The rock he's carried up the mountain is the size of his two fists: large enough to be more than a token burden, not so massive as to be showy. It's a pinkish granite, unusual for the region -- it took him the better part of the day, finding it -- and there's an imprint of some strange scaled creature on the underside.
By any reasonable accounting, it should be an acceptable offering.
He lodges it carefully against the crumbling edge of an ancient stone wall, pressing it firmly into the earth. It'll stay there as many centuries as the wall has already seen, now. Unless, he supposes, some child kicks it down. These things happen.
"I don't suppose you're listening," he begins, still on his knees from placing the rock. There are other people here -- it's a good night for seeing the stars, clear, with some interesting astronomical phenomenon he didn't bother to remember the nature of -- but they're about their own business, giving him enough space to make his quiet prayer in relative privacy.
The rock isn't, on reflection, quite how he wants it. He gives it another nudge, goes on.
"I suppose maybe you're just not answering. Me, or anyone. Maybe you're listening just fine. In either case, I don't know why I'd get a response here and not at the College. But. Just for the record."
"It's not as though I haven't tried. I spent nearly twenty years, just trying to serve Ota. That one -- maybe I just didn't have it in me. Maybe that's all. Fine."
"And then there was Skali. I really tried for Skali, too, you know. Not just the piercings, not just the talismans. The worship I did, the people I worshiped with -- it was beautiful. I swear I made it beautiful. But nothing."
"You -- I didn't think I could fail at this one. Make a foolish bargain, maybe, or not even reach an agreement -- but not fail. Not like this."
"I'd give it all up as a bad job, if it were up to me. But my sister ... she's a devotee. The real thing. Made her bargain, served you well. She sent me here to find you."
"So. If not for my sake, then ... for hers? Please? If you're listening ... answer me?"