Skald and the Sea

A Tale of the Men

Water may be a common theme among the myths of all folk, but none hold the sea in high regard. It is hardly surprising, we all know of the cursed, barren waters which surround our lands. Only dwarfs and men treat it with any significance, the dwarfs simply as the source of their most feared foe.

Yet it is little known that “sullied” is derived from the same ancient word as “salted”.

In the beginning, there was nothing but water. An endless ocean which washed over the horizons. Then the god Skald arose from the waters and created the world. She created the sky, so she could leave the water. She created the land, to separate the water and the sky. She created the mountains, to hold up the sky above the land. And she created the sun, so she could see her work.

The first men saw the land and followed Skald into the world, but the land was barren and they could not survive. Skald saw her followers’ suffering, she commanded them to return to the sea and bring forth the plants and the trees. The men obeyed and soon the land was filled with green.

Skald was pleased and she commanded the men to return to the sea and bring the animals. The men obeyed, but the animals were frightened and would not follow. So Skald commanded the men to build a path from the sea to the land. The men obeyed and they were able to lead the animals to the land. Skald was pleased and she disappeared into the sky and built the heavens, where she could watch her creation.

For a time, men were the only people. But soon the other races found the road and followed it from the sea to the land. First came the dwarfs, who were jealous of all the good works the men had created. The dwarfs saw the mountains and believed they were the gods who had created the world. And they built their homes within them and created great wonders to win their gods’ favour from the men.

Then came the gnomes, who were pleased to help tend the land. But they grew restless and bored with the hard toil of the men. They saw the plants and believed they had created the world. And they ran to play among the trees and worship them, hoping to win their gods’ favour from the men.

But the men knew the truth, the world was created by Skald, the sky-god. She brought forth all the good things from the ocean, so only the bad things remain. Now she watches patiently in the heavens, trusting her followers to tend the land she lovingly created for all to enjoy.

The Nothing Tree

A Tale of the Elfs

My home lies beyond the great Corn Wall, in the far north where the forests grow thick and impenetrable. There the gnomes call themselves elf. Of all their kin they remain the most isolated, hidden among trees made untameable by the magic which still runs through the world.

As with all folk, Elfen lore describes their own existence as coming before all others. Their way of life depends heavily on the forests, and it is only natural they believe all life stems from the trees which protect them.

Before there was anything, there was the Nothing Tree. From it sprang all of creation. As it put down roots, the earth was formed. As its sap flowed, the water of the world ran forth. As it grew, its branches reached upwards and the sky was born. And as it aged, time began.

The earth watched the Nothing Tree grow large and strong, and became the great mountains. The water watched the tree roots twist and turn, and became the winding rivers. The sky watched the leaves change and fall, and became the sun and all the colours of the sky. And so the Nothing Tree gave us the world.

The animals who lived in the mountains came to graze on the tree’s bark and leaves. The fish who swam in the rivers came to feast on the insects which grew fat on the tree’s sap. The birds who filled the sky came to nest in the tree’s branches. And so the Nothing Tree gave us life.

And as the Nothing Tree bloomed, it bore four apples. The first apple did not fall and became the elfs, who stayed to tend the trees. The second apple rolled away from the tree and became the gnomads, who wandered and forgot their home. The third apple fell under the branches and became the men, who tended the soil and lived on the earth. The final apple fell among the roots and became the dwarfs, who burrowed deep beneath the ground.

And so the Nothing Tree gave us everything.