Description: Because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before God when you heard his words against this place and its inhabitants, and you have humbled yourself before me and have torn your clothes and wept before me, I also have heard you, declares the Lord.
Above Delphi, the heavens foretold deluge.
The pressure was whispering the thunder, the winds hinted the power, but the clouds had yet let slip its rain. A short yet secluded walk from this quaint yet venerable town was a small clearing in the parched foliage. In the rocky field, hidden in the brush and soil, were a few exposing of marble. The ruined remains below were difficult to see, let alone recognize as an abandoned timeworn shrine.
One woman had interest in it, a woman named Sybil. Her white suit was immaculate in opposition to her environment, and her shoes were spotless despite the terrain. She had but a hat to protect from the oncoming rain, at most shielding what makeup that did not hide behind her shades. She altogether seemed overdressed for trail blazing.
But she had to look her best, she had a terribly important meeting.
She suspected she had eyes watching her, she knew she had hands interrupting her work twice over. Now she wanted to meet the face behind it. She needed to send a message back, to ask him to reveal himself. Information about him was scarce to begin with, knowing the exact method of summon would be impossible. But some very ancient knowledge held a hint of hope.
She dropped her bag on the ground a with a metallic -kaplink!-. From it she retrieved a butcher's beef bone and tossed to the broken remains of was once an altar. An empty echo of ancient sacrifice, but an offering it was. She called out her summons to the brewing heavens as much she could mangle from an archaic tongue.
"Hypatos Astrapios! Erk-o-may!"
To those who approach with humility and an honest heart, the Lord of Thunder is often found to be a gentle soul. He who's spirit rages throughout the heavens must also be the gentle rain that nourishes crops, the light shower that cools a hot day. But so often it is humanity's fears that linger, and so it is that he is remembered for his wrath.
A booming roar shakes the earth and lightning splits the sky, briefly illuminating the rocky field that Sybil's small fire does not reach. A moment later and her surroundings are plunged once more into darkness, sun swallowed behind a roiling mass of angry clouds. And yet, if the impractically dressed woman feels eyes upon her they are not that of a god. Not until her words ring out in the face of the storm, red flame licking up to consume the offering.
There is a pause, a moment in which time seems to stretch into infinity, the wind slowing to the lightest of breezes, noise fading away until only the crackle of her fire can be heard.
A length of gold chain clatters into the fire, sparks jumping free of the altar to sputter out against the wet marble that surrounds it. A locket, as clean and glittering as the day it was gifted, now rests beside the bone, one beginning to heat while the other burns.
"A child in Japan, a play thing in China, yet you call for me in Greece."
Across the fire, where once there had been only empty space, the shadowed silhouette of a man leans against a tall shaft of some kind, his outline suggesting a broad conical hat and flowing robes, though despite the fire's best efforts no light seems to touch him. Smoke rises from the smoldering offerings, swirling between them in lazy patterns and casting odd shimmering reflections off of the rain drops that have frozen around them, cool wind barely felt as time slows to a near stop outside of the being's influence.
"What an ambitious web you weave. Speak, mortal, and I will listen."
Though the voice is not loud, the soft words pierce their surroundings with authority, the mere presence of the god causing the air to hum with a static charge. This is no illusion, no trick of perception. She has called, and the Lord of Thunder has answered. The question is, what will she do now that she's got his attention?
The thunder cracks, and her broker's plan began to work. She had been hoping for a shower of gold, but she was glad it was no white bull. Before her ambitions rose to secure the next step, the pure power reverberates through her core. The feeling of time's flow shifting, distorting senses in Sybil that she did not know had orientations to lose. By the time she could pull her attentions back, she had already been asked to speak.
She quickly bowed as a gentleman for lack dress to courtesy with. "Oh Lightning Bringer, I am humbled by your attendance." She exalted to the lord. "As for this location" she began to explain "I don't know your secluded shrines and sacred places there, in lands so vast and distant. But I knew this place, a place where mortal ears heard the voices of gods. And I knew an altar to a Lord of Thunder. " She finally rose again upon an interlude of silence. She did not enjoy showing this deference, but the egos of gods are foolish things to test.
She crossed her hands across her chest and began her plea. "I came here to ask of a problem. " She continued with a softened voice. "An associate of mine, a messenger, has been unable to give me his messages. You witnessed the start of the problem, and it kept going when a courier failed her delivery of the solution. " Any explicit blame or fault moved away from the lord directly, lest he take offense.
"I ask to understand this, so all interests may be served. " She pulled her hands from her torso, spreading them to emphasize the all.
"An associate, and a courier." Lord Raiden muses, only the faintest note of amusement flitting throughout his thoughtful tone. "Surely you do not speak of the messenger who's vulnerabilities you would prey upon, and the thief you sent to steal my favor? Has the language of mortals changed so much?"
A soft click escapes the shadowy form, hat seeming to dip forward as if he were studying the flames that dance between them. The sound is one of somber disappointment, a single tut to mark a passing failure. Already the locket has begun to glow a beautiful rosy red, the edges of the bone charred black while the rain hangs nearly motionless around them.
"I see no problem to be solved. The messenger will be well cared for, and will remain free of your web."
Though the words are not angry or aggressive, there is a note of finality about them. At least in the opinion of the god, the discussion is over.
"There is much you do not know. Of the gods, of the realm, and of the soul. You would be wise to grow your knowledge before seeking me out again."
Men have given final offers to Sybil before. She found ways to turn them to second to last, or midway offers. It was all perception on what that final offer was.
"Cared for? "She protested "Who at that estate cares for the young man? How free is he from the webs and plans of the Gongs? " She calmed from slight objection back to a fašade of deference. "I am sorry for the problem of your favor, but we both want him safe."
From her bag a trio of pennies floated towards the fire, lifting up the pendant to the eye level of both. IT gentle span above the fire, reflecting illuminated face and shadowed silhouette.
"We can work together to protect him. " She slipped from crimson lips pursed in an inviting smile.
Against all the laws of physics and sense, the pendant that Sybil drags from the fire takes a portion of the flames with it. Heat radiates off of the rosy metal as it stretches and begins to drip, droplets of molten gold splatting into the flames as the clinging fire continues to consume it. Below, the edges of the beef bone crumble, ash flaking away from an ever-shrinking whole.
The shadowed brim of Raiden's hat lifts, hidden eyes gazing toward the smiling woman with an intensity that can be felt. There are none of the usual feelings the despicable human might draw forth from a man. Only wrathful intensity restrained by slowly fading patience.
"When a god speaks," the shadowed figure says, soft voice alive with the distant crackle of lightning, "Heed him."
This last bit of wisdom given, Lord Raiden's silhouette seems to blur, one moment standing across the fire, the next a faint smudge some feet away, staff clicking against stone as he walks off into the frozen dark.
In and above the fire, the offerings continue to burn, their substance melting away toward nothing.
The necklace began to tumble into the fire. "Wait!"Sybil exclaimed in shock, realizing the deity was beginning his exit. "I have every right to get my messages!" This god was turning his back on her, refusing to negotiate, or even discuss. Her bag spilled over, letting the metallic contents to tumble upon rock and soil.
Her voice dropping any pretense of calm formalities, replaced with a growing spite. "Why should your own schemes and illusions be allowed, while I just want to find things out?" Great tendrils of coins, old pennies of pure copper, formed behind her. Great pointed arcs created a backdrop for the woman, her fury no longer contained.
"Tell me Thunder Thighs! How in the god damn am I in the wrong here!" She screamed across the dwindling flame.
Though Sybil rages toward the dark stillness of the sky, there is no answer from the disappearing god. In moments the click of his staff has retreated, offerings consumed in a sudden rush of superheated flame. A great blast of wind washes over the woman and her metal, cool rain cascading down to once more soak the land. Distantly, thunder roars, the only answer she is likely to get as to why.
Why indeed. To the great annoyance of some, it is an oft-stated fact that the rambling series of interlinked coincidences mortals call life is, in fact, not fair. And no matter how hard we beat our breasts or how fiercely we shake our fists at the sky, the universe remains an uncaring observer of our myriad misfortunes.
This, and other facts can be found filed under g, for grief, or perhaps P, for Prayer, in the twilight zone.
Log created on 20:41:44 08/17/2021 by Raiden, and last modified on 02:37:08 08/19/2021.