Aldorachai found himself in this position rather often. He was beginning to think of it as an occupational hazard. The humans who did this sort of thing did seem to have a thing for fire. He supposed that this was just what it was like, serving a god whose portfolio had changed and whose current followers didn’t like to be reminded of what it had changed from.
The fences and hedges around the property had been set alight. That meant the mob would go after the buildings and the people next. Aldorachai sighed. It was time for him to step in.
He made an entrance, stepping through the fire at its fiercest point, becoming present in all senses of the word in as spectacular a fashion as possible. He was trying to get the mob’s attention after all. It worked.
“Look!” bayed one of the leaders and instigators, the local priest. “A divine angel come to help us cleanse this blasphemous site! Praise Hasnor!”
“Well you can start by putting out this fire,” snapped Aldorachai, “before the rest of the farm catches alight. What in the world were you thinking?”
The priest stared at him. “The farmer let the learned fool from Iboshoer poke around on his farm and he found the underground place with the lewd murals and statues of men together. They have blasphemed against holy Hasnor. They and the blasphemous place must be cleansed with fire!”
“So, did you not do well in theological history at the seminary or did you not do theological history at the seminary?” Aldorachai smiled at the half stunned, half apoplectic man. “Or, let me guess, because you Benarians have this peculiar system of one priesthood for everyone, you didn’t cover Hasnor’s theological history at all, did you?”
The priest, speechless, nodded.
“Well, here beginneth the lesson for all of you.” Aldorachai looked around to make sure he had the attention of all of them. “Back before you developed this peculiar idea that the Benarians are the chosen people of the gods, back before the Death War itself, so many gods played in the realm of human affections and relations they were called the Pantheon of Love. The Death War started with the Vardmasters’ ambush and murder of Erithme, goddess of romantic love. By the time it was over, only three of the Pantheon of Love were left so they shared out the empty portfolios and Hasnor became god of all carnal love.”
“All carnal love…” That was from a rather bovine-looking, large young man at the back of the mob.
He was immediately shushed with, “Be quiet, you great booby!” from those around him.
“Now,” Aldorachai went on, “my divine lord can’t override your free will, although I am ordered to prevent murder happening tonight. Know this. Before his portfolio expanded this was one of his major cult sites, a great temple glorifying his name. Out of use now for millennia, but he’s still very fond of it. You can choose to destroy it. If you do, he will turn his face from each and every one of you who participates in that destruction. Your prayers to him will be forever unnoticed. No more inspiration that will speed you to your desire. You’ll all be on your own with only your own attractions, or lack of them, to aid in your wooing.” He let the silence sit for a moment. “So what will you do?”
The mob split into two groups, the young and the old, and started arguing. Except, interestingly, the large, bovine, young man who emptied out his bucket of tools on to the grass then, leaving the hammers and chisels sitting there, went to the nearby creek to fetch water.