“I met a god once,” declares Peggy, who is resting one arm against the rusted railing as the briney water laps at the edge of the docks.
“Oh aye?” replies Jake, looking up from the unfortunate scaly creature he was till but a moment ago liberating from its internal organs. Some time in the distant past old Jake may have been a great beauty but years of hard work on the docks have weathered his once soft looks. He brushes away a once golden but now a dull sandy lock from where it hung across his eyes with an entrail covered finger.
“Yeah, it was Armand Cargan-Grave the Rightful!”
“He’s not a proper god,” pipes up Todd. The young lad is sitting on a crate that has been recently recovered from the sea, his spindly legs dangling down and swinging back and forth, heels knocking against sea-worn wood. “Not like the Founders.”
“Aye,” adds Jake, “And besides that one can’t even decide what he’s a god of.”
“Wells I met him,” an adamant Peggy states, “He threw ‘is shoe at me.”
“Why in Tender’s grace did he do that?” asks Jake.
“‘E said ‘Get out the way you filthy peasent!’”
“I thought he was about the common man or something,” says Jake who has returned to work on his fish, “That don’t sound much like him.”
“Well I can’t be quite sure that was wot he said, ‘e was a little far away. And that all bein’ said I’m not sure ‘e was even aiming at me.”
“How do you know it was even him?” says a rather smug Todd as he gives the crate another kick for good measure.
“Well I suppose I don’t,” admits Peggy.
“Yes, not the greatest anecdote in the world,” notes Jake, starting on another fish.
“I think I saw Eric Luckner at the theatre once,” offers Peggy.
“Sure you did,” says Jake, who doesn’t sound too convinced.
“He’s not a proper god either!” squeaks Todd, who then sticks out his tongue.
Jake’s knife pauses, as he looks up thoughtfully.
“Can’t say I’m convinced about this Young’uns either. They just start popping up out of the blue after the Upheaval.”
“Well I heard they eat your soul!” says Todd.
Peggy shakes her head, “Nah, that’s a crock of shit. That’s just wot the Strossborgians think and they’re full of crap.”
“Aye,” says Jake, “I suppose you can’t really trust what some wizards have to say about the price of anything. Still… though… You know where you are with the Founders. I mean who knows what these new ones are about.”
“What about when the Leader went all crazy?” asks Todd.
“Lad’s got a point there,” adds in Peggy, “Didn’t he like try to take over the whole city? Who says the old ones are better?”
“Now, Peggy,” Jake lowers his voice at this, “We all know that that wasn’t the Leader. He got corrupted by an evil wizard or perhaps the Traitor’s influence.”
“That’s what the church wants you to believe,” snorts Peggy.
“I heard the Traitor has eyes everywhere,” Todd kicks the crate again. Knock. Knock. “And she can see you in your sleep. And sometimes she will come and-”
Knock. Knock. Meow.
“Now you know that’s not true,” interjects Jake, “Just made up to scare people and anyway… Did that crate just ‘Meow’?”
“I’m sure it’s-” Peggy stalls.
Knock. Knock. Meow.
“Is there a cat in there?” asks a trepidatious Peggy.
“It sort of sounded like a cat,” starts Jake, “But then sort of not like a cat. Not really like anything…”
“Of this world?”
“Are you going to look?” suggests Jake.
“I ain’t looking in that crate!” stresses Peggy.
“Let the boy do it?”
“I ain’t opening that thing!” yelps Todd, who has already started to back away.
“Well then we all do it together?” suggests Jake.
“Alright,” says Peggy.
The three figures huddle around the crate, Jake prises his knife under the lid.
“Alright,” he says, “On the count of three…”
The all join in together.
“3… 2…. 1…”