Wednesday 29 June 2022

I Played King of Dragon Pass

(in response to the comments in this post) and I was not that good at it, and then did ok. But then got bored. But I learned a lot and now have much more sympathy with iron age clan leaders than I did before. Honestly you people are impossible.

Piss off your Weaponthanes and they start doing interviews on Fox News about the lack of national defence


There is no save game and no multiple simultaneous paths, whatever game you are in you are IN and there is no going back from any choice or looking to another causality stream to see what you could have done - unless you want to quit and tank every decision made up until this point.

There are indeterminate responses to God quests based presumably on lots of stuff happening behind the scenes like the religion of the quester but it looks also like the religious nature of the tribe and what temples etc, also whether you have been raiding or whatever.

The interrelationship between invisible numbers, limited knowledge and the will of the gods is the most interesting element.

I never got to ride Dinosaurs & feel personally betrayed by this


There are two kinds of raids;

cattle raids - which require stealth and basically theft, and Raid raids which can vary hugely from armed demonstrations to theft with force to, in theory - genocide and repossession of land.

Intra-culture raiding is considered normative and in fact a complete lack of raiding at any time is considered a bit weird will lose you respect and the happiness of your warrior class.

A primal human problem; you need warriors to defend the farmers or other warriors will come and take stuff, and you need farmers to feed the warriors. But the two are in endless conflict, pissed off with each other at least half of the time and annoyed about the others privileges - or lack of their own.

(And holy fuck are farmers conservative. They do NOT like outsiders and are very happy to be dicks based on ancient cultural stuff despite the fact that its you the leader who has to deal with the problems that result.

Cattle are the 'points' of the game so everyone always wants more cows.

The best way to get cows is cattle raid or full raid, (plus you need to raid and to be seen raiding to be a 'proper' clan both within and without). No raids and your weaponthanes get upset, no raids and others start to think you are a pussy and your diplomacy weakens.

However, you are surrounded by neighbours. These are also the easiest and lowest risk people to raid. BUT - if you can make allies of them then they are also your best partners, can protect you from other raiders with warnings, set up short trade networks and can ultimately help form your tribe which is the route to 'winning' the game. 

As always and forever it seems in all human cultures outright setting out to be purely and entirely peaceful just fucks you over while going full-military fucks you in a different way.

You can go the full-military war clan route (haven't tried it myself), and basically be Sparta with wars and super-slavery but the more you raid the more potential allies you lose. So I would imagine that if you are going to rule others through military force you better be very VERY strong all of the time.

Enemies - feuds, are a big long-term drain on your resources and constant threat, however, they can also be useful as with a feud, you at least know who you are raiding next time. So the next time your warrior class wants a fight you can just say oh yeah we can go raid the blue ox clan like last time and from the point of view of internal clan politics it doesn't really matter if you win or lose, so long as you don't lose too badly. If you win the Thanes are happy and if you lose it was their own fault for raiding and there are presumably less of them to support.

There are also random events which crop up which can sometimes result in 
weird or supernatural problems which need to be sent "elsewhere". So in those cases you can say "ok send the spirits to the blue ox clan".

Ultimately, if you want peace, stability and continuity you actually need enemies, or at least one enemy, roughly your strength, hopefully a bit weaker but still a threat, a medium distance away so it’s you are not a continuous threat to each other but can still reach each other. The most stable, and ultimately peaceful option is to just have a continuous low-intensity conflict with the same tiny group, without anything really changing.


The game pretty decent iron age simulator where you can choose whether or not to keep slaves and can possibly even build a slave empire and can engage in human sacrifice, and even mass human sacrifice, as well as raiding and plundering other clans, but still has the normative fantasy standard of combat skills and political power being evenly distributed between men and women, which, if it comes to political power is not impossible as small societies can have huge cultural diversity and lots of variety in iron age cultures, but pretty sure the Indo-European groups were v patriarchal.

Not complaining, it’s just an interesting look at our particular cultural moment where yes you can build a slavery simulator but it has to have a gender balance.


Truly the human mind is extremely based because a portrait, some auto generated text speech and a bunch of semi-random numbers do indeed become 'people', especially for my clan leaders, the first of the council and usually the first face you click on to get advice on stuff.

My first leader was kind of a hyper competent technocrat, a female worshipper of Issiaries, the talking god and the clan itself were quite non-normative, and worshipped Almal the sun god. We didn't even have a temple to Orlanth, the main god of our culture group. I really liked her because she always gave clear and detailed advice, consistently crushed trading and diplomatic issues, and our clan got really good at trading so in many ways the best person for the job.

But the clan, or perhaps the game, or the structures of culture the game was simulating, didn't like her, and while most of her explicit missions worked out and she was good at most individual things, the clan itself laboured; short on resources and cows, low status and ultimately disbanded.

For my second try I went with a very normative Orlanthi clan who made all the normal choices and the leader was a very normal male Orlanth worshipper with ok stats and was frankly something of a midwit mediocrity giving banal or empty advice regardless of circumstance.

I honestly really didn't like the guy and in most of his crises found him to be a very basic, even poor, leader but the clan flourished, a normative Orlanthi leading a normative clan with a nice big temple to Orlanth in the middle. Not exceptionally great at any particular thing but doing quite well on everything. Eventually we formed a tribe - but he got cucked out of the tribal leader role and we were stuck waiting for people to die and still couldn't get him in and eventually I got bored.

Third try was basically classic old woman feminist leader in a peaceful tribe dedicated to the mother goddess. Our main objective was to sit there and grow, which indeed we did in our increasingly fortified steading. Never had food problems, still couldn’t get population up much and no one really liked us, but fuck it otherwise things were fine. But it felt like game was becoming static and I am again a bit bored.

The "correct" answer is "suffer the blows" but this might get your Quester killed...


Actually it’s pretty substantially different in a lot of ways, but in terms of dedicating resources to 'researching' things to provide improvements, its somewhat similar.

You can sacrifice to a range of gods to find out more about them, (it's never explicitly clear which sacrifices, or how many or how much will be needed for each god). In my first game I actually sacrificed a human to the cow goddess and she got so fucked off someone in my ruling council left the tribe in disgust, also never sacrifice cows if you don't have to, just sacrifice goods. 

From these sacrifices you can learn 'mysteries' which are either something like blessings or lore you can use to do ritual magic.

With enough knowledge of blessings from a god you can build a shrine which can be expanded to a temple or a big temple. This is basically a resource exchange as for regular resource loss you get an 'always on' blessing which affects your whole clan. Or you can sacrifice for individual blessings
which can cost more but isn't a yearly tax (but also might not work sometimes), and as you get more fragments of myth you can do Heroquests which is form of clan wide magic where you re-enact elements of myth 
to get real magical effects.

If you fuck it up you get a BEATING; big magic loss, loss of reputation and maybe the quester and others physically wounded pluss WILD MAGIC - I fucked up a quest from the talking god and all of the maps for everyone in the area were FUCKED for years and all of my exploreres I sent out died. I dang well broke reality with my bullshit and people never let me hear the end of it.

It’s the lack of knowledge, indeterminacy or results and unseen interrelationship with your clan structure that really makes this interesting in-play.

Each Hero-Quest is a multiple choice adventure and over time, through reading lore or through cheating, you can learn the 'optimal' choices but the choices are not always equally weighted, and do not always respond the same way.

There are a few things you know about. The quester being a worshipper of the right god can help, having one clan council member from different gods each can help.

(That can be a challenge because very normative clans are often not very diverse in their makeup (as pertains to worshippers)

The two 'normative' clans I ran, the Orlanthi and the Mother Goddess clan, had shitloads of the normative gods but if I wanted someone on the council from some less regular god, either I couldn't get them or I had to settle for someone with mediocre stats in order to fill the post - goddman diversity.

Whereas the somewhat odd clan I started with had a bunch of wild and whacky members - so diversity of worship was never a problem - but the clan itself felt less 'cohesive' and the things it was good at never synergised as much across domains (though it was also my first try).)

(also its a nice point that its always good to have one worshipper of the trickster god on your council - in some special events they can generate alternative solutions to problems; tricking a hungry ghost with a trail of food, tricking a dragon out of its gold, being an expendable council member when shit hits the fan, but they never really cause enough trouble *in* the clan for it to feel like an interesting choice having them on the team - its more like marvel Loki than myth Loki)

Beneath all that, does your clan 'feel' right? Are you Orlanthi, with a big Orlath temple, Orlanth-worshipping leader and do you 'act' like normative orlanthi? 

Which numbers, precisely, is the game looking at to make these questions work? you don't know and that lack of knowledge makes things both frustrating and interesting?

This was a really cool choice to make the first time, less so the third time.


in almost every case when creating a true sense of possession, or a feel that you are really making choices as this entity in an imagine world there must be some combination of stable known rules and the unknown - yet an unknown not without reason.

If the game is pure known-rules and you can predict and weight how everything works - then it is merely a game and you end up just shuffling numbers.

If truly chaotic, the negative bad DM stories - where there is no stability or learnable rules - then its just a contest of personalities or wills or nothing at all.

There is some subtle synthesis between known rules, unknown rules and pure chaos (along with everything else) that tilts a system towards feeling 'real' - were you go from 'how do I maximise my sacrifices to Orlanth' to feeling like a clan leader thinking 'o fuck I hope Orlanth is ok with us this year'.

You are doing similar things in both cases but the difference is subtle. You are still making a die roll but it doesn’t feel like you are rolling the dice but like you are facing the gods.

Thursday 23 June 2022

We need to be churning more oceans!

We need to be churning more oceans! We need to be fisting more demons! We need to be killing more sons! We need to be hurling more weapons!

Part three of a short series about the elements of Proto Indo-European Mythology that haven't made it into the fantasy noosphere, or haven't made it as much as one would think, or have made it quite a lot but still a look at the reconstructed "originals" can be illuminating.


"Although the concept of elevation through intoxicating drink is a nearly universal motif, a Proto-Indo-European myth of the "cycle of the mead", originally proposed by Georges Dumézil and further developed by Jarich G. Oosten (1985), is based on the comparison of Indic and Norse mythologies. In both traditions, gods and demons must cooperate to find a sacred drink providing immortal life. The magical beverage is prepared from the sea, and a serpent (Vāsuki or Jörmungandr) is involved in the quest. The gods and demons eventually fight over the magical potion and the former, ultimately victorious, deprive their enemy of the elixir of life."

Already something of a failure because this concerns not an element of PIE Myth that hasn't been covered by the Genres but one that fits almost too-well into D&D specifically.

Elixirs and potions are happily set within the D&D cosmology so the idea of a super, super super divine level potion fits right in. After all if you can make a potion of this or that of various strength and effectiveness then why not have there be a potion of immortality which made the deathless gods what they are? And a highly interpretable boundary between powerful mortals and gods is something D&D handles pretty well.

I can imagine a 'potion of ageless immortality' being a super-high-level item, combine it with a potion of eternal regeneration and boom, you've got yourself a god.

BUT, one element that’s missing is the potions cosmological nature; it’s not just some potion that came from wherever - it was made through the combined efforts of a super-serpent, plus the beings we now call gods, plus the beings we now call demons - they made it together through some incredible process that neither group could have done alone.

And then the gods stole it, or tricked the Demons into not drinking it, and that’s where 'Gods' and 'Demons' come from, the trickers and the tricked.

Gods as original adventurers indeed.

Of course if we view this from inside the resulting mythos then the Demons were very bad and the Gods HAD to do what they did - BUT THEY WOULD SAY THAT WOULND'T THEY??? Reading back the difference between what would be gods and what would be demons looks more like the difference between two street gangs

What does it mean, or what would it mean in an imagined world, this war between the deathless trickers and the, not-quite-mortal, but definitely not deathless or ageless, tricked?

While the sacrifice myth gave the roots of reality as a kind of annihilation of self/twin, the churning elixir myth gives the roots of divine order as a kind of scam, in which we applaud the scammers because they were more clever and because they were/are sort-of on our side, or at least more on our side than whatever 'Demons' are.

The benefits of this crime being an escape into deathlessness, into eternity.

I suppose the requirement of the unified action of Gods and Demons explains why they are no longer making the 'good' version of the immortality potion - that lot will never work together again. yet at the same time it suggests a way of making more; by some third party, (the adventurers or main character of the story) tricking both groups into once again churning the cosmic ocean.


"In the Ulster Cycle, Connla, son of the Irish hero Cú Chulainn, who was raised abroad in Scotland, unknowingly confronts his father and is killed in the combat; Ilya Muromets must kill his own son, who was also raised apart, in Russian epic poems; the Germanic hero Hildebrant inadvertently kills his son Hadubrant in the Hildebrandslied; and the Iranian Rostam unknowingly confronts his son Sohrab in the eponymous epic of the Shāhnāmeh. King Arthur is forced to kill his son Mordred in battle who was raised far away on the Orkney Islands; and in greek mythology an intrigue leads the hero Theseus to kill his son Hippolytus; when the lie is finally exposed, Hippolytus is already dead. 


According to Mallory and Adams, the legend "places limitations on the achievement of warrior prowess, isolates the hero from time by cutting off his generational extension, and also re-establishes the hero's typical adolescence by depriving him of a role (as father) in an adult world"."

It might be bad to be a PIE hero but if you are the son of a PIE hero.. run! Run for the hills! Except don’t because you will fall over and lose your memory, be raised by hill people and become their hero, try to free them from the tyranny of the river-valley lord and fight him in single combat only to die and fall over again, mooning him, revealing the birth mark on your arse that confirm that yes, he just killed another son, sky-father damn it!

A key point for us is that killing the son, in Indo-European terms, is like 'killing the parents' in children’s fiction; it enables the adventure.

Sane parents stop their children going on adventures so for the story, or game, to happen, and for the Hero to happen, they need to be missing, powerless, incompetent or dead. (Like most Disney parents).

Likewise the D&D adventurer will ultimately 'age out', (though in practice they remain near-psychotic self-driven loners in otherwise communal societies), but if they were real they would probably gain families and embed themselves in a socio-political milieux, as people tend to do as they age.

How then may they adventure? You can do socio-political court dramas, but how can they meat-and-potatoes, risk-and-exploration adventure?

Clearly by accidently killing their son and/or heir in tragic and fated circumstances, this then ending their 'family line' (assuming a patriarchal society) this disconnects them from the world of line-building, politics and embedded power structures - a good time then to go on a grief-stricken old guy adventure.

How to do this with an entire adventuring party? Simply have them ALL accidentally kill each others children in the same fated event and/or situation. It’s an utterly batshit idea but not that much more batshit than the sheer number of accidental son-murders in the Eurasian mythos.

Alternate versions could be the accidental but fated self-destruction of whatever it was the adventurers invested in that bound them to society - a fort, wizards college, thieves guild or whatever.


I am sorry I could not find any examples of Jamshid fisting Ahriman, I feel as if I have let you down

"In both accounts, an authority figure forces the evil entity into submission by inserting his hand into the being's orifice (in Fenrir's case the mouth, in Ahriman's the anus) and losing it"

Firstly people aren't being swallowed by monsters enough, instead of just killed.

Secondly the idea of immobilising a way too high level being by SHOVING your hand UP INSIDE IT (an ex-friend once told me if I was bitten by a Pitbull, "just shove your finger up its arse and it will let go", I never had a chance to try it out), allowing the creature to be bound or the victim extracted.

Then - disastrously but perhaps predictably, it goes (slightly) wrong, resulting in the loss of only one hand. This feels like a good and appropriate mythic level beginning for a low level hero, a level-one adventure even. You get a major win over a too-high-level foe but at the cost of a major sacrifice and a big name-imbuing mythic incident to start of your career.

"leprosy hand guy who bound that monster that time"

"stank hand who fisted a demon and trapped it"

Combine this with the arrival of a fated weapon, with some truly exciting powers but probably also a doom (almost certainly involving killing your own son by mistake), and you have a very nice set up for a P.I.E hero - one hand, magic mace or sword, binder of monsters, fated doom.

Furthermore, investigation of the binding of Fenris myth (where Tyr got his hand bitten off), lead me to another mythic fragment; 

"The Gods had attempted to bind Fenrir twice before with huge chains of metal, but Fenrir was able to break free both times. Therefore, they commissioned the dwarves to forge a chain that was impossible to break. To create a chain to achieve the impossible, the dwarves fashioned the chain out of six supposedly impossible things:

  • The sound of a cat's footfall
  • The beard of a woman
  • The roots of a mountain
  • The sinews of a bear
  • The breath of a fish
  • The spittle of a bird

Therefore, even though Gleipnir is as thin as a silken ribbon, it is stronger than any iron chain. It was forged by the dwarves in their underground realm of Niðavellir."

And this reminded me of a half-memory of something from Hinduism which I remembered as being a hero binding a demon with sea-foam. I searched for this for literally minutes and found that actually it was Indra, and not binding but a weapon;

"In the epic, there is a very brief description about the story of Namuchi and Indra. According to the story, once Namuchi hid himself in the rays of Surya due to fear of Indra.

Indra then promised him that he will not kill him in day or night, or with any weapon which is wet or dry. However on a foggy day, Indra chopped off Namuchi's head using foam of water.

From that day onwards, Namuchi's head followed Indra reminding him that he was killer of a friend. Indra then went to Brahma to find solution for this problem.

Brahma told him to bathe in the holy water of Aruna river which was purified due to confluence of river Saraswati. Indra then did the same and got rid of this sin."

The concept and gameability of the impossible binding is not something I remember seeing much in fiction or games. (It feels familiar, but, like with early wizards towers, when I look in my memory for specific examples I can't find much).

This also seems like it would be a good fit for D&D, for the 'paradox binding/assembly' the collect-these-impossible-things is essentially a fetch quest which could range from very high magic to cunning folk trickery depending on how you approached it. For the sea-foam equivalent impossible natural binding, you need to find a wonder-worker, or super-smith (who probably stole their powers from a devil or demon, that’s another possible PIE myth), who can bash together the wind and rain or whatever it is you need to make your thing.

I am interested if anyone in the comments has any other versions of the impossible binding motif or ideas about how it could be used.


"In the Ossetic Nart saga, the sword of Batradz is dragged into the sea after his death, and the British King Arthur throws his legendary sword Excalibur back into the lake from which it initially came. The Indic Arjuna is also instructed to throw his bow Gandiva into the sea at the end of his career, and weapons were frequently thrown into lakes, rivers or bogs as a form of prestige offering in Bronze and Iron Age Europe."

More magical weapons should be loaners imho, you get access to them by completing a quest, or by fulfilling some other strange circumstance, and get to keep them till thy work is done - this also means you can have more hot babes levitating and emerging from water. Probably the clear reflective water is a gate to the Otherworld and as somewhat god-imbued things, many weapons both come from and return to that place.

In-game the fact that it’s a 'loaner' limits the PCs freedom, but hopefully in a specific and self-selected way so that it’s still interesting.

The question of when to 'throw back' the sword, in game, is interesting. In legend it seems to happen around the point of death; the heroes whole life was the mission and it wasn't just one thing, like "kill this dragon/monster" but a more-grand 'restoration of order' deal, like with Arthur, or Arjunas taking part in the Kurukshettra.

The quest of disposing or returning the magic weapon of a hero, (without using it), is an interesting one, and the idea of the heroes super-weapon turning into an adhesive cursed weapon if it is kept too long or mis-used.

And of a PC being given a way too powerful weapon at the start of their career, which they have to 'grow into' and which they can only keep so long as they fulfil its purpose, which will also lead them to some sort of doom

really every magical weapon above a certain level should have a specific end that it has to have once it has fulfilled its purpose

"Reflexes of an ancestral cult of the magical sword have been proposed in the legends of Excalibur and Durandal (the weapon of Roland, said to have been forged by the mythical Wayland the Smith). Among North Iranians, Herodotus described the Scythian practice of worshiping swords as manifestations of "Ares" in the 5th century BC, and Ammianus Marcellinus depicted the Alanic custom of thrusting swords into the earth and worshiping them as "Mars" in the 4th century AD."

Should our heroes be worshipping their swords? If they all have a bit of the war-god, or death, the Twin, inside them, and if they are related to the Otherworld and made by the power of the Smith who tricked the Devil, then are they not themselves sacred things? And is shoving one into the Earth-Mother then not essentially making a kind of shrine? A sword is after all a kind of boundary between this world and the Otherworld, opening the gate between here and there, it surface shining just like the lake you will one day throw it into.

Tuesday 14 June 2022

Murder at the Dawn of Time

The stories start to vary right from the start but one thing that links them all together is the killing of a brother and their butchering, the spilling out of bones and organs, as an act of creation with which reality was made.

"as the result of the original dismemberment of Yemo: his flesh usually becomes the earth, his hair grass, his bone yields stone, his blood water, his eyes the sun, his mind the moon, his brain the clouds, his breath the wind, and his head the heavens."

Probably you are so familiar with this concept from mythology that you haven't stopped to think about how utterly strange it is. But to go a bit deeper;

You are moving though a void, a placeless place 

"neither non-being was nor being was at that time; there was not the air, nor the heaven beyond it... Neither death was nor the immortal then, nor was there the mark of night and day...". 

You are not alive for nothing has ever lived nor are you dead, for nothing yet has ever l died. Neither are you immortal, like the gods, for there are none.

You simply are. Yet you are not alone for beside you is another. They are blood of your blood. A brother. Often they are the only other thing. (Sometimes there is a third and also a cow, but we will get to that later). Sometimes they are a giant, sometimes an hermaphrodite or multi-gendered being, but the one they they always are is your twin. Their name in fact is 'twin'. Yours is 'Man'.

Amidst this absolute nullity you turn on your twin, your other self, the only other thing there is, and you kill them. Then you cut them open, or since there is nothing to cut with perhaps you tear them open, and you reach into their body, steaming with blood, which is creation, and you butcher them, pulling out organs, bones, blood, tendons, hair, eyes, brain. And you cast or place these things into the nothingness and now instead of nothing there is reality. Earth, sky, sea, air, sun, moon, stars, grass and animals, all of this is built or formed from the flesh of your slain twin. And amongst all this you walk, the first man, who is also the first priest, for you made the first sacrifice and that is the nature of a priest, amidst a reality made from the corpse-flesh of you dead twin.

Of all the world creation myths, this one might be the most insanely fucked up, its also a common root or tributary concept for a bunch of cultures across the Indo-European range. For the Norse the twin was Ymir, father of giants. The Romans likely historicised their own version into Romulus and Remus, and the first romans considered themselves Remans, children of Remus, not of Romulus. In the Vedic and Persian versions the twin is Yemno, another derivative of 'Twin', and becomes the lord of the underworld, first to die and god of the dead. The killer is Manu and yes it does look like we named the species after this one guy.

"The association of Mánu with the ritual of sacrifice is so strong that those who do not sacrifice are named amanuṣāḥ, which means 'not belonging to Mánu', 'unlike Mánu', or 'inhuman'."

I think about how terrible it must be to kill your brother, the only other person who exists, the only person who can truly recognise you, and then to walk through a cosmos made of their sacrificed flesh.

It makes sense if you imagine a herding people where cattle are wealth and the most valuable and immediate source of survival. Cutting open an animal on the empty steppe, its blood steaming in the air while the butcher spreads out the parts on the hide and hands this part and that to this or that kin. Truly life through sacrifice.


There is a third guy there, and possibly also a cow. At some point the cow gets stolen and the third guy goes and steals it back. Honestly it sounds better in the original versions.

The ritual cow stealing seems to be a restoration of order motif and the third guy is the first Warrior, with the Cow sometimes symbolising the peasant or 'grower'.

So now we have a traditional proto Indo-Euopean tripartite division of Priests/Warriors/Peasants, or if we are feeling funky, Kings (Yemno was the first king)/Priests/ Warriors/Peasants.

Sometimes 'Twin' is multi-gendered or you both are, or you are somehow the same being; 

"Some scholars have proposed that the primeval being Yemo was depicted as a two-fold hermaphrodite rather than a twin brother of Manu, both forming indeed a pair of complementary beings entwined together. The Germanic names Ymir and Tuisto were understood as twin, bisexual or hermaphrodite, and some myths give a sister to the Vedic Yama, also called Twin and with whom incest is discussed. In this interpretation, the primordial being may have self-sacrificed, or have been divided in two, a male half and a female half, embodying a prototypal separation of the sexes."


Its all quite familiar from mythology, or from the mythology of fantasy. There are probably hundreds of fantasy paracosms which begin with some binary separation between different opposites.

Quite a lot of deep viscerality has been lost and we never get to see this from the first person perspective.


its quite different if you think deeply about what it would actually be like to physically destroy your own twin, your own blood, the only thing that is like you and that can know you as totally as you know them.

And to think about the blood and the guts of the matter. The butchered body cooling on the steppe, everything around you being made of the body of the sacrificed twin. Imagine what it would be like to fully believe that as your cosmic mythology - every time you look at any material thing, you are looking at the flesh of some unknowable corpse, to which you are distantly related. An uncle long removed.

Man is the first Killer and Killing is creation.

and what does it say about a culture that this primal violence lies close to its root, or what does it say about this primal self-destroying, bloody violence and butchery that it can help to form a culture that goes on to influence so much

its a pretty powerful and irresolvable moral maelstrom

The only part of current culture which I'm familiar with which deals with butchery, and especially the sacrifice and butchery of humans, is serial killer fiction 

specifically one of the first things that came to mind was From Hell, the very upsetting scene where we watch Jack the Ripper take the body of his victim apart and lay out the pieces in ritual formation while mumbling and going mad/embarking on an act of ritual magic which allows him to walk though the walls of reality

of course, if all creation is made of sacrifice, then any such sacrifice is an act of sub-creation, and it makes sense that it would act as a kind of spell or prayer - altering or sustaining reality depending on perception

Manu as a Character;

We have a shitload, really an epically insane shitload of Storm Gods, Sky Gods, Sky Fathers and their derivatives, and even more, truly a cornucopia of 'Strikers', the thunderbolt wielding hero who goes around killing monsters, releasing the waters etc.

I don't think I've ever seen a story where the Manu figure, the first Priest and the first Sacrificer, who made the world from the body of 'Twin', is even in the story, let alone the main character. 

What would that story even be like? Or that game?

Being the first Priest in a reality which you essentially part-created with the flesh of your Twin and teaching all these.. descendants? The children of Manu? Made up partly of your seed and partly of the flesh of Yemno, all about the Truth of Sacrifice and how Lord Yama, who takes the souls of the Dead in his place beyond the Canine Guardian and the River, is actually kind of the spirit(?) of your Twin, whose body made Reality and you also small man. 

(I'm still kind of tripping that we didn't change the name of the species in all that time. Must be one of those Querty-Keyboard situations where its just too much bother once you start.)

"Oh yeah say hello to the spirit of my twin on his throne below. You know he's the only reason you can die? He was the first one to do it, which allowed time and stuff to start. I killed him. We are walking on his guts atm actually. Anyway say Hi when you see him."

More Cattle Raids;

Seems like there should be a lot more cattle raiding in both fantasy and gaming. Its absolute bedrock for the Indo-European tradition and has carried over all the way from the steppe to a few centuries ago.

But when have I seen a D&D module or adventure or a computer game, or even a scene in a fantasy novel where "Hey we have to do a cattle raid. Partly to re-enact the core of our ancient creation myth but also just to steal cows." - NEVER. Not once.

More Sacrificing;

Neither have I seen (much) sacrifice in either games or fantasy. I will grant you there is the pretty-common evil-human sacrifice which the Heroes need to stop. That one is a classic. And bits and pieces of soothsaying from the Roman/Euro tradition, but its not common to see sacrifice as a thing which the protagonists are doing, or have to do, really want to do and consider not only normal but even sacred/magical. 

As the children of Manu we really should be sacrificing more. A LOT more. Gotta get those numbers up.

If all of reality is the result of sacrificing some essential meta-being, then surely lesser sacrifices can create, or change, lesser aspects of reality? After all, butchery is genesis.

Monday 6 June 2022

The Gospel of Nortia as Told through Her Maru Padraig and related by Him to the Scribe Cercops

So suffered Tremmadoc sea-girt city of the east. First that the wives and daughters of Tremmadoc were stolen by silver-handed men and could not be found and second in the coming of the Sea-Witch and her wolves who oppressed the people sore.
Thus languished the land till came there from the Tree of Fate a man of voice and mysterious power.
This was the Prophet Pupli Artnle and so spoke he Yea I come seeking salt for sacred work. Yea I hath been struck thusly through the head as you see and yet I did not die. Yea came there inwards the voice of the Goddess Nortia who is Fate. Yea I have come and the Tree of Fate shall be made clean by my works.
They of Treammadoc heeded him not.
Yet the power of the Prophet was in the voice of his faith and spoke he thus Yea this be not your fate neither to languish without wives or to suffer under the Sea Witch but heed the Gospel of Nortia and I shall show ye another. Go with me to the sea and I shall lead thee in Her name.
And a fury fell upon the men of Tremmadoc and the Prophet lead all of them saving not one out in boats to do battle with the Sea Witch be they to live or die they knew not but let this be an end of all either for good or ill as Fate decreed.
Mighty was that battle and grievous yet it came that in time that Sorceress and her creatures were destroyed and Tremmadoc freed. As the prophet had spoken.
This so seen three men of the Tremmadoc came forth and said we will come with you and serve you and hear your Word.
Of these the strongest was Wolvela and another called Padraig the Tall who having little skill on the seas and grieving for his wife Helen and child Gwyneth who had been stole said I shall follow this Goddess and see what comes.
Thereof the Prophet did free the Tree of Fate of its corruption yet fell amidst His work and that the three of Tremmadoc knew not what to do and said amongst themselves Let he who is the best of us be called Maru that is speaker for the Prophet who is gone and he shall lead us.
So it was that Wolvela became the first Maru of Nortia yet his time was not long.
Wolvela at that time walked with those from foreign lands Kemmnebi the Egyptian Xanthippe the Amazon and others. Much lore and treasure did they gain but sadly they were set upon by false guardians of the tree of Fate who came in the forms of children yet with the heads of beetles.
There Wolvela fell and turning from the task before him Padraig said thusly Kemmnebi you are wise in lore and subtle of mind be you our Maru and lead us. For Padraig  would not accept Her will.
And Kemmnebi said Aye it shall be so. Yet he was not Maru long for even within a day the subtle Egyptian fell struck down by the hairy Woodwose who grieved the faithful sore. A great tomb they raised up for him in the manner of his people and there his ghost still haunts. Thusly is Kemmnebi called the first False Maru.
Then did Padraig say to himself I am the Maru of Nortia I shall speak for the Prophet though I have not the words.
And thus was Nortia pleased and did reward Padraig saying take ye this staff carved like a snake which you have found. This Padraig did though he compassed not Her will nor saw not Her end.
Yet it came about that in striving against the killers of Kemmnebi the faithful did discover a captive among them the Assyrian Youseen a man mighty of strength and width and short himself as Padraig was tall and thus did Padraig say as I have been freed so shall I free thee. And did so.
Thusly did Yauseen speak how there do you hold the sacred staff of my fathers carved as the snake of wisdom.
And did Padraig reply if it be yours take in in good will.
And thusly Yauseen did and doing so spake this you have given me my life and returned to me the honour of my fathers I shall serve you and go with you and do your will.
And thusly it was for Yauseen was a man of might and iron word and served well the Maru from that day until the day of his death.
Yet Padraig still considered to himself thusly I be not the Maru for I know not the Word. And he thought this proved for on returning to the place called Abermaw which was the City of the Tree with Yauseen he found there awaiting him a wonder for he found there Pupli Artlnle the Prophet of Nortia whole and young.
This is only a seeming said some and others this is a wonder and proof of Her grace.
Then spoke this man with the seeming of the Prophet Agon I am and I know not of Nortia or her faith nor of the prophet you speak of yet I may learn.
Thence did Padraig once again say you are a wonder and the Prophet come again  be you our Maru and lead us. For Padraig would not accept Nortias will.

It was on the border of June when the faithful said amongst themselves we tire of this endless going this way and that amidst the pathways of the Tree of Fate let us instead climb it as an ant might and thence shorten our path.
This they set out to do and there began the Great Climb and amongst that pilgrimage were Padraig the Tall and Afan and Finian and Youseen the Guardian and Agon the Maru and Xanthippe and Auralian and Octavius and David of the Web and Michael and a Cat.
Greatly did the pilgrims climb that day till the world curved beneath them. It was not long before they were assaulted by Magpie Men yet they were fortunate in discovery of the Wren Men whose lord was named Vipog in that tongue and who gave them good aid and much lore.
And Vipog said thusly above us you shall find the tower of one mage Alpin of name great in power and mayhap he shall aid thee.
So climbed on the Pilgrims in search of the mage and did find his tower beset already with foul crow-men. And the Crow-Men did look upon the Pilgrims and say look here are fools come to rob what we would have let us set about them.
Thence began the Battle of the Tower high above the dreaming world.
Straightly did the faithful advance and drove the few Crow-Men back and Yauseen did close their gate behind them bar their way forth. Yet great in number were they and said we will come forth whether you will or no. Thence did the faithful make subtle words of peace with these Crow-Men yet sent by secret ways one half of their number to circle the tower and seek to make their way within.
Then the words of peace fell still and a great battling broke out surging this way and that amidst the Mages tower and the faithful did make much use of their Craft and did beguile and bemuse the Crow-Men and strike them from here and from there and in this way was their power overthrown.
Yet not without cost for in this battle did many fall Octavius and David of the Web and Afan and at the last Agon himself who Padraig had called Maru fell.
And strangely did Padraig look again upon the face of he who had died already once beneath his eyes and said this is a sight rare and strange to look upon. Then did Padraig say I am the Maru of Nortia I shall speak for the Prophet though I have not the words. Thusly is Agon named the second False Maru.
The Mage Alpin was thereby rescued and said You have aided me and I shall be thy friend take you this gold for my beloved and my child are dead and I mark its lustre no longer.
Then did the long climb of return begin and many travails met they on the way yet did return at the last to Abermaw and there was completed about that time a great Temple to Nortia in which the Prophet was shown and his body held incorruptible for all time.
It came around the first week of June that the faithful said amongst each other here our great temple is complete yet how shall we burnish it let us return to the Tree of Fate and the Great Work thereof.
Yet said they also thusly let us not climb though for we shall die thereby.
And the Maru Padraig spoke and said I have here a pigg whom shall be named Vultumma and she shall go with me and be my guide.
Yet the faithless understood him not and said why then does he a pigg bring thusly.
And even Yauseen whose word was iron was amazed.
It came so that they ventured within the Great Tree and did go deeper and further than ever any did before. They met there strange Amazons and spoke wisely unto them and came thereby to an ossuary or necropolis of the Tree and there they encountered a being of fire long held prisoner thereof.
And Flewyn Hale did say who art thou what art thou that are imprisoned here.
And that spirit did reply a Salamander I am named and prisoner I am for my service and a long time thus.
And Flewyn did say be thou free and come with us and ye shall be named Sal.
And so it was and wisely does the Goddess weave thereof.
It was going in this way that the Faithful did discover much lore of which the greatest was the meaning of the symbols of the tree which did signify the noble houses of its ancient people and did so thusly a Stag beetle doth signify the House of Lul Apples and a trident doth signify the House of Djem a butterfly do signify the House of Thuac a Ladybird that of the House of Hengst and a Jay that of Kun.
Yet great danger came upon them for as they looked deeply on this lore a foul spirit faithless and cursed by the gods did they meet with and by which way they the faithful were stricken with bad and cloying air and did pass as if into a sleep. And at this time helpless did come upon them once more the slayers of the subtle Egyptian Kemmnebi the first False Maru and Kemnebbis ghost did raise its voice against them though the living heeded him not.
At this time the Goddess Spoke and said though ye hear me not I am with ye and though ye see me not I am thy aid. Look thou are stricken before thy enemies and yet I have woven amidst you the fate of the Pigg Vultumma and the Salamander called by some Sal and we shall see what thereof doth come.
And Vultumma the Pigg did say unto the spirit of fire guard you the way and I shall amend.
And Vultumma did snuffle amidst the stuff of Padraig and did find there a sacred branch the druids gift of which was said break this and the guardians of the tree shall flee thee.
And Vultumma bit down upon the branch and the slayers of Kemmnebbi did flee and thus were the faithful saved though they knew it not.
Thence woke the faithful and went forth and they did encounter spirits many  and strange. Fox-men and a spider of great size and at the last they did find an ageless man of the tree imprisoned and a cursed and undying spirit which hung ever upon them. And the faithful said here is a cage with one who would be free and here one without death who should be caged let them therefore each receive what the other hath. And it was done and the cursed spirit caged and the man freed and the Maru Padraig spoke saying here is one alike unto one I know of whose name is Nicholas let him therefore be named Nicholas of the Cage. And it was done though another name had he yet to be revealed.
At this time the faithful were the Maru Padraig and Yauseen of the Iron Word and Vultumma the Pigg and Aurelia the Brave and Elen and also Julitta and Finian the Clever and Bolton and Flewyn Hale and Illtud and Marcus and Sal the spirit of fire.
Thence said the faithful amongst themselves let us leave this place anon and seek some way to heal this man.
Then went forth they from the Tree to Abermaw the City of the Tree  and yet they did not heal the caged man but instead foolishly the said here we have escaped death let us drink of the wine and eat of the grape anon and they drank of the wine and tasted of the grape and Padraig was marked thenceforth though he should not see the mark and brave Aurelia was gropped and slathered upon by one most foul.
And the faithful spoke amongst one another saying let us league together with the bards of the blue bird and cancel this groper and slatherer and curse him in the eyes of all. And this they did and cursed the man thusly. And of this though it seem a small matter much pertains as ye shall see.

It came around then that the faithful went forth in search of one Dwinwen who was a lady skilled in craft and lore for they sought healing for Nicholas of the Cage whom they had brought forth from the Tree of Fate whole in body but not in mind.
And in that journey they did encounter a Roman who was Atrius a seer of fortunes and silver of tongue who said behold I have read the fates in the paths of birds and the entrails of sacrifices and the Goddess Fate has set ye before me. I shall go with thee and aid thee.
And the faithful were much amazed and said aye let it be so.
Thusly came they upon Dwinwen who kept her place between the forest and the sea and they said unto her Lady here is one grievously wounded in their soul by much suffering will you heal him.
And Dwinwen said unto them nay.
And the faithful said How be this.
And Dwinwen said unto the faithful It is beyond my power yet I shall tell thee this that there is one amongst you who shall do this thing.
And the faithful were much amazed and looked each upon the other for they could not compass how any amongst them might heal so grievous a hurt and said who then.
And Dwinwen pointed thusly upon Flewyn Hale and said there is he who shall do this for his is a man of wondrous fate and a prophet of strange gods though he knows it not.
And Flewyn was much amazed yet Dwinwen came close to him and said unto Flewyn Hale YOU know how this thing might be.
And Flewyn Hale said Nay not I.
And Dwinwen said unto Flewyn Hale Ye hear the voices in the WATERS which ye have known long past.
And Flewyn was much amazed and said but the waters speak not.
And Dwinwen was much vexed and said you carried them in a bukett.
And the scales fell from Flewyns eyes and he said come with me to clear waters and drink thereof. And they did so. And Flewyn prayed and Nicholas Cage was healed and his mind returned.
And Nicholas Cage came again to himself as a man wakes from sleep and looked about him and spoke in strange tongue which was the tongue of those within the Tree of Fate of old of which he himself was.
And Flewyn Hale said he speaketh not your tongue but shall learn yet and the waters have shown me his mind and his name be not Nicholas but Hengst-Ath and he is a man of much lore and the Sorcerer Djem-Thut did desire his lore and so put great harm upon him time out of mind till his spirit was brake and gone but is now returned and he shall aid us as he might against the Sorcerer Djem Thut.
And the faithful said aye but let us leave him with the Pigg breeder next door for safety.
And so it was.

Then came about the middle days of June and the faithful said let us go once more into the Tree of Fate and seek there for lore of Djem Thut and how we might bring harm unto him for we have now the words of Hengst-Ath who was Nicholas of the Cage to guide us.
Thence once more they went forth and found within the tree many wonders and guided by the words of Hengst Ath they did discover many sad scenes of the last days of his old people whence came the treason of Djem Thut and they did discover the Throne of Hengst and the Library of Hengst though the words of such they could not read for they hath not the lore to see.
And the Goddess looked upon them and said thy path hath been too easy to these things and thy sacrifice little and now I shall try thee. And then came upon the faithful many foes of divers kinds. A great cube which hungered without end. Spider-men and beetle-men and spell-wielders and the faithful were much grieved and said O Nortia be it truly our fate to die here with our quest undone.
And Nortia felt pity for them and came upon them a light like a lamp which burned smokeless in the air.
And the faithful said what is this be it some new foe or strange imagining.
And the light spake and said Tathren I am named and long have I dwelt here and sadly.
And the faithful said be not woeful O Tathren but come with us and aid us and we shall be thy friends.
And Tathren said Aye it shall be so.
Yet the Goddess grieved them still all the way through the passages of the Tree of Fate and when they returned finally the Druids of Abermaw said here ye be now pay unto us taxes of such and such a value of what ye have taken from the tree.
And the faithful said by what right do you take such.
And the Druids said don't give me any trouble just pay up.
And so was it from that day forth that the Faithful must render unto the Druids of Abermaw and were enjoined also never to spread the faith of Nortia in Abermaw which was the City of the Tree of Fate where Her Temple was.
And the guardians of the house said this be not all for in your passing the Woodwose have come upon us in the night and the Silver-Handed ones also.
And the Faithful spake unto Tathu the wise who dwelt between the city and the tree and said what mean this.
And Tathu the wise spake unto the faithful and said these be the children of Cerrigion who would free all women from all men and takes them thusly and ye have confounded them and they hate thee and shall be thy foes.

At this time the Faithful spoke amongst themsleves and said let us go once more into the Tree of Fate and seek the Lore of Djem-Thut that we might know him and thence come upon him at a time and in a way of our choosing and not his.
And the Maru Padraig spake well and said aye let us creep as mice and go carefully and well and pass as shadows seeking lore only. And he looked fiercely upon the faithful to mark well his words that his will in this be known.
Went they again into the tree and after much cunning going this way and that came again to the place wherunto Nicholas of the Cage who was Hengst-Ath was found.
And Padraig lead them and they came unto a room wherin lay an ancient man well guarded and he lay in honey for he was without skin. And the ancient one spake unto them saying who be thee and be thee friend or foes of Lady Slem.
And Padraig did compass within his own heart here is Djem Thut whom the Goddess has brought before me and I shall  make a devising upon him and said nay we be great foes of that lady. Thinking thereby to beguile Djem-Thut whom he thought that this was.
And the skinless man was then in great wrath and said I am Djem-Bar and am father of that Lady Slem and for my love of her I have lost my skin and been thusly cursed by the foul traitor Djem-Thut whom thou sayest thou serve and yet ye come before me thusly to boast do thee.
And Padraig made unto speak but the Goddess had seen his lies and he was judged. And the father of Slem said I curse thee foul one though it be the last of my power to do so. And a great curse he laid upon Padraig and then died and passed forever from this world.
And all strength fled from the limbs of Padraig and he was laid low and did weep mightily.
And the guards of Djem-Bar did see that he died whom their master had caused to live in great pain and they seized Padraig and brought him forth to their master Djem-Thut and Padraig could resist them not.
Thusly came the faithful to Djem-Thut who they sought not at that time but lore only.
And Padraig spake more subtlety and said O great Djem-Thut cometh here and listen to my words.
And Djem-Thut did cometh somewhat closer.
And Padraig said; do not fear me O great one for I am cursed as ye see but only come forth that I may whisper my secrets to thee.
And Djem-Thut did cometh ever somewhat closer.
And Padraig grabbed onto Djem-Thut and did cling thusly and did make to stabb the sorcerer though he lacked the strength for the curse that he had upon by Djem-Bar the Father of Slem.
And thusly did a great battle begin for all struck then upon the other and Djem-Thut did cry out and summon forth the bones of the dead to aid him and came forth also a witch of great power.
And the faithful said how came it that we did listen to the words of Padraig who did not listen to his own words.
And Flewyn Hale said fear not.
And Flewyn Hale did place upon himself a band cursed by strange magic which did make him alike unto Padraig in strength which was but that of a child. But the power of the curse was this that the spirits of the dead would hear and obey though he might summon them not for he had not that art.
And Flewyn Hale spake unto the bones of the dead who served Djem-Thut and said aye by my curse serve me and not Djem-Thut and battle him and do him harm.
And by the power of his curse they did obey and the servants of Djem-Thut turned their hand against him and seeing this Djem-Thut fled far from the voice of Flewyn Hale which did turn his own servants against him.
And Aurelia the Brave did see this and said it shall not be so for if ye flee ye shall come again. And did pursue Djem-Thut even into the depths of the Tree of Fate.
And Padraig said unto Yauseen Go with her and guard her. And he went.
And Aurelia did meet with Djem-Thut and did strive mightily against him. And Djem-Thut cried out saying come to me my servants away from the voice of that fool and his curse. And the servants of Djem-Thut did come. Yet Yauseen did bar the way and said by my word O servants of Djem Thut ye shall not pass. And thus was the traitor Djem-Thut kept from those who would heed his word and must strive against vengeance at last with his own hands and none other. And there did Aurelia the Brave strike down Djem-Thut and destroy him utterly who had done much evil in his time.
And so did in time Flewyn Hale turn all the servants of Djem-Thut upon one another and at last upon themselves by the power of the curse which he had placed upon himself.
And Padraig sat upon the throne of Djem-Thut and said where is Yauseen of the Iron Word whom I freed from the Woodwose and whom I sent to guard Aurelia as she strove against Djem-Thut.
And they said he is dead and fallen.
And Padraig said whence is Vultumma the Pigg who hath saved us all at one time and whom I send forth for aid.
And they said she is likely eaten by this beast.
And he said unto them nay.
And the faithful spake unto him and said no really this giant monster probably ate her on the way out.
And Padraig said nay she lives yet.
Thence came they forth from the Tree of Fate and so weakened were they by curses and the great striving they had undergone that they could not even make to lift and bring the body of Yauseen who had died in his service and it lay still within and far.
And they came forth and said unto the Maru Padraig this is largely thy own fault for thee listened not to thy own words.
And he said speak not of this to me.
And he commanded that an Iron Throne be forged facing the sea and that a great lay be written for Yauseen and a statue carved of him and he sat upon the throne and gazed upon the seas much while and thought much on his curse.

It came around the end of June that a great feast was laid for the memory of Yauseen and others.
And that one who had gropped and fondled the brave Aurelia was seen and did skulk muchly. Therefore the Faithful spoke unto one of them Marcus and said go ye forth and seek this man and learn his ways that we might know them.
And the people of City of the Tree did say this guy is banging dryads in the woods.
Thence came amongst the faithful a Woodwose one of whom they had strived against much time in the past. And Padraig and others did capture the Woodwose and did make many questions to it alike unto what is that perv up to.
And the Woodwose spoke that he they had cancelled served now the Silver Handed ones the children of Cerrigion who had stolen the women of Sea-Girt Tremmadoc in times past.
And Aurelia and Padraig and Flewyn Hale said we shall pursue this man and look upon him and learn his ways. And they did so and followed him deep into the forest whence they came upon a glen. And the pervert did turn upon them and say unto them ha ha I hath lead thee here to thy doom. And the silver handed ones came then against them from as many places as the wind doth blow. And they did strike down Padraig and Aurelia the slayer of Djem Thut and Flewyn Hale also. And only Hengst-Ath whom had seen from a distance these things escaped to take swift word to the faithful.
It came then that Padraig and Aurelia and Flewyn awoke in durance vile in a place unknown to them. And Aurelia did strive mightily and did compass her own freedom by her cunning and her strength. And she could not work to aid Padraig or Flewyn Hale but said fear not for I shall return for thee with great force and strong. And Aurelia did flee that place.
But the Goddess looked not upon her for in that place were many foes and strong. As thick as wool upon a sheeps back lay they this way and that. And Aurelia fled from them but could not for they were as trees in a forest and at every turn arrows blackened the air like buzzing flies and Aurelia who had striven against Djem-Thut and laid him low and avenged the Lady Slem was there struck down by the children of Cerrigion and rose not and she passed forever from this world and was not seen again.
And the children of Cerrigion came unto Padraig and Flewyn in the guise of women of great beauty and said behold she is dead now marry us or ye shall surely die.
Yet is was not to be for Hengst-Ath had in this time warned and roused the faithful and they had leagued together in great force and sought out the place of Cerrigion thinking to rescue those taken.
And thus they did and came against the isle of Cerrigion with cunning and great fury and though many fell Padraig and Flewyn both were rescued. And Atrius the Roman said let us by our victory convert these Woodwose to the true faith of Nortia. And it was done and they were branded and did submit.
It came then that the faithful spake much to each other and said lo Aurelia is lost and here is Padraig the strongest amongst us and he cursed and Flewyn Hale also. Let them thereby be healed and let us seek out the witch Dwinwen who makes her place between the forest and the sea.
So went forth they. Padraig in beggars rags for shame.
And they discovered Dwinwen and said Lady may you heal these men.
And Dwinwen spake unto them and said aye yet I am grieved and cannot.
And the faithful said what grieveth thee lady.
And thusly spoke Dwinwen who made her home between the forest and the sea hath I apprenticed to me the girl called Goewin a maiden wise and fair and there live in this land a three-faced Druid of great power who walks the land in silver shoes and liveth alone in the dark of the world and this man hath taken Goewin from me and placed her in durance vile in the veins of the earth and has set about her great catts and would do his will with her yet his power is too great for me to overthrow.
And the faithful said do we return this Goewin to thee and Padraig and Flewyn Hale shall be freed from their curse.
And Dwinwen said aye for Padraig it shall be but fear ye the three faced Druid for his vengeance shall be great and he flies as with the wind.
So the faithful went then to the forest to the cavern of dark earth where Goewin was kept by that man and they spied the three faced druid not yet saw set about that place wondrous great catts of strange seeming. And the faithful did compass much within themselves of their own art and craft of subtlety yet as it fell out such compassings aided them not and the catts did do them much harm yet Flewyn Hale did draw away the Maiden Goewin and they did return her to the lady Dwinwen who kept her place between the forest and the sea.
And Dwinwen said here is one I have desired above all others. And was much joyed and spoke let thy curse be lifted. And it was so but for Padraig only.
And Dwinwen spoke get thou gone home and hope you well the three-faced Druid finds you not.
The faithful feared much they would encounter the three faced druid and compassed within themselves a scheme by which they would dress and seem to be those other than themselves and would act and be so for all the journey home without rest and if the three faced druid should come upon them yea still he would see them not.
And this they did and those who were great became small and said slaves are we of these others and dressed in rags. And those others gilded themselves mightily and said masters are we of these slaves.
And it came that in this journey one night Atrius the Roman heard and saw a man stepp from the sky on silver shoes as a bird doth land.
And Atrius said within himself here is this man of whom we desired no meeting yet fear not for we shall see what comes.
And lo the man had indeed three faces and was a druid of great lore and all the darkness of the earth was his and he casted about and saw all and yet saw not and he said unto Atrius who be thee.
And Atrius spoke thusly I am the master and these my slaves and these others my guards would you buy any for they tire me greatly.
And the three-faced druid asked then of any sign of men of arms or craft-knowing kind of whom he said had robbed him of a great prize and he did describe just such as were before him but he knew them not.
And Atrius said yea indeed we have seen such near the place of Dwinwen some days ago and south they went by my reckoning and quickly for it seemed they feared some follower.
Hearing this the three-faced druid gave much thanks and stepped on silver shoes into the air as a bird flies and flew away south.
And thus did the faithful return to City of the Tree and put off their seemings having healed Padraig and saved the maiden Goewin.
It came about the midst of June of that year that Padraig said seek I the body of Yauseen who served me well and also that of Iltud.
Then once more the faithful went forth into the Tree of Fate and sought not battle nor gold but the bodies of friends yet they were to be grieved much thereof.
Battle did they find with spiders various and of great danger. The thrones of Hengst they found and through the lore of Hengst-Ath they discovered a great treasure which was in the form of a great trident all of gold.
Then much suffering did they undergo as a terrible spider again came upon them and did poison near all with a curse of dancing which made them helpless and it seemed that all would be lost.
And they came then upon cultists of the doomed Djem-Thut and sadly the Roman Atrius was lost and it is said so great was his knowledge of what would be that he went to his own death wisely and silently for he feared it not but took his place in fates strand and he spake thusly one shall come who is greater than I.
And came forth the faithful not with the body of Yauseen which they had sought but only with gold and the body of Atrius of which neither had they sought at this time.

Then came near the end of June and the Maru Padraig said we shall do it again and we shall get him out.
And as he spoke so was it done and through battles and encounters they came again to the place of the Doom of Djem-Thut and found there the mortal body of Yauseen and also that of Iltud who had also fallen there.
And they came forth from the Tree of Fate and met in coming forth a strange party alike unto their own of olden times of Roman and Celtic and Hebrew and Assyrian they were. And Padraig spake much with the Assyrians saying tell me of Yauseen who I have here in this barrel. And they spake much to him and said here take this charm of friendship with our people.
Then came they forth and the Maru Padraig said there shall be a Kurgan and a great mound for Yauseen my friend.

Yet they spake unto the Maru saying he must be mummified thereof afore he go within the kurgan.
And the Maru Padraig said who shall do this.
And they said strange men to the north who have this knowledge.
And the Maru Padraig spoke and said  let us go and let it be done and we shall go forth in ships and tread upon the waters to the place where these people are and by such manner we shall near fly and fear not the woods nor dark. And the Goddess saw this and said ye shall have thy will but for one half of thy journey and the rest I shall make of my own and ye shall grieve thereby yet we shall see what comes.
So the faithful set forth upon the waters and went to the place of preservation and Yauseen they kept with them in a barrel as he was brought forth from the Tree of Fate.
And they came unto the place of salt and death and spoke to those there and said here is one who served fate well shall ye preserve him.
And they who dwelt there said aye for gold it shall be done and in one months time.
Then set forth the faithful to fare home thinking all well.
Yet came upon them on the seas a ship of Bretons great in number and said unto the faithful give us all that ye have and ye shall live. And the Maru Padraig said nay nought shall ye have neither lives nor goods shall ye possess.
But the Maru spoke not well for came against them a second ship of which the first alone had greater number and the second as much again and the faithful fled to the shore pursued by arrows and by swords.
And Hasdrubal there fell and the Maru Padraig became wood and knew not what he did and the faithful fled into the dark forest which they had thought not to pass through by taking the waters as they did and far from home they were and without aid.
The faithful passed then through the dark forest and met they there in darkness dogs which spoke as akin to dreams one to the other and the faithful said to each other let us not tarry here and they moved on.
And they made camp in the darkness and set watch and said by the Goddess all shall be well. And they knew not that they thusly set themselves close unto the brother of Polyphemus who was the son of the Ocean which they had fled.
And in the night this son of Polyphemus came upon the faithful and a great battle and striving there began on the borders of sleep. And there Flavius died squashed like a grape by the brother of Polyphemus and Padraig and others did blind the giant and through great suffering did overcome and break its strength.
And they came then to the cave of the giant and found there many sheep and gold and one named Çuthèÿura of Atlantis which had been lost beneath waters as the old lore tells and said Fate be praised of Goddes we beg that ye lift your wrath from us.
And She was merciful and they did walk for many days to Tremmadoc whence forth Padraig had come long afore yet they knew him not at first for he was much changed through his sufferings.
There Padraig found Ina the Ever-Smiling whom they knew of old and Ina spake unto Padraig saying Lord free from these fishermen for they desire me greatly having no other woman in Tremmadoc of the Sea. And Padraig spake unto the men of Tremmadoc saying lay not your hand upon her lest it be cut off Lo I make her here the one who speaks for the Maru in Tremmadoc Lo I set gold before her Lo for in the City of the Tree of Fate they shall hear not Her word yet in Tremmadoc it shall be heard and from this one Ina whom I set before you for her smile is the smile of Fortune for thee and see thee besmirch it not.
And the faithful did at this time seek to take again the salt path and return thusly to the City of the Tree and the Goddess did at this time smile upon them thusly for they had accomplished Her will and Nortia said see what awaits you there.
And the faithful came once again to the City of the Tree yet came in subtle wise that they may be seen and not known. And they found there in the harbour the two ships of the Bretons who had sorely them grieved and they found also a new many awaiting them saying teach us of Nortia O Maru and we shall serve thee.
And the faithful did devise darkly saying look what here is set before us. And did send some of that many who were unknown to the place where the Bretons were and they said brave sailors drink with us and tell us of your adventures. And the Bretons drank of the wine and tasted of the grape and were much pleased. And the many of the faithful said then it grows late here come to our home where a feast is waiting that we may hear more of your words. And the Bretons were greatly pleased and did come and did come into the very house of they whom they had much grieved on the salt path though they knew it not.
And they of the faithful said come sit and drink yet drink only from these cups of horn and not the other for such is the manner of our people. And the Bretons did so but they were deceived for the cups held deadly poison. And some among the Bretons did stand and say what goeth here. And came then forth the faithful whom the Bretons had much grieved upon the salt path and said see now the paths of Fate for she is cruel. And they did strike down the faithless Bretons with great force and furious anger until only few remained and said spare us we beg. And Padraig said aye if ye beg it ye shall be spared indeed from our vengeance.
And they did deliver these Bretons to the Druids of the City of the Tree and said here are bandits and liars who have done much harm do as ye will with them. And the Druids were much pleased and did sacrifice the Bretons most direly and did glory much in the shedding of blood and said to Padraig here taketh as token this charm alike unto the anvil of Tyr and should ye be in danger throw it thusly to the earth and ye shall be saved.
Here came the midst of August and the Maru Padraig spoke unto his many and said I tire and rage most mightily at the doings of Cerrigion who hath stole my wife Helen and whose Woodwose hath killed Kemmnebbi the Subtle the ghost of which haunts us still many a time and whose creatures killed also Aurelia the Brave who brought doom to Djem-Thut go thou ye all in ones and twos and seek throughout the land for this Cerrigion by signs which I shall tell thee.
And went forth at that time Veep and Adwen and Cennwych and Afan and Marcus and Brothen and others.
And it was discovered at that time by Pandion the Greek who was a man of lore and who dwelt with them there that the Druids of the City of the Tree served truly spirits who dwelt atop the Tree of Fate and all remarked greatly on this lore and wondered much as to what it may mean.
And cameth them amongst them at that time the faithful Hampsicora of the Red Smock who was much learned in Lore also and who had been long sought from foreign lands.
And five days passed and Veep and Adwen returned and said we findeth no signs of Cerrigion yet we have become married in our time. And the Maru Padraig said go ye then to Tremmadoc and serve Ina there.there Ina the ever-smiling.
And Cennwych and Afan returned not neither any other but Marcus and Brothren did return and said we have seen by the signs a dwelling of the children of Cerrigon and Padriag was much pleased and said bring horses for now is the time and they were brought.
Came then the faithful to a place of Cerrigian which was a lake upon which swam white swans which were her children and cliffs above and a cave within guarded by those swans.
The faithful thought much on what would be and at this time a wondering came upon each of them as to the weave of fate which had brought them hither.
Yet Flewyn Hale went unto the cliffs and did scale them and did spread oil upon the waters. Then did Çuthèÿura speak mightily unto the swans and did summon them thusly and Finian the Clever did put light to the waters and they did burn and so began the first battle of the Cynomachy which was the doom of Cerrigion.
Yet of this the Maru Padraig took little part for Pandion the Greek did entangle him with sorcery along with Çuthèÿura and neither might be freed till the other and that with great danger and Padraig was much grieved.
There fought bravely against the swans Marcus the Combed who did much havoc amongst them by means of his bow and Brothen called the Friendly who sadly died at that time. Came forth from the cave below many Woodwose and a Sorceress with golden hair and silver handed ones and they did come unto the Maru Padraig and burn him yet he lived but Çuthèÿura who was with him died and passed forever from this world. And the faithful were scattered as the leaves of the storm and it seemed the Goddess turned Her face from them.
And Padraig speak unto Marcus who had fought well saying be thee now the Maru and not I and did leap upon the Sorceress and carry her with him over the cliffs down to the burning waters below thinking thereby both should die but the Goddess willed it not.
And Finian the clever were seized by a swan and carried away and Pandion the Greek were stricken low and taken by the silver handed ones.
Yet Padraig came subtly from the waters and hid himself within the cave below and did await his foes. And the Sorceress of the Golden Hair did likewise rise from the waters and came upon him though she saw him not and Padraig came from the darkness and slew her.
And thereby woke Flewyn Hale who had fallen before and came upon them all the force of the children of Cerrigion. Yet Pandion also awoke and struck back at his captors.
From the cliffs edge to the burning waters to the black cave had they battled and did strive mightily the servants of the two Goddesses one Fate who is Nortia and the other Cerrigion the stealer of women.
And Padraig thought then upon the words of the Druids to whom the treacherous Bretons had been given and by them sacrificed and on their words and the charm of the anvil of Tyr and he did make his way through many foes to solid earth and did hurl the anvil downwards.
And then came the children of the Tree of Fate who sprang up from the cold earth in the shapes of trees that walked and by this manner were the children of Cerrigion scourged and defeated and the day won at that time.
And Flewyn Hale did discover a Bear God of the Woodwose and a Satyr there chained and said who be thee and why be thee chained.
And the Satyr said Bryonne I am called and have been prisoned here long while through fear of the Woodwse who serve Cerrigion and placed here by their God who is a bear who they have made to save them from Cerregion for they fear Her greatly.
And Flewy Hale spake unto Bryonne and said be free and come with us and be our friend.
And the Satyr Bryonne said aye.
Then did the faithful who remained discover a great lake beneath the earth and beyond it a great hound and a portal which it did guard.
And Padraig said lo ye children of the Tree make of thyselves a raft and she we shall pass these waters and come upon this Hound and Bryonne shall sing a song of sleep yet we shall hear it not for we shall block our ears and thusly shall we come upon it and do it harm.
Yet it would not be so for the dogg wakened and did breathe fire upon them all. And sadly Marcus who Padraig had named Maru in his despair was then burnt nigh unto a crisp and passed from this world and was not seen again. Thusly is he called the Third False Maru.
And a great striving did the faithful they make against the hound yet at the end they laid it low with the aid of the Children of the Tree who were with them.
And Flewyn Hale took then the power of the god of the Woodwose and lo his curse of old times was lifted and he became alike unto a bear in strength though his tongue were lost in the doing.
And in time the key to the portal was found and the faithful did make a seeming of themselves to be the servants of Cerrigion and passed thusly through dream and mystery and came therby to the place where She was.
Yet Finian the Clever who had been taken by the swan awoken to find himself in durance vile and there with him one called Rhaskus of Illyria.
And the children of Cerrigion came unto them and said marry us or ye shall surely die.
And of this Finian said I like it not yet Rhaskus thought it good and much words they had thusly.
And the children of Cerrigion brought forth Finain and Rhaskus from durance and said here behold is a paradise indeed for here is the throne of Cerrigion. And Finian and Rhaskus did behold a great lake upon which an isle did float and upon the isle were a Goddess with the head of a great swan and this was Cerrigion. And all about the lakeside women did take their ease and no men were to be seen but for the silver handed ones.
And the children of Cerrigion said lay with us and thy sons shall be silver handed ones and thy daughters raised thusly in the bower of Cerrigion. And Rhaskus thought it good and Finian not so.
And Finian spake secretly unto Rhaskus saying let us capture a swan and make for the City of the Tree which is called Abermaw and Rhaskus liked this not and said let us bang maidens here instead.
Yet Finian would not have it so and by his craft he did mount such a swan and make as if he would take its life and said fly me to Abermaw which is the City of the Tree and the swan rose up into the air with Finian upon it and did fly yet the children of Cerrigion did pursue.
Yet Rhaskus the Illyrian rose not and instead waited in the bower of Cerrigion to see what might be either maidens or sex slavery or both.
And Finian the Clever did ride the Swan though it liked him not until it would go no further and he came from it then and leapt to the earth. And the children of Cerrigion looked all about to find him but by his subtlety they saw him not. And Finian came thencewise to the City of the Tree and passed muchly from this part of the tale for he did drinketh and shop instead.

Yet as Finian flew above the faithful did pass below and come secretly to the bower of Cerrigion.
And the watchers and guardians did say who be that who cometh from below.
Yet the faithful wore the horns and hands of silver handed ones and spoke not from the darkness yet came closer and the Children of the Tree of Fate with them.
And they came unto the guardians of Cerrigion in the night and slew them secretly and found themselves within Her bower which was a lake girded by pastures and an isle floating amidst as we have before said.
And the Maru Padraig said now is the time let us chance all and they went forth in darkness and the Children of the Tree did make a raft of their bodies and in this way they crossed the lake and came unto the very throne of Cerrigion upon its isle upon the lake.
And the Children of the Tree did surround the throne at all sides and the Satyr Bryonne did sing a song of fear and the swans did flee and the false goddess Cerrigion were thus left alone against the children of Nortia. And the Maru Padraig said go then and tear her in vengeance ye children of the tree. And they did so and came upon her from all sides and though the swan-headed goddess strove mightily she were laid low and thereby the doom of Cerrigion came upon her
And Rhaskus the Illyrian seeing this thought unto himself this jig is up and best I get on Nikes favoured side and did swim unto that isle.
Yet the children of Cerrigion did live and did seek vengeance for their Goddess and a great battle began on the surface of that lake for they seeked to reach the mortal body of their goddess yet Padraig and Flewyn and Rhaskus stood against them yet with the morning it came about that the children of Cerrigion were slain all some by bow some by sling and some by a picnic table wielded by Flewyn Hale yet of the last she died saying kill us if ye will yet we beg that ye wound not these women but keep them safe.
And the women stolen by Cerrigion were thence freed from paradise and Padraig spoke unto them and said fear not O women for ye shall soon be returned to your husbands and ye shall labour for them and bear children as ye did in times past and much joy they had. And the women of the Bower were six hundreds in number.
And there amongst them were Helen the wife of Padraig and Gwyneth her daughter and Padraig were much joyed by this and knew not what to speak to those so long taken from him.
And lo the women were returned to the City of the Tree called Abermaw through much hardship though Rhaskus the Illyrian did go ahead to mark the way and did encounter and strive against much wonder and danger thereof. And indeed some women did die being knocked down by bandits and eaten by spiders but most did not and upon the last day a great gold dragon were seen high in the air and they came thusly again to Abermaw the City of the Tree wherein the Temple of Nortia was and the Kurgan of Yauseen near complete and where Finian had waited thusly a long while for their return.