It gives and gives until the blood won’t come.
From late dusk beneath the temple facade it skitters up to you, bumping into your ankle a few times. It looks like it wants you to take a coin from the alms pot on its back.
But that can’t be right, can it? You eye a passing lexarc in his gilded mask. The temple tithes its parishioners relentlessly. Priests are brokers in the currency of faith; wear the mask, speak the word, curse the ocean black… but always, always keep them coming back.
You pocket a coin. That’s a hot meal, or at least three cold ones.
The thing under the pot is ecstatic. it kicks up a little dust as it runs off. Your heart sinks, at first— you almost think it’s trailing the lexarc. But then it overshoots the priest, and starts smacking itself into the heels of a young mother… and then a falconer… and then a tailor…