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I have a story, where a monarchy of elves fights against an empire of humans because the humans are logging their holy forest.

Inside the empire there is a region populated by a tribe that is fighting for independence.

Somehow the king has made a bargain with one of their gods of fire and sun, that destroys the empire's army. The locals knew good caves to hide, and also a large part of the elven army died (including the king's first born son). So some sort of hidden agenda or spite by the god might have happened. In the effect, the landscape was turned into a desert (allegedly)

I find it too flat to just say the king found an artifact and used it.

I am very open to any new suggestions or also feedback on some of the tropes I have explored:

The king promised to declare state religion to the god, without intention to do so.

The king was thinking the god's flute would summon the wrath, god's fire mount or whatever only to the enemy, but instead it came to the son who was blowing it.

The king promised to help the tribe to independence

The king sacrificed his son, part of his army and the enemy army to the god for his help.

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    $\begingroup$ What deal would a ruler strike with a god of another nation? -> "Let his people go" is a good one; it has some precedent. (Sorry, couldn't resist!) $\endgroup$
    – Qami
    Mar 21 at 20:28
  • $\begingroup$ I feel there is the potential for a good question here - As written though - I would VTC this question. Some of the information is a touch confusing and needs clarity. $\endgroup$ Mar 21 at 21:48
  • $\begingroup$ Afaik the typical structure is that the g/God (being powerful enough to just take what he wants, instead of bargaining) sends someone to the king with an edict and a promise. A powerful person doesn't bargain with an inferior in a world without a third party arbitrator of contracts. He demands faithful submission and promises to be a good lord, mighty in war and generous in giving gifts. $\endgroup$
    – g s
    Mar 21 at 21:50
  • $\begingroup$ Why wouldn't' the standard formula work? Follow the proper ritual /customs for that god offer the god what it is believed they want, For more reading for what is typical human behavior, this historians blog has useful perspective: [acoup](acoup.blog) look for practical polytheism. $\endgroup$ Mar 21 at 22:01
  • $\begingroup$ Afaik the alien god would be no more for him, as another ruler with an incompensably higher power level. Probably, depending on the circumstances, he will try to bargain targeting to minimize the loss and keep his people alive. Note, most kings were not stupid, not even if their fame was the opposite, and likely they decide rationally. $\endgroup$
    – Gray Sheep
    Mar 21 at 22:22

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