Legend and Lore: The children of Hestaya (a poem)

In Orikrindian myth, Hestaya (the mother goddess, the goddess of the mountains and earth) bore 12 infants, which were conceived beneath the hardest rock in the earth, fathered by the fire god, whose life blood flows under the world as magma. The twelve children were born upon twelve hills that encircle the island of Orikrindia. In legend, the children were found by nomads of a group called the Lost Ones. The queen of this people, Crestellin, was the first to find one of these children, and then, one by one, she and her handmaidens found all twelve. She was a childless queen before this moment, but adopted the babies into her family and raised them as her own. According to legend, these demigod children grew into the founders of the twelve great cities of Orikrindia.

This poem is about Crestellin finding the first of the children of Hestaya.

~

Moving like a green snake

In the dewdrops

A fragmented line of tiny sighs

Blooming life along the dusty horizon.

 

Clinging still to mother

Unwilling to relinquish

That summer warm smell

Of newborns and flowers and vegetables

Singing in the sweltering heat

Humming with an old life

 

You know who they were

The ones who came before

The earthy faces digging themselves out from under hills and mounds

Stones in the dusk

In the distance,

They approached

Farther and farther

Until we heard their breath

Whispering and scraping in the evening air

Like leaves against your cheek.

 

We took them in

Opened our wings

And drew in these

Infants.

 

We gave them the instincts

We had left,

Pretending

To be mothers

Pretending

To understand beyond the eons

What we were doing.

 

The children of the stone

The babies found

In the earth                            

Creeping into humanity

Latching onto a nipple

They were lucky to find

 

Vines covering the tomb

An ancient space

Threshold to a world beyond

We remained and named the children

After the wish of the Mother,

Hestaya.

 

~

Mintaka

 

Orikrindian lore and legend

I want to do a new segment about Orikrindian lore and legend (which may expand to other cultures), small little blurbs about ideas that have been floating around my head for a while. They don’t really have a home yet so we’ll see what becomes of them.

~

Today’s is about the Song of Esala. The word is not originally Ori, but comes from a nearby language from the mainland of Ei to the west. The word was originally Ashal, but changed over time and to fit Ori phonology a bit more closely.

The Song of Esala is a song that is supposedly divine in nature, or at least somehow supernatural. It is said to be heard in the wilderness when one is completely alone and can neither see, hear, nor sense in any way another person. It is at this time that one may hear the Song of Esala. What Esala is or means is not clear. There are competing etymological theories, variously saying that it is the name of a person, a place, or a concept.

To hear the Song of Esala is a disturbing experience. The listener will think they are going mad and may run even deeper into the wilderness, always avoiding the proximity of any other person. It is thought that this leads them to wander permanently and live like a wild person until a certain, unspecified time before their death, during which they will be released from the hold of the Song and “wake up” from their fervor or delirium. This time is usually months to years after first hearing the Song.

The Song is thought by some in Orikrindia to be a curse of the goddess Moltirin put upon those who have displeased her in some way. Others, however, consider it a kind of intense blessing given by the spirits of animals in the wild that have found a soul that they deem kindred to their own and wish to draw it in amongst themselves. This view is the predominant idea in Behr Gehen (country of the Ei Lands, west of Orikrindia). Those who return from being held by the Song are considered holy and are given special treatment upon their return to society.

Whatever the nature of the Song of Esala, it is a part of folklore that is commonly understood as one of the many risks of venturing into the wilds alone for lengths of time, both across Orikrindia and the Ei Lands.

~

Mintaka

Thoughts on Orikrindian vs Quariosian culture

It’s kind of difficult to me to say what Quariosian culture is, because it’s made up of so many things/people/histories. It is, by nature, multi-faceted. Quarios is, at the time of Elucuna’s arrival, a relatively new state. It was born, politically, of a merger of two countries, Gotêvi and Lomilin. Gotêvi also consisted of several different nations in its southern regions, such as the Teg and Phul peoples. From an early time, then, these two separate nations were not homogenous, but culturally complex. The first rulers to merge the two countries were Queen Inacaporia of Gotêvi annnnd…some other dude whose name I forget, who was the Prince of Lomilin. Anyway, I think they merged the country both via their marriage to each other and also by a mutually agreed upon pact that would combine their states into one. The process, as you could imagine, was not a quick one. It took years to carefully intertwine the countries into one new country, which now covered the whole of the continent. The name Quarios was previously just the name of the continent, but then began to refer to the new country as well.

The port city where Elucuna lands in Quarios, Naeglitan, is a Gotevian city. It is Gotevian in its cultural origins, the language used there is Gotevian (even though Quarios has two official languages, Gotevian and Lomi, only governmental documents, signs, etc. are required to be in both languages). Glohitan is culturally and ethnically Gotevian (the meaning of ethnicity here, is separated from physical identifiers such as skin color, as people in Quarios have differing skin tones/facial features depending on whether their ancestors came from the north or south of the continent–the northerners tend to be darker in tone, but this fact is not as culturally salient for the Gotevians as other factors of their origins may be), but he is multilingual, and speaks to Elucuna in her native Ori. He considers himself a Gotevian, but also a Quariosian. Many inhabitants of Lomilin would likewise say that they are Lomi, but also Quariosian. Members of the other nations of peoples of Gotêvi identify themselves as Teg, or Phul, or whatever, but also Quariosian. Some of these people would also use the word Gotevian to describe themselves, depending on their personal attitude toward the government/majority culture of Gotêvi.

So all of that is what’s behind my thoughts when I think, “What does it mean for Elucuna to be in Quarios? What is this culture she is encountering?” The thing is, her journey is just beginning, and she will come into contact with myriad aspects of Quarios, and will discover how different from each other they can be. She’ll also discover that what she thinks she knows about Quarios may not always hold true–still other elements of her new surroundings will surprise her. For example, I imagine that Elucuna is a skilled knitter and fiber artist. This is a typical kind of skill to teach girls in upper-class Orikrindian homes. She views this activity as deeply feminine and completely hidden from the world of men. In Gotêvi, however, there are artisanal guilds of fiber artists, and many of their members are male. This is something that both surprises and intrigues here. In Orikrindia, men habitually do not devote any thought or attention, and certainly not any admiration, to the private arts of women (when it comes to things like knitting, embroidery, etc., at least). In Gotêvi, I think she would feel almost overly flattered that a man would show interest in her work and her skills, even though to them, it is just a normal amount of respect as one would show to a skilled colleague whose work is interesting or worthy of attention. Perhaps one of these men who compliments her work or shows interest in it is slightly confused as to why she feels so honored that he would talk with her about it, as for him, he talks with his female colleagues all of the time and does not consider it particularly special.

I have all of these scenarios forming in my head about how Elucuna interacts with, and responds to, the differing cultural environments around her. I hope that my writing will hold tight when it comes time to put these ideas into the story.

~

Mintaka