[WP] Choose a pantheon you like and tell me a myth about the god of radiation.

Is the universal eye silent only because it seeks to observe, O proud gathering of kings? Or is it merely unable to recoil? - Sarmuni's fourth interpretation of the Dark Veda.

And a great darkness falls on the village. It is a summer darkness of maddening warmth, infused by an age of anemic rain. The universe swelters beneath a shroud of starless clouds. The goodfolk gather in the Hall of the Founder. Their whispers crawl into the night, consume the false laughter of a distant river, and mingle with the infinite hoarse groans of invisible creatures within a dead earth.

We are betrayed, says the Ninthborn, I witnessed the Thief meet with soldiers of the Beloved.

The goodfolk express outrage.

Lies, the Old Founder argues, I have trained him myself. Aparath can be trusted. If he speaks with the traitors, it can only be to further our cause.

The goodfolk doubt themselves.

Or he could be showing us what he wants. Making us believe, while he ruins us all. shouts the lunatic Kshatriya, and then returns to giggling softly in his unlit corner, fingers tapping blisters on his palms.

The goodfolk are uncertain.

And with that, the three speakers realize that the goodfolk must be won over solely on the weight of witty retorts. So they plot irony and strategize sarcasm.

But Ajivaripa the Reciter, with ancient chants tattooed on his arms, has had enough. He stands in the doorway to the hall and casts a flickering shadow across the village center. He finds the chant most appropriate to the circumstances and walks out reciting the words in his head. As he reaches the great mango tree, he notices three pairs of eyes in the branching shadows. They burn golden from the light. He stops and watches.

A child sits whistling, another plays a flute in unison with the melody, while the third sings chords coalesced from loud, torn breaths.

The whistler pauses, Were these forests ever haunted by the Asura?, he says, singsong, in harmony with the flautist and the singer.

Ajivaripa does not answer, because the chant lies unfinished in his head. There are no pauses to a recital. A chant begun is an oath to end it. The child sighs and plucks something from the leafy darkness. A mango. Saffron, plump, silken. A mango with no cause to exist after a rainless monsoon. The child throws it to Ajivaripa. He catches it. The smell is fragile. It threatens to disperse, so he breathes it in deep and loses it in the depths of his lungs. He nods to the child, raises the fruit and bites.

An exchange has been made, the child says : surely you may answer now.

Ajivaripa raises the other arm, palm up, fingers spread, bent, gesturing assent.

Were these forests haunted, Reciter? If they were, what made the Asura leave?

He looks back at the Hall and its languid glow. He does not know the answer and so he shrugs, palm swivels, fingers signal ignorance.

You do not know? Yet you recite their tales, and the old words that speak of their crimes. If the old words are divine, but you remain unsure of their truth, would it be right to think of ignorance as the womb of gods?

Ajivaripa has no desire to engage in theosophy with the child. He has noticed the sweat glisten in the firelight on Nasturi's neck. The remains of the mango are already seducing ants on the ground. He licks the sweet lines of dew trailing down his arm and heads back to the Hall as the chant begins to end.

The Beloved watches, Reciter.

He swerves back, but the branch is empty, the flute mute, the chords lost.

The day is birthed, as it always is, when the god Agni awakens and begins to scream in pain. His body gleams, flesh sloughed off, veins like scars upon a cratered, shattered skin, eyes milky and mourning. The dawn is jagged at first, shaped by the irregular contours of the god's incisors. As the pain increases and his jaw opens wide in unthinkable torment, the night is vanished.

The Deerslayer sits hidden, watching the city prepare to sleep. The heralds had emerged before the hour of the First Agony. They announce the time and the citizens gather together to complete all transactions. The torches are now unlit to keep them pure. as the first green-pink light crawls from the east, the guards being marching to enforce the curfew before the sound of Agni's screams can catch up with the daylight. Once the streets have been obediently emptied, the chattering child-swarms emerge to shroud the city. They clamber upon the towers placed geometrically across the avenues and the alleys. Each open area is covered with thick woven sheets until the city is hidden underneath a mesh of incoherently crossed bands of cloth. They are swift, horrifyingly swift, and yet nearly overtaken by the screams of the First Agony.

Agni is high-pitched, with an uneven tone, and a pattern of loudness that reflects the chaos of his torment.

Inside their dwellings, citizens yet to sleep, weep, gnash teeth, pull hair, and shiver. Those asleep hear nightmares. But the shroud protects them from the Agonic Curse.

The city slumbers.

In the trees to the west, the Deerslayer signals Ajivaripa to begin. The Reciter's eyes lose focus for the span of a thought and he begins to chant. His voice is a churn of gravel. It obscures everything, even the screams, and it violates the sanctity of the curse. When he is satisfied, he nods. The Deerslayer removes the tight bands of cloth covering himself, as do the rest of the assassins.

The climb down and begin to walk to the east, where Agni lies imprisoned. Their stolen, accursed god, who lashes the grieving earth with anguish each day. Eater of the Sun, Undying Death. The one marked to be slain.

/r/WritingPrompts Thread