Prologue

Everything is true, especially the lies. That’s the trick.

Every tale ever told, every whisper, every song, every single string of words ever uttered by mortal mouths or carved in rocks or scrawled on paper. It’s the ultimate human trait, this endless urge to speak and name and label. To attach sounds to things and meaning to sounds. To make language.

Sometimes, when a sound refers to nothing, something comes in to take its place. Pulled up from the black void behind the world, shaped into form and given story.

This is the thing we call the Wyrd, and it’s the place where gods are born. Well. Gods and monsters, and sometimes the line between the two is thin.

Humans might not believe in the old gods much anymore—they don’t venerate our deeds or perform our bloody rituals—but that doesn’t mean that we’re forgotten. Not with our tales recorded in bestsellers and played out on film and collected in the bits and bytes of libraries that span the globe. That sort of repetition ensures our survival more readily than any sacrifice or prayer, and with less effort on our part, too.

It’s good to be retired, even for a god.

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