Praise be to the Tiny Snake God! -- TheDragonsFlame
Praise to Hyerish, the Dread Serpent. Fear that they judge you unworthy. Brave you must be to approach them. Sure of your heart, you need be, to lay your hand upon them.
The words ring the temple, where Hyerish resides. There is a definite snake motif in the decorations on it, in the tableaus and certainly on the clothing and body decorations of the local populace. The local populace who just happened to be the most fearsome warriors in the world, they never feared death because they had faced it in faith and passed its test, blessed be Hyerish...
Only the highest of the High Priests, the members of the secret sanctum, knew the ancient history of how the Snake God came to be the reigning deity of the region. It was there that the heroes gathered to know of Hyerish and report to the distant monarch of Fawaci as to whether or not these people and lands were a danger to her, her subjects, or her kingdom. So it was there, after some mandatory and difficult questing that the wandering heroes came to rest, recuperate, and listen as the most senior sage and the most junior member of the Sanctum related their secret histories.
Centuries, nay, millennia prior, their land had welcomed all the gods in multiple temples. Alas, not one of those gods heard the wailing pleas of the people, for they were under the thrall of a terrible dictator...
Once a year, the dictator would go to every new temple and challenge the god there to a test. The priest would give it, and he would pass it, thus claiming superiority over even the gods themselves. That is, until the final year of his terrifying reign, when he came to the humble hut that was the new church of Hyerish. There, he demanded the challenge according to custom.
The head and only priest of Hyerish brought forth a basket from the humble altar and said, "Greet my god."
Inside the basket was a snake barely half a cubit long. Slender and speckled in bright, flowery colours, and curled up asleep.
The tyrant plunged his hand into the basket and grasped the snake in a rough grip. The snake, sacred avatar of Hyerish, did not like that and bit the tyrant on his thumb. He died before he could scoff at the apparent weakness of such a serpent god.
The prettier the snake, the deadlier the venom.
That avatar's descendants live in the temple to this day, and the devotees pass their test of courage by greeting their god. None who survive greet them as roughly as the ancient tyrant once did.
[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / andrianocz]
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