Daily #20: Mythology

For today’s post, I’ve dug up another piece of writing I’ve done in the past. This one is in the fantasy genre, and aims to replicate a traditionally-written myth. It doesn’t have a story to it per se; it just describes events from a distance. I hope you enjoy it.

In the Great Jarl’s library, one can discover much about the rich but turbulent history of the Isle. The largest of volumes is a black, leather-bound tome, inscribed with ‘Völsung-fødsel’ in gold lettering. The leather has grown worn around the edges, and the pages are yellowed, but this is the text depicting the birth of the Great Gods of Völsung, and how the Prosperous Isle came to be.

First, there was Odeus. Nobody knows from whence he came, but Elders from each province have come up with many theories. Those from the hurricane-buffeted shores to the East describe Him bursting forth from the maw of a colossal whale during a raging tempest. Those dwelling around the radiant, balmy beaches in the South depict Him descending from the blazing Sun itself, spreading His light and good fortune across the Isle. Legends hailing from the mountainous Northern territories detail how Odeus was formed of stone and crystal over millennia; borne of the mountains which shield the Isle, before emerging to rule Völsung. Even the whisperings of the Sage’s Council portray their own theory of His origin: He was created from the roars of the Four Great Dragons; reared by flame, nurtured in embers and set upon the world to enact their will.

Despite their differing views on his origins, the people of Völsung could all agree on Odeus’ good and true power over the land. He was a fair ruler over those who dwelled on the islands, never demanding or indulging, and only punishing those who committed the worst of crimes.

However, centuries of benevolent rule were hard to handle for even the mightiest of Gods. He would observe all of the thriving, happy citizens frolicking under the bright sun, and feel only a cold emptiness in his heart. He yearned for the experience and joy of love, and the unconditional devotion he saw the humans experience in fatherhood.

Overtime, His crippling loneliness drew dark clouds over the land. The skies rained tears of His despair, and brought an age of shadowed misery to the sun-starved Isle. Odeus, lost in his own anguish, paid no heed to the needs of His people. During this time, many of the citizens grew to loathe Him. His temples were dismantled to provide valuable firewood, and a volley of hateful prayers were flung to the heavens. However, none of this mattered to Him.

One morning, in one of the southern cities, the daughter of a blacksmith, Leda, was contemplating the misfortune that had befallen the land. As a young girl, her grandfather had told her of the beautiful ball of fire in the sky which used to spread joy across the Isle. She yearned to see its majesty for herself, but the Great Odeus was not answering their pleas. She knew of his loneliness and despair, and her heart ached for Him. In an effort to warm his cold heart, Leda picked the most radiant of red roses she could find in the city, and climbed the hill nearby. She offered up the gift to Him, asking to see the mighty ball of fire.

Odeus looked down upon her, and saw the brilliant rose held in the hands of the beautiful maiden. His heart was warmed once more, and he graciously accepted Leda’s gift. He also asked for her hand. Leda saw the newfound joy in His eyes, and elatedly agreed. So began the New Age of Light. Odeus swept away the impenetrable cloud layer, allowing the sun to nurture and resurrect the land once more. The Red Rose Festival has been a day of happiness and merriment each year since. Leda’s heart, brimming with love, allowed her to rise as Goddess of Amity, her divine influence keeping the Isle of Völsung harmonious and pleasant.

Shortly after Their unity, Leda was blessed with three beautiful children. There were two boys: Holmir, the oldest of the three children, blessed with natural leadership and a steadfast will, and Welche, gentle and quiet, electing to spend the majority of his days hunting alone in the vast forests spanning the North West of the Isle. Their youngest sibling was little Karis, doted upon and beloved by her parents and older brothers. She inherited her mother’s loving capabilities, and the very ground she walked on would erupt into jubilant song.

For a time, all was well on the Isle. However, it was not to last. The peace and tranquility that had reigned with the arrival of the demigods was destined to be shattered. The three children were not pure Gods; they had inherited their mother’s human side, and thus carried the imperfections and flawed nature of Man. One afternoon, the young demigods were practicing the magical abilities they had inherited from their father. Welche was attempting to enchant a large golden coin, inscribed with a rose on each face, to always land on the same side when flipped. His older sibling, watching from the sidelines, teased him mercilessly with a barrage of cruel comments. The younger boy became increasingly frustrated, continuing to mispronounce the spell. Eventually, in a burst of rage, the boy directed all of his anger into the coin. His hateful thoughts and emotions left his body in a spear composed of black, tarred gas, which struck the coin. The golden sheen quickly turned the colour of onyx, and it began to spew the same black substance. The lush flora in the grove where the children were practicing began to wither and die, much to the dismay of the compassionate Karis. She threw her magic into the fray, struggling to stop the dark sorcery from plighting the sacred ground of the Isle.

What happened next is not known for certain, but ancient etchings carved into walls deep in the Northern mountains depict the young Karis being absorbed into the spectral aura surrounding the cursed coin. To her brothers’ horror, she disappeared into the ball of dark magic. However, the morbid pollution leaking from the blighted object ceased.

The nation entered into a time of mourning. Karis’ divine presence was seen as a blessing to the islanders, and all felt the deepest sorrow at her disappearance. Another effect of that most tragic event was seen in many of the citizens. They began to agonise over their wealth; those with the most holding it as close to them as possible, keeping a tight fist curled around it as a dragon fiercely protects its hoard. Fights began to break out over a few coins, and some were forced into poverty. It has remained as such to this day, the evil imbued into the coin keeping the minds of men locked into this covetous path.

The divine family had suffered a tremendous loss. Odeus and Leda fell into a pit of grief, unable to feel anything besides the loss of their beloved daughter. Welche, plagued by the belief that the terrible event was his doing, became bitter and full of anger. The once gentle and careful boy descended into darkness, no longer showing empathy and spending ever longer in his own company. Despite the efforts of Holmir, the younger sibling would not come around. After a particularly escalated fight, Holmir had no choice but to banish Welche to the East. He left without objection, and rode alone.

Holmir was forced to take over as the leader of the family. His dutiful nature allowed him to take on the burden of ruling, despite his tender age, and even though his heart too was laden with the guilt of what he had done. The islanders now worship him as their God, but also lay gifts for his still grieving parents. He keeps the world in a fragile equilibrium, maintaining peace and happiness throughout the Kingdom of Völsung.

Thanks for reading!

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