This far out in the wilderness, the gods could no longer hear her prayers; even if they could, the roaming charges would be immense. She’d thought about bringing a radio with her and relaying her messages back to someone who could pray on her behalf, but getting away from all that noise was one of the main reasons why she left to begin with. She had grown tired of her altar pestering her to download premium gods, as well as of the dull, smokeless scent of autocandles.

Despite her best efforts, however, she hadn’t come across any food or water in three days, and needed divine intervention more than ever. As she sat shivering by her failed campfire, she used her pocketknife to carve an idol from a fallen tree’s trunk. Her work was coarse, but she managed to make something vaguely anthropomorphic. “You are the god of this forest,” she told her carving. “As of now, you always have been.”

And in her dreams that night, the new god appeared to her, a blur against the whispering flora beyond. “You are the first to call upon me,” the being told her. “And thus, you are my first prophet. What do you seek?”

“I have left the city behind,” she replied. “But I fear that I will die out here. I don’t know where to go.”

“I see,” the wisp of a god spoke. “And you’ve come to me seeking an afterlife?”

“What?” She shook her head. “No! I’ve come to you because I want to live!”

“Hmm.” A wind blew through the leaves behind him. “I’m afraid I cannot give you life, as none has been given unto me. I have never received a sacrifice before, nor have offerings been claimed in my name. I have nothing worldly to grant- all I can offer you is wisdom that might help you live.”

“Whatever you can. Please.”

“Very well. Your left leg is shorter than your right.”

For a moment, there was nothing but the sound of insects. “That’s it?”

“Since the beginning of this journey, you’ve felt that you’ve been wandering straight ahead. But you haven’t. Your left leg is slightly shorter, and thus you’ve moved at an ever so slight angle towards it. Over time, however, you’ve turned further and further, and now, you’ve nearly completed a circle. The gates of the city are less than a mile away, now. Keep wandering forward, and you’ll find yourself back where you started.”

“Back where I started…” Hope overcame her eyes, followed by disappointment. “And with nothing to show for it. How can I show my face again to everyone I left behind?”

“That’s up to you,” the god replied. “You can return as a coward, or you can return as my prophet.”

The relationship between gods and mortals is quite complex, as evidenced by the making of ambrosia.

Some gods never obtain more than a single follower, but others find ways to maintain Upward Mobility.

Most gods would never willingly allow a human to obtain the upper hand, but there are exceptions.