Reader’s Note: The following takes place on the 28th & 29th of Seha, Year 1 of the rebirth.
Two young street urchins are standing outside of the Palatium Apostolicum in Sekti-Abtu arguing with each other.
“R ya sure HE isis here?”
“Yes, I told yous I gots a buddy; he letis me know when HE is backsies.”
The two are typical ragamuffins, dirty faces, long unkempt hair, shoeless. They continue to argue.
“No, I am a biggser one than yous.”
“No ways, I have WAYs more then you ever have!”
While they seem to be typical, there is something different about these two.
“Yous just wait and seesis, I will proves it to you.”
“Ya, what eva’. No ways, I will be betters at it than yous.”
Yes, very typical, but they are wearing some strange headgear. They both have poorly fashioned bear’s heads on. They are made from whatever trash or detritus they could find on the street or in the woods just outside of Sekti-Abtu. While obvious they are entirely handmade they are meticulously crafted to look as real as possible; and both have a crescent moon symbol affixed smack dab in the middle of the forehead of the heads.
The two arrived outside the palace just about mid-afternoon. They playfully argued with each other the rest of the day and into the evening. When they got too loud Papal guards would chase after them, but were always much quicker and nimbler than any of the guards. After a few moments they would appear in a slightly different vantage point. At sunset, they did a strange dance; body shaking, making growling noises and scratching at the ground on all fours. They continued to keep vigil outside the palace.
“Wowser, it’s never been thisis long before.”
“What, getting tired?”
“Whatevers DUDE. Nah, I just be wanders what going on there.”
“I tink they are doin’ one o’ dem fires sides chatses. I heard there are NEW peoples in CrIsis.”
“WHAT, were’d ya heard dat. You lyin’.”
“Nah-uh, I never be lyin’ when it comes ta HIM.”
Any observer would have an extremely difficult time understanding the two scamps; they seem to be speaking a bastardized Elven with broken Northern, Wolfen and Giantese words and phrases mixed in. (Luckily for you, reader, it was painstakingly translated for your enjoyment.) In addition, the smell they emanate is extremely foul even for urchins, like they purposely rolled around in rotting blood.
“Hey I see somtin’!”
“OOOH, IS IT HIM!?”
“NAH, its just the TINY one.”
“OOOH, What about that ONE!”
“DUDE, arya kiddin’, HE is entirely BALD, getcha eyes checked. Must be the new other tiny one.”
“Yeah, howju know?”
“I dooo, trust me.”
After this last outburst, several Papal guards exit to chase off the scamps. Just then a familiar figure comes stumbling out of the Palace.
“AW MAN HE IS TAKIN’ THE LONG WAYs! COMEON WE’S HEAD HIM OFF!”
With that the two seem to disappear into the background. The Guards sent out look around confused and bewildered.
We see our two loveable scamps waiting just outside the two Temples of Khonsu, one just recently completed and the “lesser” one that was erected hastily to accommodate the recent rise in Khonsunites. The ragamuffins are uncharacteristically quiet, waiting patiently. As two familiar figures come down the path, they gasp and hold their breath. The first Figure is walking wildly and stumbling on unseen hazards. He is dragging a large live ox, by the horns, down the street. It is fighting and kicking wildly, but to no avail. Any blows it lands on its captor do not faze him one bit; even in his obvious highly inebriated state. The Other is just patiently and calmly walking safely several paces behind. The commotion is enough that any still in the street at such a late hour quickly realize what is coming and smartly run for safety or shelter. As the first figure gets to the split in the path for the two temples, he stops and stares blankly down at the fork. After a few breathless moments, he heads left towards the newer temple. Upon arriving at the doors to the temple he attempts to knock, but with his first blow, the doors burst open, nearly knocking them off the hinges; small shards of the heavy marble doors flying through the air. The figure mutters something as he looks straight up, then walks through the entrance. The two adolescents quickly jump up and run in after. Inside, two priests come running toward the cacophony of the door being smashed; running up to the large figure trying to stop him. Once recognition is achieved by the priests, they realize there is no stopping him. They sound the bells for the acolytes and attendants to prepare. The maneuvers of all are like a well-oiled machine; as though they have practiced this often and to perfection. The smaller figure continues trailing his companion, acknowledging the efforts of all to prepare so quickly. Suddenly, a light commotion is heard from the entry to the temple. At this commotion, the larger being stops. Everyone senses this. They all stop what they are doing instantly and stare at the presence, with unconcealed looks of panic in their eyes. Even the ox stops his kicking, breathing ever so lightly. Three people are at the entrance of the temple lightly, but loudly, arguing and don’t realize what is going on; a Very green attendant and our revered rogues. The large brute slowly turns around. He is absolutely silent in his movements; considering his intoxicated state and the quarry in his hands. He stares at the arguing partakers for a few moments; as though studying them, his head drastically cocked to one side. The only sound is coming from the raised voices arguing. All the others have become absolute statues, holding their breath, stark looks of panic in their faces, except the small protagonist. He has also stopped but his eyes are rolled and his face palmed; as though to say: “OH, no, here we go again.” The rest have stark looks of panic upon their faces like they are seeing their lives flash before them; some even have tears rolling down their panic-whitened cheeks. After an eternal moment, the beast stands board straight, filling his massive lungs; he then bellows so loud that the entire temple seems to quake.
“WHAT! IS! GOING! OOONNN!”
All three arguers are instantly pin drop silent. Each has urinated slightly. Upon recognition of the source of the bellow, all three drop to their knees, in the direction of the source, palms and faces on the floor, simultaneously. The attendant tries to speak, stuttering and stammering, but no real words come to fruition.
“CALM THY SELF AND SPEAK!”
The words echo through the temple walls, as though they are coming from everywhere all at once, they are strangely clear and coherent, and in a perfect high Elven dialect.
“A-Angry B-Beast, I-I mean G-Great U-Ursus, I-I mean K-Khonsu’s R-Revenant, I was trying to halt these f-filthy wretches’ entry into the t-temple. [meekly]Don’t sacrifice me, [bro].”
“DO NOT DARE TO HALT WORSHIP OF KHONSU!
ALL WHO WISH TO WORSHIP KHONSU,
WILL BE ALLOWED TO WORSHIP KHONSU!
ALL WHO ATTEMPT TO CURTAIL THE WORSHIP OF KHONSU,
WILL REAP THE WRATH OF KHONSU!
THE REVENANT HAS SPOKEN!”
With that, the mighty figure returns to his drunken walk back to the altar, dragging the oxen beast, which has returned to the kicking and mooing as before. All the rest, quickly, without missing a beat, resume the preparations as before. The young attendant quietly and frenziedly shuffles the young brats to the altar behind our large protagonist, each with an impish smile on their faces. Once the entire group is standing at the altar, the large ox is raised high into the air. At the same time the scamps pull out small rats, raising them in the exact same fashion. Another attendant tries to hamper their efforts but is quickly cowed by a large bear snout directly in front of his face. The scamps impishly smile again, but stop with a judgmental look from the grand bear. A large razor sharp claw is raised, the two imps mimic his movements; they each have tiny stone blades stuck in-between each fist clenched finger. Then as though acting as one, they all slice open their respective sacrifices. Blood, guts and gore go spraying everywhere. Any and all standing around the altar are entirely soaked in blood. Acolytes are there to collect as much blood as possible, even from the rats. Once the flow is staunched naturally, the sacrifices are placed on the altar. The ox is placed first. The urchins have difficulty at first, but are very daintily assisted by the mighty one. He picks each one up gingerly, allowing them to place the rats on top of the ox. They are returned safely back to the exact footprints where they were. He reaches into his massive bag and pulls out two large handfuls of coins. He goes to stuff them into the carcass then pauses. Looking up, he drunkenly says:
“Ares ya sures, well of courses yousis sures, duhs.”
He places a small coin in each rat carcass, most of the rest into the ox carcass, leaving two large coins, handing one each to the scoundrels. He then sits right in front of the altar, hampering the processing of the sacrifice by the priests. He gestures the two monkeys over to him. From his sack he pulls out a large pork leg, which is larger than either scalawag. He pulls off pieces and giving them to the children, who quickly scarf the morsels down. Once they are full (which doesn’t take much at all), he tears two eighth pieces off; handing each of them one. Very clearly he speaks to them:
“Now, you have received of the bounty, it is your turn to give of the bounty.”
He gestures to the door and they seemingly disappear out the entrance.
“See, I told yous. I wins the bet.”
“Yes, you wins. I agrees to catch your sacrifices for the nextis month, brudder. Now hurries home, Mum & Sissy are probs starving.