Humakt and the Raven

Ephemera — Blue Tree Humakt Raven


As told amongst the Blue Tree Clan of the Colymar Tribe, of the Kingdom of Sartar
Recorded by Vestra the Grey

Now you will remember, my brothers and sisters, how I told you of how Eurmal tricked Crow out of his beautiful coat and his enchanting song, and gave the song to the Storm People, and kept the coat for himself.

Crow had an elder brother, whose name was Raven, and whilst they did not like each other much- for Raven thought Crow foolish, and Crow thought Raven stiff and unfriendly, nonetheless they were brothers. And after Yelm cast out Crow for being tricked out of Yelm’s rightful Tribute from the Storm People, Crow came to Raven to complain.

“Brother,” said Crow, “Eurmal the trickster has made a fool of me and our family, and taken my beautiful coat, and my melodious song, and has made Yelm wrathful at me.”
“That is a bad thing,” quoth Raven, “And although I do not Love you, yet nonetheless, we are brothers, and an insult to you is an insult to me, and our whole family. I shall petition the Emperor for redress!”

So, over his simple but elegant white clothing, Raven put on his smart red and gold cloak he wore to show his service as messenger to Yelm, and then Raven went to the Sky Palace. He demanded entry, as was his right, and he was shown to the Imperial Throne.

“Truthful Messenger,” said Yelm, “Why come ye to me this day?”
“Your Majesty,” replied Raven, “A God has done my family wrong, I claim redress.”
“But Raven,” said Yelm, “Eurmal spoke nothing but truth to your brother. The fault is his. The nature of Eurmal is to trick, and the nature of Crow is to be a fool.”

Raven did not like this, for it was one thing for him to call his brother a fool, and quite a different thing for Yelm to do so.

“But your Majesty, Eurmal misuses the Truth. He uses Truth to fool the foolish, and Honesty to lead people astray,” said Raven.
“Nonetheless, my Truthful bird, Eurmal has broken no laws, for which I may punish him.” Explained the Emperor.
The Raven replied, “If ye will not do it for Law, will ye do it to reward a faithful servant, as fealty runs both ways, and I have a feud with Eurmal now?”

Yelm was saddened, for Raven had been a Truthful and a Good Servant to him, but to act against the law would make him no Emperor. “If I act against the Law, I would not be Yelm, for My Law binds all, even me.”

Raven was appalled! His service meant nothing, he saw, to the Emperor, and so he dashed off his red and gold cloak, and threw it at the feet of the Emperor, “Faithless Monarch, as ye have broken faith to me, so I break it to you! I go now, unashamed to revenge the wrong done to my family! Never more shall I serve you!”

Yelm was wrathful, for Raven did not understand the difficulties of Kingship, and as his temper raged, so the flames of his anger burned Raven’s white clothes black, and so they have been forever since. “Go then, Carrier of Truth that displeases Peaceful Kings, and find a new master!”

So, Raven left Yelm, and travelled the worlds, and he watched particularly what Eurmal did, for he sought his revenge- for his brother, for the loss of his position with Yelm, and for the insult to his family. And by and by, Eurmal found Death, hidden away, and Raven saw him find it, and thought to himself, “I do not know what this great treasure is, but it is clearly powerful. Eurmal cannot be trusted with it, and furthermore, removing it from him will hurt Eurmal, and will avenge the shame to my brother, my family, and me.” So he watched, as Eurmal drew Death forth, and he thought to himself, “Now, Eurmal hurts truth, by using it to create illusion. That is painful to me, but it must be to others also.”

And he flew off, to seek the North Wind, Humakt, the most Truthful and Honourable of the children of Umath, and said to him, “Eurmal has found a secret, called Death, and I do not know what it does, but I know it has great power, and I know Eurmal cannot be trusted to use it honourably.” And he explained to Humakt the trickery Eurmal had done, using the Truth.

Humakt was troubled by this, and resolved to go and see what Eurmal had found, and to test to see if he could be trusted with it. But he acknowledged the service that Raven had done for him, and offered him his service. Humakt went on to take Death from Eurmal, as we all know, but from that day to this, oh my Brothers and Sisters, Raven has served Humakt, and worn a neat and sober coat of black, and has been the truthful messenger, who reveals the secret dead, and the unwelcome messenger to peaceful Kings.