⭗ REDIRECTIONS XIV⭗
⭗ PIECES OF THE LOST GOD ⭗
The Blue Oracle nodded, simple, thoughtful, silent.
"I suppose, I thought," Coda-1 began, hesitating, then letting Coda-3 finish the sentence. "I suppose I thought that the hand would be gone, that there would only be a pile of rubble here and no sign of the Blue God. It was the proof I needed. It was what I needed to smother the rest of my doubts. It was what I needed to truly believe."
"The Blue God still dreams," the Blue Oracle smiled, radiance leaking out of her hands as she touched the shoulders of Coda-1 and Coda-2. The touch seemed to be enough. Soon, all of the polybody pilgrim's faces were smiling too. "This is just a shrine. There are many like it, all built after the Age of Azure. Many claim that such places are pieces of the lost god, but none truly are. They are reminders only. They are places for dreaming, not places for answers."
"Maybe that is the answer after all. Maybe that reminder is what I really needed," Coda-2 said. "Maybe that is all I need to truly believe."
There are many places in the world where shrines have been built around what are claimed to be pieces of the fallen Blue God. Usually, these shrines are simple, just a single huge blue hand or a colossal piece of skull-shaped cobalt jutting from a pile of stones. They are usually built upon high places, plateaus and mountain tops, and on high holy days, they attract so many bluelander cultists that tiny tent towns often form overnight around them. The truth though, is that none of the pieces the shrines are built around are really pieces of the Blue God. That’s the common belief among cult leaders, at least. The hands and skulls are objects built instead by devoted bluelander sculptors eager not only to prove their devotion to the lost god, but also to inspire that same level of devotion in others. For initiate cultists and pilgrims making their first round of the holy sites, these shrines tend to inspire a frothing religious fervor and excitement about resurrecting the fallen god, but the older pilgrims tend to be more thoughtful and quiet by contrast. There are, of course, rumors about which of the pieces (if any) might be the genuine article, and it is said that when the Blue God rises again, the true pieces will suddenly disappear, reclaimed and reincorporated into a new, colossal body.
But nothing like that has happened yet, has it?
⭗ POINTS OF INTEREST ⭗
1. Gardens of Whispering Stones: Many of the shrines around the Pieces of the Lost God are home to smaller, secondary shrines that take the form of short and knobby cobalt pillars covered in engravings of prayers and stories from those who have had visions of the Blue God. Some pilgrims claim that they can hear the voice of the Blue God carried on the wind in these places, but most only experience a strange, melodic hum that seems to come from the stones themselves, as if some element of the carvings catches the breezes and sings with their passage. Visitors will always find a tokesmith or a purveyor of fine visionary herbs hanging around such places, and it is not uncommon to meet a bluelander pilgrim fully in the grip of a religious vision somewhere in the middle of such a stone garden.
2. The Guardian of the Hand: There are rumors among the cultists that a powerful spectral guardian will materialize when someone shows disrespect to the shrine, to the pilgrims who come to visit it, or anytime someone tries to harm any of the sacred stones or artifacts at the site. The guardian is translucent and blue (so the bluelander’s say) and it wields a sword that seems as if it is made from teal glass and azure flame. Those who claim to have seen it say that the guardian appears suddenly and stands before the disrespectful interloper, challenging them to a duel. Usually, the mere sight of the towering, ghostly guardian is enough to drive off any threats, but the bones of those who have tested it in combat (and were subsequently cleaved into pieces) are allegedly collected together in dismal, mossy alcoves scattered around the perimeter of each holy shrine.
3. Caverns of the Picotee Cultists: Generally, pilgrims of the Blue God are pleasant enough folk. They speak freely about their beliefs and religion, but they also generally realize that their faith is not for everyone. They trade fairly, and more often than not have plenty of worthwhile currencies to barter with. Among them, though, are those known as the Picotee Cultists. Picotee cultists blend with the standard mass of bluelanders, hiding their true allegiances to the Blue God as a god of destruction above all else. Always they are working toward the reawakening of the Blue God to bring about the end of the world, and occasionally they will kidnap pilgrims in the night as sacrifices to feed dark rituals held in caves hidden away in the nearby countryside.
⭗ OUR PARTY (SO FAR) ⭗
Coda-1, Coda-2 and Coda-3, a bluelander polybody pilgrim, allegedly.