Almost all religious texts, mythologies and folklores tell of a great apocalyptic flood, early on in the history of civilisation. It may be the only thing that all legends, and the archaeological evidence, all agree on. Each culture tells their own story of this tragic time when their nascent societies were almost extinguished. Perhaps the most genuinely fascinating of these is Amber – Goddess of Flood Warnings (accept Noah imitations). She alone of all the deities took pity on all mankind, not just those she perceived as righteous, and tried to warn them. As a portent, she sent a paranormal hail of fossilised tree sap. Sadly, early bronze-age man completely failed to understand the significance. They said “ow”, made some nice jewellery, and shortly after, drowned. Following the deluge, a sect formed with the aim of trying to heed Amber’s warnings and predict when the next disaster might strike. They became Aeromancers, reading the patterns in the weather to predict the future of… …erm… …the weather. This practice is also known as Metameteorology.
Though the sects’ readings of Amber’s portents were famously unreliable throughout much of history, in the last 80 years they have become surprisingly accurate. This is mostly thanks to a generous donation to Amber’s cult by Montgomery in 1944, when he wanted to know if he’d need his big coat for the D-Day landings. Despite their current divinatory mastery, one weather mystery they have never been unable to unravel is, why do so many people wading through flood water carry an umbrella over their heads?
The senior gods are well known for looking unkindly on prophets who are too precise and comprehensible. In the early 21st century, they cursed the priesthood of Amber to have only their short term forecasts believed. This is why their warning of wet and windy weather on Wednesday is accepted without question, but their warning of cataclysmic climate change in the next decade is scornfully derided. For example, recent events have revealed that some stretches of HS2 might end up being more H20 for several weeks of the year. Yet they forge ahead.
Amber’s sect is currently lead by High Priestess Sandy Baggs, the priesthood are comprised of climatologists, meteorologists, geologists and ecologists, and the congregation are made up of those unfortunate folk who live at the mercy of a fluctuating body of water. Members of the faith are prohibited from holding garden fetes and other open air festivities as they believe they will trigger a massive weather system, in a sort of supercharged Butterfly Effect. The waft of a bat at Headingly can trigger a calamity in Hebden. This phenomena is known as the “Cricket Match Corollary”.
When Amber’s omens align, indicating that an inundation is incoming, a priest will climb to the top of the temple tower to ignite the warning beacon. Special sacred salts are cast onto the fire to colour the flame yellow, orange or red, depending on the severity of the forecast. The intention is that this will give us lesser mortals a chance to make sensible preparations to defend ourselves against the wrath of nature. What actually happens is that, in some people, it induces state of hysteria, where a lactose intolerant coeliac will bludgeon a sainted granny to death with a bottle of spring water to buy the last of the bread and milk in the shop.
The other work of Amber’s church revolves around flood prevention. Members of the church must expect their income to be tithed, as they are always levying a levy for a levee. Sometimes, to raise extra funding, they will hold a sponsored wade. They do this, despite knowing that water will always win in the end, and the nagging thought that a much more effective method of flood prevention would be to magically make all grouse taste revolting. During flood events the church also open up their temples as “Rest Centres” where the affected can seek sanctuary. The temples also house a collection of small rescue boats, kept there for emergencies. The paddles are displayed on the wall, and they’re not just oar-namental. Kayaking priests will also head out to take supplies to stranded people, and hopefully get on the local news. The criminal element also take to the water, and the priesthood of Amber helped the police by persuading Steve Redgrave and Matthew Pinsent to temporarily come out of retirement so that there would still be an effective high speed pursuit unit.
The church of Amber are often known for being far more caring about those at the mercy of flooding than the government. When the pressure of high rainfall threatens to overwhelm our reservoirs the establishment, frankly, don’t give a dam. Amber’s sacred animal is a Cobra, which appears promptly when the Home Counties are affected, but remains eel-usive when there is an incident anywhere else.
There are some who staunchly do not believe in Amber or her portents, and carry on regardless despite the evidence of their eyes. They usually get their comeuppance. Such as Helen Highwater who just HAD to get to Waitrose and drove merrily past the “Road Closed” sign. She was rescued by Barry and Glynnis who finally have a use for the speedboat they won on Bullseye in 1985. Helen put in a car insurance claim for “a collision with an animal”, only to have the claim rejected when the insurers found out the animal was not a cat, but in fact a catfish.
Thank you to the members of my family who have made suggestions for a deity of flood warnings as they nervously watched the waters lapping at the levy by their home this week. Fortunately, everyone is fine.
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