Thursday, October 02, 2008

The Tale of Tarénara

Today is, of course, the Holy Day of Tarénara, Goddess of Hunting, Lady of the Moon, the Defender, the Embracer, the Pathfinder. Most devout Tarénarans won't celebrate till the full moon in a couple weeks, but today's the official holiday. Hooray!

d-Moon Clouds

The beautiful, ever-youthful goddess Tarénara has dedicated Her life to Her obligations of directing the moon and hunters world-wide, and to healing those who are in need. Since with Her obligations, Tarénara has no need for men, She took a vow of chastity. Many demigoddesses admired Her strength, skill, and independence, and so They, too, took vows of chastity. These demigoddesses became known as the Tarénarans.

Although Tarénara is an expert huntress Who never uses more than one arrow to strike down her prey, She also makes a point of caring for injured animals and humans, most particularly young women.

One day, the queen of the distant land of Vékavété called upon Tarénara. The queen's daughter had been possessed by a demon and was dying. Tarénara and Her Tarénarans set out for Vékavété at once.

Despite Their haste, the trip took days upon days, fourdays upon fourdays. Along the way, Tarénara and Her Tarénarans hunted the forests, plains, and deserts, taking only what They needed.

Halfway to Vékavété, Tarénara and Her followers had set up camp in a glade near a clear-running stream. Protected as they were from wayward eyes by the dense foliage, the goddess and Her followers decided to bathe in the stream.

As they splashed and frolicked in the cool, refreshing water, a nearby hunter, named Rékavísoto, happened to hear Their joyous laughter. Although he knew better than to disturb the privacy of women, his lust and desire overcame him. He gathered his hounds and bade them to be quiet while he crept through the brush to get a look at the bathing beauties.

Rékavísoto did not, however, have the hunting skills of Tarénara. He achieved his spectacular view of the goddess and the Tarénarans in all Their glory, but as he stepped forward for an even closer view, Rékavísoto stepped on a twig.

The sharp crack of the twig resonated throughout the forest glade. Tarénara and the demigoddesses spotted Rékavísoto at once. The Tarénarans shrieked and ran for Their clothing. Tarénara, however, stood Her ground, thigh-deep in the water, and cast a spell upon Rékavísoto, transforming him into a stag.

The hunter's hounds smelled the stag and immediately set upon Rékavísoto, thinking him to be prey. Within seconds, Rékavísoto lay dead. Tarénara welcomed his hounds into Her own pack, to live eternally and hunt as long as they so desire.

The Tarénarans were frightened by this ordeal. The most beautiful Tarénaran, Kohísohí, decried the expedition as folly. The world outside Their homeland was too vicious for Them to travel any further, Kohísohí said. She exhorted Tarénara to lead Them all home at once.

Tarénara, however, knew that the princess in Vékavété relied on Her healing skills, and so Tarénara decided without hesitation to continue the mission.

Two days later, They met the giant hunter, Surasaté. Surasaté was the son of Vasataté, God of the Oceans, and was so large that He could wade across the sea with the water only coming up to His chin. He was also a skilled hunter and infatuated with Tarénara.

To prove His prowess and worthiness for the spectacular goddess, Surasaté laid before Tarénara all of His kills from the previous fourday. The mountain of dead animals towered high into the atmosphere, so high that Tarénara's twin brother, Píríuso, God of the Sun, had to redirect His solar chariot so it did not collide with the carcasses.

Tarénara and Her followers expressed disgust at such waste. Not even a giant such as Surasaté could eat the enormous pile of meat before it spoiled. Surasaté had very nearly wiped out the entire animal population of the world. In fact, He had indeed killed the last of the unicorns, exterminating that noble species for the rest of eternity.

Surasaté was not dissuaded by Tarénara's contempt. Overcome by His lust for Tarénara, He forced Himself upon Her. Before Surasaté could spoil Her maidenhood, however, Tarénara and the Tarénarans forced away the giant with a precise rain of arrows.

So that Surasaté would never again affront the natural order of the universe, or Tarénara Herself, the goddess sent a giant scorpion to chase after the demigod hunter. Every day, every year, the scorpion and Surasaté chase each other through Sívorí's domain, neither one gaining or losing ground to the other. Whenever the scorpion rises above the horizon, Surasaté flees from the sky. Whenever the scorpion dives after him, below the horizon, Surasaté rises in the opposite sky.

The very next day, Tarénara and the Tarénarans arrived in Vékavété. The queen guided them to her demon-possessed daughter. Tarénara laid Her hands upon the princess and quickly expelled the demon, which was a friend of Kérasa, High Goddess of Water, and therefore unable to be destroyed by Tarénara. The demon disappeared into the aether, declaring that it would return as soon as Tarénara left Vékavété.

The princess was instantly well. The queen and all of Vékavété heaped praise upon Tarénara, as to be expected. They worshipped Her extensively, building several temples in Her honor.

While Tarénara enjoyed this praise, She longed to return home. The Tarénarans begged for Her to take Them home. While on this mission, She had not been able to guide the moon, and so the world had been in darkness at night for over a month. Furthermore, certainly other maidens and animals required Her aid, but She couldn't leave Vékavété or else Kérasa's demon would return.

Tarénara called the demon to Her and made a deal with it. If it promised to never again possess the princess or anyone else, the citizens of Vékavété would sacrifice four cattle and seven goats to the demon every full moon.

Kérasa's demon gladly agreed to this arrangement. Tarénara returned home from Vékavété, leaving behind a statue of incredible likeness to Her in the grandest of their temples.

Once back to Their homeland, Tarénara and Her followers returned to Their normal lives, guiding the moon, hunting, and caring for those in need, and maintaining Their vows of chastity.

Soon, though, it became apparent that Kohísohí, the most beautiful Tarénaran, had not honored that vow. She was obviously pregnant.

Tarénara demanded to know who the father was. Kohísohí tried to deny Her pregnancy at first, but relented to Tarénara's fury and admitted that She had had a tryst with Sozho, High God of Air.

Outraged at Kohísohí's complete disregard for Her vow, Tarénara transformed the Tarénaran and Her newborn son, Sarakazhé, into bears. Not knowing the way of bears, Kohísohí and Her son did not eat well and were persistently beset upon by coyotes.

Sívorí, Goddess of the Stars, bade Tarénara to take pity on Them, especially Sarakazhé, Who had done nothing wrong. Tarénara reluctantly agreed with Her friend’s advice and cast the mother bear and cub into the night sky, forever to spin together under Sívorí’s watchful eye.

Nightly reminded of Kohísohí's vow-breaking, the remainder of the Tarénarans took heed and thus honor Their vow for all eternity. Hunters from across the lands learn from the giant Surasaté's hubris and kill only the animals they need. Demons still try to hurt humans, but always flee before Tarénara arrives.

Some men have learned from Rékavísoto's mistake, but most still let their lust and desire control them. Ladies, beware all men, for they are deceitful and treacherous. Let the most holy Tarénara, Goddess of Hunting, Lady of the Moon, the Defender, the Pathfinder, the Embracer guide your actions.

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