Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Beyond the Rim Installment 8

The stolid white golem dragged Oorgo along silently, the boys' heels slipping along the smooth stone floor. The small boy uttered many half-sentences and pleas, with occasional demands. The golem did not know how to hear him, nor was he aware that the small child was struggling to keep pace. It had been instructed to take him to Cyllgod, and to Cyllgod he would go. The white golems were not used to children; many of them had never encountered one. It may have been that the escorting golem had not perceived that he was escorting a person; a child may have appeared more like an animal or package to him.
Suddenly the golem stopped, but did not release the hand which Oorgo had offered to him a few minutes ago. Oorgo continued to beg him to release it, pleading that the stony grasp was crushing his fingers. At last the golem responded. "Silence!" its voice grated.
Oorgo looked through the doorway where he had been stopped. He was looking into a semi-circular chamber, with a wide flat floor before tiers of seating, like an amphitheater. The seats were obstructed by a large throne which lay in the midst of them, directly in line with the tunnel that led to the room. Many of the seats were occupied by demigods, nobles under Cyllgod. They could be told by their colored appearance and greater than mortal size. Under the foot of the throne the tunnel continued, as though never interrupted by a room.
Before that throne, on his knees and held down by two white golems, was a slender man. Heeding the golem's orders Oorgo stopped speaking, and listened to the words the man was saying.
"Great Cyllgod, I am come to petition a boon from thee."
"As do all mortals that appear before me. Indeed, I should think that to lay eyes upon the great queen in her own court would be boon enough."
"And more than enough, great Cyllgod!" the mortal panted, "Yet no payment in all the world could ever earn such a sight, nor any boon beyond that. Still I must hope to make a request of thee."
"Speak it now, mortal. Your words are smooth enough to warrant being heard further."
"Cyllgod, tell my half-brother to divide the inheritance of my family with me. We are both sons of our father's blood, he by a better woman, yet I am wiser than he, and to see all which my ancestors have accrued wasted by his indolence and foolishness would be a waste of her majesty's resources."
Cyllgod smiled. "Return to your house. The entire inheritance will be yours, mortal."
"The entirety?" the wonder of receiving all his father's wealth caused the man to forget his smooth words.
Cyllgod was raising her hand to dismiss them. "Yes, all your family owns."
The golems hoisted the man up. "How shall it be? I should not want to have to manage them."
Cyllgod shook her hand, motioning him along. "You are a selfish beast, to think you would use your position to cheat the truth of your origin. For no part of that inheritance was owed to you. You will have no family to which to return, and you may have all they leave behind."
The man's body froze, even as he was carried out by the golems. Cyllgod feigned a frown. "In the future, mortal, waste your smooth words on someone else."
The pair of golems disappeared under the foot of the throne, as an inarticulate cry rang out from their burden. Immediately the golem carrying Oorgo shoved him along inside.
Cyllgod's confusion to see a single golem carrying a child into the court was evident. "Golem? How come you bearing a human child to this room, alone?" All those who came to Cyllgod's court were to be accompanied by two golems. It was not that she feared the child, but that she wanted to know how her golem's programming may have gone awry.
The golem's mouth grated. "Human child? I brought the package that I was bidden by the gatekeeper to carry to you."
Cyllgod sneered. "Take this child away, then go to the chief smith and have him fix your mind. You must be brought up to the level of understanding of the attendants, for I know that they know a human child from a package. And then see to it that the gatekeeper is upgraded as well."
The golem did not move. "Great Cyllgod, Mistress of Stones, he has paid the price to speak to you."
Cyllgod stared for a moment, then rolled her eyes, "How you can call it 'he' and not know it to be human I am unsure. I will have Thurgod teach me more of golemcraft someday. Tell me, child, how did you come to pay the price of audience with your god?"
Oorgo answered plainly, as he had always answered adults. "Henlick gave me the gold coin," and then he recounted, with several other proper names, of how he had been brought to the capital so that he might see its glory, and of how he had escaped his guardians and run to the castle, then paid the price of gold to speak with Cyllgod.
Cyllgod moved not at all throughout the tale, and responded to none of it. "You are fortunate, child. A gold coin is the cost of giving a gift to the great goddess, and not the price of speaking with her. My golems did not know you were a person, or they would have turned you away at the door. But since you are here, I will hear your request, for I show mercy as I choose."
Recalling how the man had spoken to her, Oorgo said, "Great Cyllgod, I heard from the bard of your great power, and how of old you slew the green god that would have ruled us all with a fierce tyranny, and that you can work miracles with the flick of your finger." Cyllgod smiled, her hue changing to a lighter blue.
"So I came to ask from you a miracle. I know you can do it."
Cyllgod cocked her head, and leaned forward, interested. "What miracle do you wish to see? Would you see your own likeness carved out of stone because I told the stone to look like you?"
Oorgo swallowed, trying to imagine the miracle, and why anyone might want it done. "No, Great Cyllgod. I came to ask you to make my sister beautiful."
The goddess froze halfway on her return to the back of her seat, not quite managing to straighten her neck. "And why would you ask that miracle of me?"
"The bard told me also that you are the goddess of beauty..."
Cyllgod ejected from her throne, hovering in the air above it. "Everyone out!" The lessor deities which sat in the seats around her dropped their humanoid forms and raced out of either tunnel, flying over Oorgo's head as bolts of light stringing from curiously shaped cores. The golem which had brought Oorgo inside moved not at all, reacting to none of it.
Cyllgod floated down before Oorgo, then hissed to him as he color saturated to a ashen blue. "Neither you nor any other shall ever say that of me again."
Oorgo protested, "But you are beautiful..." though her current form was completely unappealing. Her left arm had become a flap of pure light fluttering as though it were blown by a great wind coming from her heart, and her hair began to do the same.
"I am beautiful and I am powerful, and I shall be known for the latter! Golem! Forget your other assignments. To the dungeon with this one. You indeed were right, he was a package sent to me, and he owes me a great debt, which he shall never repay."

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