Given the current state of uncertainty in the Land, undead hordes, Abominations roaming the countryside, economic upheaval, and general misery, prayer is on the rise. After all, the gods are there to help the devout, are they not?
There’s a bit of fundamental misinformation about what happens when you pray to the gods. Most people believe that when a prayer is uttered, your god hears it in real-time. This is not true. If it were, that’s all they wouldn’t have time to smite blasphemers or take care of whatever they are the gods of.
You might say, “But are not they gods and capable of multitasking in a manner we mortals cannot even conceive of?”
Yes and no.
Since people pray to their deities all the time, the gods invented a new concept that would allow them to cope with all their demands on their time. It’s called delegating. So popular was this concept, that it has been adopted by most mortals. Of course, there is the occasional control freak who can’t trust others to do things the ‘right’ way, but for the most part, everyone’s on board for it.
How does that work? Let me walk you through it.
A person utters a prayer. The good part of this is anyone can do it, even if you can’t say it aloud, it will be heard. This is the easiest part of the process.
A Recordium takes note of your prayer. A Recordium is a machine created by the goddess of invention, Fortius. They are a giant eyeball made of a carved gemstone with four golden arms and six silver wings. How many are there? Too many to count. Invocation is a growth industry.
After transcribing the petition, it assigns it a series of glyphs based on the piety of who made the prayer, the urgency of the situation, as well as the frequency of requests.
Once that is done, it puts it into an engraved cylinder and is flown to the Grand Chute, in which it is flung into.
The Grand Chute is an enormous passage lined with many, many smaller chutes that the cylinders and sucked into. It is said that the engravings ensure that each cylinder goes to the right place. I’m sure that’s true.
After hurtling through a labyrinth of chutes that seemingly double, and triple back on themselves, the cylinders arrive at the vast chamber of the Most Organized Assessor.
An enormous mass of tentacles and eyes, the Most Organized Assessor sorts the endless torrent of cylinders as they fly into their chamber. Nimbly grabbing each one, they then toss them to an awaiting Eternal Clerk. The best way to describe them is a wine rack with multiple human feet. It sounds extremely unstable but they almost never tip over.
Once they are full, the Eternal Clerk will then bring it to the court of the deity that their prayer is for.
Once delivered to the correct court, celestial or infernal interns (depending on the temperament of the deity in question) arrange the prayer cylinders in order of urgency.
Of course, urgency is a fluid thing. One entreaty might get bumped by a newer one based on any number of factors. It is unclear what these factors might be. They have been described by learned holy scholars as ineffable, AKA beyond the understanding of mortals. This covers a lot of territory.
Once a prayer gets to the front of the queue, it is presented to the deity, after which blessings or curses are bestowed.
Sometimes, a prayer conflicts with another prayer. Say two feuding clans who worship the same deity ask for their enemy to be destroyed by a great flood. What is a god or goddess to do? Drown them both? Sure, that’s happened. But usually, nothing happens. This is what they call in the higher realms, a push.
Also, the relationship between deities can sideline an invocation. Say a goddess of Battle has a massive crush on the goddess of the Forest, who is pissed that war is destroying trees. Battle might, and probably will, deny a blessing to an army of worshipers to impress Forest. Or one god might grant a prayer to spite another deity. Does this happen a lot? It happens all the time. Read your holy texts.
However, the number of prayers actually presented to gods is very, very low. Mostly due to the unending flow of wishes of mortals and the high state of drama between the gods themselves.
If it is of any consolation, all the physical remnants of your prayers are repurposed for use in the forms of statues of the gods and a wide variety of entertainment venues for the gods.
So… What should we do?
Since intervention from the immortal realms is at best a long shot Maybe pray harder?
This has been proven to be a colossal waste of time, and sacrificing animals is a cruel and clearly pointless endeavor.
So what do we do?
We can step up and fix it ourselves. It will be hard. Lots of us might die, but if we do nothing, we will absolutely die. So gird your loins and get to work.
Can I still pray?
Sure, as long as you also do something to fix this mess. Hey, maybe you’ll get lucky.