Lorsan heaved the bags he was carrying onto the kitchen table and turned to retrieve the basket from Lydia, who sidestepped and put it on the table herself. He was aware of buying rather a lot, but it was rare to have a visitor and this one needed feeding up and strengthening for as long as she chose to stay. It wasn’t like he couldn’t afford it, one advantage to being immortal, it was rather easier to accumulate riches, early on through tributes, then hunting treasure and then, as civilisation advanced, some well-placed, well-covered investments in interesting enterprises.
They’d eaten filled pastries at the market to see them through lunch, so he had no excuses to feed her until dinner. Unless… what was socially acceptable for afternoon tea these days? His mental menu hopping was interrupted by a loud knocking.Lydia looked for the exit.
Lorsan smiled reassuringly, and moved towards the front door, making sure she had choices and time for hiding or escaping out of the back door. She stayed put, tense but determined to appear calm.
The instant he lifted the latch, the door flew open and two figures bounded through. If champagne and sunlight were given humanoid form, it would look like these two. Golden, glowing and irrepressible, Lorsan gave them space and hoped Lydia would be able to read their good intent, rather than their insane energy. She backed towards the door, ready for a quick exit if needed, but the two newcomers had enough smarts to give her space as well, and avoided blocking her escape route, clearly putting her slightly more at ease.
Having bounced around the kitchen several times, and managing to magic the groceries away in the process (Lorsan hoped he could find everything later), they spun to a temporary slow fizz next to him and turned to examine his guest.
“Lorsan has a friend!”
“It’s a human friend”
“She’s rather pretty Lorsan”
“But scared, did you scare her?”
“You weren’t mean to her were you Lorsan?”
“Do we need to protect you lady?”
The last was accompanied by attempts at fierce frowns from the pair. That was enough for Lydia, she began to laugh. The first sign of true relaxation since Lorsan dragged her from the confrontation the previous night. He rather wished it had been him to inspire it, rather than the twins, but he’d take any progress he could get.
“I think that means she’s okay”
“Does that mean she was scared of us?”, Now the expressions were doleful.
Lorsan left Lydia to her chortles and explained, “I brought Lydia here after she had a rather nasty encounter with some bad people. She’s not quite sure of things just yet.”
“But Lorsan, you have no power”
“How did you manage it?”
Lorsan turned to the kettle, always reaching for tea when a little uncomfortable.
“It seems she’s unusually well versed in history or mythology. I answered her prayer.”
“You have a worshipper?”
“Is she going to be your high priestess?”
“Are you going to have hordes of followers again?”
“You’ll still have time for us won’t you?”
That exchange left Lydia open-mouthed and slightly nervous again, Lorsan rushed to reassure all of them, sort of.
“No, she simply prayed to me out of desperation, I don’t think she’s interested in being a full believer or anything like that and I always have time for you two.”
“I can speak for myself you know.”
Lorsan glanced at Lydia, now he was the nervous one, “Of course, I just didn’t want you to feel any pressure, the twins are jumping to a fairly standard assumption for the god world but I don’t want you to think I’m going to try and push you into anything you’re not happy about. Although, the power boost is nice if you do end up deciding to believe in me.”
The kettle helpfully decided to boil and Lorsan grabbed the excuse to busy himself with tea-making and waving people to chairs (Lydia) and random, shifting perches (the twins).
It gave Lydia a moment to collect her thoughts, and her curiosity.
“I learnt of you from an old book that, ironically, was the trigger for the trouble with those men. Because it was old and in a language they couldn’t read – not that they can read much past the price of ale – they decided it was a black magic grimoire and therefore I was an evil witch.”
The twins oooed and ahhed and looked at Lorsan accusingly.
“It wasn’t his fault, there were quite a few other gods and goddesses listed in there, and I’d gone through several of them before I got to Lorsan. He was the only one who paid attention and took action.” she glanced over at him, “For the record, while you weren’t the first one I prayed to, you were quite a long way from being the last on the list.”
Lorsan flushed in pleasure. While he was happy with his quiet life, it was occasionally nice to not be completely forgotten.
Lydia looked to the twins, “So I obviously know who he is, but, if you’ll pardon my ignorance, who are you?”
Lydia looked to Lorsan, lost.
“People believe in astrology and it’s been remarkably consistent over the years. All the major constellations are now sentient entities, although some are easier to talk to than others.”
The twins snickered, “Pisces only likes Aquarius. Capricorn, Aries and Taurus literally butt heads and everyone’s scared of Scorpio. Virgo’s nice enough and Sagittarius is fun.”
Lydia clearly needed a moment to absorb this, so Lorsan turned his attention to his golden visitors.
“So what brings you here? I’m always glad to see you of course, but you usually have a purpose.”
The sudden twin expressions of guilt and concern made him twitch to attention.
“We got distracted by your nice visitor.”
“We wanted to give you advance notice.”
“Thunder said he was going to visit you today.”
“We don’t know why.”
“We think you should go out on a picnic.”
“Or hide and pretend no one’s home.”
Lorsan cocked his head toward the front door.
“Too late I think, there’s someone coming up the path and they’ll see us if we run out the back door. Plus they’ve probably seen your glow through the windows so we can’t hide either.”
The predicted knock at the door was more of a boom, the twins fizzed down further and tried to make themselves small. Lydia tensed and moved to stand, but didn’t yet run. Lorsan tried to find something reassuring to say, found nothing, sighed and turned to open the front door.
And indeed, Indra/Thor/Raijin was standing on his doorstep. What was unexpected was how hard he was trying to look nonthreatening and peaceable. Lorsan stepped aside, wordlessly inviting one of the most powerful gods in the multi-pantheon inside. Thunder accepted, shuffling in slightly sheepishly. He looked around the room, taking in the mullishly frightened twins and the unsure but determined stance Lydia had adopted.
“Have I come at a bad time?”
“Not at all, I was making tea, would you like some?”
“Yes, yes that would be good.”
Lorsan had never known Thunder to drink anything other than mead or ale, and the twins clearly picked up on the god’s strange behaviour, perking up slightly and moving closer to the kitchen table. Lydia on the other hand, snorted in further amusement.
“Is tea your answer to everything?”
“Until something better presents itself, yes. It tends to do surprisingly well.”
He was impressed by her strength and rather proud he’d been able to finally coax a laugh (of sorts) from her.
Thunder turned on his attempt at charm, “I don’t believe we’ve met, I have a number of identities but you may address me as Great Lord or Most Noble.”
He wilted slightly under Lydia’s scornful stare, “Or Thunder will do.”
The twins turned effervescent again and swarmed to Lydia who tensed, but held her ground.
“That was marvelous!”
“Can you do it again?”
“Can we take you to meet Father God and Creator?”
Lorsan interrupted, “Not right now, we have other things to attend to. Thunder, to what do we owe the pleasure of your company?”