* much like any one real-world religion but still feel realistic and multidimensional. It’s tricky, since pretty much any plausible religious belief or aspect of a deity has already shown up somewhere at least once, so there will always be overlap.

        I’ve learned that no matter what I do, some readers will see what they see. My favorite example is the writer who criticized the religion in my story for being “derivative of Christianity” because I mentioned that there’s an afterlife. The afterlife is nothing like Heaven, mind you. And there are only two real options for a religion — there’s an afterlife or there isn’t (bonus points for reincarnation, either way) — and so either way, this religion is going to look like real-world ones. It’s the same problem I have with cultures. There are only so many combinations of the main factors. “Oh, they’re slaves and their masters run a big empire in the desert? So they’re basically Jews, right?” Sigh. Sure, if you ignore everything about the rest of their history and their actual religion and their cultural artifacts.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Ditto problems. As to afterlife, hey, didn’t the Norse have that too? And what were the Egyptian mummies about. Christianity is only the latest. If I remember, the Celts used to take their IOUs into the afterlife.

        Liked by 1 person

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