You are a deity, and have blessed a girl named Delphine with strange dreams. But what do they mean? And what do you intend for her?
Some call you god, some goddess. Some people bow down to you as their lord and master, still others whisper milady as they bow before your image.
You smile, because you have no name, have no image.
You simply are.
And you always were, and always will be.
These things though, these people, they make names for you. Names to use as curses, as blessings, as whatever they want. They build temples and effigies for you, bowing and praying and crying and killing and singing. All to appease you. All to gain your favour.
Will you bestow it upon these people? Will you encourage their religious fervour by giving evidence to your existence, to your beneficence?
A city lies sleeping below you, the people who call themselves your followers dormant and dreaming. Your interest, though, lays in one woman, a young girl who is called Delphine. She is an acolyte to an oracle, learning the art of seeing and scrying.
She relies on your for her visions, not the drugs and vapours other oracles use to induce hallucinations. And now she sleeps, she dreams.
Are they her own dreams she dreams, or yours?
It’s your choice: you are the god, the goddess, the thundering lord, the whispering lady, the idol of all these people, of Delphine.
She stirs in her sleep as you watch from heaven.
A shrill gasp accompanies the rising of the sun, Delphine waking with a start. Cold sweat glistens on her forehead, a glittering tiara of translucent pearls. Each droplet is illuminated momentarily in the sun’s brilliant light, sparkling before being wiped away by a shaking hand.
Her shoulders shake, her breath comes in rasps.
“What did you dream, Delphine?”
The girl turns wide eyes to the woman at her bedside, a crone with a kind and calm voice.
“Well?” she implores. She is stoic, not even a smile creasing her wrinkled face. There was no concern for her young stead, no distress over the girl’s sudden waking. She knows that you have sent her a vision, and she wants to know what that vision was. In this world, knowledge is power, and even pious oracles have their weaknesses.
“It was,” Delphine starts, her breaths and heartbeats returning to a natural pace. “It was a stag, winter-white. His antlers were hewn to mere stubs, his eyes crazed like a feral dog.”
The older oracle nodds, silent.
“He charged me, and, and…” The girl’s voice trails off; the woman stops nodding and instead stares into Delphine’s eyes.
“And that’s all.”
A final nod, curt, and the old woman leaves. Delphine is left alone in her bed, the sheets wet with her sweat.
Outside the sun is shining, beckoning the city to awaken. You have blessed this country with light today, and blessed Delphine with a dream.
You smile at what you’ve wrought, the first piece put in place.