Power & Premonition
“Elti treads a somber sky
His eyes beholding all that rots
The arrow greets the sails of sin
The stomach left gnawing in the dark”
The oracle’s trance was broken as the words left her lips- Messho rose from the temple floor and pulled back a nest of black hair licked with sweat.
“The gods have left me.” Her voice trembled with exhaustion as she spoke to the Orun who sat on the cold temple floor across from her. Flickering lanterns glowed around the pair and a bowl of dream powders continued to smoke between them.
“I feel I have been condemned,” Tsal replied after a moment of reflection, “What have we done to deserve such a curse? I built this temple, I BUILT these gardens, for the glory of the pantheon and they speak to me through the god of retribution!”
“I cannot speak for them, my Lord, I am but a conduit to our plane,” Messho calmly replied. Her clouded eyes seemed lit from within in the lamplight. “There is imbalance in this world, there must be correction. I have faith your leadership will guide us, my Orun.”
The oracle reached for her robe and stood up, pulling it across her naked frame, and bowed before leaving the sanctuary.
Tsal gritted his teeth in silence. He always came to Messho before a campaign, and always he was showered with the blessings of prosperous Geshal or Ov of reason, but now the deadwalker, the unfeeling moon, the watchful vengeance, had come calling for his people. Perhaps the gods were playing games again. Perhaps the oracle’s poem was farce?
Tsal’s advisors thirsted for the wealth of the riverlands and told him victory was assured. The great houses of the city frothed for glory and new markets. Tsal himself salivated at the thought of controlling the breadbasket- the thought of feeding legion after legion, merchant fleet after merchant fleet, the thought of legacy.
Fate, he decided, was willed. The armada would be sent into the Koh on a shrouded night, when the moon haunted other skies. The House Kuemno would begin the unification of the river states that so many oruns before had dreamed of. His ships were moored and waiting, and the Most Harmonious Republic would prove its divine right by blood.