Putting the "Dark" in "Dark Trinity"[10 Hispis 4385]
Nangbang, recently freed from his subterranean nap, and wrapped in black robes so that we could not see his dirt-dulled fur, did the same sort of introduction that the Great Priest of Iraz Varuun had. Nolotham incense instead of scathnard, and he ringed the altar in five black iron daggers instead of thirteen books, of course.
My offering was a small hezarion brooch in the shape of a dagger, with a tiny drop of a ruby at the pommel, stabbing a coiled serpent. I am a smith in good standing, so I am allowed to make this sort of thing. But I am not very good at making large things -- a proper dagger would have been not much smaller than myself. I have done that, as an apprentice smith; but I prefer doing jewelry.
And I prayed for a while, which, for Accanax, had a lot of Gormoror war-poetry, and chants of glorious spellbreakings. I am not much of a Gormoror bard, but, in theory, one does not need to be.
And then, between the words "and" and "then" in the Lay of Ghonbodak Gharbos, most of the world fell away -- in the sense of "someone very big and very strong and very intangible grabbed me and hoisted me off".
Coloration: Take a jet-black cow, without a single light hair. Kill it at noontime. Sew a few strands of silver thread into it. Leave it in a hot place until midnight. Now look at the hide -- from the inside, with your eyeballs pressing up against the flesh-side of the skin. Yeah. That color.
Scent: The bouquet of composting love letters. Yeah. That scent.
Magic Sense: In his heart, he had the dismal sparky traces of a spell cast to lance boils on the cheeks of a Cani boy who has not been able to sleep for three days from the pain. In his exostructure, he had the bitter leaden traces of a spell to break the free will of a cyarr warrior. You surely have cast both of those yourself, or know of them, do you not?
Sound: When he spoke, his voice was like the death-cries of legions of ticks and lice. When he was silent, his silence was the silence that comes when the ashes of the forest fire are cold. You know, those sounds.
Texture: When he embraced me, his touch was like the breath of predatory crabs who have recently dug up the new graves of elderly Herethroy scholars to feed upon their recently-dead flesh. I'm sure you're familiar with how that feels.
Taste: I didn't taste him. You might not have done, either.
Shape: I'm not really sure.
Clothing: Not sure of that either.
"Oh, hello, Euphagy," I said. I wasn't alarmed by the sudden presence of an aspect of a god, or one of his greatest angels (modern theology is uncertain about which he is). This is not a particularly unusual reaction to finding onesself in the sudden presence of a god. We have, of course, known the gods since roughly birth -- or before, for those who have lived more than once. So a normal first reaction to them is as to an old friend.
I continued being not alarmed for nearly two-thirds of a second. First reactions last only so long.
Then, on remembering that he was either a fraction of a god or one of Accanax' supreme servitors -- it seemed the thing to do to start with some flattery, to show I knew somewhat about him. "Hail, O Minister of the Quadrangles of Ruin, He In Whose Mouth Scorpions Are Destroyed With Mirrors, Great Catabolist of the Lanterns of the East, Hail!"
I shut up quickly when I realized I was quoting from De Heptarchia Mysteria. Or, probably, misquoting from De Heptarchia Mysteria, given that I haven't read it since my abortive attempt to get an undergraduate degree over a century ago. And De Heptarchia Mysteria is somewhere between whimsical and wholly made up in the first place. (I mean, who calls the seven creator gods the "Heptarchy" anyways? It's not as if they rule anything.)
The darkness who devours all things made known to me that I was the creation of the god of an opposing Verb. [Sythyry's creator god rules Sustenoc, the Verb of sustaining. -bb]
I cast The Infinite Grenade, which created a large spiky nut, detonated it in a shower of spikes, healed it back together, only to have it detonate again a few seconds later, and again, and again. One does not ordinarily cast attack spells at either a fraction of a god or one of a god's senior angels, and especially not attack spells that are mostly intended for packs of animals in caves. But this spell demonstrates that the three opposites of Destroc -- Creoc, Healoc, and the one he was complaining about, Sustenoc -- can cooperate with Destroc to produce a clever form of destruction. Which Euphagy seemed to take in stride, if he has legs, which I am uncertain about.
The darkness who devours all things made known to me that the god was aware that I was proposing to construct a device to thwart a champion of his sister -- the god's sister.
I'm afraid I did not react with particular bravery.
The darkness who devours all things interrupted me in mid-whimper and made known to me that the god was pleased. Pleased with my designs. Pleased with my treatment of his champion. Pleased with the destruction I would surely leave in my wake.
I got a quick glimpse of the world as seen from a god's point of view: the dome of the sky showing its curve like a roof overhead, the whole top of the World Tree a flat plate of streaky green underneath me.
And then I was back in the Temple of the Dark Trinity at Oorah Thrassen.
I didn't bother finishing the Lay of Ghonbodak Gharbos. Nangbang and I closed up the consecration politely but quickly. It had already succeed, probably too much.
Nangbang:"We wasted that on a mere foreigner? We do not get such divine attention three times in a year, most years!"
Saza:"Lucky lizard! That's never happened to me!" (To which the answer had to be: "Of course not. You don't consecrate magic items, which is the only time it happens to anyone.")
La Hish:"Well, you certainly must fight us with it when you get back from vacation! Whatever this 'it' may be!"
Otresto:"Ah, so you get to make your first divine relic? Congratulations!"
Phaniet:"So how good is it?" (I'm not sure. Regular techniques do not necessarily apply.)
Kantele:"Are you all right? You look a bit wobbly." (This was back on Strayway, a few hours later.)
Vae didn't say anything to speak of. She did take her true form, which is a tall-by-full-sized-prime standards lizard with an exceeding long and flickery tail, and let me curl up against her belly for a long long time. With her terribly dangerous tail around me, and her clever sharp claws brushing my feathers. A monster who can challenge great cities without worry, and all she was doing was protecting and comforting me.
Comforting me from making a weapon against her, as she well knew. (We had discussed it beforehand.)
Not that it was too much comfort. In the face of the gods, we are kittens who have not yet opened their eyes. It was just one kitten comforting another.