[image description: Twilight. A single lamp glows as the sun sets on this challenging part of town. Upshot of an imposing anthropomorphic cat in rough clothing that might suggest a buccaneer, one hand a fist, the other holding a long knife or short sword in a manner that suggests comfort. The cat bears an eyepatch over their left eye, and wicked scars are visible wherever their skin and fur are exposed. They have a prosthetic below their left knee. Text reads, “246, Dark Alley, small god of Survived Hardships”]
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They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, but that’s not always true. Sometimes what doesn’t kill you just makes you harder and more brittle, scarred and stiffened by the unwanted agonies of a world too big and too cruel for any single person to understand. Dark Alley understands that very well. Alley is the small god of the ones who survive. Not the ones who thrive, not the ones who pass unbroken, just the ones who somehow manage to keep standing.
She loves her brittle, bruised, brutalized faithful, and does what she can to protect them from a world that never sees a single dance with suffering as sufficient, a world that would be more than willing to come at them again and again and again, never giving them the opportunity to heal. She isn’t the small god of healing, not the keeper of the kintsugi either literal or metaphorical. When the shelves come crashing down, she’s not the one who has the glue. But she’s the one who might keep you breathing long enough to reach the helpers. She’s the one who’s got your back, even when you feel broken, even when you feel like breaking down.
She has a soft spot for Trinette, who has survived hardship, but never known it, because she never noticed. For her, hardship is just one more beautiful thing in the path to tomorrow, and Alley wants to keep it that way. Alley is, in the end, a god of innocence; she knows that many never have the chance to preserve their own, but she’ll fight for it when she can, and she never gives up before she has to, and she never surrenders.
Alley herself has known hardship, but she doesn’t speak of it often; those gods of kintsugi, she’s been to see them, she’s been shattered and stitched back together, and what’s in the past is in the past, now and forever. She wants to help her followers. She wants to see some forms of suffering lost forever.
She wants you to be safe, in whatever way you can be, now and evermore.
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Please join Lee Moyer (Icon) and Seanan McGuire (Story) each week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for a guide to the many tiny divinities: