[image description: A polar bear rides atop a whirling snow-filled whirlwind. Text reads, “129, ’No-Escape’ Claus, Small God of the Polar Vortex”]
Why are there so many divine polar bears?
I mean, really, that seems like the sort of question we ought to be asking. After all, these hypercarnivorous predators (a real thing—when a creature eats 70% or more animal protein, it’s considered hypercarnivorous rather than just the normal level of carnivorous, and see if that helps you sleep at night) can run up to twenty-five miles per hour, and have a bite force of 1,200 pounds per square inch. The human skull can be crushed by as little as 520 pounds per square inch. So it would make sense for humans to fear polar bears, not to deify them. And yet they keep showing up again and again, predators of the pantheon, stalking their prey from one side of the celestial line to the other.
Which is, quite frankly, bullshit. We don’t need this many super-predators running around with divine powers! It’s unsafe, and probably bad for some kind of heavenly ecosystem! I don’t know! I’m just the historian! I’m just—
Right, sir. Of course, sir. Please don’t eat me, sir.
No Escape Claus is not as new a god as he might seem, having once driven ice ages across the world, devouring microclimes and driving entire species to extinction. He grows in power once again, thanks to Anthropocene climate change and the furious ghosts of thousands of slaughtered polar bears hungry for revenge. They come to take back what was always theirs, what should never have been taken away, and they have little mercy in their hearts.
When a cold wind blows out of season, remember that we put the guns into the hands of poachers, we put the lie of manifest destiny into the hearts of explorers, and we loosed them upon a world that had been doing perfectly fine before they came along.
The phantom polar bears come only to reclaim what’s theirs.
And they have the backing of a god.
Artist Lee Moyer (13th Age, Cursed Court) 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: