THE GODRIDER

Travel far enough to the north, and you’ll find a place where the living and their gods are not so easy to tell apart. Hyperborea has lost its classical syzygy, resulting in strange blends of divinity and mortality. In such a place, the simple act of picking a flower can cause a star to disappear from the southern sky.

Even so, there are sacred lines between these categories of being that are rarely ever crossed. The customs may seem strange, but they serve the purpose of keeping balance. Among other things, gods and mortals are not to buy drinks for one another, compete for wealth in games of chance, or keep the other kind as pets.

Like all taboos, however, these acts are still occasionally permissible in company of immense trust. It is for this reason that the god of beasts allows his oldest friend, a huntsman no less, to ride upon his back.

For a mortal to place a saddle upon a god is unthinkable to most, but he does just this, and commands the respect of all through his actions. It is little more than a curl of humble leatherwork, but it fits the curvature of the god’s steel spine perfectly. He sits upright behind his companion’s glowing mane, rifle in tow, and takes no shot without permission from the divine beneath him. Everything he kills, they cook together by firelight, and share with whichever creatures come and go. There’s always just enough for everyone.

They’ve been enacting this ritual for thirty years, and have laughed together all the while. The hunstman is growing old, however, and the day when he will need to wander west of the sunset is coming soon. Both he and his friend know this, but it troubles them not; it is also taboo for gods and mortals to say goodbye.

ON WISHING WELLS

THE PINNOCCHIOID