It was strange to actually see her in the flesh. After a decade of half destroyed sketches and rubbed away carvings William finally watched her dozen sinuous limbs reach from the pit and rend their way into black of the clearing. The air around him barely felt breathable, her grinning lupine maw sucking the breath from his lungs as he stared into fang rimmed hollow eyes.
“Beautiful.” William stammered, feeling the echoes of her roar beat inside his skull. Around him awe-filled whimpers hummed in agreement. He closed his eyes to the music of it.
Then he heard it. “Oh fuck no, seriously holy shit–” The string of cursing was half mumbled, garbled together between strained breathing. William opened his eyes and looked to his side, drawing back the hood of his robe so he could see. Instead of standing triumphant behind the alter a few paces from him, the robed figure crouched, back to the stained stone trembling.
That was blasphemous. “Jeff?” He hissed, and took a few steps towards his cowering fellow. “Jeff, stand up, witness the return of the unfathomable Zhhy’sihog.”
Jeff’s head swiveled to him, whites showing all the way around his eyes. “What is …that?”
Beyond them a great sound of tearing sent pain through both their heads as Zhhy’sihog wrested her spiny torso from the bleeding earth. Jeff started to hyperventilate.
“The unfathomable mother. Her embrace will bring the punishing enlightenment of the old ones.” William bore the pain with only a wince, this was their baptism. Unfortunately his attention was being stolen Jeff’s pathetic unraveling and he could not focus on the wrenching headache that was due. “This is what we’ve worked for. Her rebirth.”
Jeff shook his head emphatically. “No. That can’t be the mother….I though she would be…” He took a deep shuddering breath. “Less horrible.”
William could hardly fathom the words coming from Jeff’s mouth. “You’ve read the texts, you’ve attended the visions, the breaking dreams. Surely–”
Jeff was shaking his head again. “No… I didn’t know.”
Zhhy’sihog lashed one of her clawed appendages against the ground, sending a great tremor into the surrounding ruins. A stone arch collapsed, the stained altars they stood before cracked. Jeff started and gave a little sob.
“How could you not know?!” William snapped through clenched teeth. Should the great mother turn her eyeless gaze towards them they would surely perish an agonizing end, that was fine, but he did not want to die arguing with an idiot.
“I’m more of a Gylion and Raggbat sort of follower, you know, the holidays.” Jeff at least looked appropriately mortified. The mistake would cost him dearly, those that survived the rebirth were forever in Zhhy’sihog’s service. William just hoped one of them would be devoured. Spending a eternity being tortured next to an under-performing cultist would be the worst.
“You haven’t read the skin tomes?” William sighed when Jeff shook his head again. He gritted his teeth and walked over to the trembling man. With a firm and none to gentle hand he hauled Jeff to his feet and turned him to their goddess. “I am not letting you embarrass me in front of the unfathomable mother.”
“Huh?” Jeff’s eyes were rolling like a horse’s in a thunderstorm. William didn’t let him collapse, a strong grip on the terrified man’s robe.
“You’re witnessing the end of our pathetic existence as the crawling beings we are.” William grinned suddenly, putting Jeff even less at ease. “Now start whimpering in awe. Got it?”
Last minute thievery from me this week. This first line was stolen from Bek, so make sure to check out the original at her blog. Also see what the rest of the thieves got up to at the Legal Theft Project.