Different names, but always the same prayer.
Centuries of weathering had worn the
towering statue into near-formlessness. Gone were the bright paints and
shining jewels. Features and outlines now only hinted at a vague
It could have been anyone's god, once.
Untold ages ago, a shrine had once housed
the proud statue. Gleaming in the sun, the edifice had welled with
voices lifted in grateful devotion. Mingled fragrances from countless
offerings had permeated the building. Life had clustered around, secure
Contact with other peoples brought mixed
blessings. Trade enriched the shrine, briefly. Then war had swept the
Vegetation claimed the charred ruins. Over
generations, surviving fragments of the faithful crept back to dare
now-forbidden rites before the idol. Fearing a purge, the cult elders
had it moved. Lightless whisperings ensued.
Eventually, the conquering force waned. The
statue was brought forth from hiding, re-adorned, worshipped openly
once more. But the world was changing; the people had tasted the gifts
of other gods. Mythologies had widened, placing the statue in a lesser
role. Soon it became a curiosity, a relic of strange days - a memory to
be smiled at. Though whether the smile was wistful, nervous or
dismissive varied by onlooker.
Overshadowed, it slumbered. As do all such
things when no longer attended. World events moved on, unmindful. Wars,
upheavals and reversals ebbed and flowed as though waves on the
The statue was looted at some point and set
up as a trophy. A new faith swept the lands, forcing old images into
its new scheme and smashing those that did not fit. Unfamiliar prayers
were raised to the misnamed idol. Dimly waked, it sensed once more the
presence of devotion. Energy flowed; minor blessings occurred. It
basked in power.
Suddenly the world changed again, this time
far for the worse. The sky split; drought, pestilence and burning hail
scoured the fertile lands. Whole cities sank beneath the lashing waves,
or into the noisome underworld. Death and chaos reigned as survivors
fled, fought, sheltered and banished.
The statue was forgotten once more.
Slowly and painfully, focussed around the city that had taken the
statue, civilisation struggled anew.
There it stands still, with others of its
kin; they line a thoroughfare reeking with the babble of many tongues,
and the welter of many hopes and fears. Swollen with many peoples, the
city is their home too.