The Ashes of Time

The Flower of Tazrak

“Mother, why does the Ohi tree have red Lehua flowers?”

Anya, shaman of the Wolf tribe breaks off her prayers, looks the to her daughter and smiles.

‘That is an easy question to answer my dear. The gods tell us that the goddess Jayia had many children some were born immortal and some were born mortals. This story is about Lehua who was a mortal daughter of Jayia and half sister to the god Tazrak.’

You see Ohi’a and Lehua loved each other from the moment they first saw each other at a village dance. Ohi’a was a tall strong man with a handsome face and lithe form, much like the god Kalio. He was something of a trickster, like the God “Whose Name Is Not Spoken”, and was first in all the sports played by all the young men. Lehua was gentle and sweet and as fragile as a flower. Her beauty was the talk of the island, and her father was quite protective of his only child.

When Lehua saw the handsome, bold Ohi’a speaking with her father beside the bonfire, she blushed crimson, unable to take her eyes from the young man. At the same moment, Ohi’a glanced up from his conversation and his mouth dropped open at the sight of the beautiful maiden. He was not even aware that he had stopped speaking right in the middle of his sentence, so overwhelmed was he by the sight of the fair maiden across the fire from him.

Lehua’s father nudged the young man, recalling him to his duties as a guest. Ohi’a stuttered and stammered apologies, trying to continue his conversation while keeping one eye on the fair Lehua. Lehua’s father was amused by the young man’s obvious infatuation with his daughter. He quite liked this bold trickster, and so he offered to introduce Ohi’a to his daughter. The young man almost fell over in his haste as they walked across the clearing to where Lehua stood with her friends.

From that moment, there was no other woman for Ohi’a but Lehua. He had eyes only for her, and courted her with a passion and zeal that swiftly won her heart. Her father gave his only daughter gladly into the keeping of the strong young man, and the young couple lived quite happily for several months in a new home Ohi’a built for his bride.

Then one day the demon goddess Lamashtu was walking in the forest in human guise near the home of the handsome Ohi’a and spied the young man at work. Lamashtu was smitten by him, and went at once to engage him in conversation. Ohi’a spoke politely to the beautiful woman, but did not respond to her advances, which infuriated Lamashtu. She was determined to have this young man for herself, but before she could renew her efforts, Lehua came to the place her young husband was working to bring him his midday meal.

When he saw his lovely wife, Ohi’a’s face lit up with love. He dropped everything at once and went to her side, leaving a fuming Lamashtu to stare in jealous rage at the young couple. Dropping her human disguise, the goddess transformed into a winged jackal-headed woman and struck Ohi’a down, transforming him into a twisted ugly tree in revenge for spurning her advances.

Lehua fell to her knees beside the twisted tree that had once been her husband. Tears streaming down her lovely face, she begged Lamashtu to turn him back into a man or else turn her into a tree, as she could not bear to be separated from her beloved. But Lamashtu ignored the girl, sinking deep underground, her anger satisfied. But Tazrak saw what Lamashtu had done to his sister and was angry. As Lehua lay weeping in despair, Tazrak appeared and called upon his fellow god Balenor to reverse the curse. Balenor though skilled with curses was but a new god and his powers were no match for Lamashtu’s. So unable to break the curse, Tazrak and Balenor granted Lehua’s wish. They reached down and transformed Tazrak’s sister into a beautiful red flower, which they placed upon the twisted Ohi’a tree, so that she and her beloved husband would never more be apart.

From that day to this, the Ohi’a tree has blossomed with the beautiful red Lehua flowers. While the flowers remain on the tree, the weather remains sunny and fair. But when a flower is plucked from the tree, then heavy rain storms of Balenor fall upon the land like tears, for Lehua still cannot bear to be separated from her beloved husband Ohi’a. And should a tree be cut down and Tazrak notice the mountains rumble and smoke with Tazrak’s rage.

Lost Weapons

Balenor picks up the longsword “Thor” just lying on the ground seconds before one of the metal ants tries to pick it up. Barely heard thunder rumbles from the blade at Balenor’s touch, as if the blade disapproves of being carried by any but its owner.

“Where is Kalio?” mutters to himself

“Around the corner practicing some dance steps.” Airst says as his uncanny hearing picks up the Balenor’s mutters from all the way across the hallway.

Balenor walks around the corner and approaches Kalio. “Kalio, you left your sword lying on the ground again, an ant almost made off with it. What would you do if you lost your weapon?”

“Sorry Jinx, it must be the stupidity aspect from the dretchs’ essence that’s affecting me.” Kalio’s face reddens from embarrassment as he explains.

“Sure Kalio. Here’s Thor.”

As Kalio’s hand closes around his longsword Thor, the embarrassment of almost losing his weapon triggers a memory passed from his sword.

“Hold still, Thor. I’m trying to fix your train.” Loki folded a piece of white silk and applied the pins.

“I look ridiculous,” said Thor gloomily. The huge red-haired thunder god stared in the mirror at his muscular frame squeezed into the tight wedding gown. He frowned. Outside, thunder growled in response.

Loki pressed his lips together to keep them from twitching. “Nonsense, Thor. You look beautiful. It’s natural for a bride to be nervous.” Loki dodged swiftly to avoid the blow Thor aimed at his head.

“If I had my hammer, I would knock you down to earth,” Thor threatened.

“But you don’t have your hammer. Thrym, the King of the Frost Giants, does. If we would save Asgard from the Frost Giants, we must present Thrym with a bride,” Loki said.

“But not me,” howled Thor, “He wants Freyja, the goddess of Love.”

“But Freyja will not have him,” Loki retorted. “Now, do you or don’t you want Mjolner back?”

“I do,” Thor said sulkily.

“Then put on this veil and for Asgard’s sake, try to act like a blushing bride!” Loki jammed the face-concealing veil on Thor’s head, swept a white bridal cloak made of fake falcon feathers (hastily plucked from a flock of chickens) around the Thunderer’s shoulders and shoved him out the door.

Dark clouds swirled above the glowing golden chariot in the center of the courtyard and thunder growled menacingly as the bride stomped outside, white feathers quivering with rage. To Loki’s eye, Thor resembled an giant, irate chicken whose egg had been stolen from her nest.

“Don’t cluck too soon and give us away, my friend,” Loki whispered irreverently as he jogged after the Thunderer. Loki pushed Thor into the gleaming chariot, scooped up his own long serving woman skirts and joined his huge friend in the vehicle.

“This will be a wedding Thrym will not forget,” Thor said, taking up the reigns.

“Nor will I,” Loki murmured with a sidelong look at his finely feathered friend. Thor glared at him, his fiery gaze burning holes through the white bridal veil. “Careful,” Loki said, waving a hand to magically turn the burned bits back to white veiling. Thor shook himself all over, white feather’s quivering, and then he sent the golden chariot leaping into the skies and turned the glowing vehicle toward Jotunheim, the land of the giants.

In spite of their ridiculous garb, the matter at hand was serious. Asgard, the realm of the gods, was in danger. The Frost Giants had threatened her borders for as long as Loki could remember. However, Thor had always driven them back using the power of his hammer. Then the King of the Frost Giants had stolen Mjolner. Thrym’s price for returning the magical hammer was the hand of the lovely goddess Freyja in marriage. But Freyja had flatly refused to marry Thrym, putting the gods in an awkward situation. The gods had demanded a replacement bride, and that’s when Loki came up with this plan. He would disguise Thor himself as Freyja and Thor would fly to the kingdom of the Frost Giants to marry Thrym and steal back his hammer. Thor was under strict instructions to keep his mouth shut during the wedding feast and ceremony, because his bass voice was sure to give him away at once. Loki, in his guise as serving maid, would do all the talking for the pair.

The bridal chariot made a spectacular entrance into Jotunheim. The clouds massed miles deep, swirling wildly and bellowing thunder along the mountaintops. Fire blazed the chariot’s path and lightning flashed repeatedly within the swirling nimbus above their heads. But Thrym was not intimidated. He stood before the giants’ Feasting Hall with a fatuous smile on his craggy face. The King of the Frost Giant’s almost knocked Loki over in his eagerness to help the looming white figure out of the chariot. The King escort his silent bride into the great hall, her white feathered cloak and face-concealing veil flapping in the swirling breezes of the thunderstorm, leaving Loki to park the chariot and trot along behind.

King Thrym had outdone himself. Inside the Feasting Hall, tables groaned under the weight of fifteen massive oxen, and Loki could smell fresh salmon. The giants cheered madly when the silent bride was seated at the head table in a swirl of white chicken feathers. As he took his place behind Thor, Loki looked about for the hammer. It was nowhere to be seen.

As the wedding feast progressed, Loki became more and more uneasy. Thor seemed to think that the best way to keep his mouth shut was to fill it with food. The Thunderer was eating in massive quantities more suitable for a large god then a blushing bride.

“Don’t eat so much,” Loki hissed at Thor, after he swallowed most of an ox by himself.

“Ummmmm,” was Thor’s only reply.

The guests had abandoned their own eating to watch the hungry bride. Loki squirmed with embarrassment as Thor consumed eight large salmon, one right after the other. When Thor commandeered three large barrels of mead for himself, Loki whispered to Thrym: “Freyja was so excited she has not eaten a morsel for a week.”

“I could barely eat myself,” said Thrym besottedly. He patted Thor’s hand and playfully lifted the edge of the veil. Thrym caught a glimpse of ice blue eyes with lightening in their depths and dropped the veil in shock, springing away from his bride.

“Why are Freyja’s eyes so bright?” Thrym cried. “They burn like fire!”

“Freyja has not slept in a week,” Loki said soothingly, leading Thrym back to his seat. “Bridal nerves.”

Loki aimed a warning kick at Thor’s ankle. The clouds outside growled in response. All around the long table, the giants were casting doubtful looks at the bride. Thrym gazed around at his uneasy guests and leapt to his feet.

“Bring the hammer! I am impatient to be wed,” King Thrym cried.

Rolls of thunder came from outside. Loki saw Thor’s muscles tense under the white silk and feathers as the servants brought in the hammer. Ceremoniously it was placed on Thor’s lap. Instantly, Thor sprang from his chair, his veil ripping away. He swung his hammer around his head, his white feathered cloak flapping wildly about his massive form and the house was rocked to its foundations. Guests scrambled everywhere, fleeing for the doors as a brilliant flash of lightning set the roof ablaze. A roar of thunder caused the pillars to crumble and the Feasting Hall collapsed inward on the screaming guests.

From his vantage point on a nearby hillside, Loki saw Thor throw Thrym into a storage shed to await trial for the stealing of the hammer Mjolner. Then Thor made his way up to the place where Loki stood surveying the smoking ruins of the giants’ Feasting Hall.

Loki looked at Thor. His lips twitched as he gazed at the tattered remains of the white wedding gown and the flapping chicken-feather cloak.

“Do not say a word!” Thor threatened to box his ears with the hammer.

“I would not dream of it,” Loki said. “Come, let us go home.”

“Kalio! You OK?” Kalio nods. “Good. Let’s finish breaking out of here and go home.”

Memories of Long Past

As Balenor transferred the mythic energies contained in the shard through himself and into his sword Nemesis, half formed memories of times past bubbled just below the surface of his conscious thoughts. Only when his gaze fell upon the raven Mython did one fully form.

Deirdre was a young maid who lived with her two siblings Scarlet and Faisal and her father Mython. She and her family had a bad name in Firenze because of the hubris they used to show toward the gods and the meanness with which they treated others.

There was only one god Deirdre’ family liked to praise and that was god Arkin, for he was giving the family rich harvest and had taken a liking to Deirdre. They refused all other gods and isolated themselves from all other people.

Many times they were invited to take part in offerings to Jayia, the goddess of wisdom, but Mython’s answer was always the same; he did not sympathize with a goddess who had eyes as fair as an owl’s, since his own daughters had very dark eyes.

Many were also the invitations for the family to take part in the festivals of Airst and Kalio, the gods of the knowledge and beauty, but again the family would never sympathize with, let alone praise, a god who was a thief or a fool.

Even the invitation to honor Balenor, the wild god of Storms, was of no avail; Mython would disagree, claiming that he loathed the god who’s head was in the clouds.

The gods felt insulted to their honour and so they decided to take revenge. For this reason, Jayia and Kalio transformed into beautiful maids, while Balenor and Airst transformed into shepherds and one night they appeared in front of the family’s house.

Once there, the disguised Balenor invited Mython and Faisal to follow him to the banquet the shepherd had prepared for Balenor and asked from Deirdre to guide the maids to the sacred forest of Jayia and Kalio.

When Deirdre heard this, she got frustrated and started hurling insults at Jayia; immediately, the goddess transformed her into an owl and her sister Scarlet was transformed by Kalio into a seagull. Faisal tried to attack Airst with a roasting jack, but the god quickly transformed the unfaithful man into another bird with the name charadrius.

Mython complained about this punishment and Balenor transformed him into a raven and cursed him to only announce bad news ever since.

“Could he be the same Mython?” Balenor wondered.


Adrift in a sea of dreams your consciousness slips in and out of time. Long past triumphs and tragedies, loves and losses, hopes and failures fill your dreams. There is no sense of immediate time although eternity looms over it all. Every now and then you struggle to awake but it’s like trying to lift yourself out of a quicksand with nothing to grasp on to. Some of you struggle more than others but you all invariable settle back to the dreaming. Time passes…………………. Every now and then you sense others perhaps those that put you here; are they here to gloat, to ponder to simply observe? You do not know and as you roll in the sea of dreams these visits become less and less frequent and then stop.

You stir briefly as there is a great shaking but quickly settle back to your dreams and then….. You sense something else, someone familiar. A breathtaking beautiful woman’s face appears in your dreams; she truly is the woman of your dreams. Her voice fills your mind, “Awake my friends awake it is time to rise again!” You struggle to wake but still cannot lift yourself out of this quicksand. Her voice becomes more stringent, more demanding… “Awake!” she commands, you struggle but still cannot wake. Her voice fades and once again you sink back into the sea of dreams.

A beautiful thought fills your consciousness a young woman’s voice pleads “oh great ones hear me in my hour of need, I pray to you oh long lost Gods. Please spare my son he is sick and is dying and all the others will not heed my prayers. Please I beg of you I will give you anything if you spare him….” You reach down to send a spark of energy to her but realize that it will end you utterly. You only have enough energy to sustain yourself and you despair. Then there is another, providing the smallest spark of energy. It is faint oh so faint, aeons ago you would not have even noticed such a small amount but now it is but the slenderest thread that you might use to climb out of oblivion with. You take this energy and then reluctantly spend it sending out to answer this prayer and sink once again back into your dreams.

The young woman’s voice is back! “Thank you oh great ones, my son lives and I will honour my promise and become your priestess. I Anya of the wolf tribe so swear or may my life be forfeit”. You can feel yourself climbing once again out of the dreams but this time that thread of energy is there and you climb up and out and then…. You are awake. You are lying on a slab of stone, your body naked on the cold stone. A harsh white light fills the room and as you sit up you see others waking as well. With the tinniest bit of energy you cloth yourself in raiment’s from ages ago and call your talismans to yourself. You are weak, so weak but you are awake and you are certain that the power you have lost is out there for the retaking.

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