Storytime

Why is the sea salty?

Once upon a time before the Darkness, the ocean we call the Great Wet Desert wasn’t a desert at all, for its waves and winds were gentle and predictable, and its water was fresh like that from the ice of the North, and it was full of sweet fish and delicious seaweed. Ships could sail around it and never starve or thirst or be threatened by a sudden storm.

During the Darkness on the coast of Coricia lived a Holder who was known for being a stingy and ruthless lord, and he had in his service an Ammatar governor known for being equally stingy and ruthless.

That man’s clan sailed the sea, and they were equally stingy about it as they were about everything else; they controlled all ships and all ports and all trade in that Holding, so that they alone and their lord that they bought this right from benefited and grew rich and fat, while every other tribesman and -woman in the area grew poorer and poorer and starved.

When the Midsummer feast was approaching, a tribeswoman and a speaker for many clans in the region went to this stingy governor, and she said: “In the name of all that is holy, hear me. My people are starving. We’re starving and it is Midsummer. Make any request you want but have mercy on us, give me something to feed them with, at least this one night, that should be one of celebration. Or I swear on God and on all gods, the people will rebel, and the township will burn.”

The stingy governor did not like the idea of his township and easy living burning to ground, so grudgingly he ordered some food to be sent to the slaves of the Holding, in celebration, and then he said to the woman: “You got what you wanted, now go to Hel, and never come back into my sight.”

This was not the request the speaker woman had expected, but she had given her word to follow any request, so she went to the ocean’s shore, wandering it and wondering how she could find an entry to the underworld. When she was sitting at a great rock and considering if she should just jump into the water and hope she would be dragged to the world under the bottom of the ocean when she died, a great shark rose from the ocean and to her amazement it spoke to her.

“Why are you crying, daughter of the Tribes?”
“O Great Shark, I owe a favor to fulfill a request to go to Hel, but I do not know the way to that underworld.”
“You have paid that favour by coming to me, for I am Hel the Great Shark. But never before have I heard of such a favour; how did you come to owe it?”

The tribeswoman told the Great Shark the story, and the woes her people were suffering in the hands of the stingy Holder and the even worse governor. The shark grew pensive. “How terrible it must be to have been born a human,” it said. “Here, I will give you the gift of endless bounty. Here is a small mill that once was lost in the sea by a careless person of your kind. Put some pebbles from the shores of the great ocean in it, and with the spell I will teach you you can grind the sand into any food or drink you like. But keep it secret, keep it safe! It is not a tool for greed.”

And the shark coughed, and out of its mouth flew a small hand grinder, like the ones you would use for corn or coffee. As instructed, the woman put some pebbles into it, and the shark told her the magic words, and she said them, and asked the mill to make her bread and cheese, and those things appeared, and when she had eaten her fill, the shark told her how to stop it.

She thanked the shark, and she took the mill, and her people never had to starve again.

Come next Midsummer, again, the only thing keeping the people alive was the mill. By now, many people knew the woman had something from which sustenance flowed, for no matter how careful she was, bread and butter and herring and apples can only be eaten if they are known about. So many people came to her and they said, please, sister, we have nothing to have a feast on, can you help us?

She felt sorry for them and she told them to come back on the Midsummer night, but be careful, and there would be a feast. She spun bread and meats and fruit, and wine and ale and stronger spirits, all sorts of sweet things and savory things, and little snacks that people loved to eat even after they had eaten enough, and set out to have a feast. But of course, that could not be kept secret, and when the feast started, also the stingy Holder sent his governor and guards to figure out what rebellious act it was that allowed this extravagance to go on.

When the woman saw the governor on site, she withdrew, for she had not forgotten the request she owed, “and stay out of my sight”. But while she was away, the governor spoke to the people present, and a lot of them were drunk, and some wanted to boast, and some were scared, and too many of them told him what they knew of the mill. And with enough bits and pieces, he ordered the woman arrested, and demanded to be given the mill and shown how it could be used, and then he took it with him.

The governor of course already had enough food and drink so he did not need the mill for that. Instead, he put it on one of his trade ships and filled that only with empty sacks and barrels, and sailed out. When he was arriving in the city we now know as Mithuris, he took out the mill, poured some sand in it, said the magic words, and commanded: “Mill, grind me salt!”

The mill started to grind out salt. It poured and poured out of it, filling all the sacks and barrels. But it did not stop there: it just kept on going, salt falling on the cargo deck’s floor, spilling everywhere. “That’s enough now, mill!” the governor said - but he had never asked the woman how to stop it, and she had not told him.

Salt kept filling the ship. The crew begged the governor to throw the mill into the sea, but he refused, searching frantically for a way to stop it instead. When the ship started to tip to one side from the weight of the excess cargo, the captain of it had had enough, and she ordered the mill to be taken from the governor and indeed thrown into the ocean, lest the ship be lost.

The crew like the crew of any ship - space or sea or air - obeyed their captain first and any visiting dignitaries only as the captain tells them to, so they overwhelmed the governor and took the mill and threw it away and it sank to the water - still grinding salt.

The Great Shark felt it fall and it became very angry at the ungrateful humans who had not kept its gift safe as it had instructed, and it thrashed and turned and splashed its tail in its anger. A great storm rose, and the ship already tipping under the salt load tipped further, toppled over, and sank, taking with it all the salt, all the crew, the captain who acted too late and the stingy governor who owned the mill.

And there, even today, in the bottom of the Great Wet Desert, sits the salt mill and grinds salt. And that is why no matter how many fresh rivers run and fresh rains fall into the ocean, it will always remain salty. And the Great Shark is still angry with humans, and has not spoken to our kind since, and its unpredictable spirits make the ocean unpredictable, and that is why sudden storms and scissor-tooth sharks and great serpents are now a threat to all who sail it.

12 Likes

There was once a young fish

He swims up to this older fish and says,

“I’m trying to find this thing they call the ocean.”

“The ocean?” says the older fish, “That’s what you’re in right now.”

“This?” says the young fish, “This is water. What I want is the ocean.”

4 Likes

Is this story supposed to be a parody ?

No. Heresy possibly, but not parody.

4 Likes

Well. If you are within the Amarr Empire this will be swiftly taken care of …

This is an obscure legend I learned in Amo, retold in a party. I believe it is originally Nefantar, but I might be mistaken. Pretty sure this one’s also heresy, even if such myths are not intended to be taken literally as truth. Such is the nature of these origin stories.

How God lost his name, and the Khanid lost their God

Alright, so, this is a party for those who fight the Evil God, no? So I figure I will tell you something about the Evil God.

We, I mean, most of Minmatar people, who follow the Matari ways, we recognize there are many gods and spirits. Infinite numbers even. Everything has spirit in it, so you cannot even count the gods present in this hall. There’s spirits of hospitality here. The spirit of wine seems to be present, and maybe even those of revelry. Spirits of all the trees and flowers, and guardian spirits of cooks and waiters, and maybe we have an ancestor or two keeping an eye on us, no?

The most powerful of spirits we call gods. Everyone knows the Seven Gods, the spirits of the tribes. So as we each have our spirits and gods, so do the Amarr people have their spirits - their ancestor-saints - and they have their One God.

One thing is curious when you think of it. All other spirits and gods have names. The Amarrian God does not. It is just ‘God’. It is as if we all had names, but we called… if we called Arsia just “Person”.

Some people say that once upon the time, long before the Darkness, the Amarr God was not a particularly powerful one, and it still had a name then. And it was, if not friendly with the other gods it came to contact with, still in contact with them.

On the same planet with the Amarr lived another people, the Khanid. The Khanid, of course, also had their own God, and this God was beautiful and witty and all things anyone could desire in a lover.

The Amarr God fell in love with the Khanid God, but the Khanid God wanted nothing to do with him, and rejected all his offers. And the Amarr God got very angry, and he told his people to go into war with the Khanid people, and they did, and when they won the war, he said to the Khanid God: come be my wife, and we will rule these people together.

And she said; very well, but what will you give me as dower?

And he promised him all the palaces in clouds and all the minds of mortal people and all riches and powers he had to give, but she wanted nothing of them, and she said: I have all those things, and had more before this war. No, give me your name.

The Amarr God was perplexed by this request, but agreed to do as she requested. So they wed, and they had their first night, and when the morning came and the Amarr God woke in his palace in the clouds, he could not recall his own name.

He was alarmed, and he went to his guardian angels, and he asked them, who am I? They were confused, but they answered, “you are God”. He was angry with them, and asked again, “What is my name?”, but they were even more confused and said “You have no name. You are God.”

He went around to everyone he could think of, even showing himself to some mortals. and asked the same question and got the same answer, and it was driving him crazy. In the end he went to the Khanid God, and demanded to get his name back. But she laughed at this demand, and he got angrier and angrier, and in his anger he pulled his sword of God, and he killed her.

And that is, some people say, how the God lost His name, and how the Khanid people lost their own god and became to follow the Amarr’s. Other people tell other stories of how those things came to be.

But all the stories of the Nameless God agree: the loss of the name made God angry, and in search of what was once his he now conquers and destroys.

4 Likes

Interesting heresy.

Do you think the author of this narrative was aware that the Khanid joined Amarr of their own accord?

1 Like

Hard to say; you cannot trace authorship of legends like this really. The teller of the tale in this instance is aware of the Amarr/Khanid telling of the history now that it is mentioned, but did not consider it at the time.

Comparing to other stories of the Nameless God, I think it could be that the origin of this tale is in explaining why the Khanid felt compelled to join the Amarr - when their own God was dead they needed one - and it has then been transformed into or mixed with a story explaining Amarr God’s conquest, one of the archtype topics of Matari legends.

This is the only story I know of that mentions the Khanid God, but maybe I could find others if I look.

1 Like

Dear ms. Rhiannon, thank you for sharing this tale. Your story reminded me of the beautiful prayer of St. Gregory of Nahyeen (or ‘Gregorius Naziancis’ in the old tongue). My own crude translation of this prayer is:

"God beyond all things earthly,
By no other name could I call You!
You are beyond words,
when all words stem from You.

You who name all names,
You are the only unnameable one.
How could I call you other than
God beyond all things earthly."

For this saint, the reason why God does not have a name like John, Lisa or Freddy is that he transcends named things and people, and even the named spirits such as Molok the deceiver.

4 Likes

Thank you for sharing this!

I recently led a summer camp of young crusade scouts in Mehatoor. I remember scary stories being a big part of my childhood so I had to come up with one on the fly. It’s terrible, but it got a couple adolescent screams.

“one dark night, in this very station in Mehatoor. The BUTCHER Nauplius was chopping the heads off of Slaver Hounds that had shown mercy to runaway slaves. And as the third moon of Mehatoor VI rose into eclipse, Nauplius slipped on a condom filled with ostrich milk. His mighty scimitar gleamed in the fading moonlight and with one sweep, he cut off both his head and the head of the next slaver hound. Now the lower docking gantries of Mehatoor VI-24th Imperial Crusade Logistic Support are cursed by the horrible HOUNDBODY! A beast with terrible claws and an even worse understanding of theology! OOOOOHHHHHH!!!”

5 Likes

I found this Story to be Quite Disturbing.

1 Like

This narrative was relayed to me by Devin Lok’ri, who learned it from Terrana Lok’ri, who learned it from Shirin Lok’ri, who learned it from Ajram Varaz, who learned it from Ximena Ramir, who learned it from Aritcio Tarum, who learned it from Valeria Tarum, who found an account by Dari Tarum in the Tarum family archive. Dari’s text claimed to be a personal account of these events, though this is not verifiable. I pray that God and the Faithful find this story pleasing and edifying.

In the days of the Udorian wars, when Saint Junip was alive and campaigning in the name of the Faith, Dari Tarum was a ship captain tasked with maintaining supply lines. The leader of the fleet was one Zaragram Arda, a man full of hubris who when sober believed himself greater than all the military leaders of his day, and when drunk believed that he was greater than the Emperors and Saints.

The night before the fleet sailed out from Dam-Torsad, Admiral Zaragram got extremely drunk. After a night of pleasure seeking and intemperate behavior he was heard to loudly declare “I am Frisceas returned! I will conquer this planet for myself, not for God, and I will become the greatest war leader Amarr has ever had! When I return they will surely make me Emperor!”

When this outburst was relayed to Captain Dari Tarum, he became gravely concerned. He spent all the remaining hours before the fleet left, and any hours he could spare while underway, leading his crew in communal hymns praising God and Frisceas.

As the fleet approached Ves-Udor, a great storm appeared out of nowhere. The sky went completely dark. The winds picked up, capsizing ships that did not adjust quickly enough. Hailstones the size of boulders slammed down on the ships, opening great rents in their decks and hulls. Admiral Zaragram saw his fleet being torn to pieces and he went out onto his deck loudly proclaiming curses against God and all the Saints. Halfway through his rant, a thunderbolt from on high struck the hubristic fool, instantly killing him.

Alone among the fleet, Captain Tarum’s ship was saved. The winds seemed to go around it. The hailstones missed it. The ship might as well have been sailing on a clear day. As the rest of the ships sank around it, the light broke through the clouds in the shape of the holy monogram of Frisceas.

When his ship made landfall, Captain Tarum ordered the construction of a holy shrine that can still be visited to this day.

I pray that all who read this concentrate their thoughts on their Duty to God and on the Communal Faith which binds all Amarr together in service to the Emperor and to God. May you never prioritise your own desires over your duty and faith. By God’s light and God’s word, Amarr will remain forever glorious.

15 Likes

Thousands of years ago, on Athra, before the time of Amash-Akura, Amarr Island was a patchwork of small kingdoms, that were in frequent conflict.
In one such kingdom, the king encountered a problem, in that his only child was a daughter, who was pretty, but had a sarcastic personality, that put off potential suitors, meaning that the kingdom would probably be attacked and annexed by one of the neighbouring kingdoms when the old king finally died.
This caused the king much concern, which was magnified when his daughter the princess, was abducted by a fearsome were-goat which had terrorised the kingdom.
The king let it be known that whatever brave warrior could slay the beast, would receive the princess’s hand in marriage, and inherit the kingdom. Many warriors then came to the kingdom when they heard of this offer, but all were put off when they learned that the princess had a sharp tongue and sarcastic wit.
The king despaired until one day another warrior came, who was not put off by the princess’s reputation, and said that they would slay the fearsome were-goat.
So, the warrior ventured forth to the were-goat’s lair, a cave in the mountains, and challenged the beast to come out and fight.
The were-goat came out, and said “foolish warrior, I am a fearsome were-goat and cannot be killed by any man”.
The warrior then removed their helmet, allowing their long hair to flow in the breeze, and said “I am not a man”.
Perturbed by this development, the were-goat said: “Bugger.”
The warrior then fought and killed the were-goat, putting an end to its campaign of terror, and rescued the princess from the cave, finding that she had put on a few kg, having subsisted almost entirely on goat cheese for the duration of her ordeal. “Alas”, she cried, “for I am chubby and no longer conventionally attractive”.
The warrior replied “fear not, milady, for I like a woman with a bit of chub. Gives me something to hang onto, grr”.
For the first time in her life, the princess was genuinely lost for words.
After returning to the old king, with the fleece of the were-goat, the king who had not realised the warrior was a woman, since she was wearing a visored helm when she met the king, and properly fitted plate armour does not reveal the sex of the wearer, agreed that despite the fact that it was most irregular, that a deal was a deal, and the warrior and princess would be married.
Though the king did have concerns about inheritance, which were allayed when the warrior woman revealed she had a twin brother who would be available to impregnate the princess as necessary.
Thus in the fullness of time, the princess ascended to the throne and ruled the kingdom as co-queen with the warrior woman, and the kingdom persisted until such time as Emperor Amash-Akura united Amarr island.

The Moral of the Story, is that One should not be Rigidly Constrained by societal Expectations, as those can Change over Time.

3 Likes

The Boy who cried "Wolf"

Once there was a young tribesman who was assigned sentry duty to protect the clan’s assets from outsiders and predators. Sentry duty is long and boring, and one day, the young lad decided to shout out “Wolf !”, for his own amusement.
The clanspeople rushed out at the alarm, and there was much consternation, which amused the young lad, but eventually it was found that there was no wolf, and the clanspeople returned to their previous tasks.
The next day, the young lad decided to shout “Wolf !” again, and again, the clanspeople rushed out in alarm, much consternation was had, but not quite as much as before. The lad was amused at this though.
The day after that, the lad called out “Wolf !” once more, but this time only a few clanspeople came out at the alarm, though amongst them was a clan elder who admonished the lad for making false reports. The young lad disregarded this reprimand however.
Another day arrived, the lad took up his sentry position, and to his surprise, saw that there was indeed a wolf approaching. He called out “Wolf !” but there was no response. He called again “Wolf ! Wolf !”, and yet, there was no reply from the clanspeople, who by now had ceased to consider his game amusing in any way, shape or form.
Panicking as the wolf approached, the lad called out “Wolf !” once more, but to his horror, the only reply was from the wolf.
Except it wasn’t a wolf after all, it was a Jaguar with a hard counter-fit, and the silly young lad was killed, and when the clanspeople eventually arrived after he had failed to return from sentry duty, the elder said “Oh, a wolf got him. How ironic”.

1 Like

Once upon the time there was an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically

“Maybe,” the farmer replied.

The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed.

“Maybe,” replied the old man.

The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune.

“Maybe,” answered the farmer.

The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out.

“Maybe,” said the farmer.

5 Likes

But Mama I don’t want the wind

Once upon a time before the Darkness there was a spoiled heir to Sarinde. He was a gifted little boy in all things of tradition, pleasing his tutors both in martial arts and in the classics, knowing when to bow respectfully and when to act precocious.

But as he was sweet and gifted, cute and polite, he was also very used to having his way.

One day his birth-mother took him to the seaside. And it was a lovely day, with a shining sun glittering off the pebbles, with crowds of kinsfolk walking the boulevard, with all sorts of treats and amusements being sold.

“Mama, I want an icecream,” said the boy, and his mother bought him one.

“Mama, I want a balloon,” said the boy, and his mother bought him one.

“Mama, I want a scrunchie-on-a-stick”, said the boy, and his mother bought him one.

“Mama, I want to play beach ball,” said the boy, and his mother convinced some kinsfolk to include him in their game.

“Mama, I want to go swimming”, said the boy. Now, that day, the wind was high, and the sea was rough, and mother told him no.

“We cannot go swimming in this surf, we will surely drown.”

The boy begged and pleaded, but the mother was a sensible woman, and she kept her calm and kept on telling him no.

And so the boy had a meltdown on the beach side boulevard, and he bawled, “But Mama I do not want the wind!”

And all the kinsfolk who saw that, the icecream parlor owner and the balloon blower and the woman boiling the scrunchies-on-a-stick and the kinsmen playing ball, they all laughed at him.

And when he grew up and became the Chief of Sarinde and the enforcer of the law, whenever his head grew a tad too big, his Circle smiled at him and whispered “but I do not want the wind”, and he ground his teeth but controlled himself.

The wind is free and without bound. It cares not if you want it. It is what it is, and you adjust your plans to it, or you drown.

11 Likes

A lullaby, a simple one, that I have sung - and continue to sing - to my children, both in womb and as newborn babes. I remember my mother singing it, so I assume it’s been passed down over the generations:

“I see the moon, The moon sees me,
God bless the moon, and God bless me”

“I see the stars, The stars see me,
God bless the stars, and God bless me’”

“I know the Sefrim watches over me.
God bless the Sefrim, And God bless me.”

4 Likes

A very short story of my own design as told by myself at the party today. It is as of yet, unnamed.


Not all that long ago, a group of capsuleers was roaming the outers. We'll call them, DarkSnide. They were in a fairly formidable gang of cruisers of navy and pirate design. They were confident. They were a group of hotshot pilots with loyalty to none but themselves. And today, they had a target in mind.

Their target was another group of roaming capsuleers. We’ll call them, Electric Mariachi. They had a couple destroyers, a couple frigates, a couple cruisers, and a battlecruiser. They were also roaming the outers, looking for hostiles. DarkSnide had a bead on them. Their fleet far outmatched that of Electric Mariachi in terms of general firepower.

DarkSnide, chased after Electric Mariachi, jumping into them and taking out several of the smaller ships, turning all of their firepower onto one of the destroyers. It happened to be a Svipul, which shifted to its defense mode. One of the cruisers, a Scythe, poured all of its capacitor into energizing that Svipul’s shields, and between the mitigation and the reps, it was holding. But DarkSnide knew that the Svipul was a problem, so they kept focused on it! The battlecruiser and cruiser of Electric Mariachi tore down the higher class cruisers of DarkSnide, one by one, but they continued to focus on the Svipul.

Eventually, the Svipul was breaking… and then… it warped off. But then the DarkSnide cruisers still up looked at the battlefield, and they did not have the firepower to stand against the rest of their opponents. They had pulled defeat from the jaws of victory.

At the end, but a single cruiser from the DarkSnide fleet was able to limp away from the fight. They hyper focused on a little problem without understanding the root cause. This led to them not only not dealing with it, but letting two very big problems get out of hand. One must be careful to look at the whole picture and plan accordingly. Sometimes, if you don’t, you can lose everything.

4 Likes

A stray Lamb stood drinking early one morning on the bank of a woodland stream. That very same morning a hungry Wolf came by farther up the stream, hunting for something to eat. He soon got his eyes on the Lamb. As a rule Mr. Wolf snapped up such delicious morsels without making any bones about it, but this Lamb looked so very helpless and innocent that the Wolf felt he ought to have some kind of an excuse for taking its life.

“How dare you paddle around in my stream and stir up all the mud!” he shouted fiercely. “You deserve to be punished severely for your rashness!”

“But, your highness,” replied the trembling Lamb, “do not be angry! I cannot possibly muddy the water you are drinking up there. Remember, you are upstream and I am downstream.”

“You do muddy it!” retorted the Wolf savagely. “And besides, I have heard that you told lies about me last year!” “How could I have done so?” pleaded the Lamb. “I wasn’t born until this year.”

“If it wasn’t you, it was your brother!”

“I have no brothers.”

“Well, then,” snarled the Wolf, “It was someone in your family anyway. But no matter who it was, I do not intend to be talked out of my breakfast.”

And without more words the Wolf seized the poor Lamb and carried her off to the forest.

3 Likes