High Moon

Originally posted: Tue, 28 May 2019 08:51:09

N.B. This is a freebie writing prompt for anyone who wants it - I got as far as I could, then couldn't see a way forward with it.

The bell struck midnight as the crowds snaked through the city streets, their shapes bathed in the blue reflected light of the moon. At least, they did heading towards the bigger temples, the gatherings heading to the smaller ones, or those of the minor cults, would barely fill a tavern. Still, they all came, greedy for prophecy: would they be chosen? Would their child's destiny be revealed and hail a new era? Could they herald an age of conquest, or lead a calamitous war? Hero, villain, warmonger, peacemaker - it was all the same to them: if prophecy called, they would answer and be immortalised in history.

Bloody fools, the lot of them. Why anyone would want the eyes of fate to glance at them and decide to hijack them "for glory", I don't know. The smart ones stay at home on High Moon, or go on hunting trips, or mountain treks. They're the ones who understand. They're also the poor sods who get a visit from me. And if I show up at your door... Well I'll put it this way: most of those I minister the future to have a higher survival rate than the temples. Physically, anyway.

Prophecy is lunacy: people will bend over backwards trying to obey it, despite it being uselessly vague and referring to events and people either centuries buried or not yet born. It has become the coin of charlatans to appease the influential. It also fucks with history, and with my plans for history. This does not make me happy.

No, I'm not actually a prophet, by the way. I'm more of what you'd call an agent of Time: I don't hop around in it at will, I cannot travel strictly through time, I just get sent instructions and have them carried out. OK, fine, I'm a fucking prophet, stop rubbing it in. What I don't do, is write this shit down and peddle it for cash or influence. I don't get the same vagaries most "prophets" do, but that's because I'm not grasping at the edges of the Tapestry, stealing a small loose end of a thread. I get specifics. I get specifics, because they are basically orders. They are not visions of things to come as warnings; not a tidbit to send some prancing gallant nitwit on a quest; and they are most certainly not a way to get rich quick (although I'm far more loaded that the temples and nobles could dream of).

Anyway, back to tonight: Tonight is High Moon, a day-long festival where the moon is high, the weather is good, the temperature warm, and the people come out to beg a temple acolyte to make them famous and rich by telling them an obscure passage in an impressive-looking old book means they have a Great Task to accomplish that will Save People/Nations/Pretty Young Thing. It's my favourite night of the year, because it gets the priests off my back while they do their thing, and I can actually go get things done. Which I can usually do, provided one of their smart alecs don't actually find something genuine, and the right person to match it. Thankfully that doesn't happen very often, as untangling the resulting catastrophe really eats into my "me" time. The last time that happened, the priests still haven't forgiven me for it: I stole one of their people, burned down one of their hidden storehouses and embarrassed them into submission in front of the Archon. They should be glad I didn't do it publicly, given the storehouse bit was mostly their fault, sticky-fingered weasels. I digress, although the storehouse is relevant, as it is my current destination.

Now, as you may have gathered, I'm a bit of an oddball around these parts, which, on top of being a prophet (even one of an obscure cult, as they like to call my practise) allows me certain courtesies, and a lot of leeway in regards to my behaviour. Not that anyone really pays much attention to my comings and goings, but I do like to take the paths less travelled. So this High Moon had me visible to everyone, should they be looking, ambling along the city's skyline, leisurely hopping from rooftop to rooftop heading towards the docklands district for a "chance" meeting at the aforementioned husk of a storehouse.

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