Chapter One: The history and mythology|
The Geste of the Children of the Moon and the Sun
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This is the oldest known tale of the Scéaldings. Its many manuscripts differ much in length (from 1500 to 4000 verses) and content, but Haubergnies minstrels took their First Translation directly from an ancient collection of tattered parchments, dating back to the first days of the settlement and founding of Ascard, the land of the Scéaldings (which means it was more than 600 years old at this time), whereon the tale had been written using the old runes of aforetime. This accounted in itself for the very old age of the parchments, and the tongue was fairly remote to that of their own days. Other Haubergnies minstrels, who appeared later at the court of Aelfrycc III, the thirteenth and greatest king in Ascard's history, and who were well learned in the manners of the ancient speech of this land, made their Second Translation of these parchments, into both Ilianóre of the time and their own tongue, Haubergne. It is told to have been the very best of all, showing their legendary talent in its lyrism and historical richness and flavour. This Second Translation stood hereafter as the unique reference to every scholar. It had 3800 verses.
This tale is the account of the birth of the Earth and that of its siblings, whom the Scéaldings prayed and respected as Gods. It is curious to note that, as far as we can recollect or interpret, the Scéaldings had no conception whatsoever of a complete cosmogony, in this sense that their myths and tales begin with the creation of the Earth, which they adore, and everything preceding it remains utterly untold. The first stanza of the tale tells how of the true beginning they ignore, and that the birth of the Earth, being their own beginning, is all what matters to them. They only tell that the Stars were before all else.
The Geste of the Children of the Moon and the Sun begins telling how Orokhuri, wandering the heavens, gave birth to the Moon, and how, drawn by curiosity and temptation, he decided to unlock a star and take a look inside it. For Orokhuri was in search of such goals, as for him all that was shut and beyond reach was worth the game. The forbidden was most attractive for him, and so was the unseen as well, and his pleasure was in breaking things to admire what they are made of. Thus Orokhuri managed, but how no single soul will ever know, to unlock the heart of a star, and to behold its inner fire, which offered the curious being an image of himself. And thus the Locksmith, for so was one of his many names thereafter, stared at his own reflection for the very first time, and behold! in awe and bewilderment from it a new being took shape. Indeed the Locksmith felt proud and fortunate beholding this marvel, but after a time keeping his new companion merry and joyful seemed too heavy and labourious a task. So Orokhuri unlocked a second star and awakened a new companion. They were now three, and before long they felt the need for names so that addressing one or the other would arise no confusion. Therefore the Locksmith dubbed them the Moon and the Sun.
Yet the Sun soon began to disdain the attitude of her creator, who had stopped playing with them and would rather tear their creations apart so he could see their inner composition. So the Sun favoured the company of the Moon. The Locksmith rapidly noticed this change, and felt deep regret. He knew as well that the Moon also looked at the Sun with better admiration, speaking of beauty and other meaningless inventions of the sort. And both had not their minds to wander but rather to create for the sake of it, and they called it Art. Of this Orokhuri did not understand its worth, for he had created the Moon and the Sun only to feel jealousy and envy. Yet Orokhuri felt no regret at his unquenchable curiosity, though that was the cause of everything that had happened hitherto. And he thought about leaving the Moon and the Sun, for he missed his errantry of aforetime and the search for new secrets unseen. But his want to possess the entire heavens, and so all of their unveiled mysteries, was stronger. Hence he vowed to unmake his creations.
He went to them, but lo and behold! he saw that from the union of the Moon and the Sun the fairest of children had just been born. Ing, the Fairest, as it was called in the songs of Men. How they would achieve such horror, Orokhuri did not know. So he took the newborn Ing by the Heart, for this is how the inner fire of living creatures are called, and tore it apart. Then he smote the Sun with all his might, and the Moon cried in horror, and said: 'Hearken to me, Orokhuri! Thine want to uncover all the secrets of the heavens has been thy downfall, for the stars as a punishment gave thee self-consciousness by thine own reflection. And from it I awakened, so that consciousness of Another, and then friendship, and harmony, and speech, and peace, and merriment, would also be brought into this empty and silent world. But thou hast made thyself the herald of all their opposite, tearing all of our creations apart so that thou couldst behold their inner secrets, for thine own pleasure. For we liked not thy game, and thou knew it well. And now thou hast finally brought Death after giving Life, but I, the Moon, and the Sun, we are Artists and have created Love, and from by it have given birth to the fairest of creatures, whom we cherished more than the stars themselves. Will you ever do the same?' Then the Moon took the lifeless body of his offspring, and fled with the Sun.
They wept bitterly, cursing at their misfortune. And they offered their child to the stars, desperately praying for help. But they would only weep with them, never speak any word nor give any counsel. And lo! as the Moon and the Sun were bathing Ing in their tears, mingled with those of the stars, cleansing its wounds, from its shape a most glorious garden grew, clear and fresh springs flowing, tall trees towering, high mountains piercing the heaven's field. So the Earth was born. Of the purport of this magnificent garden they knew at once, and now they had a peaceful shrine upholding the memory of their firstborn. The Moon and the Sun decided that it needed guardians against their jealous father who would certainly come to roam the deep pits and caverns, and so eight other children they brought into this world, who became the Gardeners of Ing, whilst the two of them would keep watch on the Earth from high above. Four of the newborn children the Moon created in his own image, and they were called men, and the four other were given the Sun's qualities, and they were called women. And so the Moon and the Sun made that, after their union and duality, only from the love of a man and a woman would a new child be born.
The Geste of the Children of the Moon and the Sun continues telling about these Eight Gardeners, whom the Scealdings prayed and cherished as Gods, after whom they sought help and wisdom in times of sufferings.
Ilió was the firstborn, hence the eldest of the Eight. He deeply loved trees and took care of them like none other. He also was fond of silence, and to think or ponder the World. The Scéaldings always saw in him much of their inner inspiration, and also their dreams and nightmares, which were often taken as messages or warnings sent to them by Ilió himself.
Uwa was the second. Though selfish, he was very fond of the night and the high mountains, master of Ravens and Wolves, greatest of metalsmiths, and he loved the Earth as none of his siblings. He was then its strongest Warden, quick tempered, ready to wage war to all threats to their home. The Scéaldings prayed him often in moments if misfortune, or during the night. The dark look of Uwa and his mysterious manners made them often associate him with Death, to whom the souls would seek peace when their bodies have lost their inner fire and die.
After Uwa came Sialarin. She was most kind, compassionate, and much like Ilió. They in fact found peace in each other's company, and they liked each other. Yet she was fond not of tall towering trees, but of small and fragile flowers. The Scéaldings always called upon Sialarin for wisdom when came the time to take difficult decisions, or simply when their mind was in turmoil, or when they were wounded and needed healing.
Gwilde was the fourth child. She dearly loved music, and made her siblings build a harp for her. She loved brooks, freshets, rivers and waterfalls, and would go alone beside them, under the stars, and listen to their music. She was also the fairest of the Children of the Moon and the Sun, and she impersonated beauty and love for the Scéaldings, and she inspired them much of their usual simplicity. They always owed her their musical talents.
Ani and his twin sister Kuri came after Gwilde. They were the most mysterious of the Eight, and almost nothing is known of them. They loved not the Earth for its nature, as a garden, like their siblings, but they adored it rather for its greatness and virginity. They were mysteriously mannered like the Sea that they loved, at times in great wrath but sometimes gentle and caring. So 'tis said that they wished to travel together and explore its wonders. But they were forbidden to, and asked to wait, as the shadow of their grandfather loomed over all of them, and also because this might uncover and unleash some hidden creatures, evil seeds of Orokhuri's dark alchemy and experiences. And, they were told, the doom of Orokhuri himself had been his own curiosity. Yet they refused to follow the biddings of their siblings, as much as the command of their mother and father who demanded them not to engender life and bring children into this world yet. And they left, and little more is known of them.
Ellire was the second youngest of the Children, and last of the women. She wept for the sadness of the Earth, and she sang, for she dearly loved birds. Yet she sang rhymes of dolour, unlike birds who are ever in mirth. To the Scéaldings, she symbolized sadness, despair and fragility. A tale tells how Orokhuri, who had chosen the shape of a man, came and seduced her, and captured and raped her. She gave him four children, the Four Winds. Of all the Eight, Gwynjan, the last and youngest of the Children, was the most horrified by this evil deed. He was swift and had a keen eye, and laughed and enjoyed everything, especially hunting, and 'tis why the Scéaldings always saw in him not only a symbol of youth, but their master in wilderness (for he was a master of all plants and animals, and unlike his siblings his love was equally given to all of them), calling upon him for his blessings when gone a-hunting. But Gwynjan was dearly fond of his sister, and always pitied her, and it is him who found Ellire alone, nude and crying, helpless, after she had been left away by Orokhuri, and it is said that from this very moment the young Gwynjan, under Uwa's blessings, gave life back to every creature he had killed hunting, and vowed to never shoot his arrow again but in Orokhuri's heart, who had gone away with his sons.
As to the Four Winds, for so they were named because the sky was their choice, they followed their father for a time. They were strong, very strong, and proud, but their father's will was to control them, to command them to destroy, and to feed with energy his evil machineries and devices. And they did not like this, and they did not hate their mother, and they wished to be free. So they left their father, whom they made angrier than all beings of this Earth. The brothers went to see their mother, but fiercely Uwa and Gwynjan turned them away. So they left, sad, unjustly unforgiven, feeling guilty of this sad and violent union between a fragile mother and a father of the utmost evil. They decided to divide, and they went each to a corner of the world, trying their best to help their mother and protect her even if they were not allowed to approach her. Yet the North Wind was cold and neutral, so his brothers needed a long time to convince him to do anything. But the South Wind was warm and gentle, and he wished the most to see and live with his mother. The West Wind was the strongest of them all and he loved the sea more than all others. He fought often with his father. The East Wind was the youngest, and hid in the mountains. He once met Gwynjan in a forest, and tried to approach him. With time they were able to build a little friendship, and from this moment the East Wind was the chief source of news and rumours from within the land to Gwynjan the Swift and thence to the Gardeners of the Earth.
Then came the retirement of the Moon and the Sun, for they were very weary and wounded. So their Children built for them beautiful garths to their liking, silvern for the Moon and golden for the Sun, and they set them amidst the stars. And from high above the Moon and the Sun could watch over the Earth, and also underneath for Orokhuri favoured the deeps and the hidden caves. And they set their course in such way that one would pass beyond the borders of the World while the other would come up in the sky on the other side, and so no single place on Earth was ever left unguarded. Day was the time of the Watch of the Sun, for she brought golden lamps to shed light on all the lands of the Earh, and Night was that of the Moon, for he preferred the starshine in his guarding of the Earth. Yet sometimes we may see both of them in the sky, and they would even dare to pass in front of each other, for they loved and longed for each other deeply. And at times, the Sun would leave her dwelling to join her beloved in his own garden, and far below on the Earth Men would know of this, seeing the Moon now glowing red and golden, and they would smile at them and sigh.
The Gest of the Children of the Moon and the Sun ends telling about the Days of the Gardeners, those of their Dominion on the Earth itself. Strife between them and their Grandfather went on. The tale tells how Gwynjan and Uwa saved the newborn daughter of Ilió and Sialarin, Gwynhaefyr Lady of the Swans, from the fiery pits of Orokhuri who had kidnapped her, for he found in her a most precious component in his dark and evil creature breeding experiments. It also tells of strange rumours given by the East Wind to Gwynjan, saying that creatures alike the Children of the Moon and the Sun, but much smaller, shortlived, weaker and easier to fall under the corruption of Orokhuri had been seen. They were thought to be descendants of Ani and Kuri, though seemingly of very distant lineage, as the two Children had been lost for countless springs now. These fragile scatterlings, they were the Arturi, also called Mankind.
The First Translation of the tale ends thus. To the Second Translation is appended four shorter tales. The Host of the Stars tells how Ilió and Uwa freed the Urilios, a host of tall broodlings spawned by Orokhuri, for they were all slaves to him and though of evil origin of this they were not responsible, and how in return, after they were healed, cleansed and dressed in bright garments by the Gardeners, they each bore lamps, fires and swords and went to the heavens to protect the Moon and the Sun. And, at the bidding of their leader, the tall Alambo, Sialarin wove for these warriors the Heavenly Stairs, also called rainbows by the Arturi because of their shaping in the manner of a great arch, whereupon the Urilios would descend upon the Earth at times of strife on its very surface.
Yet some of them chose to remain on the Earth, and they were called the Alturi, and their deeds are told in The Tale of the Alturi. Enero and his brother Anero both went with Ilió, and they were the keepers of the trees as well as the first bookwriters. Esto was a great warrior, and he followed Uwa in search of enemies to ban from their beloved Garden. And Emo and his sister Ethe the Flowerchild lived with Sialarin, Pano the Flutist went with Gwilde, Elphe the Fair and Thelpe the Sorrowful followed Ellire. Aro the Hunter was Gwynjan's faithful follower, riding on Tarme his white steed, swift like the wind in the grass.
The Pillar of the Earth is the tale of the struggle for the highest mountain of the world, whereupon it is told the sky itself is resting, between Orokhuri and Terio son of Enero, one of the Alturi. He wished not to follow his brethren to the heavens, for his heart was bent towards the Garden of the Earth, as dwelt amongst its rivers and waterfalls a creature of beauty he long beheld, Gwilde, the most beautiful of the Children, for he was deeply in love with her. But of this he never told, for he prefered to admire her fairness from afar, taking no chances to be rejected and see her no more. Yet 'twas Orokhuri who had first established himself on the Pillar, but Terio went to him and threw him down, destroying his forteress to build on its place a high tower. And thither he lived, the Man in the High Tower, on the highest seat in the World, above the clouds, as the watcher of the skies, master of the Eagles his messengers, dear friend of the Four Winds, guardian of the Arturi from whom he descended, but most of all the beholder of the one whom he loved more than even himself.
Thus it ends with The Doom of Terio, whither is told how Orokhuri, maimed for a time, recovered and soon designed his revenge. For he knew about Terio's love for Gwilde, as he was a seeker of secrets, and he took the shape of Pano the Flutist, and went to him. 'I bear these words, said he, from my mistress Gwilde the Harpist, fourth Child of the Moon and the Sun. For she knoweth what thou hast kept untold, and she feeleth the same towards thee. She biddeth thee to come to the Mightiest Tree that stands near Ilió's garden, at dusk. Thither she shall wait for thee.' Then Terio was overjoyed, but fell in the trap. For as he was come to the Tree, he was ambushed by Orokhuri and, wounded, was held captive in the highest chamber on the Pillar. For Orokhuri afterwards took it for his own, but disguised himself as Terio, and went to Gwilde. He tried to seduce her, but she saw in his eyes a strange glint and she was stricken with fear. Yet she agreed to meet him at sunrise in the woody dale below his tower. Then Pano was given foreboding, and he warned Gwilde that evil would befall her if she trusted his words. But she heeded him not, for Terio was trustworthy, and he was perhaps troubled and needed help. So she went as bidden, and Orkhuri, still under the guise of Terio, took her and raped her. Her faithful servant Pano, who had followed her under the shadows of the trees, leapt out and tried to save her. But his opponent was stronger, and, thinking Pano was slain, went away. But Pano, as all the Alturi, could endure the most deadly and stinging wounds, and alive still, he went to the other Gardeners and told them the horrors he had witnessed.
And so, grief and fury mingled, then went to the tower on the Pillar to take Terio and judge him for his deeds. And they found him at its door, sitting and half-asleep, and he was deeply wounded. But the mere sight of him filled Pano with wrath unmatched, unless it is by Orokhuri alone, and, thinking of his fair Lady, teacher and mistress, he smote Terio mightily long before the others could try to stop him, for they knew not that Terio had in truth done nothing evil. Thus ended the days of the Man in the High Tower, Terio son of Enero, Hero of the Alturi. Then Orokhuri appeared to them, and laughed. And all that were thither stood gaping, understanding the evil he had done, and how Terio had died unjustly, guilty of nothing but his untold love that brought him to his doom. And afterwards Gwilde wept long, for had she known she would have returned Terio's love wholeheartedly.
And so ends this sad tale, when Gwilde gave birth to a son, herald of grim events. For Orokhuri then reappeared and, outrunning Aro riding on Tarme, fighting a large host of grey wolves of Uwa, he took the child and fled away north, foresaking the Tower on the Pillar, for he had a newly built fortress, dark and hidden so that none would dare to approach its high walls. And so in secret, under the Earth, he raised his child with fell words of evil and hatred.
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Last Updated: September 16th, 1999.