Sustain the dream. That was Dhek’s purpose left in life. His 50 cycles had been fruitful, and he hoped the experiences about to be offered to the Creator would be sufficient. The transport he rode neared the holy temple and stopped in the middle of the First Desert. A door opened, and Dhek closed his eyes as was the ritual. Other people stepped off the vehicle and onto the sand. Dhek heard the priests begin to recite the required mantras, and a few moments later, he heard them kneel and begin to bow. Dhek was instructed not to look upon the deity as the mere proximity of his gaze would cause his eyes and brain to burn out immediately. Only when the God-mother was ready to accept his sacrifice would he be allowed to bear witness to the infinite which hid behind her face. So for now, Dhek stood seated in the palanquin and waited to be carried out and depart for his final journey.
Few more minutes passed, and Dhek felt himself move, sunlight scurrying across his closed eyelids. The air outside was hot and dry. The God-mother’s divine body was several kilometers away, but the heat it gave off was palpable even here. Dhek swallowed and felt his skin begin to dry out. The palanquin stopped moving and was lowered to the ground, mantras continuing to ring out. Dhek waited those out patiently, and then a gentle hand clasped his shoulder. He stood up, then oriented himself towards the sources of the heat and bowed his head to the very ground. The sand was hurtful and warm, a minute passed, and it became scorching and painful. Enduring another minute more in the position was all Dhek could take. He felt a smoldering shame well up inside him as he wasn’t strong enough to continue praising the God-mother longer. He lifted his head, spun around in a half-circle, and bowed once more.
“Thank you for sharing this pilgrimage with me, humble ones,” Dhek spoke to the priests, his forehead touching the sand once more.
“Blessed is your journey, faithful one,” one of the priests replied.
Judging by the way his voice came to Dhek, the priests were also prostrated low on the ground. The heat began to burn Dhek’s skin, so he suffered as long as he could for a few more seconds and stood up. Turning around, he kept his eyes down and began to walk towards the edifice which housed the Creator. A satisfied smile stood on his face as he now realized why all the priests had those pieces of vibrantly colored cloth around their forehead. Continuing that train of thought made him pick up his pace as the priest would have to keep to the ground until his return was complete.
The golden ceremonial robe Dhek had received was doing wonders to keep most of his body cool. His feet, hands, and head didn’t benefit from it, but that was fine. The heat enveloped his exposed skin and became somehow gentler. It was still there, and if he focused inward, into himself, the pain returned, and so he kept repeating holy prayers to keep his mind from wandering. The God-mother’s feet came into his view. Her holy body was bound to the temple, and so her feet dangled in the air. Dhek had seen illustrations of the God-mother's martyrdom, but since none returned from the journey, it was mostly artist's fancy. But even so, Dhek always found it deeply comforting to look upon those make-believe depictions and to quietly say a prayer of thanks to the Creator who had sacrificed her body so that the universe may continue. As he walked the burning sands now, he didn’t stifle the emotions bursting to release. Tears ran down his cheeks, turning into steam as soon as they stopped touching his skin. Dhek continued to walk, and as he got closer, giant calves and knees came into his view. His eyes felt heavy, and even if he tried to look up, he couldn’t. So he looked to the sides, where monstrous walls began to climb up to the skies. Narrow and sharp towers rose next to the almost glowing stone-like legs of the Goddess.
Soon he was close enough, so he stopped. For a few moments, nothing happened, so he knelt quickly and slammed his forehead into the sand, cursing his stupidity for not showing the appropriate devotion. He hoped with all his heart that the Creator was not displeased with him, and Dhek would still be allowed to return. Some time passed, which felt very long to Dhek. Tears of frustration fell from his eyes as his body rose as if hoisted by gentle hands. His arms spread wide like wings, and he began to ascend.
First, he saw the small sand-colored cables leading up then he saw the belt going around the Creator’s waist. At the ends of her thighs were giant, bulbous fixtures that had tubes feed into them. Dhek was now at chest level, and his mind began to seep into the Creator. As it did, his understanding grew. The bronze-looking plates that would cover the privates of a woman were placed on the God-mother for another purpose altogether. They were there to siphon the planet shattering power her mere presence was generating. The holy temple was there to harness that power and make it available to all the faithful. Dhek saw more siphons going into the torso of the Creator as he neared the throat of the deity. The holy body's features were gentle and beautiful. Dhek wasn’t sure that he was actually seeing the face of the Creator or what Dhek himself considered to be beautiful. In either case, Dhek had little in the way of himself left to try and find the answer as his eyes neared those of his Creator. As their gazes locked, Dhek saw beyond the horned, bronze helm and into the infinite. Behind the mask were no mere visual perception organs, but bright portals that rivaled the shining centers of galaxies. Dhek was pulled into that endless pool of power and ceased to exist. In his final moments, he knew the purpose of the ritual was to keep the God-mother at a certain size. So, since he had come from her body, he had to now return and preserve the balance. The balance on which the whole universe perilously hinged. Before uniting with everything, Dhek understood that his actions were not a holy sacrifice, but rather a warm homecoming.
Writing prompt source and artist picture:https://www.reddit.com/r/WritingPrompts/comments/eplqxp/ip_a_captured_god_by_bakaarts/