The Prince of Greater Cadmill and future Ruler of the Triad was a bit nervous. It was a feeling he was not used to, which made him more nervous.
“Son, this is a very important moment,” his father, the huge and jovial current King of Greater Cadmill said excitedly, “every heir to the throne has been through the ceremony.”
He slapped his son’s back encouragingly. “And it’s not every day you get to speak with a god, eh?” he said with a smile.
The Prince frowned. As far as he knew the gods could care less about him, or anyone for that matter. He felt uncomfortable with the idea of such powerful entities dominating the lives of him and his future subjects.
A low noise hummed from behind the ornate, ceremonial doors they waited by.
“That’s your cue, you’re going to be great!” assured his father, and with that he pushed him through the doors. Throngs of people crowded closely beside him as he passed, but he kept his gaze fixed on what was ahead. The mass of palace servants, prominent citizens, and esteemed royalty and military closed in behind him to get a better view. Like his father said, it’s not everyday a god would stoop down to a mortal’s midst. He finally stopped, and kneeled before what lay before him. The hushed whispers around him cut to silence, save for the deep hum that emanated from the thing before him. He looked up.
A tall effigy of masterfully sculpted bronze stood before him. Curved, spiraling wings of polished bronze surrounded a figure of a woman with hands reaching out in front of her. It was a shrine to Itavera, the goddess of truth and prophesy. The Prince looked closer and noticed it was vibrating slightly in accompaniment with the humming noise.
The Prince spoke the words that have been spoken by his father, and his father before him, and so on for centuries:
“Itavera the All-Seer, divine goddess of truth and prophesy, patroness of oracles and prophets. An heir to the throne of Greater Cadmill humbly greets you at your shrine and seeks your foresight, so that we may beat back the fog of the future with certainty.”
The bronze statue shivered, its many wings creaking and flexing with barely perceivable motions. It surprised and unsettled the the Prince, but he refused to let it show. His whole court was watching, after all.
“Prince Barbile Cadmill the Fifteenth, heir to the throne of Greater Cadmill, listen well for what I speak is etched in the indomitable stone of fate. You will be a great leader, known throughout the world for your deeds. Your name will rumble the earth, shake the high heavens, and quake in the lowly underworld. Remember your place in the world, for the power of the divines is absolute and incomprehensible to mortals.” The voice did not come from a locatable source but seemed to ring directly into his ears. The prince wondered if everyone else could hear it. From the excited gasps and whispers behind him, he ventured that they could.
He was relieved, and a little excited at what he heard. A great leader, known throughout the world and heavens? That would surely lend him a fair amount of credibility and clout against his detractors, or his many scheming siblings beneath him. He smiled and began to stand when the voice rang forth once more.
“Also,” the goddess intoned suddenly, “There will come a day when you lick the sole of someone’s boot.”
The excited whispers faded. A silence pervaded in the room. A servant guffawed heartily.
“Oh divine, oh Unfailing Harbinger of impenetrable fate, my impure mortal ears have misheard your ultimate truth,” the prince answered desperately, “I beseech you to repeat your last utterance.”
“You will lick the sole of another man’s boot,” the oracle repeated, “I have spoken and my words are irrefutable!” The shrine shivered and was still.