Let me show you a trick about mythology.
Here are some stories from the East Isles. If you don’t know about that place then it’s enough to know it is the Far East, and consists of a million islands, each of which is populated by people who are utterly devoted to the singular god of that island.
Once it was a huge continent called Vithela, created at the started at Creation with its own protective pantheon, just like Genertela. Of course, they have different gods and they do some things differently from the Genertelans, as you will see from these tales.
So enjoy these samples from the Far East Isles, and at the end I’ll show you the trick.
INTRODUCTION TO THE GODS OF THE EAST
Several tribes of gods are recognized in the East. They range from the typical insular deity, worshipped by everyone on their home islands; to the loftiest and philosophical entities imaginable, and beyond. These are described briefly, starting with the most important, as judged by the normal inhabitants of these beautiful islands.
For most people, the most important deity is their own home island deity, which would be one of the Million Small Gods of the East Isles. These million gods are called the Parondpara. Thousands of these island deities are quite insignificant, hardly more than petty demigods in the overall divine hierarchy, having a few hundred worshippers.
A tribe of higher gods, called the Parloth, oversees the world. The gods are part of nature and oversee the world with indifference until they receive sacrifice. Once the proper prayers and offerings are made the Parloth lend their powers to actively affect the world. Thus the Parondpara, or Small Gods, all sacrifice to these gods, and the mortal races also have priests to call on them.
The Avanparloth are the High Gods, the who are the entities that created the world. It is mostly useless for humans, merfolk, or any of the mortal races to sacrifice to these entities.
The Adpara, or more commonly called Antigods, are a ragtag collection of all the entities whose nature is to oppose the Parloth. Thus they interfere with the meditators, and they are the malevolent aspirations of the mortal races.
Finally, most powerful of all, are the great mystics. These are mortal beings who, through the meditative practice acquire inner strength which allows the greatest among them to defy any of the gods. The seers do not worship anything.
Here is an overview of those larger deities. These stories are widely known and told in one form or another by most of the people in the Million East Isles. Thus, using their local names, most people acknowledge the same sky gods, mystical leaders, and so on. These stories provides the broadest framework within which their thousands of local tales exist, even though the deities named herein may be of no local consequence to the people.
Durapdur is All. All begins with Durapdur. Durapdur began when he perceived the Three Measures of space, duration, and consciousness.
Durapdur then perceived a smaller version of himself within those measures. The smaller self was called Atrilith who was the First Being.
Atrilith then applied his Being to the Measures, and in that way made the first of the other beings.
This is how Self created Self, and then made the universe.
THE CREATION OF THE WORLD
Here is how the Avanparloth [High Gods] began, and how they made the world.
Atrilith was the first movement. He is Creator. He was the First Being.
Atrilith made the Three Sounds, which were the Beings of the Measures. The three measures were the Being of Consciousness, the Being of Space, and the Being of Duration.
The First Being then moved among them. The Three Sounds then harmonized with each other. The Beings, innocent and unknowing, played like children. From their frolic and pleasure came the Cosmic Music. At first they had no names or identities.
The Cosmic Music was at first simply the First Sounds in movement. Then among them came Atrilith, who made them into Beings who among themselves played and frolicked. The First Music became three new beings who were named the Cosmic Musicians. At first they had no names or identities.
As had happened before, when these three played with Atrilith then out from their delight came yet more wonderful beings. Out of the cosmic music came the Cosmic Dancers.
The Cosmic Dancers were Oorduren, Majadan, and Erdires.
The Dancers danced. As they moved they made the world of the living which was above, the world of the dead which was below, and the world of life and death in the center. Oorduren danced in the center of the world and was the first Master Sage. Majadan and Erdires worked together, each touching the other so that they experienced desire, pleasure, and fulfillment. Majadan and Erdires made the hills and rivers and stars and shadows, and everything that can be sensed and known, with their movement.
Majadan and Erdires were the first beings to experience sexual desire, and in their long relationship dance they expressed this in many ways. When they made love in a different way they created different races of beings. Their offspring from making love in the fields were the hoofed creatures, their offspring from making love in the rocks were the rock people, and their offspring from making love in the sacred center of the world was the human race. When they practiced nonphysical sex their children were the spirit race, when chanting prayers they bore the little fenzath peoples, amid the crashing waves they bore the merfolk, among the clouds the birds, in the sky the celestial people, and so on and so on. ]
Thus they are the First Parents of all the mortal races of the world. They are also called the God and Goddess of Love who were created from the experience. Thus Iste is the Desire, Yothenara the Desired.
Iste and Yothenara once went and danced for the Cosmic Musicians, who until then had only played music. The Musicians were so moved by their performance that they became the Second Dancers. In this they discovered that they had names and were different from each other. They found that Vith was a god, and Laraloori and Gebkeran, were goddesses. When the Second Dancers danced they too had sex, and many children. Vith was father of them all at first. The children of Vith and Laraloori are the benevolent Parloth tribe called gods, and the children of Vith and Gebkeran were the malevolent Adpara, called antigods. The gods and antigods each moved into their natural spheres and inhabited the world their parents had made.
One day the Cosmic Musicians went to their teachers, and they played their instruments for them. The Sounds were so pleased by the beautiful sounds that they turned and looked into the world, and thereby became Beings of the world. Korudel is now The Wise God, recognized as the Architect of the universe; while Chaquandarath is the priest of the High Gods and Genderatha is the priestess.
The Priest and Priestess taught their rites and ceremonies to the Parloth, who then copied these sacred ceremonies to suit their own particular powers and taught them to the mortal races.
Then Atrilith was done with his work, and he returned himself to Durapdur, which was far beyond the reach of all beings except for the High Gods.
THE GAMBLING CONTEST OF THE GODDESSES
Or, How the Prosandara and Venati Islands Were Made
At first the High Gods parceled out the universe to its inhabitants by simply pointing to a secret of the world, whereupon the denizen took up residence there. Thus went the gods and mortals and antigods to their spheres.
However, the gods were not all dumb beings, and some of them happily continued the play of creation. Thus it was that one day two great and wonderful goddesses met.
First was Prosandara, who was the Goddess of Animals of the Above, which were mostly lizards and birds at that stage. Prosandara was undecided about which type to make more of in those days. She looked forward to finding someone to help her decide.
Second was Venperesha, who is called the Goddess of Waters, but that’s a gross understatement of her powers, because she is the container of all the life force within the liquids of the world. She had already been making many sacks of her own life force, and shaping them into the thousands of types of fish in the great sea which endlessly circled the land of the world. She’s the mother of all the life in the waters. She was actually bored with her job, after making thousands of fish, hundreds of turtles, and millions of jelly blobs.
“Let us play,” said Prosandara to Venperesha.
“Yes. I have these carved bones,” said Prosandara.
“Good. I have these cut cubes,” said Venperesha. She inspected the carved bones and said, “These are beautiful pieces. Let us place them on the board and make their relationships determine our point of gambling.”
“Your cut cubes are beautiful too,” said Prosandara. “Let us throw them each time, and let their numbers determine our point of gambling.”
“What stakes then?” asked Prosandara. “Since I chose to play then you choose the stakes.”
“Let’s play for living space,” said Venperesha. All of mine is out there, and although I find utter delight in reciting the names of my millions of wormy descendants, I am bored and want to find a new place to make them. So I propose that we gamble for living space. When you win, you can place a piece of land far out to sea in my realm, and when I win I can place a fine pool of water here in yours.”
“Agreed,” said Prosandara.
“Agreed,” they said. So they sat down, brushing away the plants, and drew a game board in the rock. They hid the pieces in their sack and drew out those to use in play, and each threw a pair of cubes to affect movement and dominance. People still play this game everywhere.
Every time Prosandara won she set aside a pile of land to place into the sea. Each time that Venperesha won she gouged out a hollow and filled it with water. They made designs with their gouging and setting asides, and some of those were the first islands and rivers.
Later, when they were done, the goddesses went to the shore where the great Sramake Current sweeps northward past the land. Venperesha experimented with how much earth to place in the current. Small bits washed quickly away, lost forever. Larger pinches moved around quickly, and Venperesha only had time to put a few creatures on those. Larger handsful moved more slowly, and she was able to place more creatures on them. The largest pieces stood still, motionless in relation to the shore, and upon those Venperesha lavished her color and song.
“I am not bored now,” said Prosandara, “because you have helped me. I wish I could help you, too.”
“Oh, you have,” said Venperesha, “because I now know whether to make lizards or birds.” She swept the newly made lands, islands, and rivers and continued, “Flyers it shall certainly be. They sing better than most lizards, and they will be able to get from place to place when your places and mine mingle even more.”
“This is what it means to be in harmony,” she said.
DOGSALU CREATES CONFLICT
Or, How the Deselenro Islands were made.
One day some minor deities entered into the Unknown Place, and therein encountered an Unknown Form. Their first reaction was of fear, and so it took that shape. Thusly formed, Dogsalu followed the fleeing godlings, and erupted among mortals. Dogsalu terrified every hero and army sent against it, and quickly the antigods saw a chance to plunder. The antigods rose up and raged madly across the world. When they at last came upon Dogsalu they called him the Terror Dragon.
Dogsalu sought out Yothenara, which everything and everyone desires. He tore the world apart to find her, gouging great canals into the earth and mounding up earth to make the Deselenro islands and many peninsulas. After searching everywhere Dogsalu at last found Yothenara and took her away, leaving behind his minions continue to conquer and destroy. However, Yothenara refused to desire Dogsalu, and in a huge rage he began to destroy everything which his demon armies had left.
Vith had watched the destruction and finally consulted with Oorduren. The sage told him to get the Singing Conch Shell. Vith then went to …[In fact, all the High Gods cooperate here]. At last, he had it.
Vith sat with the shell until he knew it, and in that way learned how to use it. Vith then went alone, with the shell, to the underworld where the demons were celebrating their victory. When they saw the lone god approach them they were filled with anger and contempt, hate and rage, and other evils and raised a huge bleating, screaming, shouting challenge. When the sounds reached Vith he simply caught them in the shell, and then out of it came pleasing sounds whose smoothness and softness silenced every jabbering thing. When silenced thusly all the weak demons fled, crying in panic.
Dogsalu was no weak demon. When his own assistant gods fled he was alone with Vith. Dogsalu resisted the soothing secret sounds until the final song, which was no sound. Dogsalu heard No Sound, and in that moment the Singing Conch Shell opened Dogsalu to its Universal Consciousness. The Terror Dragon stopped, contemplating, and Vith drew his sword of and was about to destroy Dogsalu when but Yothenara screamed, and begged Vith to spare him.
“Look,” said Yothenara, “Dogsalu’s nature has been changed from Other to the Universal by the Song of the Conch.” So Vith spared Dogsalu, who in return worshipped the High Gods. Dogsalu was rewarded by the love of Yothenara, which was so perfect that they each disappeared into the One Garden.
Three days later Yothenara give birth to a radiant child, whom she named Govmeranen. Govmeranen thanked his mother for the auspicious name, and then honored her with sacred songs. Three days after his birth Govmeranen received his traveling cord from his mother, and he departed from her to study with Oorduren.
At this time Vith took the Great Throne, and the High Gods Era began.
THE KELTARI WAR
Or, How the Islands Were Made
Vith ruled the earth for ten million years. During this time many wonderful events occurred. The Great Mountain was made and the palaces of the High Gods were raised elegantly upon its slopes and top. The World Palaces were also built, where the younger race of gods and goddesses worked and played and occasionally fought; and the ancient nesting ground of the Keets were destroyed by Togaro, so that they had to move to many other lands.
Some gods never acted, but followed the practices of Oorduren. One of those was a powerful god named Govmeranen. He understood every word which Oorduren spoke, he sat still when he was to do so, and he learned to concentrate his mind to a single point. His progress was rapid, for he was the child of two great deities. Dogsalu, the former King of the Antigods, was his father while his mother was Yothenara, Goddess of Desire.
Govmeranen was never interrupted in his studies with Oorduren, but when he went to the outside world he found perfection to be much more difficult to attain. Nonetheless, he persevered, and over many years learned to meditate diligently, yet meet his worldly demands.
Many antigods came to visit with Govmeranen. Some came because they were kinfolk and desired his company. The greedy among them never returned since all Govmeranen had to offer was words and fruit from his orchard. He found it more difficult when those who were genuinely affectionate visited him, but persevered. Others visited because they just wanted to see what he was doing, since meditation was not something which any antigods did in that time. But others came to tempt him away from the path of Detachment.
King Bandan was a cousin to Govmeranen, and used that as an excuse to visit. Bandan pretended to amuse his cousin, but in fact he wanted to trick him into becoming a subject.
Bandan brought sumptuous temptations, but no pleasantry interested the mystic at all. Nor would he play, work, or fight with Bandan. Out of frustration Bandan then used his powers and made everything inside Govmeranen’s orchard into both light and shadow.
Govmeranen alone was unchanged, and Bandan was so frightened that he left without saying farewell. Bandan’s fear spread among the antigods like a rich food, so they became hungrier and restless. Keltari came forth from Jakamath, the Adpara’s capital city. The demon king was armed with ten new words, five unknown ideas, and a bow to shoot them. Taktari came with a thousand stone beings, Babadi brought a thousand metal beings, and Ezran summoned a thousand pestilential winds.
But Bandan was not foolish enough to depend on those armies alone. He made the Terrible Sacrifice, which is of living beings, and made Sedsaru come and obey him. He then made her invisible, and sent her to into the gods’ own resplendent city of delight. It was so beautiful that she was almost tempted away from her mission, but in the end she stole only the Singing Conch Shell. She gave it, then, to Great Keltari, and went back to Bandan to beg for another chance to enter the gods’ city in secret.
Keltari sent his army out of three gates and into the world. Sshorg was the leader of one army, and his force overwhelmed their foes and devoured them, and took over all their lands. The valiant kings and armies who resisted were overthrown.
At last he and his forces came to the house of Vith, who was waiting upon his throne. There Keltari played the Singing Conch Shell backwards. Vith was unable to remain there when that occurred, and he was forced out of his throne and into the sky world.
Vith fled to the sky while the demons plundered his palace. Vith had time for one deed when he got to heaven, before the antigods attacked a second time. He emanated Enevar, the bearer of Victory. Vith knew he is would be captured or driven to hide, and so he separated this special light of his and sent it into hiding.
Keltari urged his best creatures to pursue, and when he reached the celestial palace he played the shell wrongly again at the walls of the City of Heaven. The lesser beings there were shattered and crumbled to dust by its sounds, the demigods were turned to stone, and the gods fled and hid.
Enevar had already departed. He went to the orchard where Govmeranen lived, and he lived among the meditating monks to learn from that great master. Enevar waited there for a long time, hidden. Enevar found his study as safe and undisturbed as Govmeranen had found it to be when he studied under Oorduren.
Govmeranen meditated with his students for more than a hundred years. One day Govmeranen opened his eyes and summoned his best student, Enevar.
“See,” said Govmeranen, and he showed to Enevar the face of Atrilith, which is everything, and therein Enevar saw the secret of the weakness of Keltari. He thanked his master for the knowledge, and asked leave to depart, which was granted.
When Enevar departed from the protection of his master Great Keltari, who ruled the world, could not find his Conch any more. He was alarmed, and he ordered his commanders to dig ditches around his city, which they did, and connected them to each other with more canals. These were the first islands, and all of them were at least as large as Vithela is in our modern age. They made Memb and Churen and Sortum that way.
Enevar went first to the mountains, where many heroes were hiding, and revealed the Banner of Victory. Many mortals and gods came out of concealment to help him battle against Great Keltari. Enevar cared nothing for numbers or powers against him, but pressed always forward against all odds. The forces of the antigods soon panicked and the evil armies were wiped out. Great Keltari and Enevar then met face to face, but the demon dissolved before it could hurl a weapon. The gods returned to their proper homes, and everywhere people again began proper worship.
The High Gods then summoned the gods, and appointed to them Govmeranen to rule over them and the world, and so began the Reign of Peace.
THE SAGES RIVALRY
Or, How the Islands were Made
Govmeranen ruled over the whole world of mortals during the Reign of Peace. During this marvelous time mortals and deities were sometimes together. In that time Oorduren himself taught mortals how to meditate. They had to work out the details themselves, of course, since they weren’t gods.
Oorduren went from place to place, and he would leave behind his students to continue their work. One time when he moved he left behind three men, all who were his best students and well upon their way to fulfilling the meditative ideal of self liberation.
As always, immediately upon the departure of Oorduren there appeared Chelen, the Doubter, who pestered everyone present. Only three men were unmoved, but all the others began to clamor for their attention, asking how they [ought to be meditating.
Nenduren said his method was Stillness, and its object was to find Atrilith, the Great Self.
Larn Hasamador said he sought Nothing, his method was Immotion.
Mashunasan said his method was Unrealization, neither seeking nor not seeking Durapdur, or Being/notbeing, the Great Mystery.
Thus began the Sage’s Rivalry. It was only one of many great events of the Reign of Peace.
The happiness of Govmeranen’s Reign of Peace enraged the Antigods, who plotted once again to destroy their enemies. Evil Ezran got some of Bandan’s poison blood and used it to impregnate Queen Arlu, who was fed poison and molten metals while she bred. The birth was calculated for an evil time, and the mother was prevented from giving birth until it occurred so the child would be bitter and strong. The child was named Oorsu Sara, and his powers let him find anything that was hidden, overcome anyone in combat, and turn anyone’s fear into blind panic.
Oorsu Sara first went to the demon king Bandan, who leapt off his throne and gave it to the invader, then sacrificed to Oorsu Sara as a god. Then Oorsu Sara picked a fight with Keltari who valiantly resisted but was conquered, and had his limbs twisted permanently.
Oorsu Sara then summoned all the hosts of the demons and antigods, who looked forward to again conquering the world. However, he ordered them instead to use all their powers to seek and destroy only Oorduren, who had previously defeated the demons with his virtue and mystic wisdom.
The corrupt creatures overran the world to find the mystic, but Oorduren hid himself cleverly, avoiding all. But then Oorsu Sara used his magical power to find the god, who then used his most subtle mystic’s powers, so that even Oorsu Sara couldn’t find him. However, neither could any of the gods, and the mystic’s power was lost to them.
Oorsu Sara then invaded the earth and defeated Govmeranen, ending the Reign of Peace. Then he ordered Herenath, the Priest of the Antigods, to sacrifice to the High Gods, and when this strengthened them, the less clever grew frightened, which Oorsu turned into blind panic. When the weak had run away and gotten captured, the demon army marched into the sky and defeated the gods, too.
Thus Oorsu Sara conquered the world. However, he had not overcome everyone in it. He heard about some men who were reported to be hiding, and he went to where they were. He destroyed many temples and hermitages, and at last came to where waited Nenduren. Nenduren’s unshakable calmness quieted the demon god, dampening his powers despite himself. Oorsu Sara was so humbled that he dismissed his army and became the student of Nenduren, to learn the secrets of Stillness.
At this Nenduren smiled smugly, for this was proof of his superior meditation, and so he became known as the Peacemaker. His benevolence and power gave peace and plenty for the whole of the Nenduren’s Age said to be “a million generations long.”
Oorsu Sara studied with Nenduren. He performed the most severe austerities to purify and strengthen himself, and no discipline was too difficult for him if it helped him draw closer to the Great Self. He became so strong and pure that at last he truly obtained the presence of Atrilith. When Oorsu Sara viewed the Face of Silence he seized it and put upon himself, whereupon it became the Face of Cacophony. Thus he failed in his great meditation.
Oorsu Sara went first to the Palace of the Gods. He seized every sacred thing and bent or defiled it, and he seized the sky god and threw him to the ground. Then he went to the temple of his master, Nenduren, whose presence once again absorbed the terrible powers, but was not enough to encompass the Face of Atrilith. Nenduren was utterly destroyed.
The gods were shocked by this, and they assembled to oppose Oorsu Sara. The demon antigod summoned his own army of antigods, demons, and monsters once again. When these two great forces met the whole work shocked, and it was broken so badly that the earth fell and the seas rushed in, making the one land into the million lands. The sky fell when the sky god was dismembered, the air burst into fire when the fire god was disemboweled, and so on. Oorsu Sara smashed the winter palace of the gods, sundering the islands forever. Thus was Vormain made, and then separated from Kerandaruth and Memb.
Only one place was unmoved. It was the hillside where Mashunasan sat. As soon as Oorsu Sara saw this he rushed right at it, faster than thought, but never reached the hillside. Oorsu Sara moved outside of time and faster than dimensions, but never reached that lotus pond.
Jerema Madoon, the Great Protector, leapt from Mashunasan’s brow before Oorsu Sara ever reached the place, and the masked antigod was smashed by the god’s Liberation Bolt. Oorsu Sara’s Mask of Cacophony was smashed, and also all the power which had been spent in acquiring it. Oorsu Sara was destroyed, and all which was left is now an urn of dust which is kept hidden in the Palace of Vith.
The victory freed the gods who had been imprisoned by the demon king’s power. Many of them became students of Mashunasan, beginning the long process to understand Durapdur.
Mashunasan’s students said this proved their master was the greatest sage. When they explained this to Vith, King of the Gods, he agreed, and so now Mashunasan is called the Great Mystic.
And Larn Hasamador?
HOW MORTALS LEARNED OF TRUTH
Or, How the Islands Were Made
One day all the people of Vithela got together. They wanted to discuss their common practices and share what they could with each other. That was the way of things in those days because everyone knew the Old Language as well as their own.
They spent a lot of time discussing Durapdur, the nonentity which had been so vividly revealed to the world by Mashunasan. They hadn’t liked being destroyed and conquered by the demons, so they really wanted to make sure they were doing the right thing.
They decided that most people weren’t powerful or patient enough, or didn’t have enough free time, to meditate the way Mashunasan did. Instead, they decided they would worship Durapdur the way they worshipped the other gods.
They made songs and prayers, determined that only gentle sacrifices should be made, and did their collective best to reach their god, Avanapdur.
Much to the satisfaction of the worshippers their god one day responded, and he thanked his worshippers for their duty and sacrifice. They were so pleased that they redoubled their worship, basking in their success. They asked where he came from, and he pointed to every one of their homes. They then sacrificed to him and gave him their power as the earth god, too, until he was able to take a huge and visible form whenever he was worshipped.
Once the antigod named Herespur threatened the world, for he first invaded the highest heavens he could reach. He then overcame most of the gods by setting them against each other. That was the war when the heaven called Churanpur fell from the sky. It fell because four goddesses could not cooperate, which is to say that the celestial realms were disharmonious.
Herespur then raised armies and began to war on the earth then. Many of Avanapdur’s people were slain and enslaved but their god appeared only when Herespur with his great iron mace reached Jodadilili, which held the great temple of Avanapdur. The struggle was great, but at last Avanapdur decapitated Herespur and with a roar chased away the rest of his demon army. After that the people were sure that this was a great and powerful god, so they made even more sacrifices to him.
Avanapdur grew more and more powerful, and he became acknowledged as Beyond the Greatest of the Gods. His worshipers knew he could do anything.
However, one day his priests demanded that King Vith must sacrifice to Avanapdur too. The High God refused, saying he would never sacrifice to a low being. The people were so angered at this that they stopped all sacrifice to Vith and their ancestors, and declared that anyone worshipping Vith or his kin were low beings, worthy only of being killed. People across the wide land turned against each other.
People went to Mashunasan and begged him to make peace again. That was on such-and-such a date, and at the same exact moment Avanapdur looked surprised, and then sent for all his chiefs and kings and priests to come to him. Only the righteous, who still worshipped Vith and his family, stayed away.
He told them he had been summoned to see Mashunasan, and that he needed to have their proven support before he went. Some saw that he was afraid and departed from the company then and there. But most of the others made a great pledge.
Avanapdur went to see Mashunasan. He was accompanied by his greatest followers, as well as a horde of people who were all expectant of some great event.
Avanapdur bowed and approached the Great Mystic humbly, for he truly and deeply feared the Liberation Bolt. Mashunasan asked one question.
“Who are you?”
“I am what these people told me I was,” said Avanapdur.
“You are a fraud. You will be banished.”
“Oh No,” shouted the people and priests though, “You can’t do this to us. We refuse it, and we will prove our power with these tools and the backing of our god. We command it.” Indeed, that wasn’t too different from many of the war cries being shouted out across the East Isles. Mashunasan’s righteousness, however, prevented anyone from acting. Mashunasan addressed the myriads of people.
“You have been fooled by your own desires. This savior god of yours saved you only from himself, for Herespur is the loyal slave of Avanapdur. Quit you loylaty to him now, and save yourself.”
But the people refused this, and clung to their god. “You are Queen of the Iradgenderi,” said Mashunasan, for he could see through all illusions. The clarity of his vision materialized into the being called Oren Parond, which stood between Mashunasan and Avanapdur.
“Step away!” demanded Avanapdur, “You can not defend that weakling against me!”
Mashunasan then rose into the air and moved to the side, so that Oren Parond was not between them any more. Avanapdur turned then to look directly at the mystic again, and only then did Oren Parond move, so that he was always in front of Avanapdur. That is, Oren Parond moved exactly wherever Avanapdur looked. Avanapdur then tried everything to get rid of the obstruction. A great flame spouted from his eyes, but broke into glassy fragments when it touched Oren Parond. A mountain hurled from Avanapdur’s midsection, but turned to a translucent mist when it touched Oren Parond. Then a curse blistered from the lips of Avanapdur, which he had uttered to whither the land of Karandaruth, but the sounds became small bright insects which scattered.
“You have one way to rid yourself of this,” said Mashunasan, “Which is the Test of the Gates.”
“I can surmount any test,” said Avanapdur, who had never known defeat. Oren Parond showed him two gates, both of which arched gently to form an angle at their top. They appeared identical, but one was made of the purest ivory, taken from the teeth of Dogsalu the Great Dragon, while the other was from the shin bones of Keltari.
“One is the Gate of Truth,” said Mashunasan, “while the other is of Transience. You need only to pass through both, and you can have the entire world.”
“Show me first,” demanded Avanapdur, “Show me it is something which you can do.”
“Certainly.” And Mashunasan did. He went through the gates many times and in many ways, until Avanapdur was satisfied it was not a trick. He prepared himself with rituals, and then with blessings of from his priests.
Avanapdur then went through the first Gate, and was unharmed. Encouraged, he went to the second and stepped through. Yet he never came out the other side.
“That was the Gate of Truth,” said Oren Parond. “Avanapdur has returned to the transience he came from.” Avanapdur was not destroyed, but returned to his kingdom, which people now call the land of dreams.
At the same moment that Avanapdur disappeared, all of those people who had proudly sworn to be part of the false god felt a part of themselves disappear when their god’s falsity was proved. They saw they had been deceived, and were sad about it.
Other people still resisted the truth which Mashunasan had shown them, but despite this they collapsed under the true fact. The waters of their awareness came like a huge tidal wave and the resistors were all drowned, and worse yet, all of their lands were washed away and in their place were left only placid waters.
This was how the islands got more widely separated from each other. Many places went underwater, and left behind were only those people who believed in the truth of Mashunasan’s teaching.
Oren Parond noted the sadness of the people who had lost a part of themselves. The world made by Avanapdur, though not eternal as claimed, was a part of them. Humans, imperfect beings, had a relationship within Avanapdur’s transitory world which they needed.
Oren Parond’s compassion was moved, and he sought then to seek a way to alleviate this sorrow.
After that Oren Parond stepped through the Gates, and through them he entered into the places where people had been fooled by the Iradgenderi. Oren Parond became guardian of that place, available to seekers who would learn the truths of illusions.
That place is called the Realm of Dreams. Everything in it is false, created by humankind or the Iradgenderi, but thanks to Oren Parond it is not cheerless but often delightful, is not only terrifying but is also instructive, and is not only delusional, but may also lead to truth.
HOW KAHAR BECAME A SEA GOD
Or, How the Islands Were Made
At the start, when the gods were crossing the land with their footsteps, the whole realm of Govmeranen was a single mass of land. [This included all of what is now the East Isles, Vormain, Kahar’s Sea, Kralorela, and the Togaro Ocean.]
One day Laraloori felt hot, so to please her Vith called a cool river to come to her aid. The water washed over the land to her, glad to be of service, and it was the first river. Vith and Laraloori bathed in it, giving it a great blessing thereby.
Ivaro was the name of that blessed river. She was considered to be a very beautiful goddess, and she was sought by many. She accepted Hangyath as her mate, because of his great lineage. Their son was Palachath, and their daughter was Harantara.
Everyone knows how Palachath was kidnapped by Kratapol, a strong demon among the antigods, and how Harantara sought after him wearing clothing made of thorns and a hat of burrs. And how Ivaro at last came to her daughter’s call with all her watery brothers, and drowned the kidnapper Kratapol. [They flowed in from the north].
Sarono, who was Ivaro’s greatest brother, remained behind and extracted tribute from the beings on all sides. He was afterwards called the Duke of the Deep. [That was when the Sarono Sea was made which sat between modern Vormain and Kralorela. They were still connected, though, by the land of Abzered, which was on the south side of the sea. To its south was the Sshorg.]
Wise Osdero and Patient Kahar
Abzered was ruled by Osdero, who was the son of Harantara and her lover, Angen the Green. Osdero was considered to be a wise and benevolent ruler, who had many great temples raised and fed every beggar who came to and of his one thousand doors. Because of his goodness, the antigods plotted to test him and, if possible, bring him as low tomorrow as he was held to be high today.
At that time a great warrior came to the land. He was a barbarian, speaking in blusters and knowing nothing of manners or ceremony. Yet he meant no harm, even though he was agitated, so he was invited in for dinner.
Osdero had many wise men at his court, and one of them knew the language of the stranger. He explained that the warrior from was the west, where everyone is more ignorant than in the east. His name was Kahar, and he had come to court the love of she whom he desired above all else. He came as she had asked him to come, yet he was ambushed by her uncles and would have been killed if he hadn’t been such a great warrior. Now her father refused to release her to him, who was rightful and deserving of her hand in marriage.
Osdero agreed to help the stranger to make peace with his attackers and to fulfil his matrimonial wishes. The task was not easy, however, for the woman was none other than Harantara [above] who was considered by her tribe to be one of their jewels, a treasure without measure. Furthermore, her family loathed the family of Kahar, and had maintained a fiendish feud against them for generations. Osdero was unable to sway the opinions of the Duke of the Deep, and so sent Kahar to Mashunasan to study until the girl was available.
Kahar did not stay in that school. He could not even sit still, never mind meditate for eternity. Yet even in that short moment Mashunasan taught him that there was an alternative to Kahar’s incessant motion and agitation. Certainly he found it inadequate, but it existed. So what, he said as he left. [“So what” is a departing mantra in the Mashunasan stories, repeated by nearly all those who depart most quickly from his presence.]
At last Kahar sacrifices to Veldru, the protective breath of Vith, and he sets off in full battle gear with Veldru’s wind warriors [demigods] and smashes his way through the defenders, splashing them right and left, until he finds Harantara.
She refuses him, demanding that he be more civilized and learn her ways before he take her away. Kahar helps her sort out the waters again, and the Duke of the Deep and his court return.
Kahar goes off to meditate and study, and upon the advice of Osdero he undertakes the study of the Perfect Stillness. This does not attempt to attain the ultimate reality which Mashunasan practices, but only to make oneself perfect for the task of living right and well with all the universe. He practices the mystical way, and has a bunch of fabulous temptations that fail to lure him from his goal. At last, he achieves the goal and is blessed by [Atrilith].
Kahar goes to the palace of the Duke of the Deep and the warriors are unable to attack him, even though some try. His power is such that they are made helpless. His manners and language are perfect for the court, he parries each cruel comment with a clever quote from the sages, and in every way presents himself properly to receive his wife.
Harantara agrees, and departs from the court with her betrothed.
The Duke sends for help. His brothers immediately prepare their forces for battle and send messages that they will come. They remind him that they are not bound by the same laws that he is.
Osdero intervenes, demanding that he be allowed to negotiate between all parties. Kahar and Harantara agree to that, and they assemble at the palace. But the two cousins of the duke, Seluro and Sedeni, cannot be restrained and march with great armies. They summon floods from north and south which roar in and drown everyone and Abzered is sunk.
Osdero saw the great floods approaching, and was unable to halt them. His courtiers pleaded for him to at least save himself, and so he turned himself into his phoenix form, and flew up into the air as the two great tidal waves met, crashing together upon his palace. The rapacious invaders rose upward into the sky, a god-sized waterspout, and they captured Osdero, and extinguished his fires, plucking the feathers from his body, and dragging the corpse down into the deep seas.
Duke Sarono, the native sea god, was utterly horrified that his kin had so violently violated his lord’s laws and his own requests. Sarono had sworn to uphold Osdero, and he knew that his oath was more important than his kinship. The destructive success of his kinsfolk sickened him, even as they exulted in sinking the land, loving the food it gave them. But the Duke not bear them any more, and so when everything was underwater he helped Kahar and Harantara escape.
Sarono helped Kahar and Harantara swim to the Island of Virtue, where the Duke apologized and made sacrifices to his dead lord. The corpse of Osdero rose, and was properly burned then, and before the smoking pyre Sarono abdicated from his rule and left all his power to Kahar and Harantara. This couple, now divine, used their aquatic powers to first create a great concealing cloak which protected them, and to also rob the invading seas of much of their food.
Their creation took its form from the roiling smoke which billowed off of the pyre of Osdero. It became Talrantara, the great dense fog which rises off the water at all times. Whenever the wind is still enough, the fog collects upon the surface of the water so thickly that the other children of Kahar and Harantara can swim upon it.
Kahar and Harantara had other children, too, and they were the first of the mortal race called Zabdamar. They were instrumental in assisting Kahar to achieve his revenge upon the killers of Osdero.
THREE SAMPLE PARONDPARA TALES
Or, How My Island Was Made
Kachuti, a Dessheetan Isle
Kachuti is one of the islands made by Finzalvo the Fisherman. We are the children of Finzalvo and Iren.
One time he fell asleep at night and left his line in the water. Sinker grabbed his line and gave a great yank and pulled Finzalvo and his boat underwater, right to the bottom of the ocean. Sinker smashed the boat then tried to drown Finzalvo, but instead Sinker was gaffed with a hook and dragged to the surface.
Finzalvo was angry that he lost his boat, and he held Sinker out of the water until he died. Then he tied the carcass to the ocean bottom so it wouldn’t move around, and he spread his food out on the carcass, and sang his creation song. His food grew to be all the plants on the island, and whenever the birds tried to eat any he hit them with his stick.
It took him a long time to grow trees, and he got lonely. When the moon was right he took the shining from the surface of the sea and put it into a mirror, and with the mirror he called forth a wife. Iren came forth, dripping from the sea, desirous and welcome for her lover.
Iren and Finzalvo had ten children, who learned all the things they needed to know from their parents. They all took a wife from among the animals that lived on the island, which is why we have bird families and lizard families.
One day the typhoon came unexpectedly, while Finzalvo was out fishing. Iren was grief stricken when he didn’t return, especially since he had told her that he feared he was to be drowned that next day in a storm. Iren was so stricken that she died, and she was sent back to sea over there, where all the women after death.
Sesre, A Keet Story
Sesre is one of the Bereven Islands, which were made by Great Eral. We call it the Heroic Island. You cal it Predator Isle.
During the Migration the Ancestors were still being pursued by Bezarngay. They were quite desperate, because they were bearing eggs which were due soon, and they had no nests. Great Eral finally chose this island to stop upon. Whoever was not exhausted hurriedly put together whatever nests they could for those ducks who could not wait.
Eral was torn between building nests or preparing a defense, and finally chose to make nests, using his sword to chop plants and his breastplate to shield a weakling from the sun.
He was watched by Binda, who lives inside the island. She was moved by Eral’s devotion and wanted to help him. Binda took the form of a female keet and, accompanied by many small and bright flying creatures, kneeled before Eral. She welcomed him to her island, and she warned him of the approaching flood.
“This I know,” said Eral, “For it has pursued us since we fled Duravan.”
“Then let me help you,” she said. “For nothing costly I will defeat that.”
“You saying ‘Nothing costly’ doesn’t interest me,” said Eral.
“This, then. You and your descendants work forever to protect my brother, and once per month you send any one of you out to that hill top to feed him.” Ezrel looked and saw a huge nest, like an osprey’s, farther on.
“Is that your brother out there, in that nest that looks like an osprey nest?”
“Yes,” she said, “but he only looks like an osprey.”
“I insist on one condition more. If he eats any one of us except that one,” added Eral, “We will kill him as easily as if he were a fledgling.”
“Done,” they agreed. And a good thing they were, too, because at that moment the first roar of Bezarngay came to their ears, and in the close distance they saw the writhing head of the pursuing water which crashed and roared as it broke towards them. Inside they could see a hundred merfolk warriors, ready to feed.
A whir of great wings overhead caused every keet on the island to duck, save for Eral. Binda laughed and leapt up, waving happily at her great brother’s attack. The raptor squawked in joy, folded its wings and, talon first, pierced through the head of the onrushing wave. It disappeared, leaving behind only the mermen in its wake which were all swirled around as if a current had passed them by. Then the wave paused, and it stopped, breaking and tumbling like a waterfall.
Then the raptor burst from the body of that watery serpent, rising out several miles down its lengthy current, and the starting from the head and gong back along the body, the standing wave began to collapse for the first time. The osprey rose and took the throbbing heart of the deep up to its nest, where it ate it with pleasure.
That’s why Bezarngay was halted there, and every time it rises too high or gets too close to this island, then the giant osprey rises and smashes it down again.
That first year many eggs hatched here, although only a few lived. But other years were better, since the fish are abundant all around here. Eral and all the others stayed here for many years, then later migrated away to the other islands. Our ancestors stayed, and now it’s our island. We would do anything that Binda asked us to do.
No, of course we don’t mind that the great osprey feeds on all the islands around us. It feed on us, and we think it an honor to be the meal of our god. Yes, we do enjoy protecting it from others. As long as we do that then our life is easy, so we spend most of our spare time making traps and preparing our defenses. You saw that crab that tries to get every non keet that comes here.
aka Island of the Flute
The Young Dancer made our island. His name is Erabbamanth. He rose up out of the ocean, and his first steps made solid land, his next few made the island grow, and then hills and the mountain raised. He was lonely, so he made the first 18 helpers, and they danced too so Erabbamanth was refreshed. He danced again, and he made the rivers and rain and then the ocean to be salty. He was lonely again, and from those places he made the next 12 helpers. Then across the land and sea he danced, and he made the 24 helpers who are in plants, and also the 19 which are in animals, the 20 that are in the sky, and the 7 that live in our bodies. Erabbamanth then made the first Necklace of 100 Helpers, so that he could summon them when he needed their help. He gave that necklace to his wife, who was the ninth helper, and she then gave it to her son, the silver smith, who made copies for all of the island’s people.
Yes, sure we have heard about the Cosmic Dancers. Those worshippers come here all the time, and are always welcome. They dance well, but they don’t know our dances.
TRICK, PART ONE
Now here is part one of the trick.
There is a list of stories, all about the same thing: how the East Isles were made. As usual, a dazzling and confusing array of names, as varied and mixed up as the islands themselves.
MYTHIC AGES OF THE EAST
The world is very very old. We divide it into Great Cycles, each of which is ten time ten ten times (ten million) years, according to human reckoning.
Each Cycle is different from the others, and each is ended by a war. We know of three types of wars, of varying importance. First and most common are wars among men, which are of importance only to themselves. Second, and less common, are the wars among the gods, which affect large parts of the world. Sometimes these are momentous, even unto the gods being overthrown by the demons. Third are the cosmic wars, which turn the world and start a new measure of time.
Here are the Cosmic Ages:
First was the Cycle of Creation. In it the world was created and its denizens were born. People inhabited the world, and we have the stories about the Gamble Sea and the Ivaro River. It ended with the Dogsalu War, when that god kidnaped Yothenara, the High Gods saved her, and the High Gods begin their rule.
Second was the Cycle of the High Gods. In the High Gods Cycle came the Sshorg Sea and Sarono Sea. It ended with Keltari War, when Keltari, Bandan, and Sedsaru conquered the three worlds, but were defeated when Govmeranen meditated the solution, and afterwards the Gods began their rule.
Third was Cycle of the Gods. During this age occurred the Sages Rivalry, the Fall of Keetela, and the Helpless Death of the Kings. The age ended with the Oorsu Sara War. Oorsu Sara conquered the three worlds, and Mashunasan destroyed him without doing anything at all but maintaining his Detachment. Mashunasan refused to rule, and instead demigods begin their rule.
Fourth was the Cycle of the Demigods. It ended with the Herespur War, who conquered Heaven and Earth (but not Underworld), then gave his powers to Avanapdur, whose powers were usurped by Thella as a method of enlightenment.
Fifth is the Cycle of Humans, whose age is ending now.
This description makes the stories understandable, into something wider, by placing them into a larger context.
These aren’t just stories about the islands, but about the whole continent and universe.
TRICK, PART TWO
Perception is everything. You see by the example above how the rearrangement of the stories above our perception of myth it can take on a whole new meaning, as long as we are willing to give credence to the new ideas which make the rearrangement possible. We change nothing in the stories, expect the way you see it.
MASHUNASAN TELLS US
Mashunasan tells us that the stories and myths of the gods are not what they seem to be.
Mashunasan tells us that the gods and demons of the universe are only the collective reflections of the inner turmoil of people. Mashunasan tells us that if mortals calmed themselves these turmoil would cease, whether it be the annual typhoons or the predations of the shark pirates.
Mashunasan tells us that the stories and myths which people think are about gods are only about the inner lives of the mortals. Mashunasan tells us that they are an allegory of consciousness.
Mashunasan tells us that myth of the world ages is only a person’s recollection of his own state of consciousness. Mashunasan tells us that each of these is a hint about how a person can rid himself of delusion and find inner peace and detachment. Mashunasan tells us that an individual’s state of consciousness can be determined by which method of liberation he is aware of and uses in daily life.
Mashunasan tells us that the World Ages are really about this:
The Cosmic Wars are tales to show the struggle between a person’s base desires (arising from their physical self) and their higher self. Taken in reverse order, these trace the ascent of consciousness from that of a beast to beyond the gods.
The Fourth Cycle, of the Demigods, is the Opinion War. This is the story of how Individual Consciousness regains unity with Group Consciousness. When Avanapdur takes over most of the world it is the submission of one’s self to illusions, unrealistic dreams, and insubstantial versions of truth. Mashunasan says that a person must first rid themselves of their own self delusions before attempting to attain the Truth.
The Third Cycle, of the Gods, is the Insight War. This is the story of how an entity regains a mystical unity with World Consciousness. Oorsu Sara obtains that Insight and conquers the three worlds, yet fails. Mashunasan destroys the ultimate demon, yet Mashunasan refuses to rule, and instead allows emanations take over. Mashunasan says that a person must avoid all temptations of power which insight will inevitably bring.
The Second Cycle is the Awareness War. This is the story of how a being with World Consciousness regains unity with Universal Consciousness. Keltari and Sedsaru are the powers from beyond life and death. Mashunasan says a person must overcome the unity with being which is offered.
The First Cycle is the Consciousness War. This is the story of how an individual with Universal Consciousness regains unity with the Primordial nonconsciousness, and is the last stage in Liberation. When Dogsalu kidnaps Yothenara it shows the highest temptation of the individual to be one with the highest consciousness. Mashunasan says a person must overcome their own higher consciousness to obtain Liberation.
Mashunasan tells us:
Now is the Realization War. We see about us many with Individual Consciousness who indulge happily in Partial Consciousness and willingly worship the Antigods, or practice perverted methods to exploit the power of meditation. Indulgence in this will bring suffering and help in the evil, no matter what you do.
Seek the Masters who live among you, find the Guest while you are alive, and settle in the Serenity of Detachment.