Author's Notes and Warnings: Part of a bizarro-verse I hope to write more in. Game-stats wise, Kelemvor and Jergal are Chaotic Neutral, Cyric is Lawful Good, Mystra is Neutral Evil, and Shar is Neutral Good (as was Myrkul).
Contains shameless irreverence and playing fast-and-loose with cosmology.
Jergal grunted in acknowledgment as he lounged on the chaise, picking through the ghost of a box of Maztican bonbons (trampled underfoot during a bandit raid on a trade caravan).
Kelemvor gestured out the window to the view from the tower of Bone Castle. "What is that wall doing here, anyway? And who put it up, to start with?"
"Must've been me. Must've seemed a good idea at the time," said Jergal. "Myrkul asked the same question. So did Cyric."
"What did you tell them?"
"Told them what I told you. Now I'll tell you something extra - Myrkul pulled it halfway down before the rest of the pantheon jumped on him. They got wise - Cyric didn't even get the first soul out of the mortar before he got the summons to Cynosure. And he answered it straight away, too, not like Myrkul who slogged on a while longer until they showed in person, or at least in avatar. Why do you think he quit?"
"Don't know," said Kelemvor. "I was a bit dead at the time. Something about nervous stress."
"He couldn't bear it, the poor wretch. You know what a goody-good he was, and you can't very well call yourself Lawful Good when folk're rotting in agony just out the window."
"Some of the gods who made him keep it up call themselves Lawful Good too, don't they?"
The window pane dissipated with a flick of Kelemvor's hand, allowing him to lean out and observe the Wall of the Faithless at a slightly closer distance.
"Well," he said, "sometimes it feels good, to be good."
Jergal knew the story already - the story of the curse laid by a dying sorceress on the House of Lyonsbane, forcing its members to perform good deeds without asking reward. If they did, they would transform into a ravenous panther. Some of them had embraced it, spending their short lives on a rampage of hedonism and lycanthropy until taken down by parties of stalwart adventurers; sometimes those parties included another Lyonsbane. Kelemvor had grown up on the paltry income from his family's dwindling estates combined with the occasional piece of charity from pitying neighbors; he had attached himself to Cyric partly because the latter could negotiate contracts and payments. The late Bane had freed Kelemvor from the curse during the Time of Troubles, and he was thoroughly enjoying a life where the only goodness he performed was that which he chose.
"Right, then," Kelemvor chirped. "Let's see how far we'll get."
Kelemvor, like Myrkul, ignored the initial summons. He'd also rallied his petitioners and the False to his cause, so by the time Mystra and Cyric turned up in blue and purple blazes it was almost done.
Jergal had been spectating the dismantlement in anticipation of just such an event, on an outdoor lounge with the ghost of a glass of wine in hand (flung to the floor in a fit of dramatic enthusiasm). A perceptive petitioner provided him with the ghost of a bowl of nuts. "Thank you, Sorrell."
Kelemvor strode over, waving gaily. "Well met, Cyric! Hello, Ariel!"
If there hadn't been Strong Words about Mystra yanking the Weave from anyone she didn't like (Cyric wasn't the only mortalborn upstart the older gods had chided), she would doubtless have done so at that moment. The possibility remained on the horizon and approaching fast, if the rest had chosen her to act as enforcer.
"So, er, Kel," said Cyric, his fingers twisting together. "You appear to be taking down the Wall of the Faithless. We're here to ask you to stop."
Kelemvor looked over his progress and nodded, looking impossibly smug. "Give me just five more minutes, and I will."
"We've been over this before," said Mystra. "Well, perhaps you haven't. Without the Wall as punishment, there will be nothing stopping our worshippers from -"
"Hey hey, don't underestimate yourselves. I mean, surely your worshippers won't abandon you in droves just because they won't suffer eternal torment for it anymore? And if they do, well frankly that's your problem."
Jergal crunched down on the nuts as the verbal melee continued. Cyric said little more, and what little he started to say was promptly rolled over by his erstwhile companions. He didn't seem to mind. Meanwhile, the remnants of the Wall shrank further.
"I'll tell Ao it builds character," Kelemvor declared. "Judging from how we all got here, I figure he'd go in for that. And if he doesn't, what're you to do? Sack me?"
"Don't be too confident - you're not irreplaceable!"
"What happens if you replace me, then? Because let me tell you, I'm notputting everything back for the next fellow to keep on going like nothing happened. If they want to try..." He gestured toward the Faithless who had collectively declined to remain in the vicinity. "Good luck with that!"
One thing was for sure: however brief Kelemvor's reign would turn out, it proved just as interesting as Cyric's short tenure.
After they departed ("Say hello to Leira for me!" Kelemvor yelled after them, "Whoever she's living with these days!"), Jergal cleared his throat and announced to the skies, "Shar, my dear? It seems that Mystra has denied us both the Weave. This is a grievous miscarriage of justice, at least in my case, and assistance would be appreciated."
His old flame from the days of Netheril arrived in short order, with two of the racial death-deities tagging along - Kiaransalee of the drow and Yurtrus of the orcs. Together they did very well shepherding the newly dead, washing the spiritual gunk from the Faithless (thus allowing them to blend in still further), and fixing breakdowns in the day-to-day life of the Fugue Plane. Jergal wasn't about to complain about it (Kelemvor certainly wasn't), but he couldn't help but wonder how long it could go on when they had their own residences and faithful to see to.
Just as he was wondering, Shar took care of that. "It's a prototype," she warned, but the Shadow Weave proved to work swimmingly. With some reservations - "I'm not sure it would be the best idea to offer it to Kelemvor himself. Too much... exposure."
"He seems to fare well enough without it." Indeed, Kelemvor had gaily told him that he'd lived his entire mortal life without magic and could stand a few more years with it gone again. And it didn't stop his clergy from drawing on his power for their magic, which was also important in regard to keeping up the worship.
"So I suppose you won't jump him this time, then."
"No," said Shar, "no, he has a point. We ought to be able to retain our flocks without keeping them in line with fear. Unless of course you happen to be one of those deities who hold their followers with nothing but fear, in which case..." She smiled. "Yes, to be honest, that is their problem."
"Does that mean we'll have some support from the Goodness bloc this time?"
"If he's willing to accept it, yes, I believe so."
And Jergal smiled, for he had been delivered from boredom.