DRONOMIN AND THE LOSTHANE

A HIVELING FOLK-TALE

 
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Introduction. This obscure, mysterious myth is believed to be a fragment from a far more in-depth account of the lives of the Titans, the four warlike children of the gods Jeyriall and Armeros. Various evaluations of it suggest it follows on from an account of how Etherus deceived the titans into the belief that they must fight to gain power over one another, and would have in turn been succeeded by other accounts of the specific enmity of each Titan for its brothers, and eventually an account of how they were finally subdued.
 

vásh'estár was the Titan born for the wind, and Efér'estár was born for fire, and they hated each other as all the Titans hated, because they had been taught by Etherus the Treacherous that only one could be strongest. All the four Titans fought, and wished to fight with every breath, but whenever Avásh'estár and Efér'estár met, they could barely touch each other. Built of air and flame, things insubstantial as they were fierce, they could not be struck as earth or water or flesh is struck, could not be burnt or blown away, and their struggles to best each other seemed only to stoke their anger.

The two Titans, in their wrath, made weapons to attack each other with. Efér'estár, the fire Titan, hurled handfuls of fire. But Avásh'estár, the wind Titan, cooled them with his breath as they flew, and they passed through his body and did him no harm. Avásh'estár then made daggers of icy wind, and threw them at his foe. But Efér'estár made shields of unbearable heat, which drank up the cold in unending fires. Efér'estár fashioned lances of wrought flame that flew screaming and trailing clouds of ash. But Avásh'estár turned away all steam and smoke and rains of ash with his gales, and sent them to wear down at Efér'estár. It was no use, for Efér'estár laughed, and flickered wildly, revelling in the turmoil of stormy winds. So they fought on, too evenly matched to win or lose, too furious to rest or admit defeat.

Their fighting scarred the world and set everything shaking. The gods were forced to interfere, and ordered Efér'estár and Avásh'estár to keep peace. Dutiful, the two Titans agreed. But though they ceased their fighting, each continued to yearn to best the other, craving to finally, decisively prove that he was the strongest.

They looked to the world and all the living things that crept over it. Each in turn, watching with cold, stormcloud eyes and with burning, dragonfire eyes, hatched a plan. They decided to make soldiers who would fight for them, filled with the rage and power of their masters. But the thinking creatures who called themselves People were all under the care of the gods, and the Titans didn’t dare steal from under their noses. So they looked to smaller creatures, which crept unnoticed but in multitudes.

Efér'estár gathered up the tiny creeping things that lurked wherever larger creatures warmed the air, and fed on hot blood, because he reasoned that they would be the strongest and fiercest, despite their size. He whispered to them all and told them secrets about control over larger things, taught them to hate the cold and open air as he did, and he painted them in his own colour, so they would glow like bloody fires when they bit. And he put a little piece of that knowledge into every bloodsucking creature, saying “Drink together and you will fit together, and be more than the sum of your parts, and be Losthane, my warriors of red armour.”
So it came that the small suckers of blood learned to drink together and become one single being, great and cunning and fearsome. They were like mortal warriors, speaking in voices stolen from the thinking creatures, but thinking with a thousand tiny, burning minds, and thirsting for blood.

Avásh'estár collected together the flying things, and spoke to all their tiny glimmering souls, and taught them to dance. He taught them how to hate what burns and taints all it touches, and steals the very blood that heats the hearts of living things. And he put a little piece of that knowledge into every flying thing, saying “Swarm together and you will fit together, and be more than the sum of your parts, and be Dronomin, my warriors of endless voice.”
So it came that the flying things learned to swarm together and become one single being, great and wise and fearsome. They were like mortal warriors, speaking in thunderous hissing voices, moving like the wind and never still, always beautiful.

The losthane of Efér'estár crept into the homes of the thinking creatures; the elves and men and dwarves and every other being that gave itself names. They took one here and one there, from treetop hammocks and stone halls and clay huts and hide tents. And they bit, with subtle tiny jaws, and stole away blood to fuel their anger. They massed, turning red as their master’s heart, coating men in scaly armour and making them into terrible soldiers, an army, which marched out one by one from their homes, meeting as they went and forming rank on rank and row on row, a horde, a plague, seeking the battlefield where Efér'estár waited.

The dronomin of Avásh'estár formed from malise and myrddin, corbies and corpse flies, flittermice and flittertwitch and everything that flies. They swarmed together in wild places, gathering as hives emptied in the shadowy forests, or pulled from cliff top nests in gale-torn mountains, and drifted like breezes, joining ranks until the murmur of wings was a roaring, endless battle cry and they fell like a shadow on the world as they flew, seeking the battlefield where Avásh'estár waited.

The losthane stood fearless, glittering too brightly to look upon, against the dronomin, who were tall as giants, and danced as endlessly as life, sang a roaring fearsome song as terrible as death. They waited, still and forever moving, as their masters drew breath.

The battle cry came, and it fell like thunder, rose like air set alight, like fire given wings. One cry from two voices, at the same instant, inseparable. A whole greater than the sum of the parts.

They fought, with all the rage and power of the Titans who commanded them. Beak and claw and spiny jaw clattered against armoured limbs leant strength by fury, and the noise was like burning worlds. Creatures made from thousands of tiny lives boiled like smoke and cloud and storm. The ground glittered with crushed feathers and blood and the wings of flies and the bright carapaces of lice.

For thousands and thousands of years they fought, and all the small creatures of the world became soldiers in the Titans’ war. The gods saw this, and were displeased. They decided to punish Efér'estár and Avásh'estár, and dragged them away to opposite ends of the world, where they bound them fast, so they could never meet or make war again. But even though their masters were gone from the world, the dronomin and the losthane kept fighting, and every one that was killed was replaced, gathered from swarms of malise or from a thinking creature stolen by hundreds of lice. The gods saw that they were destroying each other, and they tried to quell their fury by carrying away handfuls of the creatures, breaking them apart and making them forget what they had learnt. It is said that some of the boundless fury that burnt in the losthane and stormed in the dronomin fell to the gods, and that this fury multiplied in their divine souls quicker than they could quench it. This, some say, is part of why the gods became so quarrelsome.

The dronomin and the losthane were driven mad and weak and confused, and forgot why they hated and why they fought. Yet still they fought, and dreamed of fighting when they could not. They lost their voices and their reason, so they could not ask questions of other creatures, or try to regain what they had lost. So they wander like ghosts and fearful spirits, carrying wonder and beauty and madness and rage to the corners of the world where they still search for their voices and their masters.
 


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Folk tale written by Seth Ghibta View Profile