Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Tale of Huro

Today is the Holy Day of Huro, God of Thunder and Protector of Civilization.

Protect us, Huro!

19 - North Star Clouds

Huro’s birth by Nuvíní, High Goddess of Earth and Queen of the Gods, was witnessed by Nuvíní’s mother Rana, Goddess of Clouds; Rana’s mother Rakazhazhíní, Goddess of Clean Air; Nuvíní’s other grandmother Kara, Goddess of Soil; and Nuvíní’s motherly aunt Ríhíví, Goddess of Hot Springs and Poisonous Water. All the goddesses wanted to attend the birth of Huro, Who would surely become the next King of the Gods.

So as not to draw the wrath of Her husband Sozho, current King of the Gods and High God of Air, Nuvíní left infant Huro in the care of a flock of giant, fierce chickens, far from Sozho’s eagle-eye gaze and His violent, self-protective nature. She knew that Sozho would see Huro as a threat to His reign, and rightfully so. The warrior birds trained Huro well the skills He would need in life; soon Huro was the strongest and most skilled fighter in all the universe. Also, Huro was the son of Pétíso, God of Death, and not Sozho.

When Huro was fully grown and ready, Nuvíní charged Him with the task of protecting Her civilization of human beings from the forces of chaos, evil, and the malevolent wilderness and desert. This Huro did with conviction and power. When destructive winds blew down upon a city, Huro would throw His lightning bolts and stop the wind dead. When rampaging barbarians and demons threatened a town, Huro would be there to tear the invaders to pieces with His bare hands, His thunder frightening the barbarians back into the desert.

There came a time when the civilized kingdom of Rokího was invaded by the Toloans, who stole many head of cattle as well as the king’s daughter. Huro instantly leapt to the defense of Rokího. The Toloans retreated from the mighty god, Who pursued them all the way back to the ramshackle collection of huts known as Tolo. Before Huro could crush the barbarian village, a club-wielding god rose in His path: Rékaré, God of Rock.

With only His bare hands as weapons, Huro wrestled Rékaré to the ground, ripped the stone club from His grasp, and beat Rékaré senseless with His own weapon. Rékaré’s two sons, Ténuzho and Vusuzho, screamed in rage and charged Huro, but Huro smote Them dead with a pair of lightning bolts. As Their ash drifted to the earth, Huro razed the village of Tolo utterly and completely, for the Toloans had dared to attack a civilized nation. Huro would stop at nothing to uphold His vow.

Soon thereafter, Huro married the exquisitely beautiful Rézhíní, Goddess of Plants, Whose soft-flowing blonde hair was the envy of all the goddesses. After Rézhíní rebuffed the advances of Zhíanoso, High God of Fire, Zhíanoso snuck into Their bedchamber and cut off Her long, golden locks. Huro awoke to see the fire god escaping out the window, blonde hair trailing from His hand. Huro dove after Him, snagged Zhíanoso with one hand, and gripped Him tightly as They tumbled to the ground. They landed with a thud, whereupon Huro pinned Zhíanoso easily. The sky filled with lightning from Huro’s rage, His thunder shaking the earth beneath Them. Zhíanoso tried to burn Huro away, but Huro merely absorbed the flames into His own lightning, scorching trees and mountains all around. Zhíanoso changed form into a mosquito, then a bear, then a rat, then an alligator; but whatever form Zhíanoso assumed, Huro maintained His hold.

When Zhíanoso finally realized the situation, He begged for His freedom. Huro agreed, so long as Zhíanoso would provide Rézhíní with replacement hair of the finest gold thread, as well as two weapons for Himself: a war hammer that would be strong enough to knock down mountains, small enough to tuck into His belt, and nimble enough to return to His hand when He threw it, after it hit its target; and a belt that would double Huro’s strength when He wore it. Zhíanoso accepted the conditions and proclaimed that Rívorí, Goddess of Wildfire, could and would produce all these items for Huro and Rézhíní.

Huro released Zhíanoso; Zhíanoso went to Rívorí’s forge; Rívorí fashioned the hair and weapons; and Zhíanoso grudgingly presented them to Huro. Rézhíní once again was beautiful. Huro was now unstoppable. To test His new weapon, Huro threw His hammer at a distant buffalo. The hammer smashed into the beast’s head, felling it dead, whereupon the hammer turned in the air and flew back to Huro, Who snatched it easily. Pleased, Huro tucked the shaft of the hammer into His new belt.

As Huro resumed His noble task of protecting the civilized peoples of the world and scaring barbarians with His thunder, His uncle Sozho grew jealous of Huro’s popularity. Foolishly thinking He could beat the younger god, Sozho challenged Huro to a duel. Fearful of Huro’s hammer, Sozho stipulated that the gods would fight as birds: Sozho as an eagle and Huro as a rooster. Huro gladly accepted His uncle’s challenge. Numerous gods and goddess gathered to watch the fight.

With talons gleaming in the sunlight, the eagle Sozho swooped down upon the rooster Huro. At the last instant, Huro leapt into the air and met Sozho with His own sharp claws, digging deep into the eagle’s chest. As Sozho flapped away, blood stained His feathers. Before the eagle attacked again, He was stopped by ancient, heron-headed Sívorí, Goddess of Stars. Sívorí was concerned for Sozho’s safety; She did not want the King of the Gods to die. She quickly healed Sozho’s wound and released Him to fight again.

Sozho dove at Huro once more. Huro leapt up to engage, and this time He didn’t release. The two birds tumbled to the ground, Their feet latched into each other’s bodies, Their wings pounding furiously, and Their beaks stabbing to and fro. Blood streamed from both birds as They wrestled, stirring up dust all around.

Watching intently, Nuvíní could not stand to see Her favored son be injured like so. Her anguish grew to the point that She had to intervene. While the two gods twisted on the ground, Nuvíní took a spear -- enchanted it so it wouldn’t fall out -- and hurled it at Sozho. Unfortunately, She hit Huro by mistake. Huro howled in pain and released from Sozho. The eagle hobbled away, to be healed by Sívorí once again.

Huro changed back to His manly form and demanded to know who had thrown the spear. He tried to yank it from His side, but the spear wouldn’t budge. Nuvíní apologized profusely, called the spear back to Her, said She had aimed for Sozho, and healed all of Huro’s wounds. Huro glared at His mother, but accepted Her apology.

The King of the Gods transformed back to His usual shape, picked up His sword and battle gear, and demanded Huro resume the duel. With a curt nod, Huro fasted His belt and hefted His hammer. The two gods circled each other. Sozho did not want to get close enough for Huro to strike with His hammer, while Huro looked for an opening to get past His uncle’s magically impenetrable shield and around His breastplate. The breastplate was, in fact, the Tablet of Destinies, which proclaims its possessor to be the Ruler of the Universe and King of the Gods. Since it has lasted and will last the entire history of the universe, the Tablet of Destinies is naturally indestructible. Neither god bothered to throw lightning at His opponent, for They both mastered its use and it would only give energy to the other.

Suddenly a spear impaled Sozho’s back, thrown by Nuvíní. Sozho collapsed to the ground, twisting to see who had attacked Him. Seeing it was Nuvíní, Sozho begged with Her for mercy, on account of Their kinship and marriage. Meanwhile, Huro unfastened the Tablet of Destinies from His incapacitated uncle and held it aloft, proclaiming Himself to be the new King of the Gods. Exactly as all the elder goddesses had foreseen at His birth, Huro overthrew Sozho and become the Ruler of the Universe.

Just then, Nuvíní relented to Sozho’s pleading. She removed the spear from His back and healed the injury. When Huro saw this, uncontrollable lightning flickered from His fingertips as rage overcame Him. Not only had His mother hit Him with a spear, She had now compounded Her betrayal by removing Her spear from His adversary. Huro lifted His hammer and threw it at Nuvíní’s head. Before anyone could react, the hammer smashed into Her skull, shattering the bone into a thousand shards and scattering Her brains across the landscape.

As the assembled gods and goddesses stared in horror, Huro caught His returning hammer and stalked away from His mother’s lifeless body, pausing only to cow Sozho with a regal stare. Sívorí raced to the dead goddess and began a healing incantation, reshaping Nuvíní’s beautiful head and coaxing Nuvíní’s spirit back into Her form.

At the same time, red-haired Zhoro, God of Heat, declared that Sozho should go get the Tablet of Destinies back from Huro, but the air god was too scared. Thusly Zhoro rounded up a motley posse to go steal the tablet: goat-snake Zhaké, God of Rivers; Korutuzho, God of Agriculture, to Whom Zhoro had once given the tablet; golden Píríuso, God of the Sun; Zhoro’s unpredictable sister Rívorí, Goddess of Wildfire; and devious Zhíanoso, High God of Fire. From all directions, They attacked Huro. Píríuso filled the air with arrows all precisely aimed at the thunder god’s chest, Rívorí unleashed a gout of lava from the earth under His feet, Zhaké sent a torrent of water racing toward Him, Korutuzho sliced His sickle down at Huro’s head, Zhíanoso burned away the air all around Him, and Zhoro confronted Huro with sword in hand.

Huro blocked the arrows, sickle, and lava with the indestructible Tablet of Destinies, stood His ground as the river raced around Him, threw His hammer to knock Zhíanoso unconscious, but while Huro was distracted by all the other gods, Zhoro tackled Him. The hammer returned, but Huro was no longer in place to catch it. As They fell under the waves, Zhoro stabbed Huro through His heart. Huro continued to struggle, His strength still increased by His belt, but that power quickly diminished without a beating heart nor air to breathe.

Thus Huro died. Zhoro grabbed the Tablet of Destinies from His immobile hands and quickly raced back to Sozho, to Whom Zhoro gave the tablet. Sozho thanked the red god and declared Himself King of the Gods once again. Distraught, Nuvíní hurried to Her son’s body. To atone for Her earlier betrayal, She healed His wounds with Her magical script and restored life to Huro. Upon waking, Huro forgave Nuvíní. When She asked if He would attack Sozho now, Huro reminded Her that Sozho had challenged Him to a duel, not the other way around. If that eagle of the wilderness dared to attack civilization or Huro again, however, Huro would not hesitate to humiliate His uncle.

While Huro resumed His duties, Sozho continued to hold a grudge. The king’s jealousy of His nephew’s strength and popularity was now compounded by the fact that He had temporarily lost His throne to Huro and had only regained it through the actions of others. Thusly, Sozho searched for the day He could enact His revenge upon Huro.

A year or so later, Zhíanoso was in the form of a grizzly bear, frolicking in a mountain meadow, eating berries and such. Suddenly He couldn’t move His paws. They were stuck to the ground! Sozho flew down on His broomstick and laughed at the fire god, announcing that He now had Him trapped with a magic spell and would not release Zhíanoso till He agreed to do His bidding. Zhíanoso, of course, refused. He struggled to free Himself and failed, but still would not help Sozho.

Days and months passed. After eating all the berries within reach, Zhíanoso grew hungrier and hungrier. It became apparent to the fire god that if He didn’t agree to Sozho’s demands, He would die of starvation, stuck to that spot. Thus Zhíanoso relented. He asked what Sozho wanted Him to do. Gleefully, the air god instructed Zhíanoso to bring Huro to Him, but not as an adversary. He insisted that Huro think favorably of Sozho when They next would meet. Zhíanoso promised it would be so.

Upon His release, Zhíanoso ravenously emptied a nearby river of its salmon, then went to bring Huro into Sozho’s trap. To ensure that Huro would stand beside Sozho and not against Him, Zhíanoso reasoned that He needed to attack something -- or someone -- that They both held dear. Filling that description was Rézhíní, Huro’s wife and Sozho’s favored daughter. As such, Zhíanoso promptly caused Rézhíní’s death (knowing full well that Nuvíní could and would revive Her) and waited for Huro’s attack.

Thunder shook the air and lightning filled the sky long before Huro appeared. As the thunderheads burst, drenching the land in a violent deluge, Huro pointed His hammer at Zhíanoso and demanded vengeance. A sudden death would be insufficient. Zhíanoso needed an everlasting punishment.

Even though Zhíanoso held nothing back in His struggles, Huro quickly pinned Him against a large boulder. Sozho arrived with a length of enchanted iron chain and helped Huro affix the fire god to the rock. Huro then grabbed a viper out of the bushes and tied it over Zhíanoso’s immobilized face and made the snake drip venom continuously onto the captured god.

To this day and till the End of the Gods, Zhíanoso has been and will be chained to that boulder with viper venom dripping on His face, in punishment for killing beautiful Rézhíní. On the bright side, His plan worked. Huro and Sozho stood side-by-side, admiring Their work, chuckling with every scream from the fire god.

After a while, Sozho suggested Huro join Him for a drink to celebrate. Jovial, Huro agreed. Their rowdy imbibing lasted late into the night. Several hours and incalculable beer later, They were the only two remaining near the fire -- even Sozho’s brother Voro, God of Hearth Fire, had left the hearth for sleep. Eventually, uncle and nephew grew tired and decided to just lie together on the rug near the fire, in lieu of the long walk back to Their bedchambers.

As They lay together, Sozho enacted the second phase of His scheme. He inserted His penis between Huro’s legs and soon ejaculated. Unbeknownst to Sozho, Huro had put His hand between His thighs and caught His uncle’s semen. Huro would certainly never let any god have sexual intercourse with Him, but He held back His indignation to better outwit His uncle. After Sozho fell asleep, Huro crept out of the castle and washed His hand clean in the river. Knowing what Sozho would want for breakfast, Huro then proceeded to spread His own semen all over His uncle’s lettuce crop. He then returned to the hearth and laid down beside Sozho.

In the morning, Sozho gobbled down seven heads of lettuce with a big grin on His face, then called for a meeting of the gods. As everyone gathered in Sozho’s throne room, Sozho made sure that Huro stood beside Him. Almost laughing, the King of the Gods declared His dominance over Huro, for He had had His way with His nephew. At this, Huro guffawed and proclaimed Sozho a liar. He demanded Sívorí call forth Sozho’s semen to see where it actually was.

While all the gods and goddesses watched intently, Sívorí agreed and called out to Sozho’s seed. Much to Sozho’s surprise and chagrin, the reply sounded from the river outside. The assembly frowned in confusion while Sozho demanded that something was wrong. Sívorí assured everyone that Sozho’s semen was certainly not inside Huro as the air god had claimed.

At this point, Huro asked Sívorí to do the same for His own seed. Sívorí did, and to everyone’s surprise (except Huro), the semen replied from within Sozho. Huro clearly dominated Sozho, not the other way around. In a huff, Sozho flew away.

Huro stood alone beside the throne, the strongest of all the gods. In the none-too-distant future, when Zhíanoso escapes His bonds and the new age dawns, Huro will once again acquire the Tablet of Destinies and overthrow Sozho. Huro shall be the King of the Gods and the Ruler of the Universe, as is His right and privilege for being the dominant god in all the universe.

With His mighty strength, Huro defends civilization from invaders, destroyers, and Sozho’s desert wilderness. He shall strike down our enemies with lightning and thunder. Huro will always stand beside us as we protect our kingdom, for Naraka is the pinnacle of civilization and the greatest kingdom in the world.

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