"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
"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
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
"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.
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.
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
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."
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
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:
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
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."
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.