Beyond the Rim – Installment 5

“Thurgod, great among smiths, what brings you again to this hall?”

“I require a new servant.”

“What became of your last? Humans are a limited resource, Thurgod.”

“Rarer still are my creations. The spikes and golems that secure your halls exist because I work, and I cannot work unassisted.”

Cyllgod sat alone in her hall, the seats left for an assembly empty. She made a bright smile and said, “Tell me, Thurgod, how it was you smithed before you came to work for me.”

Thurgod turned his face towards where Cyllgod sat. “As I have always, at a bellows and anvil, with the assistance of a human.”

“So even the great smith god cannot work alone? Were you made feebly?”

Thurgod crashed to the ground, and Cyllgod laughed. “Ahah, you cannot tell me, but I hear it. And I would be offended at your thoughts, were I not so amused. Fine. You shall have your new servant. I shall choose one for you from among those who owe me a great debt.”

Thurgod stood, sweat pouring from below the metal band that encased his head, and raised his hand. “My lady, if I may, may I not select him?”

Cyllgod turned to the white golem next to her and whispered to her. It left, and she asked, “I think I can measure the size of a man’s arms, Thurgod. Do you doubt that I will choose well for you?”

Thurgod winced as he held back a forbidden thought. “It is more than the man’s arms that I would measure. I must speak with him, and learn his heart. For he must join in the work of a god, and among us, it is our spirits that do more work than our forms. The nearest a human has that I can find is a heart, and I would know that mine and his would work well together. Otherwise I might find him an unsuitable servant, and be forced to come before you again, lest my work be made inferior.”

Cyllgod smiled. “Choose as you will then. I must have your best, Thurgod.”

“I always do my best,” and then Thurgod tripped on his next word, collapsing again.

Cyllgod chimed merrily as she exited the chamber, “I can see that speaking to me is a pain to you, Thurgod. Learn to rule your own mind and be your own master.” She turned to her golem, which was returning with a dozen humans in train. “Let him talk to them, and then choose one to take away.”

The moment Cyllgod was out of sight, Thurgod pointed his face at the golem, “You will tell her none of what is said here.” The golem remained motionless as Thurgod stood in the middle of the stone circle at the base of the chamber, turning his head to consider each human in turn. They only stood, petrified. He pointed at two of them. “You two might do. The rest will not do. Escort them out.” The golem attended at once, and the rest did not dare to disobey its prodding outside, where they were met by another, which herded them down another hallway.

Thurgod turned to the two that remained. “You would each be more comfortable if you sat.”

Both of the humans sat down at once, but their bodies remained tense. Thurgod asked, “You, strong-bodied one, what is your name?”

“I am Triannin.”

“To know you better, I must know how you came to be within Cyllgod’s halls.”

“I was destined to become the leader of our tribe, the eastern hunters. We live by slaying manticore and yeti, and sold their bodies to the valley. When it came time for me to be made chief, my lessor half-brother was advanced before me. When Cyllgod’s army came demanding tribute we fought them and were overrun, for my half-brother is no commander of war and has little for wits. She would have had all my people destroyed, but instead I named myself the chief’s eldest son, and offered to be her slave if it would spare my life and the life of my people. Now I am brought below, and have served Cyllgod since.”

“The eastern hunters were the last to ever fall to her. Your people are strong, as are you.”

“How do you know I am strong? You can see nothing, blind god.”

Thurgod grinned, “Blind, yes. God, yes. And the second answers the first. The smith god knows what he must for smith work.” Thurgod turned his head to face the other human. “And you, little one. I would like to know your name.”

“My name is Oorgo, master.”

“I would like to know how you come to be in Cyllgod’s halls. It is odd to see a frail child in Cyllgod’s debt.”

Oorgo sniffled childishly, then began to tell his tale.


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