In Ninlon, no one wants to be a god. Almost all evil or disinterested, I'm sure. Except maybe Qenihrys. At home, mother wears so many amulets around her neck. Out of fear. Her posture is permenantly like the curl of a vine. The gods are probably not even watching this. Or me. I am too young to be of any interest.

But I am the youngest daughter of a priest in Ninlon. That's that. Now come the eleven days of Muqede Zuhvej. That boy, the king, and I. Ritual.

Behind the curtain I hear the pattering of impatient sandles. I'm still wet from the purification, and before me is a dripping altar with the items laid out for me. A wig, a dress, charcoal, the staff, and the other objects under the reed matt. Eleven days of this.

I put on the clothing and dress. I am Entiatzu. Or I'm playing for Entiatzu. No one is allowed to be a god. Even these wooden statues in the temples we say are part of them, we know, are a mere spiritual concession.

There is no difference when you are in the ceremony anyway. I will marry with a boy who is my Enamzu. I met him just yesterday when we left Ninlon for this temple in another city.

I remove the mat, and underneath are wooden figures of sex. A penis. Breasts.  Gold folded into two parting wings, with a silver entry in the middle. I strap them all on, and they shift around my flat body like loose boards on a windy bridge.

When I was chosen, a lot of rumors came to me about the days. How there would be a lot of sex for the gods, the boy, and the king. On our trip the King reassured me this was not true. But still.

I step out of the curtain, and there is the king, in his usual, and the boy, dressed like me, his wooden parts dangling from his chest. His rod, for some reason, is forked and bigger. How does our shoddy garb mimick a being of pure magic? It would make more sense if our sex was the cosmos. Maybe lightning. Or perhaps a multitude of engorged rods and lips and breasts, thighs, and all of it. An abundance at least.

The boy looks between the panels at my wet skin, hungering. We come together. We three bow towards the great statue of Enamzu and Entiatzu, and it too is dripping with its recent purification, the liquid shimmering into a vapor on the hot stones. Before the gods are an immense feast on a silver plate that's the length of my body.

The priests close the curtain and let them eat, hoping they will bless the king, allow us to marry. I can feel the boy's stare all the more intensely. A musician plays for the god, while the king recites a poem for them. I kneel, as does the boy, our knees on the damp bricks.