Thunder scratched at his jaw, clearly searching for words. Lorsan calmly moved around the kitchen, tweaking and tidying. Lydia cocked an eyebrow at him but seemed to understand and moved cautiously back to a seat at the table, near the door and well away from Thunder.
The twins merely switched perches and looked on avidly.
“This may not have been the best idea,” Thunder finally got out.
Lorsan mentally called in all his reserves of patience and set a cup of tea in front of the troubled god. Thunder took a cautious sip, then unconsciously clasped the warm mug between both hands.
“I need your help.”
“Mine?”, Lorsan goggled, jolted out of his assumed calm, “But I’m powerless, forgotten. What can I do that you can’t?”
“The human world is changing. Yes it always has, but it’s moving faster and faster and I can’t keep up any more. I think I want to retire but I can’t leave my followers with no one and I don’t want to hand them off to Violence, or to War. Just because my people make weapons, it doesn’t mean they want to be using them willy nilly and they make loads of other, useful things as well.”
“Thunder’s people tend to be smiths, craftsmen and builders rather than soldiers.” Lorsan put in as an aside to a puzzled Lydia.
“Yes! And I need your help to find a good replacement for me, so they’re not dragged into arms races and escalating petty quarrels.”
The twins had moved closer and closer in during this exchange and were now sitting on the table, staring at Thunder in fascination.
“Do you want him to find your replacement?”
“Or be your replacement?”
Lorsan jumped, “Oh no, no, no, I’m not going back to that. No, I was never good at it and I’m not going through it again.”
“See, that’s why I need your help. Everyone else would just be looking for ways to add my people into their congregations, and worse, their armies, and that’s not right for them.”
The twins had more questions.
“But if you’re not sorting out prayers and miracles and bossing your priests around.”
“What are you going to do?”
“You’re not like Lorsan.”
Thunder looked even more bashful, “Well, it’s only fair that a person’s god has an understanding of what they do, so I’ve been turning my hand to various crafts for centuries and, when I started thinking I might want to step back a little, I studied what Lorsan was doing to offset his reduced power and started doing things without magic. It’s really fun. And so much more satisfying when I make it and it works and it was me, not my followers’ beliefs.”
“So you’re going to make things?”
“Well I don’t think I’m going to be the last of your visitors over the next few years. We’re getting tired and while there are some that still get a kick out of the power. There are a lot of deities who look like they’re deliberately slowing themselves down, not actively going after worshippers any more. I thought we could start a co-op. I’m getting quite good at cooking pots and am brewing a mead they’re drinking at feasts these days with no clue it’s not done with magic.”
Lorsan was impressed, and slightly aghast at the thought of wholesale changes to the multi-pantheon.
“So this replacement god, do you want to sound out the current set, or look for someone to elevate?”
“Elevation I think, it could be a sort of apprenticeship.”
“Would they be Thunder?”
“Will you have to change your name?”
Lorsan looked thoughtful, “I don’t think that would be necessary. As you said, the world is changing and the crafters are gaining prominence and also a much greater range of skills. It used to be only the smiths, making horseshoes and swords were your followers. Last time I checked you also had goldsmiths, glaziers, bricklayers and leather workers among others. If they keep going at this rate, a god or goddess of makers or craft would be better positioned to look after them into the future.”
“And THIS is why I came to you! My thanks Lorsan, you are absolutely correct. We just need to be very clear they’re making, not creating. I don’t want any of my people being subjected to the worship of Creator.”
“Old rivalry”, summarised matters for Lydia.