[image description: A skeptical-looking black man with a beard and mustache wears green scrubs and leather bracers. One hand is on his chin, the other on his opposite bicep. Text reads, “117, Serious Lee, the Small God of Questioning Authority – the ‘o’ of ‘Serious’ forms a thought balloon above his head which holds a question mark.”]
People wind up in charge through all sorts of avenues. Sometimes they win elections; other times they’re born into power, or trick or talk their way into it. Only two things are universal: that the people in authority expect to be listened to, whether they’re right or not, and that some of them don’t deserve their positions.
Serious wasn’t initially made that way. In the beginning, they called him Sincere, and he followed the people in authority in all their dealings. It didn’t last for long. People existing in conditions of near-infinite power will always show their true faces sooner or later, and bit by bit, Serious was born. He is the quiet question and the ungiven answer, the necessary grit in the gears to keep things running honest and clean through his simple presence.
He is always watching, and he is always asking “Why?” and when he doesn’t receive an answer he cares for, he is always willing to ask again. And again, and again, until the answer changes, or the person in authority does.
He has outlasted regimes and administrations and more managers than anyone cares to count, including Seriously himself. But he never loses faith that one day, perhaps, things will change. After all, they’ve changed before.
If he can hold on for long enough, if he can ask sufficient questions, he may eventually find a form of authority that renders him extraneous. Until that happy day, he’s content to serve as he does, holding the important to account, keeping them from growing too content in their absolute power.
Power corrupts. Serious Lee is always there to keep it from corrupting past the point of all return.
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: