Bogvaskr and Istra

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Bogvaskr and Istra

Postby Solaje » Sat Mar 23, 2013 2:06 pm

I was going to post a log of the storytelling contest (Acarin participated as well!) but apparently I don't know how to log the game correctly. So here is the story Solaje told, without all the IC actions.

~~~

I once lived in the highest reaches of the western mountains on the border of Ivial and Tol Rhun. At this time each year, at the equinox, the people tell an old tale. Even if you are of Ivial, it is not likely that you will have heard it before; we hold our spring celebration before the passes are thawed enough to allow the lowland people. This story has never been written down, to the best of my knowledge.

Once, there were three small, but wealthy cities nestled in the deep forests on the slopes of the mountains. The cities were self-governing and self-reliant, with strong walls that contained beautifully terraced gardens and graceful marble palaces.

The remains of these miniature kingdoms are still there, and still self-reliant. We cannot call them cities any longer, but they possess a semblance of their former glory. If any of you have visited these places, you will now understand the lovely white buildings amid the plain wooden structures of the small hamlets. Each city was wealthy in its own unique way. The city most prominent in this legend was once famous for its blue roses. Some still claim they never existed, and I admit, I have never seen one.

The legend we tell claims that blue rose vines covered every inch of the city walls, brighter than the summer sky at noon. People travelled from all around the continent just to gaze upon them and inhale their fragrance. The roses were said to possess prodigious healing properties, and some even claimed that powerful love potions could be made with the petals. Many purchased seeds and cuttings, hoping that they would take root in other places, but they failed without exception. The city called Corviael was the one place in the world the blue roses flourished.

And so, Corviael’s wealth and power grew with each passing year.

The ruler of Corviael was called a prince, never a king, as even then the nation of Ivial was forming. The daughter of the prince, Istra, was dear to all who knew her. It is said that everything around her was made more beautiful by her presence. She was able to heal the dying with a breath and comfort the broken with a glance. She often walked alone in the wild places, confident that nothing would harm her.

Many of you know of Bogvaskr, the huntsman, and Atros, the wild lady. We once knew them by different names, now long forgotten. In ages past, they were lovers. They played an eternal game of hunter and prey. Atros would find the most secret, remote niche of her untamed lands and laugh while he looked for her. She laughed when he caught her, as well.

If Bogvaskr had not come across Istra wandering among the ferns one summer afternoon, they might still be laughing together to this day. When Bogvaskr first saw her, Istra was weaving a circlet of blue rose vines for her sister, digging her toes into the cool moss and speaking softly to a little red-breasted robin on her shoulder. Bogvaskr quickly disguised himself, so he would not frighten her off.

The huntsman has picked up many disguises through the ages, and can make himself appear in thousands of unexpected forms. He chose to appear to Istra as an ordinary gentleman. They spoke for many hours. All through that summer, autumn, and into the winter Istra spoke with Bogvaskr. No one knows what they spoke of, those long afternoon hours they sat together. What words could a god have for a mortal woman?

In the deepest, coldest part of winter, Bogvaskr abandoned his trickery and revealed his true nature to Istra. Horrified, she fled. In those days, people wisely avoided contact with the immortals. Istra knew many tales of gods meddling with humans, and they all ended in tragedy.

Just as Bogvaskr once pursued his wild lady, he now pursued Istra. Bogvaskr is a true master of the hunt; he uses wolves to flush his quarry, his eyes are as sharp as an eagle’s, and his feet are quicker than a winter gale. Istra stood no chance, and was soon overtaken. He took her to his mountain tower of diamond and stone, and there made her his wife. She had been unwilling out of fear, but she quickly grew to love Bogvaskr. Some say that because he was a god, she could not help but love him.

Atros did not fail to notice that Bogvaskr no longer pursued her, and for a time, her laughter ceased. In her rage, she abandoned the mountain cities to eternal snow. She refused to let a hint of spring’s soft breezes soften the harsh white mantle of old man winter.

For a decade the cities suffered pestilence, starvation, and isolation at the cruel hands of the scorned lady. No garden would bloom, no caravan come, until the thaw. Bogvaskr aided the people as best he could, delivering food, medicine, and teaching Corviael’s leaders the secrets of the hunt.

Istra knew nothing of her people’s afflictions; the huntsman kept it all from her. Some say he put her under an enchantment that made her blind to the everlasting ice; others say she was blind because of her love for him. In any case, she bore Bogvaskr three children in the years of their luckless union. In the tenth year, a day finally came when she begged her husband to let her visit her people. After much argument, he reluctantly agreed.

Words cannot describe the anguish Istra felt when she embraced her emaciated sister and witnessed the hollow eyed desperation on her people’s faces. She beat her fists on the stone floor of her father’s hall and wailed the name of Atros.
Some say Atros spoke to her then. Some say Istra always knew how to break the winter, and still others say that her guilt drove her to what she did next. She bid a sorrowful farewell to her family and climbed the path to the highest precipice she could see in the blowing snow.

As Istra threw herself off the cliff, Atros relented, taking pity on the mortal woman. With a wave of her hand, Atros transformed Istra into a warm spring breeze before she hit the ground. Wherever the breeze went, the snow melted and greenery awoke.
Bogvaskr mourned bitterly and took up his pursuit of Atros again, but not out of love. Even now, he seeks his revenge.
Istra’s three children went to live in Corviael, where their descendants still endure to this day. The cities recovered, to an extent, but no blue rose ever bloomed on the high walls again.

For many years, on the first full moon after the vernal equinox, the people of Corviael selected one youth and one maid to act out Bogvaskr’s hunt of Istra. If the maid remained free at sunrise, it was considered the sign of a long, favorable stretch of good weather. If she was caught under the full moon, she was expected to sacrifice herself for her people in the manner of Istra.

The traditions in Corviael are less barbaric now. We still hold to the tradition of Istra’s flight, but no one dies. If a maid is caught during the hunt, we only expect a slightly longer winter.

In Corviael, we tell this tale once a year.
Last edited by Solaje on Sat Mar 23, 2013 2:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"—In behint yon auld fail dyke
I wot there lies a new-slain knight;
And naebody kens that he lies there
But his hawk, his hound, and his lady fair."

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Postby Acarin » Sat Mar 23, 2013 5:29 pm

Here's my wonderfully unpolished poem as well, for the sake of completeness.

Spring. A time of joy. Blooming flowers. Romance. Nature's rebirth. The end to a harsh winter.But there is a different kind of spring that often goes unnoticed. I've written a poem about it that I will promptly share.

Off in the distance a deer peacefully fed
Springing out of the shadows, I cut off its head.
It dropped to the ground, and died in a mound.
It's carcass was left there to rot and decay.

Then came the monk, gathering herbs all alone
Clubbed in the back of the head with a bone.
Her vision goes gray, as she becomes prey.
The last thing she saw was her light dissipate.

Finally an Udemi, so comfortable in the forest,
He made the fatal mistake to ignore us.
While stooping over for a drink, I sprang from the brink
and cut his throat with a sharpened tree branch.

What hideous fate awaits the locksmith, focused on his trunk?
The lid swings open, and out I spring, removing a brain chunk.
"What cruel fate for some pitiful riln," we all thought as his body burned in a kiln.
Its amazing how long you can live while you burn.

I could go on but with spring comes rebirth,
So in the name of pure unadultered mirth
If it happens that your body should fall in the spring
...Find a rook.

Spring and rebirth. By Me.
20:21:01 [CHAT - (a mysterious GM)]: With obvious effort, Zuki pries up a thick scale over a drakolin's chest! Zuki spearhand-strikes the soft, unprotected area under the scale! Heart ruptured, death follows immediately. A drakolin lets out a final bellow of rage and falls lifeless to the ground.

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Re: Bogvaskr and Istra

Postby Jaster » Mon Mar 25, 2013 1:08 pm

Totally epic.

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