124 – The Potatoes!

Chiyoko can’t understand the River goddess, you realize.  She is only reacting to the tone of the goddess’ voice.  Chiyoko is not jumping off the bridge.

Chiyoko is going to attack.

“Wait!”  You grab Chiyoko’s arm just as she begins to draw her sword.  You met your girlfriend’s eyes, expecting to see anger in her fiery orange eyes.  Instead, what you see surprises you.  You see uncertainty.  You see fear.  You see despair.

Chiyoko breaks eye contact and collects herself.  When she looks back, you see rage has burned away all the other emotions you saw before.  “Let me go.”

You let go of her arm, unsure what to do next.

“You were going to jump off of the bridge,” Masaru stands right behind you.   Focused on Chiyoko, you did not hear him approach.

“I was not going to jump into the river,” Chiyoko hisses.

Mei Mei barks and attracts your attention.  “She’s escaping!”  Aiko cries out.   The blood ape materializes on the bridge and swipes at the melting goddess.   A puddle of muddy water drains over the side of the bridge.   The dark serpentine shape streams though the river towards Root Beard’s fields.

The River Goddess shoots up out of the water and towers over the potato fields.   “Root Beard!”  the goddess roars.   “You told the Dragons about the cult, you fool!  We had an agreement!”

Despite the torrential downpour, you hear Root Beard’s faint reply.  “I promised you nothing, you old water hag!”

The River swells up around the goddess.  “You will pay for your stupidity, field god!”  Muddy water surges over the bank.

“No!”  Root Beard materializes on a nearby log.  He grips his beard and stomps his feet.  “My potatoes!”

The water rises and begins to cover the fields.

What do you do?

  • Fight the goddess. Dissipating her will give you a few days to get help from Yu-Shan.
  • Warn the villages about the oncoming flood.
  • Summon the Storm god and get him to stop the rain.
  • Reveal yourself as an agent of Yu-Shan and assert your authority over the situation

123 – Despair

You decide to start simple.  “Goddess of Waters, why is your river raging?”

“It is that time of the year,”  The River Goddess smirks, one of her braids leaves a muddy smear on her cheek.  “My floods lay silt up upon the villager’s fields and ensure a strong harvest next year.”

“Did she serious use the ‘It’s that time of the month’ excuse?”  Aiko hisses to Chiyoko.

You ignore Aiko’s comment and frown.  “The potatoes still lie upon the fields.   If you flood them now, this year’s harvest will be ruined.”

“It is true.  My floods usually occur after the harvest is complete.”  She glances up at the grey storm clouds. “The rains came early this year.   Once certain events have been put into motion, there is nothing I can do to delay the floods.”

“Did you submit a complaint about the storm gods to the Terrestrial Bureaucracy?”

The River Goddess arches a muddy eyebrow.  “What makes you think the Terrestrial Bureaucracy cares for the concerns of a lowly river goddess, little Dragon?”

“If they don’t take your complaint seriously, you can appeal to the Bureau of Nature in Yu-Shan.”  Any Terrestrial god on official business can visit Yu-Shan.  You hope the goddess will jump at the chance to visit Heaven.

Instead the River Goddess freezes.  She stares at you and flares her nostrils.  She closes her eyes and considers her next words carefully.  “Of course,” she smiles.  “I will file a report as soon as I can.  Thank you for reminding me of my options.  Out here, one can forget the support of the Celestial Bureaucracy.”  Nothing of goddess’ smile reaches her eyes and she has slithered her way out of every question you pose.

“What do you know about Root Beard’s cult?” you ask.   Time to be direct.

“Root Beard told you about his cult?”  The Goddess’ clear eyes darken to a muddy brown and the river beneath the bridge roars.   “What a fool!”

The Dragonblooded encircle you.  Chiyoko stands between you and the goddess.   Masaru stands at your back.  With a flick of Aiko’s hand, you smell the stench of rotting blood.   For a moment, their actions confused you, until you realize they were protecting you.

The goddess closes her eyes and the river calms to a rumble.   “I suppose Root Beard’s cult is why you dragons are here.”  Her shoulders slump down.  “You are going to put an end to it.”

“What do you know about Root Beard’s cult?” you ask again.

“Nothing,” the goddess whispers.

“Really?”  You step around Chiyoko.  You can’t properly talk to the goddess when she is standing in the way.  “Root Beard said you threatened to drown one of his singers.”

The goddess’ muddy eyebrows narrow.  “Is that old spud trying to deflect his crimes on me?”

“Have you ever drowned anyone?”

Standing up straight, the goddess takes a step towards you.  “I am a River Goddess.  Many fall into my river.”

“So you drowned people?”  Masaru asks in broken Spirit Speech.

Masaru balls his fists at the goddess approaches.  “Once, long ago when the Suns ruled Creation, I was allowed bicentennial sacrifice.  You dragons put a stop to that and taught me the errors of my ways. “  She flips her long muddy braids aside and reveals a long scar on her shoulder.   “So here I sit and wait for my feast days.  I accept what is offered and nothing more.”  The goddess spits those last words into Masaru’s face.

Masaru doesn’t flinch.  “What do you mean by ‘what is offered?’”

The goddess’ smile chills like a frozen river.  “Despair.”  She licks her lips.   “Some mortals no longer want their lives, so they offer them to the river.  She stalks around Masaru and reaches out to run a finger along his back.  “I wouldn’t expect the blood of the Dragons to understand despair.”

Masaru spins around and slaps her wrist away.  “Do not touch me.”

The River Goddess smirks and stalks around the others.  “Like all the Exalted, you have the power to control your own fates.”   As the goddess studies Aiko, the Earth Aspect definitely meets her eyes.  The goddess ignores her and moves on to Chiyoko.   The watery woman stops and cocks her head.  “Or perhaps I am wrong.”  She licks her lips again and leans forward.   “Tell me, Dragon child.  Do you grow weary of hiding the darkness in your soul?”

“Chiyoko?” you are confused.  “What is she talking about?”

Chiyoko grips the handle of her sword.  “I don’t understand what you are saying.”  She replies in Earthtongue.

“Ah, but what I speak of transcends language.  You know the true pain of living.”

“Chiyoko, ignore her.”  Aiko yells.

“Leave her alone!”  you words burn with essence.

The River Goddess shivers at your command yet she still holds out a hand to Chiyoko.  “Come, child.  Within my waters you will find the rest you crave.”

Chiyoko cocks her head and knits her brow.  Gripping her sword tight, Chioyko takes a step forward.

What do you do?

  • Wait to see what Chiyoko does
  • Attack the River Goddess
  • Pull Chiyoko away from the River Goddess
  • Other

122 – The River Goddess

“We will talk to the River Goddess.”  It is time to get the other side of this story.

“Really?”  Root Beard hops from foot to foot.  “Thank you! Thank you!  Thank you!”  He stops hopping and straightens his beard.  “I can keep my singers, right?”

You rub your forehead.  “We’ll see.”

You leave Root Beard’s cozy hollow and walk out into the cold rain.  The grey storm clouds glow with the morning’s light.

“How big of a problem is it for a field god to have a small cult?” Masaru asks.

You shiver and pull your cloak tight around your neck.  “Root Beard is one of hundreds of small gods in the area.  There isn’t enough worshipers for each one to have their own cult.”  You explain.  “That’s why the Immaculate Calendar exists.  All gods get worship according to their place in the Terrestrial Bureaucracy.  “

“Gods get a surge of Essence for lives ended in their name.”  You shake your head.  “It’s a waste.   A living worshiper provides more prayer over their lifetime than a dead one, but some gods are addicted to the high.”

“How can the goddess get away with drowning people?”  Chiyoko scowls.  “Why doesn’t the Immaculate temple put a stop to it?”

You hesitate before answering.  The local monk missed a cult where his own student was a member.  What else could he miss?  “Maybe the River Goddess isn’t drowning anyone.  Root Beard could be lying.”

“Water Gods like to drown people,” Masaru points out.

You did not think it was likely the Water Goddess was innocent either.  “We have to be certain before we do anything.”  You hand Mei Mei over to Chiyoko.  “Head to the Immaculate Temple and question the monk’s student.  I’ll talk to the River Goddess. “

“And let her drown you?”  Chiyoko shakes her head.  “We are going with you.  You’ll need some muscle if the River Goddess gets rowdy.”

Masaru smirks.  “I’d like to see her drown me.”

Aiko surveys the rolling river.  “The bank is muddy and slick.  Not a good place for a fight.  Let’s head to the bridge.”

Together you cross the bridge.  You stop half way and look over the edge.  Bright foam rages at the surface of the angry river.  The river strains against its banks.

“What are you going to bribe her with?”  Masaru asks.

“Nothing, little water dragon.”  The river gurgles.  A serpentine shadow slitters though the silty waters.   A wave engulfs the far end of the bridge, revealing a slender translucent woman.  Silt encrusted ice claws tip the ends of her fingers.   The River goddess is nude, but none of your Dragonblooded friends comments on it.  They are completely silent as the goddess stalks down the bridge.

The River goddess stops and drops to her knee before you.  Her braids, slick with mud, fall forward, obscuring her face.   Her voice sounds pleasant but simmering beneath the surface is the raging river.  “What would the blood of the Dragons have of me?”

What do you do?

  • Retreat from the scary River Goddess
  • Open the conversation with her conflict with Root Beard
  • Ask why the River is Raging
  • Directly accuse her of seeking human sacrifice.
  • Other

121 – The Singers

“Give us a moment. I… ah…” you hesitate.  What would Akachi say in this situation?  He would figure out what is wrong with his friends.  “… need to confer with my companions.”  You motion Chiyoko and Aiko over to sanctum entrance, where Masaru is standing.

Mei Mei pops over to potato god, rolls over and exposes her belly.  Root Beard gapes at the puppy until she yelps and bats at his hand.  Tentatively, he scratches her belly.

“Maidens, Aiko, was it your tact you sacrificed during your Trial of Fire!?”  you fume, attempting to keep your voice to a whisper.  “Stop antagonizing the field god!”

“This is so stupid.”  Aiko hisses at you.  “Why does a divine being care so much about potatoes!?”

“He’s a field god of a potato field.  Of course, he’s obsessed about potatoes!”

Your Dragonblooded friends are silent as they digest this new information.  Chiyoko breaks the silence.  “I didn’t think about it that way.  I assumed he was a field god until he worked his way up to a higher position.”

“Gods are immortal.  Promotions to higher positions are rare.  ”

“Svante, to be honest, I’ve never met a god before.”  Masaru admits.  “I’ve heard stories about the Storm Mothers from my brothers.  I’m not completely clueless.”

You wince when Masaru mentions Storm Mothers.   No wonder Masaru waited by the door for trouble.   “Field gods are nothing like Storm Mothers.  They are more amicable to deal with.”

“We’ve seen the God of Meru once.”  Chiyoko mentions.  “One of my Grandmother’s secretaries shooed us out before the meeting could begin.”

“I wouldn’t call it much of a meeting.”  Aiko adds.  “The god appeared in the middle of court ranting and raving.”

“Why didn’t you tell me sooner?  You knew we were going to visit this god.”

Masaru fiddles with the jade plates on his gloves.  Chiyoko shuffles her feet and stares at her boots.  “We didn’t want to look stupid in front of you.”

“You aren’t stupid.  I needed to brief you better about the mission.”  Chiyoko and the other aren’t familiar with god as you were.  You lived and worked beside gods every day.  It was why you were raised in Yu-Shan instead of Creation, you suddenly realize.  What better way to know the divine than to live among them?

“What do we do now?’ Aiko glances over to where Root Beard inches closer to the sanctum entrance.

Few gods speak anything other than Spiritspeech.  You doubt Root Beard would know a language not spoken in the village.  “We know Root Beard is hiding something,” you say in Seatongue.  “We shouldn’t talk to the River Goddess without knowing the entire story.  I think I can get it out of him, but I need you not to antagonize him.”

“Maybe we should antagonize him.”  Masaru offers.  “When dealing with smugglers, my father always has at least two people in the interrogation room.  One person to sympathize,” Masaru points at you.  “and the other to apply pressure if the smuggler isn’t cooperating.”  Masaru points back at himself.

“What are you talking about?” Aiko blurts out.  She crosses her arms and frowns at the three of you.

You smirk.  Aiko doesn’t speak Seatongue.  “Let her know what is going on.”

Root Beard paces near the fire.  He glances up when you return.  You sit down on your moss pillow.  Aiko sits across from you.  Chiyoko and Masaru stand at your back.

“I apologize for my friends’ behavior, Root Beard.” You begin in Earthtongue, so Chiyoko and Masaru could understand.  “They haven’t had too many good experiences with gods.   I explained to them you aren’t like those other gods.  You are one of the good ones.”

Root Beard stops pacing and his eyes dart from you to the others.  He takes a deep breath and sits back down by the fire.  “Apology accepted.”  He replies in Earthtongue.   His fingers run though his beard as he watches to see what you will say next.

“We want to help you attend your harvest festival, Root Beard.  But we can’t help you if we don’t know the situation with the River Goddess.”  You remember riding past the angry river.  “There’s more at stake than your potato fields.  She could flood the whole village.”

“No!”  Root Beard lets go of his beard and covers his ears.  “Let her tell you!”

“Why won’t you speak up for yourself, Root Beard?  I want to hear your side of the story.”

The little potato god refuses to meet your eyes.

Chiyoko speaks up.  “Root Beard, the River Goddess is Angry about something.  We can’t go into a dangerous situation without all the information.”

Root Beard shakes his head no.

“Root Beard,”  Aiko gains Root Beard’s attention.  She leans forward, her red eyes never leaving the little god’s.  “You weren’t planning on us getting killed trying to treat with the River Goddess, were you?”

“No. No. No,” Root Beard’s voice trails away as he denies Aiko’s accusation.

“Let the scary River Goddess take care of the Scary Dragonblooded.  Is that how it goes, Root Beard?”  The plates of Masaru’s gloves clink behind you.

“I can get the story out of him,” Chiyoko looms over the little potato god.   You hold up a hand for Chiyoko to wait.

“I wouldn’t do that.” Root Beard whispers.

You get up and kneel beside the little god.  “Root Beard, if you want me to help you, I need the whole story.”  The Potato god grips his beard tightly and meets your eyes.   “Tell me.”

The little god shivers at your words.  “She wants one of my children.”

“Your god-blooded children?”

“No, one of the village children.”  Root Beard clarifies.  “The ones who leave presents in my hollow.”

“You have a cult!” Aiko exclaims.

“It’s not a cult exactly….”  Root Beard rationalizes.  “They just sing songs about me and leave me presents.  Not offerings… completely different things.”

It sounds like a cult to you.  “How many children sing your songs?”

“A few?”

“How many is a few?”  Chiyoko probes.

Root Beard winces.  “Thirty-Four?”

“Thirty-four!” you explode.  All pretense of being the good guy forgotten.  “That has to be every child in the fucking village!”

“Why hasn’t the Immaculate Temple found out about this cult?” Chiyoko asks you.

Root Beard answers.  “The monk at the Immaculate Temple is blind and infirm.  The girl he is training is one of my singers.”  The little potato god flusters.  “Which is beside the point!  Can we go back to the River Godddess?  She wants to drown one of my singers!  Human sacrifice is a higher crime than singing a few hymns!”

What do you do?

  • Go to the Immaculate Temple and talk to the monk and his student
  • Treat with the River Goddess and why she wants to drown one of the potato god’s singers
  • Contact the Owl in Yu-Shan and request backup
  • Other

 

 

120 – Root Beard

“This has to be some of the best tea I’ve ever had.”  You take another sip.  “Where did you get it?”

The potato god’s black eyes twinkle.   “I bought it on my last Calibration trip to the City of Gods.   We weren’t able to get tickets to the Jade Pleasure Dome, so we went to the tea shop instead.”  He fidgets with his root beard.

“Do you have a name?” Chiyoko asks in Earthtongue.  You forgot Chiyoko could not understand the conversation.  Chiyoko speaks many of Creation’s languages, but not the godly tongue.

The potato god frowns and places his hand next to his ear.   “What did you say?”

“She asked if you had a name.”  Aiko translates.

The god nods in comprehension.  “I am the field god of the southwest potato farms.”  He sits tall and straightens his root beard.

“No one has ever given you a name?”  Chiyoko asks after you translate.

The potato god scratches behind his ears.    “The village children call me Root Beard sometimes.”  He weaves his root beard between his fingers.

“May we call you Root Beard?’ Chiyoko asks, after you translate

“If you like.”   The potato god’s cheeks blush green.

You open your mouth to inquire about the harvest festival when Aiko asks.   “What is the Jade Pleasure Dome?”

“I’ll tell you later,” you promise.   Now is not the time to indulge Aiko’s curiosity.

Root Beard stares intently at you.  “A godly place.  Not safe for Dragons.”

You change the subject.  “I’ve never been to a Potato Harvest Festival.   What’s it like?”

“Eek!”  Root Beard leaps up and paces.  “How could they know?” He mutters.  “I know she didn’t tell them.”  He glances up at you and returns to his seat.  He tugs on his beard.  “The harvest festival…  very boring.  Nothing that would interest you Dragons.  They serve vodka and fried potatoes.   Oh!  And the potato sack races!  Those are always so ex…boring.  The monks have the children sing this adorable little potato song.”  The potato god’s lower lip trembles and tears   “You wouldn’t want to go! “

“I like Fried Potatoes.” Masaru comments in broken Spiritspeech.  Mei Mei yelps in agreement.

“No!  These fried potatoes are awful!  Well,”  Root Beard amends.  “Not the ones from my field.  The Northwest potato god?  His potatoes are kind of green.”

“If you like the harvest festival so much, why are you skipping it?”  Aiko blurts out.

Root Beard squeaks and falls off his moss pillow.

“Aiko!” you yell in Earthtongue.  “Shut up!  It’s my mission and I am handling it!”

“If we wait for you to handle it, we will be here all day talking to the stupid field god about tea and fried potatoes.”

“Is that what you are talking about?”  Chiyoko frowns.  “I thought it was something important.”

“I’m not stupid!”  Root Beard replies.  “And Fried potatoes are important!”

“Wait!”  Chiyoko’s eyes narrow.  “You can speak Earthtongue?”

“What? No no no…  I don’t speak Earthtongue.”  Root Beard replies in Earthtongue.

“You are speaking it now!” Masaru points out.

“No no no….  I don’t speak Earthtongue.”  The potato god repeats in Spiritspeech.

“You were just speaking it!”  Aiko accuses.  “Svante, this god is an idiot.  Whatever secret he has can’t be that important!”

The god squeaks again when Aiko says ‘secret’.

“He does know something!”  Chiyoko stands up and takes a step towards the god.  Root Beard curls up in a ball on the dirt floor of his sanctum.

“Wait!”  You raise a hand to halt Chiyoko and the others.  “Let me talk to him.”  You kneel beside the god.  “Root Beard?”

“Go away!”  He holds his hands up to hide his eyes.

“Root Beard, tell us what is keeping you from the festival.”  The god says nothing.  “You shouldn’t have to give up half a year’s worship.  If something is wrong we can help.”

Root Beard glances up at you.  “You aren’t like the others.   You aren’t Dragonblooded.”

“No.”  There is no use in denying it.   Gods have ways to measure one’s power.

“What are you?”

You pick the little god up and set him on his feet.  You brush dirt off his ritual clothes.  “Someone who can help a little field gold who has no one to turn to.”

The field god closes his eyes and nods.  “I have to stay and protect my fields.  The River goddess threatened to drown them.”

His domain was threatened.  No wonder he was skipping the festival.  Yet instinct tells you this could not be the field god’s secret.  “Why does the River Goddess want to drown your fields?”

“Did you do something to her?”  Aiko accuses.

“No!”  Root Beard shouts.  “I’ll tell you about the Jade Pleasure Dome or anything else you want to know.  Just get the River Goddess to promise not to drown my fields!”

What do you do?

  • Push Root Beard to tell you more
  • Talk to the River Goddess
  • Ask the monks at the Immaculate Temple for more information about the area gods.
  • Other

119 – Sanctum

“Fuck this.”  You close your eyes.  You are cold and tired and you are short sleep for the second night in the row.  When you reopen your eyes, a green beacon of light shines out of your forehead.  You search the tree hollow.  A small pair of eyes peers out of the hollow.  The dematerialized god squeaks when the light spots him.  He begins to slip away into his hollow.

“No.”  You empower your words with essence.  “You will come out and speak with us.”

The eyes peer out of the hollow again.  “Dragon ladies and lords, you look wet and miserable…I mean you look beautiful, not miserable…just that you look like you feel miserable….  I mean, I would never presume to say how you feel…”

“Can you please get to the point?” Aiko yells over the cold gusty wind.

The god squeaks.  “My sanctum is dry.  Perhaps we can talk in here?”

“Field god, your offer is generous, but your hollow is too small for us to fit.” As you explain, the tree hollow expands to human size.   A brown spotted skinned hand motions you into the hollow’s darkness.

A shivering Chiyoko glances at you.  “Is it safe?”

“If you wanted safe, you should have stayed back at school,” Masaru counters.   He stands up and scrapes mud off the bottom of his boots.

“It’s safe.” You assure her.  “We will be guests in his sanctum.  Just don’t take advantage of his hospitality.  And remember –gods are not humans.  They have different customs and most of them have quirks.  Be respectful and follow my lead.  And please don’t embarrass me.”  You take a deep breath and enter the sanctum of the potato god.

The sanctum is toasty warm – a fire burns in the center of the main room.  The floors are dirt but well compacted.   Pillowy piles of soft green moss circle the fire.   The tree trunk walls rise up high above your head.

“May I take your cloak?” the potato god asks.  Within his sanctum, he comes to just above your waist.  Dried earth dusts his brown spotted potato cheeks.  Warty potato eyes cover his wide nose.  Rooty hairs stick out of his ears and a root beard falls to his round belly.

Just as you begin to peel off your drenched cloak, Masaru and Chiyoko enter the sanctum.  Chiyoko turns bright red when she notices the potato god.  She hides her face behind Mei Mei.  “Dragons!” Masaru exclaims.  “The potato man’s naked!”

Aiko steps into the sanctum and bursts into laughter.

The potato god motions around his crotch.  “It’s healthier for air to circulate around my little potatoes.”  Masaru rubs his hand over his face and turns away.   Aiko doubles over with laughter, leaning against the wood wall of the sanctum.   The potato god scowls.  “I only wear clothes around planting and harvest!”

“I apologize for my companions’ lack of composure.   They don’t have much experience with the divine.”   You try to salvage the situation.  “According to the Immaculate Calendar, tonight begins your harvest festival.    Could we see your ritual costume early?”   You hand over your cloak and you motion the others to do the same.

The potato god sighs.  “I suppose I could get into my ritual robes early.”   He takes the cloaks and head off to a different room in the sanctum.

“Remember what I said about not embarrassing me.”

“He came to the door naked!” Chiyoko argues.

“I warned you gods have quirks.” You remind everyone.  You walk over to the fire and hold out your hands.   “Be prepared for anything.”

Chiyoko nods and sits down on one of the moss cushions.  Aiko wipes tears of laughter from her eyes and takes the opposite cushion.  Masaru grows somber and fingers the jade plates on his gloves.  He patrols around the room.

“What now?”  Chiyoko asks.  Before you can answer, the god returns dressed in black and blue robe.   He tugs at his root beard as he considers what to do with you.  “Sit, sit, sit!  Would you like something to drink?  I have water…  tea…  vodka…”

“Vodka?’  Aiko translates to Earthspeak.  She and Chiyoko share a look.  Chiyoko shakes her head no.

“Tea is fine.”  You sit by the fire and observe the god brew tea.   He pulls down an old tin from his cupboard and blows dust off the lid.  His hands shake as he dips the tea strainer into the cups.   What was the god nervous about?

The god brings over earthen cups of hot tea.  You take a sip and your eyebrows raise. You recognize this tea from Yu-Shan.  A bit stale but a type of Southern red tea you have had before.

Chiyoko takes a polite sip and sets the cup aside.  Mei Mei takes advantage of this and laps up Chiyoko’s tea.  Aiko holds the warm cup in her hands and breaths in the steam.  Masaru ignore the cup and stands by the sanctum’s exit.

The god sits by the fire and fidgets with his root beard.

How do you approach the god?

  • Tell the god about your mission
  • Inquire about where the god acquired the tea.
  • Interrogate the god about the illegal offerings
  • Ask the god about his plans for the harvest festival.
  • Other

 

118 – Cranky

You wipe the rain from your eyes and stare out at the potato fields.  “Let’s find the god now. “  The sooner you located the god, the sooner you could go home.  Why did you have to bring Chiyoko along?  Your other mission requires you to protect her.  How could you do both?

You jump out of your saddle when someone touches your arm.  You turn to find Chiyoko, her flame orange hair plastered to her head.  “Can you find the god, Svante?”

You nod.  The Immaculate temple contains shrines to all the local gods.  You take a deep breath and close your eyes.  The cold rain.  The weariness.  The mission.  You dismiss such annoyances from your mind.

The rain seems to slow as you concentration on the threads of fate.   Dozens of strands lead away from the temple and out to the fields.  You drop off the horse and kneel on the wet road.  Each thread is a distant echo compared to the ones on the Loom of Fate.  When you find the correct thread, you take the reins of your horse and guide it out to the muddy fields.  The others follow in silence.

An old, solitary live oak rises from the potato fields.   Rain drips from its dark green leaves.  The thread leads to a hollow just above your head.  You climb unto a root and dig around the hollow.  You pull out the calcified corpses of mice and grasshoppers.

“The god accepts offerings outside of the Immaculate Calendar.”  Aiko notes.  She jumps down from her horse and searches around the tree.

“It happens.  The planting and harvest festivals are the only times a field god receives worship.”  Akachi told you that the Immaculate Church could not catch every instance of illegal worship.  Better to focus on the gods gathering large cults or demanding human sacrifice.  “I need an insect or small animal to attract the god’s attention.”

“Wait,” Masaru flicks rainwater out of his hair.  “Are we going to illegally worship this god?”

You shrug.  “When we do it, it’s called a bribe.”  You pick up a stick and smooth out the mud beneath the tree.

“And that is supposed to be better?”

“Just find a fucking grasshopper, Masaru!”  Chiyoko orders.  She tethers the horses on a tree root.

Aiko groans and toes a puddle.  “I found some worms. “

Masaru shakes potato plants until a grasshopper leaps out.   He slaps his hand over it and brings it to you.

“Thanks.”  You tell Masaru.  He nods and goes to sit on a tree root.  He picks up a twig and shreds leaves off it.  You tie the grasshopper with a string you found in your pocket.   You mark runes you hope will be acceptable to the potato god.

“Potato god of the Southwest field of Wong Farm, I request your presence.”  You strike your hand on the wet ground.  The runes gleam with an emerald glow.

The rain falls.  The clouds brighten with dawn’s first light.

Nothing happens.

“Shit.” How difficult could it be to get the potato god’s attention?  It’s a fucking god of potatoes!  You jerk on your string to make sure the grasshopper did not drown during your ritual.   The grasshopper twitches.

“Are you sure you did this right?” Aiko tiptoes though the mud to examine the runes.   “Did you use the god’s name…”

“The god doesn’t have a name!”  You growl.  Most field gods do not have one.  “The god isn’t answering.”   You pace in the rain.  It was almost morning.  Soon the town would awake.  “Do you know the spell, Open Spirit Door?”

“Nope.”  Aiko answers.

“Now we are going to break into the god’s sanctum….” Masaru throws the twig he was shredding on the ground in disgust.

“If you are going to bitch, you should have stayed back at school.”  Chiyoko glares at Masaru.  Masaru ignores her and picks up another twig.

“You see what I have to deal with?” Aiko mumbles to you.   “They are like this when you are not around.”

The rainfall increases and washes away your runes.

What do you do?

  • Go find a neighboring god. Maybe they will talk to you
  • Screw with the potato field to piss the god off.
  • Use the Mark of Exaltation to force the god to appear.
  • Other