Early the next morning; before sunrise.
Torga was resting beside the sleeping form of Reina inside their small, two-person tent. The book of magic he'd borrowed from Donna had been long forgotten as he listened to the rhythmic sound of her breathing. Any thought that could interrupt this moment was quickly cast aside as he watched her sleep...
"Oh, most powerful god of hunger, I beseech you! Appear before your most humble servant in his time of need!" An irritating voice yelled from the recesses of his mind.
Torga frowned at the interruption and shook his head... A few seconds later, the voice repeated itself again... and again... and a fourth time. By the six or seventh time, Torga had given up trying to ignore it and had left the tent so his grumblings wouldn't disturb Reina.
"Oh, most powerful god of hunger, I beseech you! Appear before your most humble servant in his time of need!" The voice yelled again. Only this time... Torga yelled back.
"That's it, where are you!?"
The voice in his mind went quiet for several seconds... "My lord?" The voice replied in a much quieter tone.
"Where. are you?"
Torga could somehow feel the owner of the voice's panic as some kind of link connected the two.
"Y—You're not my lord..."
"No~ I'm most definitely not."
"S—Stay away! Don't come here!"
"It's too late for that." Torga mentally traced the link and saw within his mind the face of an overweight hairless man of about fifty years. "Because I've found you."
Torga disappeared in a soundless flash of light.
A small church sat on the boundary between an ocean and a mammoth mountain range. At one time, it must have been truly beautiful: The walls were made of white marble and some kind of dark purple stone that Torga couldn't identify, the floor was the color of fresh snow, and mesmerizing stained glass windows lined the upper walls... But it was a mere shadow of its former self. Years of disrepair and abandonment had taken its toll on the once beautiful building.
"Sarah would've loved it here..." He morosely thought.
It truly was a shame that his first time visiting this holy place was being marred by the pathetic man currently groveling at his feet.
The man was a priest... or he was at one time. He may have worn the brown priest's garb, but he was a far cry from the priests Torga had met in either of his lives: His hairless head glistened in sweat, is three chins quivered in fear as he begged for his life, and the stench of piss surrounded him.
Even if he hadn't already annoyed the hell out of Torga, he wouldn't have made the best first impression.
"Forgive me, my Lord, for I have sinned and called this demon into your most holy of places!" The man cried for the fifth time.
Torga blankly stared down at the pitiful man. It hadn't taken him long to figure out that he'd somehow hijacked the prayers meant for another god of hunger. But he'd have to think on the how and why after he made the annoying man stop talking.
"Forgive me, my Lord, for I have—"
"If you finish that sentence. I'm going rip your throat out."
The priest's mouth snapped shut and he backpedaled away. His fat rolls heaved as his lungs desperately tried to pull in enough oxygen to keep him from passing out, but the fear he was feeling would've made that a difficult task for someone half his size... So he fainted.
Torga stepped of the Altar he'd appeared on and began looking around in earnest: The Altar was on a raised dais near the rear wall. It held a statue that depicted a tall, thin man in white robes standing tall above a mob of sickly looking humans. Held just out of the humans reach, he held a basket of fruits and vegetables in his left hand.
A wicked grin could be seen on the face of the statue as it watched the humans reach for the food.
"And people call me cruel." He snorted and turned away from the Altar.
Just then, an idea formed in his mind.
"Actually... this whole situation just might work in my favor." He thought.
He briefly frowned for a moment, then his body twisted and contorted into a much smaller form: That of a ten-year-old boy in baggy brown robes with brown hair, fair-scaled skin, and bright orange eyes.
Torga inspected his new form for a few seconds and whispered, "Testing— 1, 2." His head shook at his still deep voice and tried again... "Testing?" The high-pitched sound of his prepubescent voice surprised him so much, he couldn't help but laugh. "This is definitely going onto the 'show Sarah later' list."
He walked over to the downed priest in his new, and hopefully unthreatening, form and lightly slapped his face.
"Sir? Are you okay, sir?"
The priest's eyes opened and his entire body jerked away.
"No! Stay away from me foul demon!" He screamed hysterically.
Torga pretended to be surprised and jumped away from the screaming priest. "Demon!? Where!?"
The priest screamed for a few more seconds, then hurriedly looked around the room.
"The demon! Where did the demon go!?"
"I don't know! I never saw it!"
The priest frantically scanned the ceiling, walls, and even the altar before he slowly climbed to his feet and hobbled towards the altar. "I must alert the most holy, at once!"
"Yeah... You do that."
The priest dropped to his knees and urgently began chanting the same prayer that drew Torga's attention.
While the priest was chanting, Torga walked over to one of the pews and laid down with his feet propped on the armrest. "Not the brightest bulb in the room, is he?" He thought with a smirk.
Not long after the priest began chanting, did a glowing yellow portal appear at the base of the Altar and a startlingly tall and thin human man step through. The man was between eight or nine feet tall, with long black hair that hung down to his lower back, emotionless white eyes that lacked any sort of pupil, and sallow skin. He wore a snow-white robe that revealed his frail-looking arms and pooled on the floor behind him.
"Finally!" Torga cheered to himself and stood up from the bench.
"Why have you called me here, Robart?"
"My lord, I—"
"Was just leaving." Torga grabbed the priest by the neck of his robe and hurled him backward. The priest slammed into the rotting double doors with a sickening *Crunch* and slid through the mud on the ground outside the church.
The god barely glanced towards the priest before his emotionless eyes zeroed in on Torga's child-like form.
"Who are you?" He asked in a completely emotionless voice.
"Oh, you know, just a lost god looking for home."
"Do not joke with me, godling. Do you know who I am?"
Torga glanced over his shoulder at the unmoving priest, then back to the god.
"Obviously not the god of weight-watchers."
A flicker of emotion entered the god's eyes before he could stop it. "I, am Jorthas: Elder God of Hunger and Pain!"
Jorthas took a deep, calming breath and glared down his hooked nose at the much smaller Torga.
"Normally, I would cause you to feel the pain of a thousand deaths for annoying me so..." He took another breath, "But, I am a merciful God. I will forgive you this once if you tell me who your patron is, Godling."
"Well, gee-willakers, mister! That sure is awfully nice of ya!" Torga cheered in a fake accent. He had a wide smile plastered onto his face that revealed slowly growing fangs...
"But wholly unnecessary."
Torga's small fist lashed out and slammed into the god's left kneecap. Jorthas' knee broke like a dried twig and he collapsed to the floor with a scream.
Torga quickly covered the god's mouth with his hand, pinned his body to the ground via an intense burst of gravity, and glared daggers into his eyes. "We're going to have a little chat and this is how it's going to work: I ask a question, you answer me in ten seconds or less, or I break another bone. Any attempts to leave this place without my express permission will result in your immediate death. Blink if you understand."
Jorthas narrowed his eyes and Torga felt a slight pin-prick of pain on his forehead... So he snapped the other god's fibula with a well-placed stomp.
The god winced in pain, but he still refused to blink.
"Ah... Almost forgot. You're a god of pain, so you're probably used to this, right?"
The god blinked.
"I thought so... So here's what I'm going to do. First, I'm going cut off your eyelids so you can't give in to me. Next, I'm going to break every bone in your body, while you resolutely stare at me in horror. Then, I'm going to cut off your nose, your lips, your ears, your fingers, and finally your toes. I somehow doubt that'll make you give in. So, then I'll start pulling out your veins—"
The god started to rapidly blink.
"I know, I know, you're a god of pain, so that paltry amount is still nothing to you, but I'm just getting to the good part. After pulling out your veins. I'll do my damnedest to shove Robart so far up your ass, you'll never get him out. Then, I'll—"
Jorthas started to scream into Torga's hand.
"You know what? You're right, talk is cheap. Let's just begin... Shall we?"
Jorthas jerked his head to one side, freeing his mouth from Torga's hand, and screamed, "Fine! We'll talk—We'll talk!"
"Great!" Torga cheerfully said. His appearance still so much like that of a ten-year-old. "Soo... Where can I find your king, eh?"
Back on Asgarn; Later that morning
Reina awoke to the smell of a bacon and egg-white omelet being waved above her nose.
"Morning, Beautiful. Hungry?"
"Course." She replied through a yawn.
She sat up in her sleeping bag and gratefully took the proffered bowl from Torga's hand and nodded at the cup of juice he sat down next to her. She breathed in the smell and sighed in contentment.
"Mmm-hmm." He sat beside her in the narrow confines of the tent and watched her eat.
After a few minutes of comfortable silence, during which Reina finished off her omelet and juice, Torga asked: "How'd you sleep?"
"Fine. It got a little cold during the night, but I managed."
"Winter's coming. We should probably be off world before it hits."
"Why? It can't be that bad."
Torga shrugged. "From what I heard. Winter is... weird, in this part of Yggdrasil. I'd rather not chance you getting stuck here, if at all possible."
"Alright. Let me gather up my things, wake up Donna and Leon, then we can go."
Torga nodded in agreement and left the tent.
"He's getting weirder by the day." Reina snorted to herself. She clambered out of the sleeping back and pulled on the jacket she'd tossed the night before. "I mean, it's winter... How bad could it be?"