I01 — It Flies Out Of A Dream
Season, Week, Day
A lot of Spirits
“Greetings, Ladies and Gentlemen to this lecture on the ‘Crocodile Cycle’, with some interpolations which are linked to the NalaTiwrsaga. This tangentially links us to our prior classes, which I am sure you all recall closely. All translations are by my own hand from the ancient Sartarite, which is not entirely the easiest of tongues. Let us begin.1Before the dream quest, Nala bounced back and forth, seeing a lot of people and even going to far as to talk to Lord Eril, who hinted that the Crocodile Goddess was less dead than she seemed. A visit to the Maran Gor shrine and a divination there provided an image of a strange city by a huge crater. The general advice seemed to be to go find advice from Praxians, and after working out that everyone assumed such advice could be found with the forces of Argrath, Nala went that way. There was an encounter with the Luminous Stallion King and the least said the better. Which is what he says about women. (And everyone else in his company.)“
“When Salt and Teeth was born, she was tiny and deadly and soft-skinned, so Ernalda went looking for a way to protect her daughter.
She came on a dwarf who was chipping stone, and said to him, “Can you build my daughter a house?” but the dwarf had no friendship in him, and said only, “You may have the parts I do not use,” because he knew gravel was useless. But Ernalda was wise, and called her sister Maran Gor to dance, and the shaking separated the bigger chips from the smaller, and Ernalda pressed them into the back of her daughter, making a stony coat, and she blessed the coat so it would grow.
Dwarfs hate Maran Gor for that and other reasons, but a bargain is a bargain, and they cannot take back the chips.”2Mostal was chipping away at dull brown stone, which is why the crocodile is mud-coloured, but the title Ernalda used for him was Son of the True Stone, which is why in the spirit world, crocodiles shimmer multi-coloured.
“I see this as another explanation of why the world is as it is. Let us not believe that our ancestors were incapable of interpreting the world, and making explanations that made sense to them. They saw the armour of the crocodile, and thought them like pebbles, and made a myth that explained that fundamental truth to them.”3Sigh from history. Or Mostal had some spare stones and Ernalda was cunning.
“Now listen to me.
I don’t give a damn4Erhehta Voice
In the beginning, Ernalda took many lovers, and one was a great beast
They had a child.
We call Her Salt and Teeth. We do not know Her true name.
In the God-time, she took lovers too, but could not carry children. She spoke to her sister, Maran Gor, who knows many secrets of the depths. Maran Gor agreed to trade with Her. Maran Gor would teach the secrets of how to bury a child, so it would regain life, even though buried in the ground, and the Goddess of Salt and Teeth would give some of her children to death, and some to Maran Gor, and only keep the remainder.
They agreed, and from the children given to Maran Gor became the Thunder Lizards, which still live, and whose graveyard is near Alda Chur.
But from that day until this, even after Salt and Teeth died, Death has kept some of the dead crocodiles in their eggs that the crocodiles bury, but some escape. We know what Maran Gor does with hers, but nobody has ever dared to ask Ty Kora Tek what she does with the Crocodiles who come to Her.”
“Thank you. Now that is clearly a myth about why crocodiles bury eggs, and why not all of them hatch. What is the relevance to our tales?5Grad student throws down pen. Well, that leads on a bit.”
“You come to me for wisdom?
Well, have you ever seen the crocodiles down in the bay?
They take the weak, and the foolishly air-minded, and the dark-hugged sluggish, and they bring a little disorder to both Issaries’ river roads, and to the Sea Trolls of the bay. But do you notice there are little birds, which land in their very mouths, but which are never eaten?
You had? I am perhaps a little surprised, my dear. But very well done. Had you considered why?
No, ah, I see. And now we are back to what I expected.
Now, obviously, Salt and teeth was beautiful, and of course, Emperor Yelm admired her. He sent a courtier unto her to invite her to be her concubine. But Salt and Teeth was proud, and said she would settle for nothing less than being Empress.
The courtier was shocked, for she resisted the divine decree, but he knew if she became the Empress, he would be rewarded.
He admired her skin, and her agility, and her haughty air, but her breath was filled with the smell of dead animals, and he knew that Yelm would recoil from it.
He therefore began to flatter her, until she smiled wide, and joke for her, so that she laughed, and because he pleased her, she did not eat him, and thus he began to clean her teeth, before returning with her to the Sky.
Sadly, at this time, Orlanth slew Yelm, and cast all the World into darkness, and so from that time, the Courtier Bird has kept cleaning the Crocodiles teeth, so she can become Queen of the Sky.”[[footnote]]Nala was hesitant to get married, and despite there being a strange, mysterious goddess giving her advice, paused too long for Ty Kora Tek, who was repeatedly insisting on giving her wisdom. Salt and Nala-Teeth wanted to rule, not to be a wife, and the Heroquest ended in strange blackness. Nala woke very briefly, or at least attained something like consciousness, but was sent back into the visions.
“And here we see an example of the Dentist Bird. More world building explanations as myth. We can see examples even of this into the modern era, with Kipling’s ‘Just So Stories’. Again, though, this fits into our tales of NalaTiwrSaga”
(Continued in next session.)
“I consulted the Iron Lord. He was… cryptic.” – Nala
“So, he is well…” – Kalis
“… Eril’s an arsehole.” – Nala
“If I may give you some advice?” – Kalis
“Speak less. Smile more.” – Kalis
“We told Tennebris.” – Nala
“I’m sure that simplified matters.” – Kalis
“Blunt Death…” – Iron Lord
“I believe he’s originally Praxian.” – Berra whispers
“No, he was originally found IN Prax.” – GM
“Aaaah.” – Berra
<<nice Eril>> – Eril
“And this would be the blood of Jar-eel to please me?” – Eril
“No, I am a brewer.” – Nala
“Ah, the fermented blood of Jar-eel to please me.” – Eril
<<passes Intimidate>> – Eril
“I have heard a little. Our paths have not crossed. Apart from interesting choral recitiations which reach my ears from time to time.” – Eril
“…” – Nala, who has commissioned at least one
“grandmamagrandmamagrandmama” – Nala
“.oO( looking for a newtling shaman with a strange speech pattern, we are )” – ersatzmaus
“If the goddess of the crocodile WERE dead that raises the question of why Esrolia swarms with them, and why the Brook appears to be… rather more crocodilian than previously. This would strike me as a … more Rural divining tradition. Perhaps if I *might* counsel, seeking someone who has a tribal link as prey to the goddess…” – Eril enjoys the word Prey too much
“This speaks to me as a tale of Prax. We have no… We HAD no crocodiles in Sartar. I think that will be a situation that recurs. I think you ask the wrong person.”
“Now, if you wish to leave this votive offering to the god, I’m sure a use will be found for it. Alternatively, you may with to use it to pay your way into the graces of the foreign usurper.” – Eril
<<blink>> – Nala
“I would suggest that llama, sable, impala, bison and even unicorn and rhino have at times been prey to the crocodile. I image that ostrich and bolo lizard are no different, but I cannot confess to having eaten either… or unicorn, or rhino.” – Eril cannot bear to mention herdmen
“He’s a humanitarian.” – Suuraki
“It will not last until I get to Prax. I will make more.” – Nala
“Prax? Why on earth would you go to Prax?” – Eril
“You… are a Praxian, and yet I am not speaking to you in Prax, am I?” – Eril
<<smiles more>> – Nala who has learned
“If you will excuse me, I am a little busy with *two* armies just outside our borders at present.” – Eril
“There’s a small staircase.” – GM
“Steps have been taken.” – Suuraki
“… a little idol.” – GM
“So it’s not doing much, yet.” – Nala
“Maran Gor is known to like haruspicy food.” – Suuraki
“What a glamorous vision.” – Suuraki
“Some sort of crater… makers.” – Suuraki
“Why, what fine steed has been brought for me?” – LSK
“The city you have seen is that which serves the Red Emperor.” – Kalis
“Sit down suddenly.” – Nala
“Your biiiiig hairy friend went that way.” – Kalis
“Rajar? He’s not that hairy.” – Nala
“… When you take a lover, I’ll explain.” – Kalis
“You could shave YEARS off your life’s journey by cutting through the Upland Marsh.” – Suuraki
“Doing a little work for her…” – Nala
“Making. We’re making a little work for her.” – Suuraki
“May I offer you refreshment on the hot plains of Prax?” – Rote greeting. In Tarsh.
“You’re there, and you’re FERS and you have sharp teeth…” – Suuraki GM
“grr! grr!” – Nala the FERS BABY!
“Nala, you feel the green hand stroking you.” – Suuraki
“Yaaaay!” – Nala the FERS BABY
“You stick your snout out. You see a stocky, greyish, DELICIOUS-looking being…” – Suuraki
“Patient thoughts. Patient, hungry, sharp-toothed thoughts. We’ll come to any consequences of that later.” – Suuraki
“You are most generous, child of the true stone.” – Ernalda
“Never been called that before.” – Mostal
<<rrr, rrr, rrr!>> – Naladile
“Maran Gor is standing there.” – Suuraki
“I will show her my sharp teethies!” – Naladile
“A story, a story. Let it go, let it come. If you learn it you’ll know it, so listen and learn how to tell it; now, don’t pick the fig until it’s big; if you want a pear you’ll need a ladder; and if you’d like a melon, marry a man with a big nose.” – Rajar
“Rolling on my disorder rune is a really good way of increasing my Harmony.” – Nala