The statue of Thoth at the head of the high altar was fifteen feet of solid gold and inlaid with magnificent stones, each masterfully set. Its value beyond immense, the price of desecration was however, eternal… For how can you hide from the wrath of a god of knowledge?
The thought of Thoth’s wisdom and protection always gave Inu, scribe-priestess, comfort, especially at night in the vast library. Tonight she lit candles and incense in preparation for a reading of the lore under the third moon but she kept glancing at a stranger from the north, she did not think him a thief she was merely curious about the fairness of his skin and blueness of his eyes, such features were rare in the south as her dark skin would be in the north. She was also curious to hear the words he was whispering to himself, for she knew a little of Caelmaran from her work in the library, the devil-summoner’s tongue, one of her fellow scribes had gone mad translating it from a flesh-bound text. Tilting her head slightly she could make out some of the words he idly whispered to himself.
“Knowledge … born from nothing we are shaped by it, naked facts and foot-notes to be set down in histories.
So much knowledge … a thousand years here would serve me well… All will be mine, in the fullness of time.
Lord Thoth, why did you bring me here? I have searched the crimes of my … and can find no slight against you? Am I chosen for some higher purpose?”
Inu pondered this, she knew that an Nkosi priest of Thoth had brought the northerners here, but for what purpose? The hushed tones of recent divinations foretold destruction, were the strangers agents of chaos and change? She shuddered at what the stranger said next.
“My blood sings with the power of the ley-lines here and I begin to understand the failures of my ancestors a little better. Intoxicated, might I become the cleansing flame or the torch of destruction? What sacrileges could I inflict upon this land?”
The priestess dropped her candle, it sputtered and went out, however the northerner’s train of thought had been interrupted and he stared boldly into the eyes of the priestess, his voice smiling, melodious yet questioning…
“You understand the summoner-tongue? Who taught you it? I shall have to be more careful in my meditations around you yes? Still I am sure you did not mean to spy, perhaps we could discuss your faith and how I might access the full library here?”
There was no enchantment at play yet Inu very much wanted to say yes, to help this scholar in his quest for knowledge, but then there were the omens, chaos and destruction, her service to Thoth was surely being tested! She looked up at the golden statue and realised that perhaps the possession and pursuit of knowledge could be far more perilous than she, sheltered in her scriptorium, had ever thought. Then, out of fear of the ambitions of a strange northerner she risked the wrath of the god of knowledge and committed what she knew to be a great sacrilege to the very spirit of Thoth… she fled, denying the pursuit of knowledge and humbly acquiescing to ignorance.
The stranger watched the sheltered priestess flee and then turned to the statue, Thoth’s image glittered in the light of a hundred candles but no-one was there to see nor to hear the northern scholar say:
“In time, all will be known to me.”