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The Tale of the Travelling Swordsman

The Tale of the New Arrival</i>

<i>Maresuki reached the gates of Great Forks just as the sun was setting. The head watchman, a spirit with shimmering blue eyes and hair who wore a cloak of flowing water, picked him out of the crowd and bade him halt. He complimented her on her attire, gave genial but not particularly revealing answers to her questions regarding his business in the city, and allowed her to peace-bond his weapons. After chatting amiably with her and the other guards for a few more minutes, the Golden Tongue of the Dawn took their leave and passed through the gates, heading down the stone-paved streets to the agora.

The Tale of the Beggar Gods</i>

<i>As Maresuki approached the city's main square, he passed down the Avenue of Prayermongers, where prophets, heretics and madmen of all stripes accosted passersby, soliciting worship for the legion of spirits too weak or disgraced to have a temple of their own.

"Give offerings to Star-Eyed Pah!" cried a man dressed in tatters, holding up an idol whose eyes were cheap glass cut to look like diamonds. "When she returns to her rightful place as the ruler of the Imperial Mount, you will not be forgotten!"

"Mun-Selok will bring you wealth! Simply wear his talisman and chant his name at sunrise every day!" The oily-haired youth shook a fistful of brass medallions in Maresuki's face while grabbing for his string of coins with the other. The Solar swordsman turned to look at another caller, incidentally causing the hilt of one of his swords to strike the boy's knuckles; the youth jerked his numbed hand back and watched sullenly as Maresuki moved on.

"Please," said a blue man whose hair was a crest of rainbow feathers. "Please, my sister and I lost our worshippers when Thorns fell. We have no home. Please." Maresuki paused, looking on the sad-eyed god and the winged girl who huddled next to him, shivering under a cloak of dirty feathers. He gave the man a jade coin, and breathed out a word that spun and sparkled golden in the air until he caught it and placed it in the girl's hands.

The man's eyes went wide. "You... You are --"

"No one of consequence," Maresuki finished for him, smiling serenely. "May the Sun always smile upon you, and may you some day find your way back to Heaven." He bowed to the two gods, and then let himself be swept away by the stream of pedestrians.

"Charms and spells! Charms and spells empowered by mighty Toca!"

"Your swords, let Shey of the Blade bless your swords, oh mighty warrior!"

"Join those who search for Orduan the Dusk-Bringer! When his Sixfold Iron Claw is reforged, the heavens will tremble before his might!"

"Help Caliphrexos, unjustly cast out from the Three's council by scheming rivals! Sign your name to this petition, that he may be reinstated and once more bring his wisdom to..."

"I sing the praises of Hun Tan the Unnamed, whose..."

"We search for Him of the Hat! Join our number and..."

"Worship the Stone! The Stone will bring..."

A hundred disreputable clerics and fanatics cried out like merchants at a bazaar, extolling their gods' virtues and promising great rewards to any who would offer the smallest devotion. Maresuki ignored their heckling, but gave offerings to those small gods who, like the feathered man and his sickly sister, were too weak or too broken or simply too tired to bluster or bribe or do anything but ask for compassion.

After a time, he came to the end of the street, and stepped out into the agora.

Whom does Maresuki seek in the City of a Thousand Gods?

Shades of Lankhmar! It never occured to me that the small gods would be worshipped in such a way in Creation. It gives a real swords-and-sorcery feel to the setting that I really appreciate. Bravo! - Quendalon

Ooooh, how Discworld-esque! But, of course, in a good way:) I've always liked the concepts of Small Gods, and that is a very interesting view of them. In fact, all the stories you have here are very good...the origin of Luna especially!:) Very very cool. - Crowned Sun

This is wonderful, I love the idea, and will have to use it somewhere :-) - CorlanDashiva

Very good story, I can't wait to read more - Malikai

*gank* That's me stealing the Beggar Gods. And a little more of Exalted clicking in to place. :) DS

Some of my PCs are about to return to Great Forks, and I'm using this story for inspiration. - Quendalon

*yoink*! Wow, that's just cool, exactly how I figured destitute gods would be, keep it up! - YerMum

Great stuff, and this is a wonderful way to represent small/displaced gods. Jamez