The Feral Gods of Apsada
(January 11, 2021)

Many people maintain that the gods depend on their worshippers for sustenance, and that a god whose cult dies out dies with it. This is a comforting fiction. It allows mortals to believe that they are, at least in aggregate, indispensable.

In truth, the gods endure regardless of whether they are worshipped or not. However, worship civilizes a god. The gods like to be worshipped; it flatters them, and the flavor of sacrifice is savory. In observing the antics of its followers, and in hearing their entreaties (whether or not it chooses to act on them), a god comes to have some empathy for mortal life, and thus typically acts in a fashion which is, if not beneficial to mortals, at least comprehensible.

A god whose cult has died, however, or who has never had worshippers at all, has no such empathy. Fortunately for mortal civilization, gods without followers frequently embark on pursuits beyond mortal understanding and beyond mortal perception; for this reason, a god whose followers have died out may be forgotten and believed to be dead. When a feral god pursues its ineffable ends on the mortal plane, however, it may unleash titanic chaos without even being aware of the consequences. The worshipped gods may be able to contain a feral god’s rampage, but such is not a trivial undertaking even for the gods; many gods will not intercede to protect their worshippers from a feral god’s wrath.

Thus, the sanctuary of Apsada was built. Apsada lies on a remote island far from civilized lands, but all civilized lands send it tribute. Its priests daily offer bountiful sacrifices to … no god in particular. Apsada is, in effect, a lure. The hope is that feral gods will be drawn to the offerings of Apsada, and that the priests there will be able to comprehend them and to worship them. In time, the priests who have built a relationship with a once-feral god will relocate to the mainland, evangelizing and growing the god’s cult.

It is a hard fate to be a priest of Apsada. One may spend one’s life pleading with gods one cannot comprehend or that may not even be listening. One may find oneself consecrated as high priest to a god of murder. From time to time, feral gods fight over the offerings, and Apsada has been obliterated on several occasions by the forces unleashed. Nonetheless, every generation offers up sufficient volunteers, who devote themselves to the task of Apsada so that their homelands may be kept safe from the threat of wild gods.

Sacrificed Chine of Beef
with Nectar Reduction
Pan Sauce
(Sept. 9, 2004)

Ingredients:

1 sacrificed chine of beef, about four pounds 
2 tbsp butter 
1 cup nectar
2 shallots
1 cup tears of the damned
Salt
Chopped parsley to garnish

Selecting a good beef chine is essential to this recipe. We recommend a chine from the rib or loin, which are more suited to dry cooking methods. Chuck and round chines are better
for braises and other moist cooking methods. If your worshippers can’t be relied upon to secure a high-quality rib or loin chine, or to sacrifice it appropriately, smite them and build your cult from scratch. This recipe demands a high-quality chine, properly sacrificed to add that smoky altar tang.

Season the chine well with salt while melting a tablespoon of butter in a roasting pan over high heat. Once the butter stops foaming, sear the chine about 2 minutes on each side.
After searing, place the chine on a roasting rack, fat side up, and place in a 350-degree
oven for about two hours, until omniscience suggests the roast is medium-rare.

Meanwhile, begin reducing a cup of nectar in a saucepan over medium heat (for a subcontinental twist, you can substitute an equal amount of soma or amrita for the nectar). It should take about half an hour for the nectar to reduce down to a quarter cup.

When the roast is done, move it to a plate and tent with foil. Remove any fat from the pan juices, and then place the roasting pan back on the stovetop over medium heat. Add two diced shallots and saute until golden. Deglaze with one cup of the tears of the damned, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Once the pan is deglazed, add the nectar reduction and stir to combine. Wait for the foam to subside, then reduce the heat
to low and let the flavors meld.

When the chine has rested about ten minutes, remove the foil and carve. Add any juices from the resting plate back to the sauce, and whisk in a tablespoon of butter and a splash of fresh nectar. Ladle about two tablespoons of the sauce over each portion of meat and sprinkle with parsley. Serve with a small salad of ambrosia and endive.