sam_storyteller: (Discworld: Watch)
sam_storyteller ([personal profile] sam_storyteller) wrote2005-07-09 09:40 am

Dame Rumour, 1 of 3 (prologue); PG, Vetinari/OFC

Summary: Belief is important. With enough belief, you can shape the world.
Warnings: None.

Note: This takes place in a mildly alternate universe at some point after Going Postal.

Also available at AO3.


"My motives, as ever, are entirely transparent."
Hughnon reflected that 'entirely transparent' meant either that you could see right through them or that you couldn't see them at all. -- The Truth

On great high Cor Celesti, the home of the gods of a funny little world that, against all probability, flies through space on the backs of four elephants and one giant turtle, things were peaceful.

Or had been, five minutes before.

Now, there was a thumping of celestial feet, a rustling of godlike robes, as several of the Disc's most heavenly denizens converged on the distinct sound of a flaming row. Gods like good street theatre as much as anyone, and this sounded like it was set to provide hours of holy entertainment.

Blind Io was a thunder god, but he was also quite an old god, and didn't get out much anymore, preferring to subcontract the thundering to the Quantum Weather Department, which seemed to be taking jolly good care of it. This was an exception. As the other gods gathered around at a respectful distance, they could see enormous storm-clouds forming over the gaming board across which Io and Bast, a Djelibeybi cat-god also popular with young girls who liked black lipstick, were shouting.

The gaming board itself was a model of the Discworld, complete with Great A'Tuin and the four elephants who rode on his back, and the sun and moon that orbited around them, and the vast expanse of the Disc itself, and even Cor Celesti, because, in a very real way, the gaming board was the Discworld.

And ominous thunderstorms were ripping across Ankh-Morpork, the greatest of the Disc's cities.


"Look at them stormclouds," Mustrum Ridcully said, staring out the window of the great ballroom at the Eorle estate, where dripping nobility were gathered for warm drinks and hors d'ourves and, if they were particularly masochistic, dancing. The Patrician of Ankh-Morpork, a tall, thin man with the air of someone who is perpetually just about to announce your deepest secret, turned to look.

"Unusual, for October. Normally we only get them in late summer," he said, disinterestedly. He took the view that many things were controllable if you found the correct pressure point, and anything that couldn't be controlled should be eliminated or, in the case of the weather, ignored.

"Freak storm." Ridcully shrugged. "Suppose it's all them non-existent butterflies again."

"Non-existent butterflies, Archchancellor?"

"Yers. The boys in the High Energy Magic Buildin' keep goin' on about 'em. They've got a new theory every week," Ridcully added morosely. It depressed him to think about students at his University. He much preferred it when they kept to themselves and didn't bother the faculty. "Their newest one is that them quantum butterflies that're givin' us all this blasted weather don't exist either. When I was a lad, something either existed or it didn't. Now they're sayin' the butterflies are gods, or some nonsense like that."

"Giant butterfly gods?" the Patrician asked, a faint wrinkle in his brow.

"Well, it's like, we used to believe that gods made the weather, right? Old Io up there tap-dancing or whatever. And then they decided it was all down to butterflies."

"Ah yes. The Quantum Weather Butterfly? Mr. Stibbons attempted to explain it to me."

"Right. But now they're sayin' that the Quantum thingummys're also only around coz we believe in them. And I say, well, there was that mess last Hogswatch with all them gnomes and fairies hangin' about. The verruca gnome and all."

"I see," the Patrician said, which on his part indicated a vital interest. "Because there was...extra belief?"

"Well, there's always extra belief floatin' around on Hogswatch," Ridcully said. "There was just lots more last year."

"Where does it go, do you suppose?"

"Dunno. Suppose the gods normally snap it up. Huh. Gods," Ridcully sniffed. "Anyhow, now the Quantum folk have got some on it, so score one for magic. And anyway, it's not like you need much help to believe in the weather."

"Yes, it is so obviously there," the Patrician murmured, as a particularly violent bolt of lightning split the sky. "Ah, I believe that's Lord Rust being drenched in the courtyard, I have some words for him. If you will excuse me, Archchancellor..."


"YOU GAMBLED IT ALL AWAY?" Io thundered. Several of his eyes, which led an independent life of their own, zipped around Bast's head. She looked relatively nonchalant.

"He carrrrme up to say hello," she said. "He had his paperrrrs for us. How warrs I to knowwwl?"

"What gave you the right to bet it in the first place!" Io shouted. "It belongs to all of us!"

"Then I had a rrright to some of it," Bast shot back, scratching her whiskers with one claw. "He's the Hogfatherrrr, he's not supposed to cheat."

"You cheated, didn't you?" Io asked, in a dangerously soft voice.

"Yerrrs," she said, looking indignant. "But he cheated betterrrr."

The other gods, now that it appeared Io's wrath was confined solely to Bast, nodded approvingly. Cheating was part of the game, when gods played it.

"So let me get this right," Io said, and now the other gods knew he was speaking for their benefit, and that shortly Bast would be in a heap more trouble than was already the case. "The Hogfather came up here with his papers to deliver the extra belief and you signed for it -- "

"I'm allowed," Bast said sulkily.

"And then he said, well, long as I'm up here, how about a game or two?"

Bast nodded. "I'm a god! He's just an anthropomorrrrphic perrrsonification! How could I lose?"

"Yes, but you did lose."

"Cats aren't good at Cripple Mr. Onion. Well known fact," someone called.

"I hearrrrd that, Antipodesss," Bast growled.

"And now he's got all that belief back, hasn't he?" Io continued inexorably.

The gods stared hard at Bast, who looked miserable.

"And now there's no extra belief for Hogswatch," Io said severely.

"It's all gone too commerrrrcial anyhow," Bast mumbled. "What about the Hogswatch Spirrrrit?"

"Oh, you mean believing in the Hogfather and the retht?" Offler asked, from the front of the crowd. Bast glared at him. "What'th he going to do with all that exthra belief, anyhow?"

As one, the gods looked down at the game-board.


The rain had finally ceased to fall, and the thunder had stopped, although ominous clouds still hung low over the city. Vetinari, who was a light sleeper to begin with -- one had to be, in his line of work -- opened his eyes as the clock chimed two am.

"Oh my," he said, to no-one in particular. "Is it that easy?"

And he reached for the notebook on his bedside table.


"A mortal? He gave it all to one bloody damned mortal?"


Continue to the next part

[identity profile] 2005-10-03 02:07 am (UTC)(link)
*giggles outrageously and then clicks on the next part*

[identity profile] 2007-10-10 01:03 pm (UTC)(link)
*Does the same*