Razing Faith

Azadi Tower Tehran Iran

Photo of Azadi Tower, Tehran Iran © Avesta Naseri via Google Maps


Izta ignored the gleaming edifice overhead, focusing on the cleric.  “Surrender, Haana. My orders are to prepare for the new god.  I’ll destroy this heathen temple with your people inside.”

Haana remained unbowed.  “They’re your people, too.  You were thrice-blessed here.  Think of our prayers, our stories.  The Raising.”

That mural taunted Izta. The One Hundred, chanting to lift the impossible arches, channeling unto implosion, burying themselves in the foundation.

“We’ll write new stories.”  Izta stood taller. “I’ll strip its tiles to build a temple honoring Anandani.”


Izta sighed. “Hang him.”

* * *

Even with the hold-outs dead, his men cowered at the first cut.  Izta growled, inserted the crowbar himself, heaved.

A song rose from one hundred graves.  The temple stones shattered, slicing into flesh below, until the screams and dust subsided.

* * *

The rubble remains untouched, quiet.

New stories were indeed written.  How they end depends on who tells them.

Word count: 150.  Written for this week’s What Pegman Saw challenge.  Thanks to Karen and Josh for hosting!  WPS challenges you to write a story of 150 words or less based on a specific location on Google Maps.  You can look around the area and choose whatever nearby image strikes your fancy, and maybe learn something interesting while you’re there exploring.  Click the link above to see the other stories written for this location, or to join in yourself — everyone’s welcome!

World-building note: The underlying event of this story is mentioned at the very end of the Major Societies description, when most of the Pret city-states and tribes unified under a new god, Anandani.  Unique among deities, he somehow managed to cut off divine power from all other gods in this one region (at least temporarily; we’ll see what Kakika does when she figures this out).  Countless temples and many “wonders of the world” were destroyed or silenced in the process, either by mortals trying to please Anandani or because they collapsed the moment their magical powers were cut off.

When I saw this gorgeous building in Tehran, I knew it had to be magically built and a place of great wonder and respect in Eneana.

36 thoughts on “Razing Faith

  1. Intense and well described story, the devastation and murder of these people a5 the end is very visceral. Asthis dictators men, the reader cringes too. I wonder if it was worth it if this new god will bless him at all?

    Liked by 3 people

    • Well it definitely wasn’t worth it for Izta, because he got buried under the collapsing / attacking temple with the rest of the people trying to steal its tiles. Whether it worked out for the rest of the Pret…. there are those who say yea and those who say nay. Which of course, leads to interesting story possibilities! Thanks for your comment, Amanda!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Great comment, Crispina, thanks! Yes, I’m fascinated by this concept of new traditions laid over the old, and how each generation seems to be blind to history. They argue for the preservation of “X” because it’s the tradition and we should always respect tradition, with no understanding of how “X” was once the radical new thing taking over and destroying tradition “Y”. Not that I can blame them, really; we all see our own traditions that way. Still, it’s something I keep slipping into Eneana history, given that I have the three-thousand-year view on their traditions.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. An intense story that needed to be read three times to fix the characters and their motives in my head. A very specific example of Razing that will help you no end in the specifics of your novel, Joy, I am sure. Thanks for treating us here, free of charge.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thanks Kelvin! Sorry that you found it hard to follow at first. I tried to keep repeating the two characters’ names to help distinguish who was who, but that’s not always enough. This particular scene/issue doesn’t play into any of my current novels or novel ideas, but I do have some short story ideas that deal with the transition or its aftermath. It’s a huge world and a long timeline I have here, it’s going to take a LOT of stories to cover it all!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I am sure it all flows when you are immersed in your world rather than me just dipping my toe in once a week. Keep up the good work. Don’t lose faith in your work or yourself and if you do find yourself quickly, Joy. Best wishes Kelvin

        Liked by 2 people

      • No worries– it takes a lot more than that to get me discouraged! Of course the stories make sense to me, but it’s pretty useless if they aren’t clear to the readers. I think most people hesitate to admit that they didn’t get something because they worry that it’s just them. But for every one reader who says something confused them, they probably represent a lot more who didn’t say so.


  3. A piece of flash fiction in three chapters – that’s amazing! It’s a very dramatic story, full of action, but you don’t neglect description or character, and you even squeeze in some profound philosophy with your last line. An impressive piece, Joy!

    Liked by 3 people

    • It did involve a fair amount of squeezing to get it down from the original concept to only 150 words, so I’m gratified to hear that you think it worked. Thanks so much for the kind comment, Penny!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This reminds me all too much of Al Qaeda destroying the monuments of bygone cultures – the temples of their own ancestors. How very much of its own time and place this feels and how very pertinent to our own times too. Wonderful, chilling words, Joy

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh yes, it breaks my heart to see any of these ancient temples and monuments destroyed! It really drives home how different groups are in what they think is vitally important and valuable. I wasn’t thinking of the real-life examples when I wrote this, but the connection was probably there subconsciously. Glad it moved you, Lynn.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It is heartbreaking, you’re so right. Cultural vandalism at its worst, though you could argue we in the UK had our fair share centuries ago during the Reformation when many protestants vandalised old churches, literally de-facing statues, destroying rood screens and crucifixes because they wanted to rid the church of its false idols. All that medieval beauty lost. There are parallels.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Unfortunately yes, many parallels. It’s hard to grasp how different the values were for other cultures and times, that they did not have the global view that we (some of us) have now, where we put such importance on respecting and preserving knowledge of all of history and all peoples. So it makes sense to them to destroy the things that venerate their enemies and only allow those things that glorify their own god(s) and family and tribe. I ran across that again recently, at the King Tutankhamun exhibit in LA, where they talked about how the ruler who came afterward destroyed so many of the statues and monuments of Tut’s family line. There’s a Latin name for it, a campaign of “damnatio memoriae,” meaning the deliberate erasure of all signs of the person, so that he will not be remembered. I can see the political logic, but still hate it.


  5. This was so good! Gripping beginning and a chilling ending. I feel like there could be a longer story here.
    But anyway, I just wanted to stop by and tell you that I’m celebrating my fourth year of blogging, and because I never could have made it without all the wonderful people that support me, I wrote them a small thank you to some of them. You’re one of them of course, and I didn’t want you to miss it. 🙂 You’ve been a huge inspiration both in the blogging world and outside. All those NaNoWriMos were a lot easier with you as a writing buddy. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad you liked the story, Megan, thanks! And thanks so much for the shout-out on your blog, that’s so sweet! I’m sorry I didn’t catch it when you first posted it; I’ve been super behind in posting and in reading everyone else’s blogs for the past couple weeks. I’m so glad you let me know about it. Awwww! So glad that I could be of help!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Wake of Evil | Tales from Eneana

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