[Excerpt from Chapter 4]
"COME, YE FAITHFUL, AND WORSHIP THE LION!"
Melanie, Satchelle, Brion, and all the people responded, "We worship the Naslan!"
"MAY WE NEVER FORGET THE GREAT NASLAN!"
Again, the crowd replied, "Yea, may we always remember!"
"MAY HE COVER YOU WITH HIS BREATH!"
"Oh Great Naslan, cover us!"
"MAY HE ANSWER YOUR PETITION!"
"Oh Naslan, hear our prayer!"
"MAY YOU WALK WORTHY OF HIS CARE!"
"Oh Naslan, grant us your favor!"
"MAY THE NASLAN WATCH OVER YOU!"
"Great Naslan, lead us on the right path; guard us from evil ways and men!"
"MAY HE GIVE YOU HIS BLESSING!"
"Oh Naslan, bless us this day!"
"MAY HE RECEIVE GIFTS FROM YOUR HANDS!"
"Inexorable Naslan, receive our sacrifice!"
Once this peculiar call-and-response finished, two assistants brought in the animals for the sacrifice: two he-goats, and a strong bull.
"Ooh, now for the sacrifice!" Satchelle whispered.
Melanie took advantage of the delay to turn to her new friend and ask, "What are the Petitions for?"
Satchelle looked puzzled. "They're for the service of course!"
"Satchelle," Melanie said as Grammon's assistants finally approached the altar (shaped, Melanie noted, out of stone and in the form of a table), "what about when he says 'May you never forget the Naslan,' and you say, 'yea, may we always remember'? What must you remember?"
Poor Satchelle was in a quandary now! "Well! I never saw such a girl for questionin'! Why, it's to remind us to come to the next service, of course!"
"In their ignorance, they have ceased to truly worship Me."
She looked toward the voice, on her left, but the person who seemed to speak had a cloak like hers, pulled so low she could not see his face at all. He spoke again, "You must tell them the truth about Me."
Melanie's heart jumped at this. "Me? Stand up in front of all those people? I am a stranger here, and what would I say? Besides, how can I tell the truth about you when I don't even know who you are?"
The hooded man sighed, and Melanie felt his breath, and smelled its wonderful aroma.
"Do you not, Child?"
[Excerpt from Chapter 5]
By the end of the speech, the entire crowd was on its feet, wailing, begging, "What must we do?"
Melanie could not make herself heard above the crowd, but she tried anyway.
"Tear down this false image! Believe in the one True Aslan!"
All her cries did no good; the only person to hear her was Grammon. Perhaps, though, this fact saved the situation, for the old priest, galvanized to action by the truth he heard, and by the spirit of Aslan empowering him, cried louder than the din,
"MEN OF TELMAR! HELP ME!"
He grabbed the nearest tool—the sacrificial knife—and whacked off the gilded tail of the lion-idol. The people understood his intentions immediately. Soon, the statue was surrounded by zealous men belaboring it, breaking it, chipping and twisting the dexterous artwork.
Melanie worried the crowd would crush her, but someone grabbed her hand and pulled her out of the enthusiastic crowd.
It seems there were many (perhaps a hundred or more) who could not even get close to the crowd tearing down the statue.
"Good pilgrim," they asked Melanie, "what can we do?"
Inspired by Aslan, Melanie replied, "The whole city must know the truth! Go forth and proclaim the good news everyone to your neighbors!"
She gestured to the open door of the temple, and the whole throng excitedly exited en masse. In a very short time, there were so many voices shouting the news about the True Lion that even the boisterous merchants could not be heard. Some "zealots" stood in each corner of the market and cried aloud, hoping to draw a crowd, while others looked for their friends who had chosen to remain in the Square shopping rather than attend the service. The night sky rang with the name of Aslan.
As more and more people heard and believed, they stopped their transactions, and either listened or were motivated to preach themselves.
The merchants could see their business slipping away. Even some of their own comrades were so distracted by these believers that they stopped selling and haggling to listen to the unique message. A few of those who listened came under such conviction that they promptly returned the money they collected, and began giving their merchandise freely. Others who heard were so intent on continuing to make a profit in spite of these missionaries that they stopped their ears with cotton and continued hawking their wares. Many of the merchants were so frustrated with the competition that they simply cleared up and left Nast.
Melanie watched all this from the steps of the Temple. With Aslan to guide her, perhaps sharing his truth was not so difficult as she originally thought.
The men charged with dispatching the idol presently came pouring out of the Temple, adding their voices to the others. Melanie peeked into the sanctuary. Grammon and his assistants swept up the dust from the floor. The huge idol was no more than baskets of bronze and gold nuggets neatly stacked before the altar.
When Melanie emerged from the Temple once more, a hand clapped her on the shoulder. Melanie looked up into the face of a brawny, stern soldier.
"This is the one," he told his men. Instantly, two guards seized her arms and followed their commander in the direction of the castle.
Their forceful manner frightened Melanie. She could hear a herald behind her in the Square telling the people to quiet their cries or go home. Melanie chanced to hear a few voices trying exuberantly to convert the herald before she was too far away to hear anything else.
"Why are you taking me away in this manner?" she asked the guard, but they neither spoke nor looked at her. Wordlessly, they cast her into a holding cell—a small room with only a bed and a small table—where she would wait till the following morning to learn her fate.
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