"In a land far, far from
here, they worship Gods that differ from ours. One of these gods was
called Har'wyn. He was the God of
Health and Well-Being,
as well as the sacred Guardian of
Marriage. And in the early time, before the
world was fully shaped, He was wed with Jenevére, the Goddess
of Spirit. They lived happily together, and their love was fit for the
Gods: strong and kind. The other Gods approved
of their relationship, yet there was one who looked to the side when they
were wed: Kashmina, the Goddess of
Heart. She was the Goddess
of all things fiery and passionate, among them love. And yet, she could
not bear to look upon the two.
Kashmina was in love with Har'wyn herself, you see. Har'wyn himself did
not know of it, and she chose not to tell him. Yet, all patience has an
end, and one day Kashmina decided to seduce Har'wyn. How, you ask? She had
the power to grant wishes – after all, her element was desire and love.
And she knew one thing – Har'wyn and Jenevére had
never been together like a man with a woman.
The story tells not how, yet, Kashmina seduced Har'wyn. She was a
beautiful woman, like a Goddess should be.
Jenevére was beautiful as well, yet, her beauty was less... visible. And
while Har'wyn loved her, he missed the passion. Kashmina, on the other
hand, granted him what he desired – the passion of being with a woman. And
so strong was that passion, that he chose to stay with Kashmina,
forgetting about his bride. Some say that magic was mixed into a drink she
served him, others tell it differently. Whatever happened, he chose to
stay with Kashmina."
I paused, taking another sip of the ale, keeping my audience at the brink
"Kashmina was happy – after all, she had attained what she had most
desired. And as for Har'wyn... he was caught by the spell of bliss, coming
from fulfilled desire. At this time, Jenevére did not know where her
husband was – she thought that he was walking the world, tending to his
duties as a God. And so she waited for him, tending her own duties. Time
passed, seasons turned... For the Gods, who are immortal, do not feel the
weight of time as we do – a year is but an hour for them. Yet, time
passed... and Jenevére began to feel something she had never felt before.
She began to wonder where her husband was... and slowly,
jealousy overtook her. She could not find
herself rest at any task, or any place. After a time, she did the only
thing she could think of: She went to the Goddess of Wisdom, Léarin, to
ask her a question. She knew, that Léarin knew all that there was to know,
but never spoke of it. Still, she went to her, and asked where her husband
was. Léarin watched her with saddened eyes, then spoke:
'I never tell anyone save Nakaishi of what I know, but for you, my
dear, I shall make an exception. For jealousy is
eating you... and such a fate I wish upon no one. Your husband is with
Kashmina, the Goddess of Love.' And before
Jenevére tried to ask the next question, she continued:
'Do not ask of me how you can get him back, child, for that even I
do not know. The ways of heart and soul are not governed by wisdom. Go
now... I have told you more than I myself would
like.' Jenevére went away crying, for she
understood that Har'wyn had betrayed her. And for three days and nights,
At this moment, the only sound that could be heard was the wood in the
fireplace, cracking. I took another sip of my ale, and inhaled a puff of
smoke from a pipe I had lit sometime while speaking. Then, I continued:
"Har'wyn was still with Kashmina at this time, hiding somewhere in our
world. The first days of his life with her were bliss – yet, now a feeling
gnawed at the back of his mind, whispering of Jenevére and of his own
treachery. The life he now lived was at once not so intense, nor so
beautiful: It was... boring. He was granted his own wishes and desires,
yet, he was demanding more... something he could not find in Kashmina.
Meanwhile, Jenevére abandoned her duties as a Goddess, and chose to walk
the earth as a simple woman, to find her husband. For if she could not
find him, then what use was immortality to her? An eternity of torment,
nothing else. And so, the seasons changed once again. Jenevére searched
for her husband far and wide... without finding him, but for every day
without him, her love grew and blossomed. She would find him, even if she
would spend all eternity on that task.
And while Jenevére wandered the world searching
for her husband, Har'wyn liked his life less and less. Even the beauty of
Kashmina seemed false to him. More and more often he wandered the earth...
to escape his feelings and his thoughts. It was on such a journey, that he
stopped by a lake to bathe and rest. While
bathing, a woman came upon him. He quickly hid himself from her sight, for
he was naked. She also looked away, being embarrassed by the situation.
After dressing, Har'wyn greeted the woman. They spoke about this and
that... however, a feeling kept nagging on Har'wyn's mind, telling him
that somehow, he knew this woman. The feeling grew as they talked, until
suddenly, he remembered everything. It was like his eyes suddenly could
see. 'Jenevére, my love,'
he exclaimed, seeing her as who she really was. He cast his arms around
her. 'By the Void,
what have I done? Jenevére, can you ever forgive me?'
he said, tears running down his face. Jenevére, who had just found her
lost husband, was overjoyed... and she forgave him.
Thus, they returned to the Void. However, when Kashmina saw that Har'wyn
was gone, she also returned to the Void. Storming into their dwelling, she
questioned why Har'wyn had left, and whether he did love her. On that,
Har'wyn replied: 'I was bound by your spell,
Kashmina, and because of that, forgot my true love. For while I loved you
in Heart, I love Jenevére in Soul. It was what ate me while I was with
you: The absence of true love. Wishes and desire mean nothing in
comparison to this.'
What was Kashmina to say? Exactly: Nothing. And since that day, she speaks
no word to Har'wyn. Jenevére, on the other hand, lived together with
Har'wyn for ever after... and nothing was able to break their bond. For
they were bound not in Heart, but in Soul."
Finishing the last line, I let my gaze sweep the crowd. They were all
silent for a moment, before the spell of the story left them. Seizing the
moment, I bowed and escaped them – for there is a limit on how much a man