Æthel Onnit’s domain is all injuries that rob you of your dignity, that you obtained through idiocy and that you have to fabricate a less humiliating story for. Though shown here as his Ancient Britannic avatar, Æthel Onnit is almost universal in pantheons around the globe. This leads us to deduce two things. Firstly that this god must have extremely early roots, and secondly that people are pillocks the world over. He is thought to have originated around the time that humanity became sufficiently technologically developed to experience boredom for the first time, as this was when folks first started to do inadvisable things for shits and giggles.
Shortly after the invention of beer in Mesopotamia around 7400 years ago, Æthel was joined by Pafo the Goddess of Drunken Injuries. She would have become his consort, but sadly, ever since their their respective Stag and Hen nights, she’s had her pelvis in traction, he’s got a burn on his Jonathan Thomas, and they have unable to consummate the union.
Whilst popular amongst the terminally adventurous, the inexperienced and the unskilled, Æthel Onnit holds a special place in the hearts of the sexually intrepid. Thankfully most medics qualified in trauma care are also fully licenced members of Æthel Onnit’s priesthood. They are specially trained to tactfully accept your story about falling out of bed onto a Russian Doll. They will not ask if you sleep on a trapeze or how you managed to fall onto a dollop of Jiggy-Glide at the same time as the doll*. They will also not tell a soul. They are doubly bound to secrecy as they have taken both the Hippocratic and the Hippocretin oaths. These paragons of discretion are led by the High Priest, Red Astaire.
Despite the extremely adult aspects of Æthel Onnit, there is also a more innocent place in this faith for the younger members of the congregation. Especially the kids with their heads stuck through railings, dried peas up their noses, and their tongues frozen to lamp posts. Æthel Onnitans have an old saying, “When the little children suffer, they shall come unto me”.
Most of us will only offer prayers to Æthel Onnit a handful of times during our lives. Usually following occasional lapses in our (normally good) judgement. However, as there always, there exist a few dedicated fanatics, who sacrifice the structural integrity of their skeletal system again and again in his name. One of the earliest of these was the mythical hero Malum Kenivilus. He is idolised for trying to jump 20 plaustrum with a chariot to impress the plebeians, but telling the healers afterwards that he slipped whilst trying to fix the temple weathervane.
Æthel Onnit does not have any dedicated temples as such. His worshippers usually visit Accident and Emergency Departments and Minor Injuries Units during times of crisis to offer up their prayers and bargains for relief from their self-inflicted suffering. Please spare a thought for the wonderful, but overstretched, priesthood and try to worship outside the peak times of “Frantic Fetishist Fornication Friday”, “Dilletante DIY Saturday” and “I think I’m Tony Hawk Sunday”.
Scholars of the cult of Æthel Onnit dedicate their lives to researching the best falsehoods and fictions for a multitude of mischiefs. Their aim is to eventually create a comprehensive glossary of fabrications that the faithful can use when in need. After many thousand years of study, they have concluded that a slightly embarrassing story is the best way to convincingly distract attention from an excruciatingly embarrassing truth. “I threw my back out whilst turning around to get the toilet roll off the back of the cistern” is a good one. You can have that.
Despite the focus on the foolish, Æthel Onnit also watches over those whose treatment for illness or injury must involve the suspension of normal standards of modesty. Basically, anything bum related. It is thought to be for this reason that Æthel’s sacred animal is the baboon.
*Thankfully medics were able to successfully remove the Russian Doll.
And each time was a little easier than the last.
Thank you to Rebecca Stothard for suggesting Æthel Onnit, following what we shall henceforth only refer to as “the hot water bottle incident”. I would like to thank Rebecca for still speaking to me.
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