Mythology of Forntol
Table of Contents
The Day of Keewil
A rather bright, wispy morning beckoned the young Kassa lad to finish his breakfast early and to venture out among the trees around Shining Lake. He knew the lake as if he had been borne beneath its crystal surface, far from the safety of its silty shores. He had fished often from a large, overhanging rock ledge that seemed to teeter precipitously over the lapping water, often brushing aside gnats and flies as he pulled in an occasional trout, only to throw it back. He came to know that same trout - or at least he thought it was the same one - after several times, he felt a kinship with it, and studied its stripes, remembering each direction or misdirection of its markings, talking to it as if it could understand him. He'd throw it back, only to catch it again another day. It seemed to be the only way the fish could relate to him, and Keewil learned to remove the hook from its mouth carefully, so as not to harm it. The bond was strong, remarkably so, and Keewil would often place it back for a few seconds, as if to refresh it and allow the conversation to continue. For this was one of the only conversations he would have. Keewil was deaf and dumb.
A young man of 15, just the low side of the true age of reckoning, he hadn't the ability to let others know what or how he felt nor to hear others and their feelings. His parents had let him wander off with friends time and time again, to allow him the opportunity to meet others, perhaps young female Kassa, perhaps a kiss or two, perhaps just a smile. But, try as he may, he couldn't leave the shell, the shroud of silence Fate had dealt him. Oh, he mastered the art of signing, and others could understand him, but it wasn't the same. He knew when his friends would turn suddenly, point to something that wasn't readily obvious, that they were alerted to it by the sound, and that barrier would always keep him from having the one thing he knew he would never have - true love.
Keewil had brought along with him his heavy armor breastplate, sword, chain mail shirt and leg guards. He knew of few ways to leave this earth for a while, to look outside his eggshell, and those two were talking to the fish and working with his sword. He donned his regalia and began to feint, to move side-to-side, parrying at imaginary Orcs leaping and growling, lunging,.. . .caught him with a jab, in the neck, he's down. . .feel someone behind me. . ..sweep from lower left to upper right, there. . .right across the neck. . ..that will teach you, I can't hear you, but you'll never hear me cry for mercy. . .you who did this to me. . .
A quick pirouette swung him around to face the lake, and something caught his eye - a head, peeking out of the water, eyes at the surface, looking straight at him. Startled as he was, as this was an out-of-place occurrence, he stopped still, arm to the side, dropping his sword. The head came slowly toward him, first the nose breaking the surface, then the upper lip, then the lower - he swallowed so loud he swore he could feel the sound. The face was beautiful, the most stunning thing he had ever seen. The girl's long hair flowed along the lithe lines of her subtle shoulders, drying almost instantly as it arose from the water. But he didn't notice this, he continued to stare at the beautiful eyes, the mesmerizing globes that peeled the shell of his life, bared it to the world, opened it for all to see, the life that had been shorn from him as he emerged, the life that was so promising for the first few weeks, but was soon shown to all to be a heavy set of manacles, weighing him down, keeping him from what he really wanted, true love. And the girl read every word of it, every nuance of his thought, everything he had never spoken, as if it was all written on his face, It was as if his life was a book, written by the girl for only her eyes to read. Her gown, now dry as she walked across the grass to him, was blowing with the wind of her movement, with the beating of his heart, with his shallow breathing, and she closed the distance between them.
"Keewil, I have come for you. You know me - follow me, my love," she sang, as beautifully as choruses of heavenly wisps, of ghosts of the daughters borne of the goddess Bestra herself, so clear, so light. These were the first words he had ever heard. She kissed his lips, lightly, like the honey from a million bees, like the dew from a berry, hanging on a vine in the early morning light, like the flight of birds. She turned, looking over her shoulder, walking as effortlessly on a cloud of his own making, of thought, of sound, of love. He heard birds, leaves rustling, as he slowly walked behind her, unable, no, unwilling, to stop, to slow down.
"I am coming, I will be with you," he said, with a voice from nowhere, but he heard it, his own voice. He continued to walk after her, reaching for her outstretched hand, sloshing in time with her floating, They disappeared beneath the water, and as Keewil, weighted down with the full armor, took his last breath, the girl turned into a trout. He recognized it by the markings.
From that day forward, every year, young Kassa of 15 years of age celebrated the rite of passing into adulthood by walking thru the pond and out to the other side, where their life would be cleansed and prepared for love.
The Mystery of Garakesh
Do you know why Mount Garakesh had never been explored? It's not because no explorer ever survived - in fact, they all did. They weren't allowed to leave, they say.
They say there are mysterious beings called there. . . beings called Aranax. The Aranax couldn't allow the explorers to leave. They wanted nothing to do with others. But the time of the Aranax was soon to come. . . .
The great silver Apes, measuring almost 20 feet in height they say, had lived for countless centuries on Forntol, until pushed by urban crawl into the desolate mountainscape. Never allowing themselves to be seen, they lived in the giant solution caves carved out of the rock by endless springs. Numbering less than a thousand, they braved the cold and the thin air, watching. . ..
They say that the few explorers who made it were trapped and holed deep in the caverns, allowed to pursue their religion, society and intellectual pursuits, but never allowed to leave. The Aranax were dedicated to knowledge, and this invigorated them, giving them a new sense of purpose. For generations they had evolved, following the teachings of Bestra. They had lived alongside the Hilken and had seen Teregnaven, Kassa, Dwarves, gnomes and humans, one-by-one, coming to their shores and encroaching upon their mountains. Their highly-advanced system of values and firm social structure had given them their life's purpose - to gain information from afar and to eventually act as moderators, peacemakers and instructors of the new races.
They say the Aranax had seen the Orcs, Goblins and Kobolds spring up seemingly out of nowhere. They knew the danger of these vile creatures. And they knew of the misshapen, evil creature Kunevraxas. They say the White Wind was the cross-breed of a lost Aranax and an Orc -- but no one can be sure. Either way, the Aranax knew of his evil ambitions. . .
Now, with trouble brewing across the continent, they say the Aranax are considering coming out of hiding. But on which side?