Pinterest Story Prompts: Write about a character who happens to be a god. The catch? This character is practically powerless, as nobody worships them any more. Double catch? Suddenly, one day, they feel that someone is praying for their protection. – maxkirin.tumblr.com
If you want a beautiful story about a forgotten god, read this set of Tumblr posts. If you want something a little more rough around the edges (and shorter as there’s only one writer and I have the attention span of a flea), please see below…
Also see Small Gods by Terry Pratchett, Hogfather plays off the ideas around belief creating actuality too (and does it brilliantly).
Lorsan was tending his roses when he felt the tug. At first he thought it was his imagination, but it persisted. A prayer. After how many hundred years, someone was praying to him. And if he remembered the feel of this tug correctly, it was a desperate one. Made sense, only those in the direst of straits would dig as far back as him for aid.
Still, a prayer was a prayer and one like this had to be answered, even though he was probably going to be as much use as a candle in the desert. Summoning one of the few powers remaining to him, Lorsan breathed in, and teleported to the location of his unexpected supplicant.
Dire straits indeed.
The internal pull was coming from a raggedly-dressed woman pressed up against a wall as three men and as many vicious-looking dogs slowly closed in on her, enjoying her terror. Lorsan checked his internal reserves, yep, nothing worth mentioning power-wise. This was about to get interesting.
He strolled forward casually, smiling at the group as he ‘accidentally’ placed himself between the woman and her adversaries. Inwardly his expression was rather different, immortal he might be, but this was still going to hurt. A lot.
“Evening people, rather chilly night for a stroll isn’t it? I’m one for making it back to my hearth as soon as possible.”
One of the men growled, “We’ll be on our way as soon as we’ve taken care of this witch.”
Lorsan glanced at the woman in apparent surprise, while feeling an increase in the desperation of her call. She thought he was yet more trouble. Focusing, he managed to pick out her name from the jumble of thoughts and emotions darting around.
“You think Lydia is a witch?” he snickered
The name had the desired effect. The men paused, uncertain, the woman’s belief leaped, and with it, his power.
“Really boys, if you think she’s a witch, you’ve never seen magic.”
Reaching behind him for Lydia’s wrist, he grabbed it, and shifted them back to his cottage just as the mini mob moved from confusion to aggression. He made a mental note to watch a replay of their reactions as soon as he had a spare moment.
In the meantime, he had a new believer, possibly temporary, to deal with and he had a feeling this wasn’t about to go smoothy.
Lydia spun away from him trying to find an exit. He’d teleported them into his sitting room but was wondering if the garden may have been a better idea. His follower clearly had issues with enclosed spaces and men and he wasn’t even sure how he was manifesting to her.
“Who are you, what have you done, what do you want, how did you know my name?”
“That’s quite a few questions. Would it be okay if I answered them over a cup of tea?”
“Well, yes. Hot, wet, soothing and a good way to punctuate a conversation. Plus it means we can move into the kitchen which will give you access to some rather good knives.”
“You want to give me a knife?”
“You’re clearly nervous” (he thought ‘scared out of your wits was possibly not diplomatic, but he was out of practice), “And I thought having a clear means of defence might help you feel a little more comfortable or in control or something. Sorry if I’m wrong, I’m terribly out of touch with modern etiquette so please let me know if something else would be more reassuring.”
Lydia looked at him as if he was completely insane, but deigned to move through to the kitchen area where he busied himself with the kettle and tea leaves.
“Milk? Honey? Sugar?”
“Just milk please” She watched him like a hawk. Her thoughts clearly broadcasting an expectation of drugs or somesuch.
He poured two mugs, added milk and indicated to her to choose the one she preferred. He picked up the other and flopped down into one of the chairs at the kitchen table, Lydia perched on another.
“Now, answering your questions. Who am I? Well I’m Lorsan, the Atlantan god of mercy. You’re the first person who has prayed to me in aeons. So the least I could do is respond.”
Lydia sat frozen. A scan of the thoughts and emotions surrounding her mind screamed disbelief, confusion and rapidly-mounting panic. That needed to be headed off fast, he had no idea how to convince his possible acolyte that throwing the carving knife at his head and bolting for the door was not the best course of action.
“Of course I’d love to know how you even knew about me, let alone had the presence of mind or focus to pray to me in such a bad situation. Your belief was strong enough to get us both out of there, and for that I am very grateful. A dagger still hurts even when you’re immortal.”
He took a sip and continued through her questions, “What have I done? Not much I’m afraid, I lack the power these days, I just used your prayer to travel to you, then used your belief to bring us back to my home. What do I want? I’m a god, worship is nice but I’ll settle for the occasional half-hearted prayer and a sacrifice of some ginger biscuits to go with my tea. Now what was the last one? Ah, yes, your name. I can’t read the minds of my followers any more but if I’m near anyone being particularly loud and undisciplined in their thoughts, I can pick things up – and those three thugs were quite fixated on you, they had your name rattling around so hard I could just about see it.”
Lydia shuddered, “If that’s true, you would have picked up a lot more than just my name.”
“I did, and the only reason I didn’t give them the mercy of a quick but deeply painful death was that your safety was my priority, so that’s where I channelled the power. Although if you feel up to some prayer or believing in the next little while, I can probably send across some rather nasty cases of boils.”
There was a brief quirk of a smile in reaction to this and, seeing she’d settled enough to think through his rambling answer he lolled back into his chair and turned his attention to the tea.