Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Tale of Nuvíní

Today is the Holy Day of Nuvíní, High Goddess of Earth, Queen of the Gods, Mother of Civilization, Bringer of Knowledge, and the wisest god of Them all. So say I today.

65-Willow Creek Valley

Years before She became the Queen of the Gods, Nuvíní longed for more wisdom. It was rumored that at the center of the world, there was a great tree that stretched far into the heavens, supporting the sky. Between the roots of the World Tree was the Well of Wisdom. One sip of the well’s waters would provide a person unimaginable foresight, knowledge, and cognitive powers. Thusly, Nuvíní headed for the tree.

She soon discovered that the World Tree is so large that the realm of the gods lies completely underneath one of the major roots, while the realm of demons lies underneath a second root and the realm of mortals lies underneath the third major root. Therefore it took Nuvíní many years to find the Well of Wisdom, but She succeeded. Guarding the well sat a giant named Nírío, who refused to share the water unless Nuvíní proved Herself worthy.

Nuvíní accepted the requirement. Reasoning that a truly worthy goddess would have great sacrifices made in Her honor, Nuvíní decided to sacrifice Herself to Herself. Thus with a spear, She impaled Herself onto the World Tree, where She hung upside-down. Quite impressed, Nírío nevertheless would not give Her a sip of the water, nor any food. Nuvíní was not yet worthy.

After a fourday hanging from the tree, Nuvíní spotted strange markings on a small root below Her. Despite Her weakened condition, She reached down toward the root, intrigued. Straining mightily, She inched Her fingers around the root until She had a good grip, then pulled. The oddly marked root barely budged at first, but Nuvíní used every last ounce of Her energy and so the root lifted. Suddenly a calming strength swept over Nuvíní, relieving Her tired body and spirit. At once She knew the markings were writing, She understood the concept of writing, and She knew the power it possessed. Nuvíní would thus share this power, this art of writing, with only the worthy beings of the worlds.

Before Nuvíní left the World Tree, however, Nírío acknowledged that She had indeed proved Herself and could be allowed to drink from the Well of Wisdom. The giant would not, though, give Nuvíní a sip, with nothing in exchange. Not content with just the knowledge of writing, Nuvíní offered one of Her eyes in exchange for a drink. Nírío accepted, and so Nuvíní plucked out Her left eye and handed it to the giant, who placed it in a third eye socket in his head. Thus Nírío will always see what Nuvíní sees and knows what Nuvíní knows.

Lifting a ladle of well water to Her lips, Nuvíní drank the wisdom. With the wisdom came knowledge of the intricacies of life and death, power over both, and the ability to use this strength properly. Nuvíní could command anything in the universe, if She so chose. She could kill with a wave of Her hand and raise the dead with an incantation.

When She returned to the realm of the gods, Her siblings were much impressed with Nuvíní’s new abilities. Her brother Sozho, Who flew with eagles, became jealous and decided to grab power for Himself. With the help of Their brothers Pétíso, Vasataté, and Voro, Sozho overthrew Their father Korutuzho, God of Agriculture, and became King of the Gods. As all five siblings deserved a share of the universe, They divided it among Themselves. Sozho claimed the air and the sky to be His, and thus became the High God of Air. Pétíso took control of mortal souls, and thus became the God of Death. Vasataté selected water and the seas, thus becoming the God of Oceans. Voro chose fire, and became the God of Hearth Fire. Nuvíní claimed the earth and all that grows on it, plant and animal. She is thus the High Goddess of Earth.

Soon thereafter, Sozho and Nuvíní married, as They were the strongest gods in all the universe. Since She was now the Queen of the Gods, Nuvíní fashioned Herself a crown of cow horns, suitable for an earth goddess. Sozho and Nuvíní were quite the prodigious couple; amongst Their children were Rézhíní, Goddess of Plants, Nazhoro, God of Coldness, and Vuzhí, Goddess of Life. While Rézhíní and Vuzhí were both blonde, beautiful, and pure, Nazhoro was so ugly to not bear further mention. Nuvíní and Her two daughters traveled the world, making crops bountiful, bringing plants to blossom and fruition, raising the fertility of all beings, and generally generating a beautiful, abundant, and well-fed world.

While Nuvíní was away, however, Sozho did not remain faithful. In fact, His dalliances continued even while She was home. Despite Nuvíní’s warnings and Sozho’s promises that He would stop, Sozho sired children by Rakazhazhíní, Goddess of Clean Air, Hérazha, Goddess of Wind, and countless demigoddesses and mortals. With one mortal woman, Sozho fathered Nuvíníkoríso, who grew to be as strong and strong-headed as his father.

By this point, Nuvíní had Her fill of Sozho’s infidelity. She decided that Nuvíníkoríso must be punished, to show Sozho what would happen to any future bastard children. Wherever Nuvíníkoríso traveled, Nuvíní shook the earth and wilted the crops. Famine and destruction followed Nuvíníkoríso across the land. To cause more pain and failure for the mortal, Nuvíní appeared to him and promised the man immortality if he completed thirteen tasks of Her choosing. Nuvíníkoríso did not realize that these trials would be virtually impossible to complete, so he agreed readily.

Nuvíníkoríso’s first task, as set forth by Nuvíní, was to slay the mighty Lion of Nérího and return in less than a month. Nuvíníkoríso set off at once, making arrows as he walked to Nérího. Unbeknownst to the man, the powerful lion’s hide was impenetrable to any object, no matter how sharp. When Nuvíníkoríso tracked down the lion, he started shooting arrows at it. Every one found its target, but left not a scratch. The Lion of Nérího jumped at Nuvíníkoríso and the two tumbled to the ground, fully locked in combat. Eventually, Nuvíníkoríso knocked the lion unconscious with a rock, then strangled it to death.

With the lion’s skin draped over his shoulders, Nuvíníkoríso returned to Nuvíní a day shy of the deadline. She was impressed by his prowess, but warned the mortal that his trials would each be more difficult than the preceding. She then sent him to kill the hundred-headed water demon of Lake Kolono, which terrorized the neighboring towns. The demon’s breath was poisonous and if it lost one of its befanged heads, two more heads would grow back in its place. Nonetheless, Nuvíníkoríso headed for Lake Kolono with grim determination and his sword ready.

Meanwhile, Sozho had stopped adultering, but had taken up fighting instead. For one reason or another, He and His brother Pétíso fought a duel. Sozho won, killing Pétíso. Upon seeing this, Nuvíní became very upset, for Pétíso was an honorable god and presided over the souls of the Underworld quite well. She thus recited incantations, inked mystical characters onto Pétíso’s chest, and brought Him back to life. Pétíso thanked His sister and resumed His work.

About that time, Nuvíníkoríso returned to Nuvíní with the water demon’s solitary immortal head, still dripping blood from its open neck. The rest of the beast was dead. Nuvíní reluctantly congratulated the man and sent him to capture the Golden Caribou of Tarénara, Goddess of Hunting, Who the earth goddess had already conferred with. This caribou doe had gold antlers and bronze hooves, and most importantly could outrun an arrow. Nuvíníkoríso nodded briskly and ventured forth. Before too long, he returned with the Golden Caribou in shackles, having netted her while she slept. As Nuvíníkoríso untied the doe, Nuvíní took hold of an antler, but as soon as the caribou’s feet were free, she bolted back to its mistress, Tarénara. Nuvíní was left holding a broken length of golden antler in Her hand.

Even though She no longer had the Golden Caribou, Nuvíní agreed that Nuvíníkoríso had delivered it as instructed. She therefore proceeded to give him a series of challenges, all of which Nuvíníkoríso completed. At Her command, and with the hopes of immortality, the man captured the Giant Boar of Séralamérahíro; cleaned the stables of King Rakíríso -- who had divinely healthy livestock which prodigiously produced dung -- in a single day; killed the poisonous, metallic birds of Rékaré, God of Rock, Who stood with Nuvíní to watch the fight; captured the Bull of Koríví; stole the man-eating horses from Rékaré’s castle; obtained Tarénara’s girdle; stole a herd of cattle from the monster Kéralíané, who had three bodies for his one head; and collected apples from Nuvíní’s garden in the realm of the gods.

At this point, when Nuvíníkoríso had completed eleven of his thirteen tasks, Nuvíní was getting frustrated. This was hardly the deadly punishment the bastard son of Sozho deserved. Sozho, for His part, had become consumed with garnering revenge upon Pétíso. The air god still held a grudge for some silly reason, and Nuvíní’s resurrection of Their brother didn’t sit well with Sozho. One day, when Pétíso was least expecting it, Sozho walked up behind Him and lopped off His head. Sozho then proceeded to hack up Pétíso’s body and, with the help of His eagles, scattered the pieces to the farthest corners of the world.

For two reasons in one, Nuvíní ordered Nuvíníkoríso to collect all of Pétíso’s body parts as his next task, within a month. The man set out across the land, hunting down every finger, knee, rib, tooth, and ear. After a month, Nuvíníkoríso returned to Nuvíní, missing only one eye and the god’s manhood. He apologized profusely for not having everything; Nuvíní took pity on the poor soul and kept his hope for immortality alive, despite this failure.

While She sent Nuvíníkoríso to capture Pétíso’s four-headed guard dog Sérasavasé as his thirteenth task, Nuvíní began the ceremony to revivify Her brother. She arranged the body parts in their natural configuration, with two exceptions. Since the mortal had not retrieved His manhood, Nuvíní placed the shaft of golden antler in its stead. As for the missing eye, Nuvíní had none to spare, so Pétíso would have to live without. The wise goddess then began Her incantations, simultaneously inscribing magical words with Her quill pen along every seam to be healed.

As the living power of the universe coalesced around Them, Pétíso’s body merged into one and His soul re-entered His physical form. Awash with energy and intrigued by Pétíso’s lively golden manhood, Nuvíní decided to enact another revenge against Her husband. For the first and only time in Her marriage, She mated with someone not Her husband. The residual energy of the revivification swept Nuvíní and Pétíso into a lusty frenzy that ended days later with both sated and Nuvíní pregnant.

After the energy dissipated, Pétíso thanked Nuvíní for resurrecting Him and then returned to His home in the Underworld. Nuvíní, though, could not return to Her home, for Her child was already showing. She could not let Sozho know of Her infidelity. As She wandered the countryside, trying to decide Her best course of action, Zhíanoso, High God of Fire, happened by. For a laugh, since the fire god has always enjoyed fooling Sozho, Zhíanoso gave Nuvíní His eight-legged horse, named Sarévaního. The horse, who instantly took a liking to Nuvíní, was so large that Nuvíní’s growing girth was completely unnoticeable. Sarévaního bounded across the land, as if the goddess were as light as a feather.

When the time came to give birth, Nuvíní traveled to a distant land. All alone, She delivered Huro, God of Thunder, Who as an infant was already larger than either Pétíso or Sozho and could throw lightning bolts more deftly than the air god ever could. Nuvíní left Huro in the care of a flock of giant chickens and headed back for home before Sozho would suspect anything.

While in that distant land, however, Nuvíní spotted an eye lying under a leaf. She instantly recognized it as Pétíso’s missing orb, but since His body had been reassembled without the eye, there was no longer a place for it in His body. Therefore She fit the eye into Her own empty socket. As They were siblings, the eye was a perfect match for Her other. With dual sight, Nuvíní returned home.

Waiting for Her was Nuvíníkoríso with Pétíso’s dog Sérasavasé draped over his shoulders. He demanded that since he had completed all thirteen tasks laid before him, Nuvíní should grant him immortality at once. With Pétíso’s eye now in Her skull as a reminder, Nuvíní stated that Nuvíníkoríso had failed to collect all of Her brother’s body parts and thus was not deserving of immortality. Nuvíníkoríso hung his head low, knowing the truth, and sighed. As he turned to go, Nuvíní took pity on him and said She’d give him one last chance to earn immortality: he must travel to the distant land of giant chickens and fight and beat the blond giant living in their midst, named Huro.

The mortal man raced away while the goddess followed leisurely upon Her horse Sarévaního. When Nuvíníkoríso found Huro and attacked Him, the lightning god killed the mortal instantly. He then greeted His mother and resumed His meal. Nuvíní looked down upon the deceased Nuvíníkoríso with admiration. The man had stood no chance against the god, yet attacked him with gusto and gumption. Despite his failures, Nuvíní felt She must honor the man and grant him immortality. Thusly She recited Her incantations, inked Her script, burned away Nuvíníkoríso’s mortality, and brought Him back to life as a demigod.

While Nuvíníkoríso was dead, however, his spirit traveled to the Underworld to be judged by Pétíso. While there, the departed soul happened to mention to the King of the Dead that Nuvíní now had two good eyes, which both looked just like Pétíso’s solitary oculus. Upset at Nuvíní’s betrayal, Pétíso vowed revenge. He decided that since Nuvíní had taken something which He held dearly, He would do the same to Her. He therefore went right out and kidnapped Her beautiful daughter, Vuzhí.

Nuvíní and Her other beautiful daughter, Rézhíní, looked everywhere for Vuzhí, but to no avail. She was nowhere to be found. Neither of Them thought for an instant that Vuzhí might be held prisoner in the Underworld, for She was not dead and Pétíso was so grateful to His sister Nuvíní -- or so They thought. As the earth goddess searched fruitlessly, She neglected Her duties. Crops failed without Her helping hand. Animals ceased giving birth. All across the world, starvation and disaster took hold.

Hit hard by the loss of Vuzhí, Nuvíní fell into a pit of depression. She began to lose Her grip on reality as She searched in vain for Her lovely daughter. Nuvíní abandoned Her mighty horse and began wandering the earth on foot, disguised in peasant garb, a wide-brimmed hat, and an old woman’s body. On the road, She befriended a pair of ravens, who flew all over the world in search of Vuzhí. Nuvíní granted them the gift of speech, so the birds could relate what they found, ¬¬but the ravens had no news to report on Vuzhí’s location. The Goddess of Life was simply gone.

With the two ravens perched on Her shoulders, Nuvíní walked into the kingdom of Síhosírí. To the king, She offered Her assistance as a nurse for his children. Despite Nuvíní’s melancholy and odd appearance, the king could sense Her maternal strength and fertility, so he offered Her a job. Nuvíní cared well for the king’s daughters -- for he had no sons -- and the king was pleased, even though the people of Síhosírí were beginning to starve like everyone else.

While most of the universe sank into despair along with Nuvíní, the youngest princess of Síhosírí continued to play and laugh without care. One day, the girl’s antics finally overwhelmed Nuvíní’s depression. The goddess cracked a smile, once more seeing what was good in the world. Instantly, life in Síhosírí improved -- wilted plants retook their natural shape, flowers started to blossom, and animals began bearing young again.

Soon thereafter, the queen of Síhosírí gave birth to a boy. Nuvíní was so thankful for the royal family’s hospitality, She decided to grant immortality to the young prince. While She was casting Her spell on the infant, however, the queen entered the room. Not expecting the ceremony, which required the prince be wrapped in fire to burn away his mortality, the queen shrieked and snatched her son away from Nuvíní. Before the queen could raise alarm, Nuvíní revealed Her true identity, transforming from the old woman to a goddess of amazing beauty, also changing Her floppy hat back to Her regal crown. Nuvíní’s aura radiated warmth and amazing wisdom; the queen knelt in subservience and apology.

With Her true self revealed, Nuvíní taught the people of Síhosírí the intricacies of farming, showing them how to properly plough their fields and trim their orchards. Soon Síhosírí was the center of civilization in the realm of the mortals. Their knowledge has spread far and wide throughout the years, but at the time, most of the universe still remained in eternal winter.

In the realm of the gods, Sozho was hungry. His castle had depleted its stores of food and there was no more to be found. After Nuvíní had disappeared, Sozho had learned that Vuzhí was in the Underworld, married to His brother Pétíso. Therefore, in an effort to get Nuvíní back -- and thus His food -- Sozho forced Pétíso to release Vuzhí half of the year. When Vuzhí returned to the land of the living, She quickly found Her mother. With much rejoicing, They brought fertility and growth to all the realms under the World Tree. Much pleased, Sozho devoured entire farms of food.

To this day, for half the year, Nuvíní and Her daughters travel the universe, bringing life and prosperity to all, while the other half the year, Vuzhí disappears underground and so the world falls into darkness and decay. Throughout the seasons, Nuvíní rides tall on Her eight-legged horse with Her ravens bringing Her information from across the universe. She gives us wisdom, teaches us writing and the power inherent in its symbols, and cares for every human being, animal, plant, and rock in every realm under the World Tree. Nuvíní is the Queen of the Gods and the Mother of Civilization; worship Her as She deserves!

No comments: