The job of a traveling judge is a difficult one in Zentar. Especially for a salaman. All the non-human races in this country were minorities. Even in Aliaz it wouldn’t be any better for salamen. The elves themselves weren’t racist, but the other races were. Any race, such as the salamen the skravyn and the zarx, who had originated in the Dark Under were subject to the scorn of the other races. This made the job of being a judge even more difficult.
Between Rentaz and Dregton there was a little-known town in the Northern Highlands between the Helen River and Dulz Thicket. The path that ran from the river to the town didn’t deserve the title of road. Somewhere along the second half of the journey Bremvan ran straight into an elf as she materialized in front of him.
“Oof!” Bremvan fell back, turned mid-fall and caught himself with both sets of his salaman arms, the ones near his waist didn’t help much, but it was still better than landing on his back. He stood up slowly and brushed himself off.
The elf looked at him strangely. It was almost as if she had never seen a salaman before. “Uh, are you okay?”
“Yeah. I’d say watch where you’re going, but I don’t think you could’ve.” He paused for a moment, looking at her more closely. “Wait. You aren’t an elf.”
“No, I’m not. I’m not from around here.”
“Oh, are you from the southern continent? I can’t place that accent.” Brevman extended an upper hand. “My name’s Brevman.”
“Gormaliev.” She took the offered hand and shook. “I’m actually not from here period.”
Brevman took that in for a second. He was good at telling when people were lying, and she certainly was not, or she was a better liar than he was a detector. “Well, if you are from a place other than Nevre where would that be?”
Gormaliev smiled. “Ah, a learned man…right? You are male?” Brevman nodded. “I’m from the realm called the Feylands. Have you heard of it?”
“No. The only realm that I’ve heard of besides Nevre is somewhere called Domhan. According to some, the gods have visited there before.” Brevman motioned in the direction he was heading previously. “Well, if you want to walk and talk I have a meeting to make. Otherwise, mayhaps we will meet again.”
“I’ll walk with you…what is your race? I’ve never seen a lizardman quite like you.”
“That’s because salamanders aren’t lizards. I’m a salaman.”
The grassy path stretched into the distance of the Northern Highlands as Brevman walked along it, answering Gormaliev’s many questions about Nevre, the races found there, and the gods of Nevre. This last topic caught her attention.
“So these gods you speak of. How did they become gods?” Gormaliev was playing with a ball of purplish blue fire that she had conjured into her hand.
Brevman saw the flame but chose to ignore it. He answered the question instead. “Well, if the histories are to be believed all the gods from Nevre were present when magic was released into the realm. At that location, there were hundreds gathered, and only about twenty or thirty survived the explosion of magic. I don’t know of all the gods, so I can’t give you an exact count. Those who survived were suffused with the power and became unable to die. They also have more magic running through their veins than any mortal because they absorbed the brunt of the initial explosion.”
Nodding throughout Gormaliev had a few questions for these so-called gods. Sure they had the power of a god, but they had not earned it; at least not at first. They had been lucky. “Which of these gods would you recommend a god from another realm talk to first?”
The path grew silent as Brevman stopped in his tracks and Gormaliev waited for his answer. A few moments passed and he made up his mind. “Well, some would say The King simply because he is the patron god of kings, but he is also the god of usurpers, being one himself. I personally would recommend meeting with either The Coward or The Commander. The Coward is the king that The King usurped, and The Commander is his son.”
“Hmm…you wouldn’t happen to know where they call home?”
“I’m sorry, I do not.” Brevman started walking again then stopped after a few steps. “Actually, if the stories are true…” He looked along the path, searching for something.
“Do you see another traveler along this path? Or perhaps near it?”
Gormaliev scanned the horizon in every direction. “There. They aren’t on the path, but they seem to be watching us.” She pointed them out.
“Are there two of them? It’s hard for me to make them out.”
“If those are who I think they are one is The Jester, the god of destiny and wishes. The other is Simisola, The Kindness or The Healer. She is the god of kindness, healing, and fate.”
“I see. Thank you.” Gormaliev disappeared with a pop and appeared on the horizon where she had seen the two travelers.
Brevman watched from the path as Gromaliev appeared to be talking to the two figures. After a short moment she reappeared next to him. “Well, were they who I thought, Gormaliev?”
“Call me The Calculating. Titles seem to be what gods go by here.” Gormaliev paused to let that statement sink in. “Also, take this talisman. I feel that this realm needs some more non-human gods. So far I, an outsider, am the only one.”
Brevman took the proffered talisman and stared at it. Suddenly he knew what he would have to do if he wished to attain godhood. It was a list of feats, each more difficult than the last, but if he did them in a way that was true to himself he would unlock a path to godhood.
“Thank you.” He whispered into the empty air. Gormaliev had left and he was alone. Now he had another purpose beyond his job as a judge. Becoming a god wouldn’t be easy but between his cases, he would do his best to do so. A god had seen in him the potential to be a god and that was motivation enough for him.
Brevman tucked the talisman into a pouch at his side and continued on the road. A purpose balancing his stride for the first time in a long time.