continued from 54/366 – A God’s Child
“What the hell are you saying? My father is a war god?” Morn said, his face flushing.
“Why do you think he was so tired down here?” Azariah said. “He wasn’t able to be himself for decades. If I couldn’t change things for twenty years, I’d be tired too.”
“How many gods are locked away still?” Morn asked.
“Why should I tell you?” Azariah said, “They always meddle in things and try to leverage their followers to do their bidding. It’s not a good world to be in. People wouldn’t be free to do what they want anymore without fear of angering a god.”
“I don’t care about that,” Morn replied, taking a step closer to them. “You will tell me what I want to know.”
“Or what?” Azariah said, flicking their wrist. Morn slid back ten feet. “You’re going to do something to me? I’m not scared of you.”
Morn felt the push of Azariah’s power against him, but the anger building inside was too much for him to not push back. He lifted one foot and moved it forward. It landed heavily against the carpet beneath him, but then he slid further backward. Azariah’s face was pure amusement as he struggled against his power.
“You may have some power because of who your father is, but you pale in comparison to an actual god,” Azariah said, walking up to him. With a quick movement, he grabbed Morn’s wrist and pulled him in. “Let me show you what it was like.”
In a flash, the room dissolved around Morn. He could feel the strength of Azariah’s grip on him still while the world around him reformed. He saw they were standing on top of a mountain looking down on an unfamiliar landscape. The glowing embers of massive fires swept from every direction while the heat blasted up the mountainside.
“You have no concept of what gods do when they are free to roam. This is a war from a thousand years ago. The pantheon decided that they needed new leadership, and your father stood at the front of that fight. Followers of every religion amassed armies and marched for the glory of their patron,” Azariah said, “Let’s look a little closer, shall we?”
Again, the world fell away, and Morn found himself in the center of a battlefield. Hundreds of people lay dead around him, those that lived were fighting. On the east side of the battle, banners danced in the wind embroidered with the symbols of a god he didn’t know. On the west side, the banners had all fallen, drenched in blood, making it near impossible to see who they were fighting for.
“These are citizens of the same world, the same country even,” Azariah said, “This is the result of infighting between gods. Sentient races being pitted against each other to dwindle the worship of other gods.”
Morn felt his stomach turn and bent to empty it. The smell of the burning corpses was overwhelming.
“Do you understand now? Do you see why I helped that wizard achieve their goals?” Azariah asked, releasing Morn’s wrist. “I was locked away, true, but this was what was happening just before they got strong enough to build deictic prisons.”
“There is so much death,” Morn said.
“Exactly. Deities receive their power from their followers. If all of them are slain, the god drifts in the astral sea until they are no more than a husk of their former selves,” Azariah said, touching Morn’s arm gently this time. The world faded again and returned in a floating atmosphere of mist. Before them, a giant creature, it’s cold eyes forever staring into the distance. “This was one of my brothers. His name was Routant. He was a god of art and creation a long time ago.”
“Is he dead?” Morn asked.
“As dead as a god can be,” Azariah said. “When we lose our power, we drift out here until something remembers us and rekindles the spark that fills us, or until other beings come to harvest from our bodies.”
“There are other things out here?” Morn asked.
“Terrible creatures that dig into the bodies of forgotten deities and use what little is left of their power to fuel their civilizations,” Azariah said. “I know in the small scale, it seems like I made poor decisions, but this is the existence of a god in the aftermath of a fight like the one I showed you.”
“Do you think my father will continue his fight?” Morn asked.
“It’s impossible to know for sure, but he has bottled his fight for a long enough time that he will be filled with blood lust once he is restored,” Azariah said. “If he begins the wars again, no mortal will be safe, and all of us will suffer.”
“What about Rashem? Was he part of the wars?” Morn asked.
“No,” Azariah replied, shaking their head. “Rashem was one of only five that didn’t get involved. They instructed their followers to hide from the forces seeking control and hid with them to keep them safe. That’s why there are so few that remain now.”
“Findecno?” Morn asked. “What about him?”
“Findecno was one that didn’t get involved, but the wizard sought anyway. If they hadn’t been corrupted, they wouldn’t have been trapped,” Azariah replied, touching Morn once more.
The world vanished again, and Morn found that he was standing on top of the town hall. He watched the people stepping into the circles a dozen at a time as wizards activated their magic, and the people vanished.
“The people of this world shouldn’t have to struggle and live in fear of gods anymore. We cause too many problems and change too much,” Azariah said. “Between the two of us, we could make sure that no more gods could ever reach the material plane again.”
“What are you suggesting?” Morn asked.
“I’m suggesting that we work together to speak with the other gods, free and trapped alike. If we can convince them of their mistakes in the past, we might be able to gather together and create a better place in which we can exist where our reach is limited here. So we can never again ravage the world with holy wars and bloodshed.”