OF THE ORIGIN OF THE RÁHAZ'DÁTH

A SANTHARIAN FOLK TALE OF THE SHENDAR PEOPLE

 
The Shendar Book of Myths   
  Click on the book's name to view the Table of Contents
  Click on the author's name to view the Author's Index
  8 pages (Download is available Download text)

Introduction. This is the story of Baveras, the Water Goddess that wished to bring life to the barren, sun-scorched wastelands of the Rahaz-Dath. After consulting Jeyriall, the Goddess of the Harvest, Baveras learns that the life she holds so dear cannot exist without water and takes it upon herself to irrigate the desert. She pleads Foiros, the God of the Sun, to have mercy on the land but soon finds that the Burning God is a God of Justice not of mercy: only that which deserves to live should survive the intense heat of the Injèrá. Distressed and disappointed Baveras turns to the Weather Lord, Grothar, for help – but will his support be enough to overcome the will of Foiros?

Read on to discover how Urtengor, the God of the Forge, is cajoled into an alliance with the Mistress of the Sea. But not all gods are benevolent or so easily enticed… Bear witness to what she must do to rise above the caprices of Etherus and thwart the jealous schemes of Queprur, the Goddess of Death herself. Follow Baveras on her quest and discover as she has how precious a commodity Life is and what a fine balance must exist between the elements – and their masters – for it to exist. And perhaps find consolation in the knowledge that even the Gods despair sometimes and consult the Universe for advice, just as we turn to them for guidance and assistance...

In this wonderful narration of the Shendar you can read the following:
 
- How Baveras Brought Water to the Desert
- Of the Origin of the Nirmenith Mountains
- How the Aj‘Nuvic Grounds Came into Being
- Of the Creation of the Norong‘Sorno
- Of the Formation of the Nirmenith Oasis

 
   

How Baveras Brought Water to the Desert
 

a-Kundra, the "mother" of the one of the many dome-families living near the Seven Jewels, sits back comfortably, leaning on a rack of wood which is padded with woollen blankets. Today the children and youths will hear the great myth of the creation of the Ráhaz-Dáth, and it is the privilege of the mother of a dome to narrate this important tale.

She takes a last sip of her mil'no tea, clears her voice and all eyes are resting on her, waiting and expectant, because Kundra is not only the the mother and leading woman of their family, but a gifted narrator as well.

Kundra nods to a child sitting at one side, who starts playing a short sequence on a small drum, after that the silence is perfect.

"In the days when the gods were young and the lands not yet finished, Baveras looked at her seas and the fish, dolphins and other animals within. She smiled when seeing the Sarvonian wells sputtering, the Nybelmarian rivers rushing to the sea and the big lakes of Aeruillin glimmering in the light of Injèrá. She was very pleased with what she saw, till her gaze fell on a piece of land at the very south of the Sarvonian continent.

And we all know, what she saw, and what made her heart bleed."

Iroe, a little boy, obviously a guest from the south with his dark hair and black eyes big with excitement, nearly bursts out with the answer, and Kundra releases his tension, allowing him to tell what he knows:

"She saw only sand, sand and nothing else than sand, all the way down from the Narfost Cliffs to Cap Strata. And all the animals there had to suffer terrible thirst."

"No, you got it wrong!" Sira, an older girl is interrupting him. "There were no animals, where no water is, there can't be life, and there was no water in the beginning, that was later!"

Kundra frowns slightly over the impulsive reaction of the older girl, which gets the hint and looks down with a blushed face. Then Kundra continues:

"Baveras was stunned, she didn't believe her eyes. There, south of a huge forest and a vast plain, was an endless sea of sands. No animal roamed the land, not a single plant could be spotted, there was no drop of water. It was all so dry that life was not possible.

The vast lands of sand, the endless dunes, the winds forming golden landscapes had their own beauty, but it was a dead beauty, without the blessings of life. And Baveras loved the life as she does it today. So she went to Jeyriall and asked her if she could not help these sad lands, and fill them with life, but Jeyriall only shook her head and said that without water nothing would grow, and that it was her, Baveras's task to bring water to the desert. But she saw no way how she could achieve this, so she went to Grothar and asked him to send his rain clouds to the hot lands and with them the needed water. And Grothar, though doubting that he could help effectively, sent his winds to blow the clouds from the sea over the sands. But Injèrá, Foiros's work, was mercilessly burning the land. And so the clouds simply vanished when reaching the coast, so great was the heat towering over the south. Baveras pleaded with Foiros to send Injèrá farther away, but her request was not heard. The southern lands stayed beautiful, but dry and dead. This was the first time that Baveras felt a cold distance to Foiros.


But, as you know, this is not the end of our story.

Let's take a cup of tea. Who wants to tell, what Baveras did to withstand Foiros's hard will?"
Kundra asks her youthful listeners. Everybody moves a bit to release the tension in the limbs, takes a sip of tea.

Mori, a young woman, goes on with the story:

"Baveras was distressed, and she didn't want to give up. After some time she made a decision. She didn't like much what she was planning to do, but she had done it once when the world was in the making, and she would repeat it.

So, she, the one who loved to dive with the dolphins, to dance in the waves rolling onto a beach, to rush down a mountain's side with a rivulet and to take pleasure in tossing down in a waterfall, she reminded herself, that she was the goddess of the wells, the hidden lakes, the underground rivers as well.

Grothar, the god of cloud, rain and wind helped her to fulfill her desire. He brought heavy rainfalls to the forest we know now as the Sharadon and the plain north of the dry desert, the Narfost Plains, and Baveras made rivers which crossed the plain. Their waters fell over the edge of the cliff and brought life to the desert, but only to a small part in the north. For the rivers couldn't cross the huge sand dunes. The two in the west just turned away from the hot lands and their water was lost in the vast ocean we now know as the Aetryam Sea. The river in the east just vanished into the sands, as it does today. And therefore it was called Délran'már, the Vanishing Waters. But Baveras wasn't angry about that, as we could suspect, with her rivers turned away from the desert, but exulted secretly, because the Délran'már should be her gate to the desert.

She dived deep into the waters of the river, and with them into the depth of the earth, and filled there all the crevices, every crack and all caves as she had done it when the world was in the making. New passages were opened for the water to progress under the surface. And where the waters of the Délran'mar were running still strong, a lake deep in the ground formed.

And it went well.

Finally she touched the salty waters of the ocean in the south and she knew she had won. She pressed up through the masses of sand and rocks and nothing could withstand her will. It didn't take long, and in many places in the vast desert lands the water came to the surface, forming wells and springs and even small ponds, allowing plants to settle down and with the plants came the animals. Even where the water didn't get to the surface, it was not far away. Most wells and water holes were fairly small and though some lovely ponds came into being, they could not be seen well from above. But at one place Baveras created the loveliest image one can imagine, the Seven Jewels."


Though most of the attending children know the tale already, they nevertheless breath a sign of relief, for now the desert has water, and this is the beginning of life. Foiros is beaten - for now.

Kundra smiles. How patient are these children compared to adults... And how attending!

"Mori, thank you for envisioning us so well how Baveras fought Foiros. But tell me, was all going well now, after the desert has got water?" she addresses again her whole audience.

"No", shouts another boy. The faces of the children, a moment ago all smiling with relieve, are full of concern again. "The water coming from the Sharadon was not enough for the great Ráhaz-Dáth!"

"Yes, you are right." Kundra confirms.

 

Of the Origin of the Nirmenith Mountains
 

rothar had sent his clouds to the Sharadon and to the Narfost Plain, but he couldn't keep his benefiting gift all time there, the forest needed to see the light of Injèrá as well. And so the water was not enough to fill all the wells and fountains in the southern parts. Only the Seven Jewels had always water, though even there the level dropped dangerously far. Though it had dropped a bit, the heat in the Ráhaz-Dáth was still enormous, and the water surfacing from the depth of the cool earth was just sucked away by the burning rays of Injèrá.

Baveras again went to Foiros to pledge for mercy for the life, which had arisen in the former death lands. But Foiros is the god of justice, not of mercy and the desert life suffered.

Baveras was desperate. Not that this little place in the south was important, but she had set her heart on this particular place. How could she achieve that Grothar's clouds could loosen her wet load over the desert? She sat down on the edge of the Narfost cliffs, just where the Sharadon river cascaded down the cliffs and looked over the sands. And suddenly, an image of high mountains arose from her mind, mountains so high they would touch the sky, high enough to embrace Grothar's clouds.

But she was a goddess of water, and not of earth. So who could help her?

Only Urtengor. He was it who had forged Caelereth, so he surely would be able rise the ground and form some additional mountains?

And Baveras went to see Urtengor, the maker of mountains and asked him to forge one more mountain stock. Urtengor put down his hammer, for he was just forging the moon, furrowed his forehead, and looked down at the sea goddess as if she was a child asking for a candy. But Baveras was no woman who gave up quickly. She went around Urtengor's smithy saying casually: 'How long do you think it will take you to forge the moon? It is quite big and will take eons to cool down. The races will have to live in the darkness all night long and evil will arise. What about if I give you my cooling water to accelerate the process? Your moon could be finished till Injèrá sets in three times seven days? What if I promise to cool down every piece of metal somebody forges, be it to a spoon, be it a sword? I think especially your dwarven weapon masters would be very grateful!' And now she looked him into the eyes till he averted his and only asked: 'Where do you want to have them?'

And soon after that the Nirmenith Mountains arose from the desert plains, high enough to captures Grothar's clouds. But not only this: From this day on, red glowing swords and other metal works were put into water which took the heat away and cooled them down quickly."


There is silence, after Kundra has stopped talking, for it is strenuous to help a god forge a mountain, even if you are only doing this in your mind. The younger ones are allowed to get up to stretch their limbs, the older just remain seated and drink a little tea. But it doesn't take long, and all are back to listen to Kundra again.
 


How the Aj'Nuvic Grounds Came Into Being
 

rtengor had forged the Nirmenith Mountains, and they stood high and proud and the clouds Grothar sent in from the sea gathered far below the tops; and it rained or even snowed and the water came to the desert, running down the mountains on both sides in little streams and rivulets which made the desert green at the base of the stock and even farer into the desert. However, not all gods are benevolent, and as Baveras was proud and celebrated having overcome the pressing heat Foiros, the fire god, had imposed on the desert, that water had finally beaten the fire, another god of fire looked with displeasure at her - Etherus. He didn't want actually to take Foiros's side or to help him in any way, for that he was much to self-centred, but Baveras's joy was nothing he could stand either, so he decided to dampen her delight. He went to have a look at this marvellous mountain stock. And with an evil grin on his beautiful face he stepped right on it with his right foot. His left he placed just south of the mountains, and then he was gone again.

The mountain tops broke down and where he had put his foot, a depression was the result, a wide valley had formed."

"The Aj'nuvic grounds!"
Shen'na, a little girl exclaims full of excitement to be able to contribute something. Kundra smiles, for she doesn't mind being interrupted by a little child, the older children will tell her not to do it. But she is startled anyway and presses her hand to her mouth. Kundra just nods and goes on.

"The Aj'Nuvic Grounds, this lovely place has come into existence due to a mischievous god. Not only that, Etherus has given the Shendar a gift, though it is a doubtful one, because poisonous, the mithrilan. It is said, that his feet were sweating at this time, and the mithrilan is nothing else than this special body water.

From his antagonising behaviour a second beautiful place accrued, a lake as big as the Aj'Nuvic Grounds, south of the mountains, where he had set his left foot. It changed the climate of the whole region, which got entirely green, and plant and animal life flourished. This lake was the Great Nirmenith Lake."

"And where is this lake now?"
Kundra asks Shen'na. "Gone", she answers sadly. "Gone, there is the Norong'Sorno now."

"And how did this happen, Shen'na?"

"Well"
, she answers, "there was this jealous goddess, Qu'pr or something like this, and demons..." That is all, she wants to say. Queprur, the goddess of death, is not often mentioned in front of Shendar children.

"But where to has all this water vanished?"

"I will answer your question soon, but let me tell you first how the Norong'Sorno and the Lands of Pain were created."
 


The Creation of the Norong'Sorno
 

magine now again this lovely lake, rimmed by a green landscape with plentiful animals roaming in. That was not exactly what Etherus had intended to accomplish when stepping through the lands and setting his foot on the Nirmenith Mountains and the land south of them. But as he is the god of excess, he was a lazy god as well and not interested enough to take steps of his own to destroy the beautiful lands. But there was no need for him to do it for himself. When he met Queprur occasionally, with whom he had had pleasure already in destroying the work other gods had made, he just did a few remarks about Baveras being so successful with forming the south to her wanting, and that she had overcome even Foiros and made the former heat drunken desert green. Queprur didn't show any emotion when hearing this and shrugged just her shoulders, but she had already made the decision, that this lands should be dry and hot again instead of green with a refreshing breeze. For she couldn't allow the water goddess, the one which was opposed most to her from all other gods, to gain too much power over the south.

First she saw no way how to accomplish this, for though Foiros was the Burning God, he was the god of justice as well and didn't mind Baveras her success in making the desert partly green. But then she had a capital idea. This time the normally cold Queprur teased Etherus for being a fire god without having power over the fire itself. Etherus just asked, frowning his forehead: 'What do you want me to do?' And Queprur said: 'Get me a part of Injèrá!'

And so it happened that Etherus stole a piece of the sun's fire for Queprur. But she refrained from just throwing the burning ball directly onto the lake - this would have been too obvious and drawn too much attention. But Queprur had anyway a better idea, she didn't want to have one big disaster hitting the lands, but something more enduring.

And so she summoned Faerhorál, the most powerful fire demon of all of Caelereth, and she gave him the ball of fire, Etherus had stolen from the sun, and she sent him deep in the earth under the lake to imprison a part of Injèrá.

We don't now, if the demon had the power to rise the ground, or if it was the desire of Injèrá's lost part to reunify with the whole of the sun, or if Queprur unleashed even the titans to help with the task of eliminating the valley where the waters of Grothar had formed the Nirmenith Lake.

Well, was happened was, that first the ground of the lake was lifted; the sweet water of the lake was about to flow in the Aetryam Sea, but at this point Urtengor intervened. He had quietly observed what was going on, and now he was angered at the amount of what was destroyed by his godly opponents. He trenched a deep furrow into the ground and grubbed a way through the rock, so that the water could flow into a great basin under the Nirmenith Mountains, and a series of cavities he had hoped dwarves would once inhabit. But now, all was filled with water, and therefore no dwarves live in the Nirmenith Mountains like elsewhere in Santharia.

But the Faerhorál did not stop when the lands were flat again, and he lifted the ground up and up, till a huge mountain had evolved, higher than the highest top of the Nirmenith Mountains and filled with fire from bottom to top. The fireball finally blew the top of the mountain away to reach the sun and to reunite with her again, but she was too far away, and so the part of the fiery essence of Injèrá fell back to the earth in many small pieces, and there it died, getting very black, nor'sidian black. And so it is still today. The fire tries to escape the demon whenever it can, and meanwhile not only at the top, but all over the whole mountain, especially at a place, where the soil is not much thicker than a few peds, near the Lands of Pain.

Baveras wept, as she saw the destruction of her lovely lands and was desperate, when she looked at the black cone, where once live was easy. Grothar felt pity with her, so he sent heavy rains and frost, and covered the black mountain with a cap of white snow, as a sign of his love to Baveras. So till today, we say to a man who loves his wife truly: 'His love is so deep as the snow on the Norong'sorno white.'“

Mi'daura, the smallest of the children, is starting to sob. Her little face shows no ornamental painting, so she has not heard the tale before. But most of all the others look sad as well - as if they don't know already, how the story continues. But their imagination carries them away, and more than a single tear is running down a brown cheek.

However, Kundra is not hurrying to continue the story, you have to fathom the depths of your grieving to be able to savour the heights of your pleasure. After another cup of tea, she continues:
 


The Nirmenith Oasis
 

he lovely Nirmenith Lake south of the Nirmenith Mountains with his sparkling water and lush meadows and forests around its rim was gone and replaced by the mighty, nor'sidian black, grim Norong'Sorno and the dry, hot, bleak Lands of Pain. Though there were still many small wells and water holes, the Nirmenith Mountain stock still stopped Grothar's rain clouds coming from the west and though there was water running down on the south-eastern side as well, it was far from being enough to bring the desert to florish again. Most of the wet fortune the clouds brought vanished in the depth of the rock and added to the hidden underground lake.

Baveras sat on the highest point of the Narfost cliffs and mourned. Her heart was so full of sorrow that her green and blue colours which always surrounded her like a dress made out of floating water turned to a dark heavy grey, for the desert stretched again from east to west; there were a few bright blue and green spots, the Seven Jewels and few other tiny wells, but they were rare as jewels are, and that was nothing compared to how it had been before.

So the goddess of water lifted her face to the sky. We don't know, if gods are praying, or to whom they could pray. Indeed, it is a quite strange thought to imagine a god doing this. Some wise elves of the Sharadon say, there is someone, who created the gods themselves, but if this is so, we don't know, who that should be. Maybe that should us just tell, that if our faith and our will is strong, everything can happen.

And Baveras held her hands high up and stood there for a long time. The desert wind from the south tugged at her grey veils and her hair got dry! No birds were singing, only the howling of the sand loaded air was heard. The green grass on the Narfost Plain turned yellow and the water in the Sharadon fell low. But when she lowered her hands, a miracle happened. A giant fiery shooting star fell down to the ground and hit the Nirmenith Mountains hard."

Kundra stops.

The children are happy again, now they can't wait, till Kundra continues and the smaller ones bounce up and down on their little knees. They have to restrain themselves not to burst out with what they know already. Kundra smiles and points to one of the bigger girls, saying:

"Tell Mi'daura - what happened?"

"The shooting star created the Nirmenith Oasis! First it was just a hole, but then it filled with water and then it was too much..."

Kundra stops her laughingly. „Slowly, Sira, you may not haste with telling the story!“

The children sit quietly again.

"The shooting star hit the mountains fairly in the centre, but a bit more to the southeast side. The impact was so hard, that it penetrated all the rock, till it splashed into the hidden lake. And the water of that lake was released, and it rose and filled the impact tunnel till the rim.

The water out of the depth of the mountains rose, till it filled the hole - and then it flew over, and the Nirmenith Falls searched their way down the east side of the mountains for the first time. And in the beginning it was so much water, that it flooded the desert. A big stream wound its path through the sands till it reached the Burning Sea. With the time, the water retreated again, for the hidden lake had given away its wealth in one big outburst. Only a part remained in the cavern. But every winter and spring, when Grothar sends his clouds to wash the Nirmenith Mountains, this lake fills up again and every year the desert is flooded in a wide area, though the waters don't reach the Burning Sea anymore. Where the water has touched the desert sands, grass springs up for a couple of months - the desert is green again. There is however one place at the edge of the desert and at the foot of the mountains which is always full of water and never dries out, that is the Oka'Seri Swamp. But that is a tale long enough for another evening."


And Kundra drinks her last cup of tea, smiling at the children who are getting up to go to their own sleeping-place in the dome, the fire is still crackling and high above the stars shimmer, over the horizon a shooting star lights up and falls into the sea.
 


Return to the Book
Click on the book's name to view the Table of Contents
or the
Click here to view the Author's Index
 

Folk tale written by Talia Sturmwind View Profile