Section I: Gods and Goddesses
Section III: Myths and Religions of other Peoples
- Page 1 -
The following article was written by Scipio Robhovardus, a valued friend
of mine who has dedicated himself to the god Mercury. (A note for the
readers unacquainted with Roman deities; Mercury is akin to the god
Nash’Geo in that the fleet-footed god takes care of travellers.) Scipio
is no priest, nor was he born a Roman. His origins are somewhat murky, but
since he has taken the name Robhovardus, I assume that the southern land
is his home.
friend Scipio has journeyed oft-times to the lands of the Furrag, across
the icy Winter’s Bridge leading south from Robhovard’s furthest tip,
crossable only in the coldest months of the year. There he has learned
much of the Furrag, quite likely more than anyone else in our world may
claim, even those at a court employing Furrag. I wouldn’t know whom else
to turn to in my search for enlightening sources, and so I am grateful
that Scipio has taken the time to write the following pages.
The race of Furrag is rarely counted among the sentient ones of our world. Our fellow beings are quick to discard them from our ranks as a near-bestial species, as close to the animal kingdom as an emperor dragon. We find it difficult to liken ourselves to a people given to consuming raw flesh, using its brute power to hunt and kill – rarely choosing between sentient and bestial prey.
To many a person on our world, a Furrag is akin to a lion or a dragon. A majestic predator, but barely given the ability to comprehend the world. They can be tamed, many think, to a degree that they make formidable warriors, but you should never turn your back on them.
It is true that Furrag are among the most cruel races on our world – by our own standards. Those, we have to remind ourselves, are not the only measures that exist.
If we open our minds, we can see that Furrag indeed are sentient, and that they do possess a civilization of their own. It is not as developed as our own, not as given to the use of tools, yet it is there – and there is also a mythology, a belief, a faith.
The latter point is my primary concern in this article. I would like to shed some light on the beliefs of the Furrag, and through this exploration on this race’s rich and valid history.
First off, we need to realize that the Furrag of today may not be all that this race has ever been. Split into many tribes living well apart from each other, their kind seems unlikely to build a civilization as we understand it, with cities and fortresses. Or one that sends its ambassadors and explorers out in the world, to make an impression on other races.
Yes, an impression that is kept aside from the internal fear the common races have of the brutish-looking Furrag. I have found that some of the languages of Robhovard share elements with the Furrag tongue Rágùm, elements that are more fitted to the mouths of Furrag than humans. Interestingly, the word for “chief” in several Robhovardian languages is clearly a derivation from the Furrag word “kèhal”. [A kèhal today is the man presiding over a gathering of tribes, which happens very rarely. It seems to me, though, that in past days, the gatherings were more common, and that a kèhal could rather be likened to a king.]
It is from such linguistic findings as well as my own conversations with Furrag in their homeland [which has no common name in their various sub-languages; lengthy studies might provide a root word] that I have come to believe that once the Furrag race was more like our own civilizations, with larger and constant settlements, structures running throughout their culture. My supposition here is that at some point in the past, their homeland was considerably warmer than today, and that a devastation – perhaps connected with the tale of King Cornevan and his Atrocity – caused their climate to slip into the frosty nightmare it is now. [This is especially supported by the descriptions in their old tales, which describe a land with grass, and with animals that cannot be found in their realms anymore.]
With that in mind, we should look at the tales and myths of the Furrag. They are not the fixed and permanent sort our our history, since Rágùm knows no written form, and these are carried from generation to generation through oral retelling. [Thus, a number of variations have occurred, from which the primary myth must be distilled.]
Neither must we forget that the following tales can in no way be seen as historical accounts. What roots there exist in fact are descriptions of the styles of life, not so of the persons or their actions. The characters and events of the Furrag tales have been transposed into a world aside from our own, one that stands symbolic of the minds and thoughts of the Furrag. Looking at many of the tales we wonder why anyone would act in such a fashion, or how the oft-times fantastic events could have occurred (even taking into account the employ of magic). Yet we should not burden ourselves with such doubts, due to the symbolic nature of the tales.
One of the most interesting points to note about the Furrag tales is how easily they accept bodily transformations. Krauvill, a great hero of their myths, is always seen as a Furrag (a “Man” in their own usage of the word), the son of Balash and Larrt. There is no wondering how a bear cub could change into a Furrag cub, or how the mating of Furrag and bear could produce such offspring.
Also there is no doubt in the interpretations that both the crone Trûnk and the maiden in the cave are alternate representations of the White Bear Larrt herself.
The Furrag do not see much of a difference between themselves and the beasts of nature, as far as their tales are concerned. With little care they feed on boars and bears and other beasts, yet at the same time accept that a cub of these animals might become one of their own kind. They are a part of nature, and nature is a part of them.
As the crone said to Balash, “As you give food to your kind, you will give food to the land.” It was Balash’s own meat that became food for the land. (In the symbolism of the story, he gave himself to his son Krauvill, as Larrt had done before. In that it would be Krauvill who consumed both his parents’ meat – although I have to stress that Furrag customs separate wildly here. Some tribes shun feeding on their own kind as heartily as do our own, others view their own dead as fresh meat – indeed some believe they praise the fallen when they eat their meat. I leave it to the reader to decide what would have become of Balash and Larrt.)
What else can we deduce of the tale?
Primarily that the Furrag view nature as a kind of Mother Goddess. (Not dissimilar to our own notion of “Mother Nature”.) She is represented here as the White Bear – in its various incarnations: there is the old crone who stands for winter and cold; there is the young maiden in the springtime of her years; there is the White Bear herself, in the full of her summery time. [One might note that Fall is not represented here. There are variants of the tale which include a Furrag mate of Balash’s; her descriptions indicate her autumnal nature.]
Moreover, we have to see that Balash himself attains the status of a deity within the confines of this tale. It is he who gives of his meat to the crone and who lies with the maiden, and by his separation from the “warriors”, he is given a physical (or should that be metaphysical) enhancement over his fellow Furrag. Balash is shown as an equal to the omnipotent goddess – in fact, he is superior since he bests Larrt in battle (although then he falls to their combined offspring’s charge).
Still, the male “god” is directed and commanded by the female deity, which is an important element of this tale to remember. “Mother Nature” is all-commanding.
[It is also important to see that the ancient Furrag seem to suffer a certain confusion on how children are created. Although the version I have related here contains the scene with the maiden, some others – apparently more ancient – only show the moments of giving meat to the crone, which satisfied the ancients as to how progeny was procured. We can deduce from this that the male role was rather understated in those days; “he” was a procurer of fresh meat, a protector from (other) predators but not a participator in reproduction, wherefore the maternal figure (and thus the goddess) was more important. Might the ancient, pre-civilization Furrag have been a matriarchal society? It is a thought worthy of further study, but that would well explode beyond the confines of this article.]
We are also introduced to the idea of a mythical hero being raised not by his natural parents but by a foster-father (here Houl). This idea is repeated on several occasions and indicates that the original Furrag society had a practice of handing children over to foster-parents. Unfortunately we cannot say much more beyond this, and my own studies have brought little enlightenment to this topic.