Smite Me, Oh Dark One/Lumena and Clowdfrey by Steve Thomas

Acerbus hates his job. While he is content to watch and study the mortal races, the other gods constantly look for reasons to destroy their newly-created world. When they finally find an excuse, they command Acerbus to become the Smiter, destroyer of all creation.

Armed with nothing but spite and goblins, Acerbus decides that there is only one way to ensure his own failure and save the world: by becoming an Evil Overlord.

“Smite Me, Oh Dark One” is a comedic fantasy short story.

In a companion piece to “Smite Me, Oh Dark One,” the high priests of the gods meet to determine which god is the most powerful. The high priest of Lux shares the tragic tale of Lumena and Clowdfrey, and how Lux was named king of the gods.

Oooh, I do love a Pantheon.

When it comes to the Gods, I want them to be petty, jealous and peevish. Frequently devious, sometimes even downright stupid. Basically, a soap opera with superpowers. It’s one reason I have always enjoyed the Greek, Roman and Norse Gods (let’s face it, much as we all love Thor, he’s dumber than a sack of Mjölnirs). In these two short stories, Steve Thomas has created exactly the kind of pantheon that I find funny and fascinating to read.  They’re vain, self-absorbed and completely obsessed with their own agendas.

In Smite Me, Oh Dark One, the Gods have created a world and all of the creatures within it. Each God champions their own personal creations, giving them free will and arguing that theirs are the superior beings. But as soon as their creations grow too willful, the Gods want to destroy them, and they want their scapegoat, Acerbus, to be the God to do the job. But Acerbus created the Goblins, and he alone wishes to see his creations succeed. His methods are… questionable, but his intent is surprisingly pure. It’s a great short story and it packs a surprising amount of punch for its length. It’s funny, cleverly written, contains some puns that will make you groan right down to your toes, and (most importantly) it makes you think.

In Lumena and Clowdfrey it’s the turn of the mortals to argue. Here Thomas gathers together a bunch of priests who each worship a different member of the pantheon, gets them drunk, and lets us watch them have their knock-down-drag-out fight about their Gods. Each has their own version of the mythology, and their biases soon become clear. At the center of the tale is the tragic story of Lumena and Clowdfrey, two Gods who are themselves an experiment of the original pantheon. Their story reveals much about the true nature of the Gods.

I really enjoyed both of these short stories, and I understand that this pantheon also features in a minor role in the world of Klondaeg the Monster Hunter, which I purchased as a result. If you’re looking for an enjoyable bite-sized story, I highly recommend them.

🌟🌟🌟🌟½

The Cocktail

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Clowdless Sky

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