Herman Ubis – The Small God of Mortification

SG2 Mortification

Some people try to call him a patchwork god, like the act of fusing two things into one is somehow new, or unique, or shameful.  He hopes they’ve never eaten a peanut butter cup in their short, tormented lifetimes, because if they have, they’ll have some explaining to do when they get to his corner of the afterlife.

Hermes, God of Travelers and Thieves, and Anubis, God of the Afterlife and the Underworld.  How anyone thought of mashing the two together is incomprehensible even to him, and he is, as the people say, literally a god.  The god of mortification, to be specific, of the sacrifice of sin, the slow purification of the self and the soul.

Of course, who got to define “sin” was always a flexible thing, because with so many routes to divinity running back to so many pantheons, anything could be a sin if looked at from the right angle.

Herman doesn’t believe in sin, which is a little awkward, since it’s literally his reason for existence.  A universe cleansed of sin, however, would be a deadly boring place, and since every pantheon has half a dozen gods, both large and small, dedicated to creativity and the arts, he’s pretty sure he’d be sinning against them if he took their purpose away by grinding inspiration out of the human spirit.  So instead of targeting sin as a nebulous and unreachable concept, he goes for the next best thing:


Oh, there’s probably a god of moral contradictions someone who’ll swear the hypocrites and the liars belong to them, and maybe they’re right; maybe he’s coloring a little bit outside the lines by going about things like this.  But at the end of the day, a toothy smile and the question “Are you really sure about that?” has gotten him a very, very long way, and he doesn’t see any good reason to change the way he’s been doing things.

When you’re a man with the head of a jackal and a fluent grasp of classical Greek, you have to make your own fun.

Herman Ubis is having an absolute blast.


Artist Lee Moyer (The Doom That Came to Atlantic City, Starstruck) and author Seanan McGuire (Middlegame, Every Heart a Doorway) have joined forces to bring you icons and stories of the small deities who manage our modern world, from the God of Social Distancing to the God of Finding a Parking Space.

Join in each week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for a guide to the many tiny divinities:

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