Note: I first excerpted this in 2012. This is one of my favorite scenes in Crow God’s Girl, in which a homesick young lady tries to find her place in a very strange world.
“Merry Christmas, Eri. I have a present for you and your brothers. Let’s go wake ’em up so we can celebrate.”
They bundled up and tiptoed down the hall, Eri practically jumping out of her skin at the new adventure.
Kate had never been in the boys’ bedroom. When the three boys were home they shared a bed, but now it was just Aevin and Yare, and the bedroom smelled of boy funk, and gear, and sweaty socks and dirty boots. Eri jumped on the bed, giggling, shouting,
Aevin was shocked, sweeping his brown hair out of his eyes. He pulled the covers up around him and Yare. They both wore long nightshirts.
“What?! Eri, what are you doing? Kett, you shouldn’t be in here.”
Kate jumped on the bed with Eri, sitting at the foot of the bed against the huge bedpost.
“It’s Christmas, Aevin. No rules on Christmas.”
The boys were more receptive to the idea of presents, dumping out the little stockings on the bed while Kate told them the Christmas story, both the secular version that she had grown up with, about Santa Claus and his elves and reindeer, and the religious one about the birth of a king who was also a god. They all tried the whistles and she had to shush them from making too much noise.
“Would you like to learn some Christmas songs?” she said hopefully. They glanced around at one another and shrugged. Kate took that as a yes. She drew in a breath and started on “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing.”
She didn’t have much of a voice, and she had to sing quietly, but the children listened intently. When she was done, she had to wipe back tears. Gray light trickled in through the shuttered windows, and the fire burned brightly, though no one had brought it back to life. That was weird, but she felt both too good and too homesick to think about it much. The room felt comfortable and peaceful and for a few moments they sat crosslegged in silence on the lumpy, messy bed.
What I was doing: In the world of Aeritan, people’s lives are connected to various gods. There are the soldier’s god, the grass god’s daughter (the god of women), the crow god, and the high god (the god of the ruling class). People believe in deities in Aeritan, but there’s not an organized religion, though everyone acknowledges the presence of deities. But what happens when a human from our world crosses over to Aeritan? In Gordath Wood, the Judeo-Christian God makes His presence felt, in a small quiet scene, and again in Red Gold Bridge, and now here in The Crow God’s Girl.
Even though I’m the author of this series, there are mysteries I don’t have the answer to. (That’s why I write, I suppose.) Maybe I will come back to this question of God and gods and see if I can discover more. In the meantime, enjoy Christmas in Aeritan.