“That is an abnormally large tribute, Raptor…”
Phovos ignored the unfriendly Ksithan peering over her shoulder. Gindis was always a pain in the ass, and he was always around whenever Phovos came to the Great Temple for worship. He may have just been a steward and advisor here at the Temple, but he thought he was the best thing since sliced gammon.
“It’s none of your business what I offer as tribute…” Phovos growled, hinting that Gindis should fuck off. He backed away, ever so slightly.
“Yes, that is true, but you normally offer nothing but beads to Horah. Today, you bring flowers and gems. As if you want something.”
“Am I not allowed to worship in peace, child?” Phovos growled louder this time. Gindis got the hint, tutted then disappeared around a corner.
He was right though. Phovos had brought more offerings today. Nothing too special though. Really, she never brought much to offer because she knew that any offering would be used to keep the temple running. Ksithan temples rarely accepted donations, so a percentage (depending on the temple) of offerings would be used to keep everything maintained. Everything else would be given to the needy.
Really, that fact made Phovos’s tributes seem small and petty. But she was the leader of Palaestra, the city the Great Temple was located in. She made sure that her constituents were well looked after. There weren’t actually that many beings in need. She may not have offered much here at the Temple but she did offer more elsewhere. That was why Gindis’s comments always annoyed her, because he would forget about all of Phovos’s hard work.
That and Gindis was a nosey bastard and she hated him.
Then again, not every tribute was passed on to pay for maintenance or to make others’ lives better. A percentage of a percentage always went unaccounted for. Not taken by corrupt advisors or priests, simply disappearing into the ether, never to be seen again. The Gods would occasionally accept tributes and take them to their homes, wherever the Gods lived. Why? No one knew.
Today, Phovos was hoping that maybe the Gods, one of them in particular, would take notice.
The offering wasn’t much. Lilies and some blue sapphires. Horah, the God of Time, was always depicted as a blue, Thraki-like being, so maybe he’d enjoy them. She had left similar but smaller trinkets at the other offering tables. Black and white marbles for Kinis and Stasis, the Gods of All; Red jasper marbles for Haroh, the Goddess of Space; Pink, heart-shaped quartz beads in a necklace for Kayar, the Goddess of Life; and shards of amber and charcoal for Arkay, the little Death God. As always, Kayar’s shrine was overflowing while Arkay’s lay empty. Weirdly, Haroh’s alter had been empty a lot recently as well.
Phovos wanted to offer these things to Horah though because she… she didn’t want to admit it to anyone but she swore she had seen the Time Drake lately.
Not in person.
Just little flickers in the corners of her vision. As if the Dragon God was watching her.
She wasn’t crazy. He was definitely there. He had to be.
Phovos needed answers. This was the only way she knew how to get them.
After making the offering, Phovos kneeled down and closed her eyes. She considered muttering a prayer or two, but had no idea what to say. Asking the Time Drake directly about whether He was stalking her or not didn’t seem like a great idea. But a sign, a symbol, anything would do. Something to put Phovos’s mind at ease.
Something rustled in front of Phovos. She opened one eye slowly, her hand reaching to her belt where she kept her favourite dagger.
A faint, blue, ghost-like claw lifted a single sapphire from the offering tray, then disappeared, taking the gem with it, leaving behind a folded piece of paper.
Leaping to her feet, Phovos rushed over to the tray, scrambling to pick up and unfold the paper note. As she read it though, more questions flooded the Raptor’s mind.
“You’ll find out soon, my dear…”