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Challenge #01378-C283: Heavenly Host

http://callmegallifreya.tumblr.com/post/151095300715/deliverusfromsburb-gods-falling-in-love-with The god that adopts a ton of kids

1) In the beginning. Stupid mistakes, awkward moments, working out what to do and what to tell the kid

2) Later. There's a horde of them, some of them have grown up and left but there's always more that need help. -- Anon Guest

[AN: this puts the gap count down to TWO]

1)

Hestatus, God of home and hearth, used to be a minor god. And like all minor gods, was really invested in answering prayers.

"Please let there be enough food for tonight?"

Hestatus manifested a feast on their household table, and thought that it was good.

But the same voice prayed the next night, "Please don't let Mama hurt me again?"

Hestatus put a little more effort into it, and made the supplicant child's skin like iron for the evening.

And again, the same voice. "Please don't make Mama lock me outside in the cold?"

Hestatus did a rare thing for a god. He actually sat still and thought. As tempting as it was to smite this child's mother, there had to be a better way. The quick and easy solutions were not working.

He manifested as a humble mendicant and conversed with his little worshipper. "Hestatus has been favouring you, I see. There is the glow of his blessing about you, child. What has happened?"

The child was fearful and small and softly-spoken. "...i asked for food and there was a whole table full, but mama said i stoled it and she beat me... asked not to get hurt and mama couldn't, so she shut me out." Tears fell down the waif's cheeks. "...i prayed not to be shut out in the cold... what'll mama do now?"

"Your mama won't hurt you again," assured Hestatus. He allowed his true nature to shine. "You are under my protection."

Songs are sung to this day of how Hestatus protected his first saint from a mother who should never have been a mother. How he touched the woman's brow so lightly, and struck her down. And when she rose again, she never had a harmful thought.

They do not sing about the rift that caused. Without her savagery, a great deal of herself was lost. Though she was kind, she would stand still and stare during the times when anger should have emerged. And they never mention how she died, relatively young, from standing out in the snow and staring. Simply staring, until the snow stopped her blood from flowing.

Hestatus was and is a god, and knew very little of mortal ways. He knew humans needed food, but wasn't certain what kind was good. 'Healthy' was not a word he was familiar with.

Hestatus was aware that his child needed safety, but wasn't quite aware of how much was too much.

It took other mortals, better mothers and fathers, to teach him the better ways of caring.

And possibly the most dangerous thing was when Hestatus learned that there were other children. Children who didn't have a home. Who never warmed themselves by a hearth. And he was a god who could be anywhere...

2)

The temples of Hestatus look like hostels, and that is for a very good reason. Hestatus is the god of home and hearth, and the protector of children who have neither.

Therefore its efficient just to add rooms to the temple. With bunk-beds.

The temples of Hestatus don't take burned offerings. They prefer living sacrifices of extra roosters or male lambs. They love you if you bring a nanny goat, because there are always unwanted babies. The living that can be meat for the temple fleshpots are cooked to perfection, and given freely to those who hunger.

The nanny goats are always milked until they have no more milk. These are temples almost overflowing with hungry mouths.

And Hestatus himself is a god that can understand what a supplicant means. Hungry worshippers are fed within their means, and the miracles are small. Those who seek guidance are shown ways in which their existing talents can help many others. Those who are lost are shown, co-incidentally, the way to the nearest temple of Hestatus, where another pair of hands is always welcome.

The temples have libraries, and mortal tutors who teach all who come any useful thing that can be used. Some who grow in that rich soil become great thinkers, or great builders, or great doctors. But most, the true followers of Hestatus, become great helpers.

Sometimes, you might even find Hestatus in one of his own temples. He is always busy, and has flour on his apron and a towel over one shoulder. And if he has sleeves, they are short or rolled up. He could look like any other mortal, but there's always something... more.

He is never tired. Gods don't need to sleep. He is never hungry. Gods don't need to eat. And he is always warm and welcoming, because what a god needs most... is to be loved.

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