Letters to a Prophet #2.5: Wrath of Frog
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Hello, dearest readers!

It is I, your most beloved cervine Prophet! Oh, how I've missed you, though surely not as much as you have missed me, my faithful!

I'm sure you have countless questions, like “Whatever became of you, Eyal Shamaym, Master of Words, greatest disciple to Jeremiah the Flayed?” or “I need urgent life advice. When will we see the next edition of your column?” or even “Your advice got me banished from my homeland. Can I get a refund?”

All in due time, my faithful, all in due time. For now, it'll suffice to say that I'm currently recovering from a most ghastly experience, a torment to which I was unjustly subjected to, yet bravely managed to overco–

Alright, alright, you got me. I got turned into a Page. Happy now?

What?

What do you mean why? Are you daft? I damaged a book! Several, actually. Why else does anyone get sentenced to spend centuries as some spidery-ant-thing and service your lazy godsdamn–

Ehem…

Yeah, probably not the best idea to make a ruckus while surrounded by Pages and Docents. Library rules and all that.

Where was I…? Oh, yes…

Luckily for you ingrates, I only had to spend a millennium trapped in that form. Turns out the Library's willing to be lenient on me, provided that I contribute some knowledge to its already infinite collection. Let's call it reparation for the damage I caused. At least the Docents agreed to let me write about a topic of my choosing, so of course I picked something easy.

So what did I choose to tell you about? Well, let me tell you about the sacred art of making it rain.

Yes, make it rain. As in actual water falling from the sky, not your boyfriend's side-gig.

See, the ancient art of rainmaking has been a cornerstone of carbon-based peoples and cultures for as long as anyone can tell. From the Lobedu peoples of South Africa to the Flying Kingdom of Kinhv-Ogru, rainmaking dances and rituals have flourished throughout the Multiverse.

Rainmaking can take many forms, from dances and chanting to elaborate sigils and rituals to blood sacrifices and other grisly activities. Every culture has their own distinct ways of summoning and harvesting rain, and no two rituals are truly alike. More recently, some magicians have sought to create their own modern, more cost-efficient forms of rainmaking, aiming to simplify the sometimes extremely complex rites of old. Nowadays, even you can take a shot at creating a pocket rainmaking ritual to bring joy and prosperity to your land.

Sounds fun and easy, right?

WRONG!

Rainmaking, like any other magic, can go really, really wrong if you're not careful. How wrong, you ask? Imagine trying your hand at a spell to ask a minor spirit for a glass of water, only to end up submerging an entire Library aisle. Next thing you know, you're soaked in water and ink while getting turned into a multi-armed abomina–

So, yeah, you'll get wet.

Now, you might be thinking, “But Saturn Deer, you are such a powerful, talented and handsome magician! How could anything so terrible happen to you?” Well, the answer is that life sucks like that. Pucker up, people! Magic's hard for even the best of us.

You see, screwing up even the slightest detail of your rain dance or enchantment will have disastrous consequences for you and everyone around. Damage can range from accidentally drowning your cacti to flooding your whole neighborhood. Not even the gods are exempt from such errors, so do take solace in the fact that at least your fuck-ups won't lead to cataclysmic levels of death and destruction. Don't believe me? Just ask Freyr about that time he challenged Zeus to make more rain than him, only for Tláloc to immediately say, “Here, hold my pulque!” Last I heard, the three of them were still trying to pin the blame on YHWH.

But I'm going off-track here.

Anyway, I thought I'd use this chance (and my being back to having only one of each set of limbs), to illustrate you plebians with some of my vast knowledge of the Multiverse. And how will I do that? Well, through a story of course! I promise, by the time you're done reading this harrowing tale, you'll be a wiser man… woman… whatever the hell you are, and perhaps, I will have taught you a lesson.

What kind of lesson, you ask? I don't know! I didn't write the story! Who do you think I am? Aesop? Don't be an ingrate! I'm giving you free advice! Look, just try to learn something so that I can go back to being Saturn Deer, not Saturn Spider-Ant.

You're fucking welcome!


Our story is titled "The Wrath of Frog," and it begins with a sorcerer named Jeyn.

Now, Jeyn lived in a kingdom named Cirame, which, for nearly ten years, had been experiencing a severe drought, resulting in many people starving to death. Appalled by this situation and indignant at the gods' apathy towards his people's plight, Jeyn sought to find a way of forcing them to comply with the demands of their supplicants, a way to… drumroll… make it rain! Thus, after months of carefully studying the teachings of the ancients, Jeyn at last came up with a ritual that, once performed, would surely mean the end of his people's suffering. All he needed was to bind a god of rain.

Now, Cirame's titular rain deity was a god named Kukran, whose name literally meant “the Great Frog in the Sky.” As we all know, frogs can be real assholes, so it shouldn't really come as a surprise that Kukran was infamous for being the most gluttonous, slowest, and laziest of the Ciramean pantheon's gods. It was him who, like some deadbeat father, had left Cirame to die and would now become a victim of Jeyn's flawless plan.

After gathering a cluster of followers like some second-rate messiah, Jeyn proceded to explain the ritual to them: all they had to do was help him trace a magical sigil of his own design, encircling Kukran's most important temple within its borders, and chant and dance for a whole night. After their ritual had been completed, the Great Frog in the Sky would have no choice but to descend from the heavens and present himself before them, only to have his physical form bound by the sigil and forced to give rain to the people he had forsaken.

I won't even try to tell you that someone objected to this ritual and told Jeyn "Hey, man, Kukran ain't gonna show up! Your plan is stupid!" or "What if Kukran does show up and eats all of us? We are but flies before the Frog God! All hail the Great Sky-Frog!" or something like that, because even if they did, Jeyn didn't listen. Rest assured, if he had listened, he could have told you his story himself and I would be free to go back to my sophisticated lifestyle…

Anyway, Jeyn and his followers worked day and night to prepare for the ritual, rehearsing the dance and the chanting for nearly an entire week. After they had mastered their elaborate frolick and were sure they wouldn't screw up, they proceeded to carve the great sigil of binding around the temple of Kukran, before dancing and prancing and whatnot. By the time their shrieking stopped, night had come and gone, most of the dancers had collapsed from exhaustion and the entire place reeked of failure and disappointment, much like what most cults end up smelling like for one reason or another.

In any case, the ritual was completed, its message sent towards the heavens and the celebrants excited and expecting. They stared at the sky, waiting for Jeyn's promise to be fulfilled. There! There was their sign! They screamed and cheered, clamoring in awe as the clouds began coalescing, shifting and forming into a great grey mass, the shape of a thundercloud quickly devouring the horizon, ready to deliver their prize unto them, growing greater and greater until…! Until the wind dissipated the clouds, and a very clear, blue sky welcomed them back into reality. Turns out, it was only some random natural phenomena, and by the time it ended, the people of Cirame had no rain, no god, no frog, no nothing… nothing but sweat and disappointment.

What?

Oh, you're disappointed that all that buildup amounted to nothing?

Well, boo-hoo! Poor little reader!

Look, I didn't write history. It ain't my fault the Frog failed to drop from the sky! Frogs can be real assholes; blame them for your ills, just like your parents blamed theirs on you!

Either way, Kukran was a no-show, and the cult shunned their leader. Fair enough, since they were dying without any rain and this guy made them all thirsty for nothing. Jeyn was shamed, beaten and cast out, left to die in the dry, arid wasteland that had once been Cirame. The people dispersed and went back to starving and dying on their own, as it should always have been.

And so it went on for a long time, the drought continuing to devastate the land and claim lives until… until…

Well, you're not that stupid; I bet you've already figured it out. It would be absurd that this whole thing was called the “Wrath of Frog” without any frogs showing up, wouldn't it?

Oh, rest assured, a Frog God did show up, just not the way Jeyn or any other inhabitant of Cirame would have expected or hoped for. See, I've been telling you this story so that you won't commit the mistakes that led to its catastrophic climax, and so far, there are two mistakes that I can point out to you.

The first mistake is that Jeyn overestimated the immediacy of Kukran showing up. He thought the Great Frog in the Sky would instantaneously manifest itself before the assembled people and would be ripe for the binding of its being and powers. Thus, his promises were vain and empty, and he was treated by his cult accordingly.

Too bad for him, because the ritual worked out really well.

The second mistake is that Jeyn grossly underestimated just how “great” the Great Frog in the Sky was. By the way, by “great” I mean “large,” and by “large” I mean “fucking huge.”

As it turns out, Kukran the Sky-Frog was not merely some bloated batrachian, but a mountain-sized slab of slime and webbed toes, immensely fat after ten years of hoarding rain for himself. It also turned out that, contrary to what Jeyn had thought, Kukran wasn't just sleeping on the job: he was hibernating like the frog he was, and being roused from his slumber with such short notice sent him tumbling from his divine bed. Thus, like anyone who has ever been unwillingly pulled from a good nap, he plummeted towards the earth with the grace of a boulder and enough force to sterilize a hemisphere.

In the end, things played out just like you probably suspect: half the planet was wiped out, Cirame ceased to exist, the Wrath of Frog became legendary and, with no one left to pester him, Kukran went back to sleep.

Oh, and also, rain came back.

No, seriously, take a trip down there and you'll see that it now rains 24/7 all year long. The entire impact crater is now an ocean, with Kukran still sleeping at the bottom of it. Guess in the end Cirame sort of got what it wanted… Gods do work in mysterious ways.


Thus, my dearest readers, our story comes to a close. I hope you find yourselves better, wiser people, all thanks to me and my excellent storytelling. In the future, you'll think twice before performing a rainmaking ritual without any safety measures, like a frog-repelling net or anti-batrachian artillery. Or not, I'm a Prophet, not a cop.

Go now in peace, my faithful, and…

What? What else do you want?

Oh, come on! "What was the lesson here?" Hell, I don't know, maybe "don't mess with large-ass frogs" or something like that! Better yet, make up your own lesson! When you become a Prophet you can tell me how to do my job!

The hell do you mean this was just anecdotal?

Look, I don't plan on explaining every little rain dance and chant and summoning in the Multiverse, nor everything that can go wrong with them. That would take me the next century and a half, and I really want to go back to my usual routine ASAP. There are lots of pathetic people out there in need of my wise, tactful advice, and I'm just burning to go give it to 'em… for a reasonable fee.

So unless you're planning on paying coin (all major Earth currencies accepted), I suggest you scram. Go on, back to your books and scrolls, you needy little nerds!

Gods! The nerve of some people…

Till next time, I was Saturn Deer, and I bid ye adieu.1

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