The gods gathered around
one of the enchanted tables that
represented the mortal world.
Barzay, God of Smiths,
picked up the little statuette
that stood for Johan.
"Do you really think
this will work?" he asked.
"It worked well enough
for me to boost him along
to his own Goddess that time,"
said Alazar, God of Art. He took
the figurine, running his fingers
over it. "Good workmanship."
"Thank you," said Gailah.
"It worked for me too,"
said Diawn, God of Plants.
"Johan spends enough time in
the woods that I can reach him
easily. I don't need as deep of
a connection as with my own,
I just need to be able to reach
him in an emergency."
Forthan, God of Death
gave a faint smile. For him
that was very nearly a grin.
"I didn't even have to reach out,"
he said, taking the statuette. "Johan
spotted me on a battlefield and behaved
with complete respect -- he even taught
his protégé to do likewise, in fact."
"I agree that the idea has merit,"
said Talaton, God of Balance. He
turned the statuette over in his hands.
"Sharing some paladins aids equilibrium."
Johan sat up in bed, groaning.
"What's wrong?" Althey asked,
quickly crouching beside him.
"Dizzy," said Johan. "I feel
like someone stuck a finger
inside me and stirred."
"Oh, that's not good,"
Althey said. "Lie back down
and let me see what I can do."
His hands patted over Johan.
"There, is that any better?"
"Not really," Johan said.
"Then it's not in your body,"
Althey said. "Hang on, I'll
try something different."
His voice rose, light and
sweet, in a hymn to Gailah.
"My friends, I am open-minded
about the possibility of sharing
our more versatile paladins, but I
must ask you to stop passing around
this one like a pattyball!" Gailah said.
"You are going to confuse the poor boy."
She plucked Johan out of Talaton's hand
and pressed him firmly against the table.
"Yeah, that's better now," Johan said.
"At least my reality has stopped
spinning end over end. I just
feel a little bit squashed."
"Give it a few minutes,"
Althey advised. "If you still
feel out of sorts, we can just
spend the day here. We're
only passing around. We don't
have to travel if you're unwell."
"That's a luxury," Johan said
with a smile. He hadn't always
had that kind of opportunity.
"It's okay," Althey said.
"Maybe this place could use
a few more prayers, anyway."
Johan smiled as the image
of gods sitting around a table
blossomed inside his mind.
"All right, that's a plan."
Alazar's hand hovered over
the table. "He's asking for it."
"Go ahead, give him a touch,"
Gailah said. "But one at a time."
Alazar put a fingertip on the statuette.
In the waystation, Johan
bolted out of his bedroll
and grabbed his inks.
* * *
Barzay, God of Smiths (introduced in "Knell")
Alazar, God of Art (introduced in "Ink")
Diawn, God of Plants (introduced in "Hallowing")
Forthan, God of Death (introduced in "Thorny Paths")
Talaton, God of Balance (introduced in "Will Not")
Gailah, Goddess of Peace (introduced in "Shine On")