“If you want to make things clear, why not write out a list of the things this person needs to be, or have, and get a couple of other people to check it, so you know you haven’t missed anything important?”

Lorsan nodded at Lydia’s suggestion and fetched pen and paper, relieved he had someone more capable than him of coming up with practical next steps. He wondered again whether she’d be open to staying for a little while, she was good company and clearly a problem-solver.

Sitting poised with pen over paper, Lorsan looked to Thunder for the list. Unfortunately the god was even worse at improvising than Lorsan. Ritual worship had unfortunate side effects after a few hundred years, and he clearly had no idea where to start.

Lydia came to the rescue again, shadowed and assisted by the twins who were having the time of their eternal lives.

“So first you need someone capable of making or crafting something, they need to have empathy with the people they’re going to be dealing with and it’s best to go with what you know.”

Thunder nodded emphatically, “Yes, absolutely, would be no good if they were an assassin or something, most unsuitable.”

“Do they need to be one of your worshippers now?”

“Or one of your clergy?”

“Ummmm, maybe? Although they might be a bit too set in their ways and it could cause some nasty politics in the temples. Oh dear, I didn’t think about that.”

“Well maybe we could start with them, and see what qualities your best priests and priestesses have, that you’d like your apprentice to have. Your suggestion that they be an apprentice to you will also be a good way to help smooth out any power issues in the temple structures. Slow, gentle change always goes down better.”

Thunder was impressed, “I hope you’re planning on staying for a while, you’re definitely someone who can oversee the recruitment process and make sure Lorsan and I have good candidates to review.”

Lydia did not appear to see this as an attractive future, Lorsan wondered how to invoke damage control but was beaten to it.

“Urgh, Thunder, that would be the worst,”

“most boring,”

“incredibly un-fun,”

“reason to stick around ever.”

“You need to come up with something way better than that if you want her to stay.”

“And we want her to stay, she makes you polite and she makes Lorsan talk to people.”

The two gods exchanged startled glances. Apparently they weren’t as perfect in their god-like perfection as they thought.

Lydia shrugged a shoulder, “I don’t have anywhere I need to be right now, so I’ll stay until something more important comes up.”

Thunder was bewildered, “What could be more important than helping me choose my successor?”

Lorsan made shushing motions, “Don’t ask. I don’t know what the answer will be but you won’t like it.”

Lydia rewarded that interchange with her first real laugh, a lovely full, belling sound that filled the kitchen with warmth.

“Do that again!”

“Thunder say something stupid”

“So Lorsan can shush you”

“We want Lydia to laugh!”

This response unsurprisingly left Lydia very unlikely to laugh again any time soon and Lorsan mentally bashing his head against the wall.

“Lorsan’s cross with us”

“We’re sorry”

“Don’t make us go”

“It’s warm and happy here and the other constellations are so cold.”

The twins turned pleading puppy eyes on the mild-tempered god.

“Don’t look to me, I’m not the one who was made uncomfortable by your antics. If Lydia is unsettled, then you go, and you only have yourselves to blame.”

“They don’t need to go, so long as they promise to think before they speak.”

“We will.”

“We promise.”

“We’re sorry.”

“Please still like us a little bit.”

The last request earned a small smile and a relaxation of tensed shoulders.

“Well that’ll be a first. Lydia I do think you’re going to turn the multi-pantheon on its head in the best possible way and hope nothing more important comes up for some time”, Lorsan tried for a winning smile and thought he maybe partially succeeded as he got a considering nod rather than a look of horror.

Thunder wanted everyone back on track to find his new apprentice, “So, shall we go and visit some of my temples in disguise? Or watch from above? Or should we start on the list now and then look at people after?”

Since neither Lydia nor Lorsan had an answer for that, it was maybe just as well that yet another knock came at the door.

The twins casually moved to block whoever the new visitor may be from Lydia, who recognised the protective move for what it was and looked surprised but pleased. Thunder also turned in his seat, relaxed but ready to move if needed.

Lorsan shook his head and went to open the door for the third time that morning.

Whatever he might have been expecting, it was not a large black dragon trying stay out of the flower beds.

“Where is my human Lorsan? I can sense her near you.”

Lorsan goggled, “Um, well, how about we move around to the back where I have a bit of space and you can meet her if she wishes and explain what you mean and why Lydia.”

The dragon nodded and started to pick her way carefully around the cottage to the back lawn – an affectation, but he liked the sense of space it gave to the rear rooms.

Lorsan returned to the kitchen and his four listeners, “Does anyone have any idea what this is about?”

He was helpfully greeted by four blank looks.

Lydia sighed, “I suppose the only way we’re going to find out is if I go out there.”

“Not if you don’t want to, you’re still recovering from a deeply traumatic incident and I’m sure she’ll understand if you’d rather have some space and time to yourself.”

Coming from Lorsan, that was practically belligerent and the other three deities in the room blinked in surprise.

Although it didn’t stop Thunder muttering, “I’m sure she won’t.”

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