Professor Rutskarn’s Introduction to Elder Scrolls Cosmology 101: New Gods
So maybe you don’t want to worship the Eight Divines, a gaggle of model-building intergalactic nerdcases with dumb names. And maybe you’re not on good terms with the Daedra after they made out with your boyfriend in one of those speakered-up parking spots at Sonic Burger. The question is: with those two options removed, who’s left to worship? Consider these three options:
1.) Nobody Much.
MORTAL: So Aedra, what’s the advantage of devoting my life to you? Are you going to deliver me from earthly suffering?
AEDRA: Yes! One specific kind of suffering, like not being able to carry enough stuff! We will alleviate this for several hours at a time!
MORTAL: That’s the kind of perk you’re willing to offer if I spend my entire life worshiping you?
AEDRA: Or you could drop like ten bucks on a shrine once in a while. But yeah. That’s our upper limit.
MORTAL: Daedra, how about you?
DAEDRA: Yeah, sure, standard contract: we give you all the sex and booze and violence and money and artifacts you can carry away in a sack, and in return, you let us sort of…you know, kind of, ruin your life. A bit.
DAEDRA: Shit. They’re catching on.
Funny thing, how functional atheism is pretty common for a universe with more than three different types of Gods.
The Tribunal. You remember that hoser that got kicked out of the intergalactic D&D club in last week’s lesson? Well, when he was kicked out, he left some of his stuff behind. Like his actual, literal, physical heart.
Turns out that messing with a god’s heart (and of course we started messing with his heart, what do you think) can have fascinating side-effects. It might make you into a god! Or it might destroy your entire species. You know. Both have been known to happen to various people, and not, as you’d sorta have to guess, in that order. Yeah–someone tried the godhood ritual after it literally wiped out the last civilization to give it a crack.
T1: Yeah, let’s just do it. What’s the worst thing that could happen?
T2: We and everyone who looks like us disappears instantly forever.
T1: Well…how likely is that?
T2: Based on a survey of all existing precedent, I’d say around one hundred percent likely.
The three self-made bootstrap gods called the Tribunal are to the Aedra as film-student indie aristes are to Hollywood standbys. They made it to where they are all on their own (or so they claim–they’re really just cribbing off an earlier, edgier artist’s work). They have a very meta, deconstructive view of their tools and responsibilities. They exhibit a stupid level of loyalty to their hometown, to their “crowd,” their “scene.” At their best they’re honest, personal, and well-intentioned. At their worst they’re navel-gazing opaque shitwits getting more and more stuck up their own ass and more and more crazy as the years go by.
Oh, and after a relatively brief honeymoon, their careers have pretty much imploded.
Talos. But there’s this other relatively new filmmaker. He actually got his start doing YouTube-grade stuff–cool, but strictly mundane in terms of reach and production values–but he was so popular, well-interviewed, and media-hyped that he ended up sort of being handed the reins to bigger pictures as though he knew what he was doing. These days the media insist on treating him like a “real” director, inviting him to promos and round tables and red carpet dealies, but it’s difficult not to think that’s just a little bit of an overenthusiastic appraisal.
But while not everyone agrees that he’s the best director ever, or even all that good, there’s one thing everyone can agree on: it’s that those pretentious, acne-ridden, sneering film-school dropouts calling him a a hack? The ones who dump on his “lowest-common-denominator” approach, who transparently envy his “undeserved” success even as their own works score double-digit viewcounts?
Those guys are the worst.
To be continued next week in, “What’s Up With All These Dovakids?”
The product of fandom run unchecked, this novel began as a short story and grew into something of a cult hit.
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