Thurgod awoke from his nightly repose to the small cries of a little child, stifled just moments too late to keep from coming out of its mouth.The deity rolled off his bed of iron and strode to his door, leaning his head against it to listen. From without, in the common room where his apprentice slept, a slight whimpering filtered through the planks of the door.
Thurgod thrust the door open quickly, and the whimpering was cut off immediately.
"I am sorry, child, for startling you. I had forgotten that a sudden movement in the night can scare a child, even when he is at home."
Oorgo said nothing, but huddled under his blanket, though it was summer, and quite warm in the valley.
"Are you ashamed that you were heard to be crying?"
The ball under the blanket curled tighter, but Thurgod could not discern this. The smith god shuffled across the room, lifted up a crate of iron ore which had yet to be smelted, and then set it near where he recalled having placed Oorgo's bed. During all of this, only a few choked sobs escaped from the child.
"I cannot see you, Oorgo, so all I can learn about you is from your hearing and the sight of the gods. I could understand you better if you would speak."
I tiny strained whisper came through the bedding. "I hate this place."
Thurgod breathed deeply through his nose, then asked, "Do you mean this room, this forge, this city, or this valley?" He asked this, though the sight of the gods let him know the first two were false.
"No is an answer to a question I did not ask," said Thurgod. "Do you mean by that that you wish you were still at home? You wish to still carry bread for your father, and listen to stories from the bard?"
The half-way unfettered sob which Thurgod heard next confirmed to him his suspicion.
"I am not a god for healing human hearts, nor am I skilled in setting their minds at ease. That..." but Thurgod could not finish his sentence, and instead toppled from the crate with a thud. This caused Oorgo to finally peak out from his covers.
"What is it, Master? Does the band pain you again?"
"It is the band, Oorgo," said Thurgod, through a strained throat.
"It comes when you nearly say something you have been forbidden to say, doesn't it?"
"This is not a time to talk of my trouble, Oorgo. I am a god, and have seen trouble for a hundred lives of men, and then only begun to see it."
"But you do not see it. You are blind." Oorgo spat,
Thurgod breathed heavily as he righted himself back to the crate and pointed his face towards the bed. "Blindness is the least of my troubles, young one. Do not trouble yourself with the troubles of gods."
"I don't care about the trouble of gods. I hate her."
Thurgod leaned backwards slightly. "You speak that feeling to the only one in this city to which you could and live."
"She can't hurt me if you don't let her. You are a god, too."
"I am a god, but if Cyllgod came against me tonight, I would not live."
Oorgo cowered back into his mattress, his eyes wide. His fear was great enough that Thurgod could see it.
"Yes, Oorgo, you are right to be afraid, and you were right to be sad for the things she has done. But the middle of the night is not the time to be sad. It is the time for sleep."
"I can't not be sad, Master. It hurts."
Thurgod said nothing, knowing that the vault of Oorgo's feelings had only just opened.
"My sister is still not beautiful, and my father will never give me an extra morsel of bread in the morning again. I will never hear a story from the bard, nor ever be given a gift from Henlick. I will..."
Thurgod interrupted him. "Do you know these things are true?"
"How could they not?"
"It could be that one or another of them will hear you are the smith god's apprentice, and come to see you. It could be that," but then Thurgod keeled to his side, only just grasping the crate to prevent another tumble.
Then Oorgo shouted, "And Cyllgod has cursed you to be unable to say things, or to see sunsets, or to see people, or..."
Thurgod had his hand clasped over the boy's mouth before half the sentence could have been heard outside.
"It is not good to speak angrily of Cyllgod. It is not good in the middle of the night; it is not good in the day."
Oorgo drooped his head, now the upper half of his face covered in the palm of Thurgod's hand. He sniffled twice, but still some of his sadness drained into Thurgod's unwavering hand.
After a few more silent moments, Thurgod said, "Now, it is time for you to sleep, Humans need their rest as the earth needs its time under the moon and not the sun."
"I cannot sleep, Master."
"Why not, child? You need it."
"Because I miss them, Master."
Thurgod considered this.
"Can you send for one of them?" the child asked.
"For your father, or your mother, or your sister?"
"Yes," whined Oorgo.
Thurgod kept still and silent for a moment.
"I am sorry, Oorgo. I do not know children well. You teach me things. I will send for your family if I may. But it may be long before they come, and they may not come. And even if I could not, you still must sleep."
"Thank you, Thurgod."
"You should call me Master, child."
Oorgo scrunched down into his bedding, in fact only wearing himself down to the floor through the pile of straw. Thurgod could feel the child's dismay at the rebuke. He turned around and returned closer to the boy, having begun to walk away.
He whispered into Oorgo's ear, "You should call me Master, and not Thurgod, because Thurgod..." but then he bit his own lip sharply and winced, then retired quickly to bed, and Oorgo's dreams were of Cyllgod, angry at his request, and all her servants fleeing from her wrath.