Soz, the goddess of insincere apologies, is an ancient Phoneycian deity. Within this pantheon she is the spoiled smiling golden child of the chief of the gods. However, the demigods, nymphs and other entities lower down the celestial pecking order know her as a source of daily dread and degradation. Phoneycian mythology is full of tales such as Soz tying the laces of the winged sandals of the messenger of the gods together and throwing them over a wire suspended between two mountain peaks. Another story tells of how she cursed the arm and hand of a hapless dryad so that the poor tree spirit would spend eternity hitting herself (which is a lot worse when you’re mostly made of wood). When Civilis (a servant of the gods) brought a nice bright red briefcase to school one day, she stole it from him and beat him up with the catch end. Perhaps the darkest tale is of when some new deities arrived in the pantheon, borne to Phoneycia in the minds of migrants. She welcomed those who came with a battalion of affluent followers, but she tried to have the rest shipped off to a remote barren island. It is because of these spiteful acts that the other deities sometimes describe Soz as a “FOB-SOC” (Face off Baywatch, soul off Crimewatch).
Every myth of Soz ends in the same way. The chief of the Phoneycian gods is forced to acknowledge that Soz’s behaviour has been unfitting for one in such an exalted position, and he forces Soz to make an apology. Soz always responds to this by making a statement which, on the surface sounds like a redress, but fact has all the genuine contrition of a dog which has just successfully stolen your steak dinner. This pattern has lead to many later academics describing Soz as a “Brazen Idol”.
The one common quality that the members of Soz’s sect share is an utter rejection of any ultimate personal responsibility. From board room bullies, through micro dictator middle managers, to the playground pugilists who prefer a puny opponent. Politicians also seem to be remarkably well represented. Especially those who have had to make the “statement of shame” to a mob of baying press outside their house. Whilst their cuckolded family stand by their side, nominally as a show of support, but in reality as a kind of human shield. If you decide to join the cult of Soz, you must learn to speak in very particular fashion. Henceforth you must never apologise directly for any action. You are no longer “wrong”, you are only ever, “working with inaccurate information”. Bonus points are scored if you can somehow phrase things so that it sounds vaguely like the other person is to blame. For example, “I’m sorry I yelled at you and called you useless scum,” would be substituted for, “I’m sorry you’re upset”. Once you have mastered the lingo, you can now be baptised into the religion. Uniquely, this baptism ceremony involves you pushing someone else’s head into the font and flushing.
Inside every Sozian temple is a strange ritual artifact known as the “Pritster”. When Sozians gather for worship, they form a square around the Pritster. This is followed by a collection for the temple upkeep, where the priesthood go around their flock and steal their lunch money with menaces. Now, lead by their high preristess Miss Guided, the congregation adopt a sanctimonious countenance, cross their fingers, and recite,
“I am sorry that my behaviour in the past has upset people. It has never been my intention to cause upset to anyone; I acknowledge that I am direct and have at times got frustrated”. The high priestess will conclude the ritual by responding with, “I now consider the matter closed”.
The sacred animal of Soz is an inconsolably weeping crocodile. The sacred texts of Soz are all inscribed on sugared rice paper to ensure that they are palatable.
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