"A warning to the children of the gods"
from an anonymous child
If someone has to tell you there is only one god and that god is Ereal who reigns supreme in The Eternal City, in the vast Iridine Republic, and in the Heavens above, then you're in trouble. For the priests of Ereal in all their fine white and gold togas have long decreed that "Ereal is the god of all creation and we are all his children" and his followers "punish those who do not worship Ereal alone."
Now I do not consider myself a blasphemer. I am a true Iridine citizen. I am so common that my blood is as green as my skin. I exxagerate some but you understand my meaning? I worship Ereal and I respect the work Ereal's priests and followers do to help and to protect our city and our people. I attend the festivals and leave what offerings I can (or in some instances, can not) afford. I visit the holy healers and hurrah the Soldiers of Ereal. I pray for Ereal's guidance and blessings and thank Ereal for everything else.
But I used to live in the Steps, a poor miserable place where the people either clung to Ereal or abandoned him because of their extreme poverty. Life was so difficult that the people took whatever comfort they could--whether it was worshipping with Ereal's priests, drinking down mugs of Marcellinus' posca and ale, joining the gangs of thugs and brutes that roamed the back alleys at night, or simply living out their days and nights as best as they could with the people they loved. And though I heard Ereal's name on most people's lips and saw his name in most people's eyes as they looked skyward, sometimes other names were spoken and other names looked out from people's beseeching eyes.
I remember many names. Some spoken more than others. One name heard only once in my life there. There were street gamblers who huddled together in alleys with a bottle and dice. These men mumbled Tyhaba's name as they kissed their last sen in one hand and rolled the dice with the other. I remember one of them told me to always kiss one side and not the other (I now forget which) because that was Tyhaba's good side, the side of her that would bring good luck. I remember many women, old and young, who kissed the moons in the sky because they believed the gods would protect their sons and husbands who worked far away from home or in the dangerous night: Invex for the fishermen and Lucifal for the rogues. Once I heard someone whisper Aera's name. I do not know who whispered or who he or she thought Aera was supposed to be other than the name of some lost and forgotten god or goddess who is now known only as a moon in Iridine's night sky. My mother's father was one of the many laborers who went to the woods everyday and then every night delivered firewood to the merchants and wealthier homes of the city. He was a large, simple, good man and he brought whatever wood he could spare from selling to warm our hovel and cook the rabbit or rat he caught in the forest. Men like my grandfather thanked Dycrus for what warmth and food the god provided as gifts from the forest. And contrary to what most know about Ravan now, especially with the talk about the Ravanites, I remember hearing Ravan's name often then because, I believe, death came so often in that part of the city. I have since left the Steps, so perhaps things have changed...
Of course, there are other gods. During the war, I heard many charging and dying Cinerans call for Larethian. The Altene mercenaries worship of Erai'Theran which they is another name for Ereal. Other names I do not recall but I recognized the same look in their eyes and the same tone in their voice that I have witnessed in many people.
So this is my warning to the many children of the many gods in Iridine and the world beyond: speak softly.
Did I mention why I left the Steps? The followers of Ereal "punish those who do not worship Ereal alone."