Of Human Gods [Short Story]

“Who’s the new guy?” asked a silver-helmed God of War.

The many-tentacled monstrosity shrugged, an action that took quite some time and probably sank many ships, “It’s the human’s god. Normally we wouldn’t let such a little species in but he arrived with something he calls ‘Ambrosia’. Try it, it’s excellent.”

Another heavily-carapaced God fell backward from the bar, his shell making a resounding bell ring as he landed.

The God of War sniggered, “I told him to water it down. The human God will sort it out, he has a knack for it.”

The strangely garbed barman took a look over the bar and cursed. His words became solid and fluttered to the fallen god currently messing up his floor. “I told him he was cut off for the next century.” He looked up accusingly, “Who’s been feeding the sad bastard my beer? He’s not ready for it.”

He summoned a selection of odd flying children to whisk the fallen God to his rest, “I’m not his f**king keeper. Any plagues, wars or disasters that happen to his people are on you guys.” He looked at the table the creature had dragged himself away from and a magnificent shade of green raised his glass apologetically, “We will protect his world. My apologies…deity of the humans, I find my omnipotence is a little strained tonight. Tell me your tale!”

The human God was as vain as anyone else that held such a title, “Well, perhaps an introduction would be useful. My people are new to the greater universe, much as I tried to inspire them to travel in the early days. In the end, frankly, I gave up. Any new lands they found they trashed. A lot of my finest work went up in flames. So I gave up. They stopped believing, I kept my nose out of their affairs. I consider myself retired. Then I turned up on your bloody mountainside and I found out that it’s full of gods, demons, and indescribable horrors from the odd dimensions.”

He pulled out a bottle from below the bar and a glass from thin air, “So I thought I’d better make myself useful. How did none of you come up with a people that understand brewing? Mine pray when they are making it, they pray while they are drinking it, and they pray when they run out of it. They don’t even need to use my name, they just send out a general complaint to the universe and it turns up in my inbox.”

Some of the other gods began getting offended by the human’s tone. A particular shade of blue and at least two aggressive forms of seaweed objected, “You are not a god to your people? They have discarded you? We have a place for such as you…”

The strange shape of the human god seemed to shift a little. It became thinner and a cowl formed around it. “Ah yes, your graveyard. I took a long look when I arrived. House gods, wisps of history, and the odd poor bastard that lost his entire planet. I’m not ready for that just yet. My people believe but don’t worship, my people pray when the universe pisses them off and not before or after. They regard me as the complaints department with IT support, they just register complaints and I fix what I can.”

The human god began pouring again and seemed to consider the conversation over.

The God of War didn’t seem to think so, “So a cowardly and forgotten god from an insignificant people. It is well that you are allowed here to serve us, at least your petty purpose and trite gifts have some use for us at the moment. I believe I have some unpleasant tasks you may undertake for my people. They are warriors and have little time for the subtleties of plumbing!”

The human god seemed to change and sigh, becoming something else, “Another God of War? You do realize that everyone has a dozen or more? Fine. Have you ever heard of arm wrestling? One limb against another, you lose if I can force your offered limb to the table or floor.” The human god had adjusted the rules to accommodate tentacles.

“Best of three, five if the referees ask for it. Full access to the faith of your people.”

The Xeno god laughed loud and hard, “My people hold Empires, they battle in my name and sacrifice my enemies to my altars! Their faith is cast in stone. They are a Warrior people and I will take your challenge, petty god.”

The human god finished his drink, “Well, my people don’t have warriors but now we need to set the stakes. If I win you will build a temple for me in your poorest city and sort out the plumbing. What do you want from me?”

The God of War sneered, “I have no need of anything from but you shall raise a temple to me as their God of War in their greatest city and then I will take the limb you offer and hang it in the servant’s quarters as a warning.”

The flickering crowd in the room seemed to come into focus. To the surprise of many, one of the Old Gods, long since exiled to the deepest dark, seemed to focus and sat itself in a seat bereft of hope or life. Several small gods ran screaming from the room but the human god just gave the infernal creature a nod and sent over a drink.

“Cool, all nicely agreed. Let me finish serving all our audience and off we go.”

The human god moved quickly to supply his new customers as they settled down for the show. Once that was done he came out from behind the bar and sat at the table of the God of War.

“So I’ll take the weird green guy as a referee. You choose one now.” The shade of green raised its drink in agreement, a chance to make up for his unfortunate friend.

The God of War pointed at one of the angry seaweed gods, “Them.”

The human god nodded, “Well, I’m nominating the Old One as the casting vote if it’s willing.”

That created a stir, “You dare?”

The human laughed, “Dare? I insist. It would be rude to ignore such a guest and I have a bar to run. I don’t want to piss him off and lose all my guests. Also, I believe that you, as the challenger, get to invite him. Be nice, he will break more than a limb if you piss him off.”

Before the God of War had a chance to move the Old One sent his agreement and seemed to be laughing. Some of the cleverer gods ran from the room, knowing that the old god’s laughter was an insanity in itself. They laughed at the birth of a world or the death of a child and it drove those that heard it mad.

The human god put his elbow firmly on the table and put his left hand behind him, “Okay, access your faithful in ten.” He nodded to the shade of green, “Count it down. Local time please, you guys never seem to get a grip on that.”

The world got slightly greener as the count was called.

The God of War opened his mind to his people battling on a thousand planets, every warrior’s cry a prayer, every victory a benison in his name. He let that strength flow into his arm and joined it with the resolute anger of his people, their will to victory and sacrifice. An alloy of victory.

He watched the human god dredge up his power as its arm wavered on the table. It began changing color, twisting as its strange followers poured their godless faith into their pathetic god. It grew harder, scales of metal and frost forming around his opponent’s arm. The human god smiled, “They care little for gods or kings but they love their machines and space.”

A moment later it had become a grey thing of steel and shielding fields, powerful pulses of energy torn from the math of the universe ripping from the human god and blasting into the warrior. “They also know war. I am their god out of pity, I watch them cry while they burn their own homes and I carry their dead to safety and peace because they demand it of me. They do not need another god of war. I am their god of battlefields, trenches and truces, born on a Christmas day and from their will to peace,” He slammed the God of Wars arm through the table, shattering both and letting the God of War sprawl on the floor. He leaned down, “and I think you should drink somewhere else and learn some f**king plumbing.”

The Human God looked at the referees, all of which were standing back as if the old one had just farted, “All good here, this fella just needs a time out. I’ve got a new brew to show you if you’re interested. It’s from one of my dampest people and they learned how to build a fire in your stomach.” He raised his arm, now losing its metal covering, and suddenly held a large bottle of whiskey. “This one is on me.”


As he drew in the evening only two remained. The human god poured out another bottle as the Old One seemed to relax, “smallgods fight like children. You are not a smallgod, you are a baby oldone. I was wisest to fight you.”

The human god laughed at that, “Really? Because you lost. Why the f**k were you standing guard over the graveyard of gods anyway?”

“Smallgods are my children. You are on a battlefield, you always win. It is your calling. I guard and weep for the smallgods because they were mine. I was wisest because I fought you first, littlegod. I did not fall. Once you have forgotten mercy and become an Old One…then all the Gods will fall.”

The human god seemed to think about that for a while, “Aye, as we should. Cheers.”


Republished with permission from the author, Reddit user u/yousureimnotarobot. Image created using Stable Diffusion.