The Black Goddess

There is a path in a wood which leads to a small clearing, and there rests an idol shrouded in the mantle of night, waiting, and ever hungry. Those who feed Her may see their most violent longings granted...

Five small villages surround the wood, with five roads which lead off to five paths into the forest, which all come to converge to a single path, that leads to Her.

Villagefolk do not speak freely of the path, the clearing it leads to, the effigy found there, the Being inhabiting the idol, Her power, or the worship of Her. Some do not know of Her existence at all, while others have come to beg Her favors in exchange for whatever offerings they set at Her feet. Then there are Her few dedicated servants, who tend Her Dark Shrine in secret, fervent thrall. Some have come to Her through word-of-mouth in times of need or from curiosity borne of the dullness of daily life; some are drawn unexpectedly, seemingly by chance, summoned and delivered against their knowledge.

Her form is a mystery: alienic, vague, indistinct. To the casual eye, Her likeness appears as that of a large, smooth, cylindrical stone, black and gleaming as moonlit night. Her features are primitive and beyond human expression: eyes huge, silver, dully glinting without pupil; a large silver ring, like that of a bull, hammered in place of a nose; a sharpened metal tongue protruding from teeth like daggers, with no semblance of lips or mouth; brow anointed with blood. She rests upon a cairn, and about Her is draped a black cloth. But this is merely the most basic of physical display; to those who gaze at Her too long, or too well, or not well enough, She may be as hazily imperceptible or as clearly manifest as suits Her whim.

Some pray for Her boons, some pray for Her power, some are oblivious to Her presence, but all lives in the five villages are twined within her grasp, as her five fingers, with Her Wood and Her Shrine as the center and strength of Her palm.

The End

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