Yelmalio in Balazar

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Created On 28 February 1999
Last Updated On 28 February 1999
Copyright (c) Simon E. Phipp 1999

See Also

Eurmal and the Rock Stew
How Raven made the People

The Votanki hunters remember the Shining God who helped drive back the Ice in the Darkness, even though he was gravely injured by Storm and Darkness. In particular they tell of his two dogs, Faithful and Steadfast, and their three services. Faithful was white with black spots and was named for his character. Steadfast was black with white spots and was also named for his character.

Yelmalio was a kinsman of Votank and guardian of the Forests when they covered all of Votankiland as it then was. He was travelling to a camp in the north when he settled down to make camp. He lit his campfire and went to sleep. However, the Grey Runner, an immense and fearsome tiger, had secretly followed him and silently entered the camp. Two puppies has seen the campfire and had also entered. When they saw the Grey Runner, they started to snap and snarl, awakening Yelmalio and allowing him to drive off the Grey Runner. [1] Yelmalio thanked the dogs for their service and took them with him to the camp in the north.

At the North Camp, he greeted Votank and Grandmother Sky and their infant daughter [2]. Yelmalio settled down to talk to his kinfolk and left Faithful and Steadfast sleeping with the baby and with Yinkin who was visiting. Yinkin crept over to the infant's crib and began to steal her breath, as was his tendency [3]. Faithful and Steadfast started yapping and woke the infant who started to cry. Yelmalio came in and scolded the dogs while Yinkin slept by the fire. When Yelmalio had gone, Yinkin again tried to steal the infant's breath and the dogs barked and woke the baby. This time, Yelmalio took a stick and beat the dogs soundly while Yinkin slept by the fire. The third time, Yinkin had almost stolen the baby's breath when the dogs attacked him. Votank was tired and gave Yelmalio a magic charm which allowed him to understand the speech of dogs and they told him what Yinkin had done. Enraged, Yelmalio drove Yinkin from the camp and his kind were never welcome in Votankiland. This was the second service.

After many trials, Yelmalio went to Winter Hill to drive away Inora with his Heart of Fire. He bid Steadfast and Faithful stay behind, but they knew their place was with their master and they followed close behind [4]. Orlanth the Coward attacked Yelmalio and knocked him down. After he had stripped the Bright God of his Bright Armour, Orlanth raised his sword to slay our friend, but Steadfast leaped and took the blow himself, allowing Yelmalio to slip away. Next he met Zorak Zoran who fought him and knocked him down again. The Dark God raised his club to strike the Final Blow when Faithful leapt for his throat. The Dark God clubbed him to the ground and snapped his back, giving Yelmalio time to gather his Fire and throw it in Zorak Zoran's face, driving him from the field.

Yelmalio never forgot his friends and made them Stars where they could live. Even now, our shamans can contact Faithful and Steadfast [5] and many of our best dogs can trace their bloodlines back to them.


[1] This is Grey Runner RuneFang who is claimed to still live on the Balazar Plains.

[2] The daughter of Votank is never named, but we now know her as Firshala who has recently been freed.

[3] Yinkin was Orlanth's brother and was jealous of his Storm Powers, so he often stole the Breath of others in order to have more Storm Powers himself. He could often be seen crouched over sleeping people, especially over the cribs of children. Votanki have often claimed that he and his kind slew children and they are never welcome in the Votanki camps.

[4] Balazar Yelmalians have a variant to the Hill of Gold which allows them to take two dogs with them to help in the fight against Orlanth and Zorak Zoran. No evidence is available as to how successful this variant is.

[5] The Balazar cult of Yelmalio gains Speak to Dogs from them and members of their subcult may have dogs as allied spirits, rather then the usual Vrok Hawks. They have the gift Communication with Dogs and the geases Do not eat the flesh of dogs, never let a dog suffer needlessly and always drive off cats as geases. For this reason, many Pelorians call the Balazar Yelmalians "Dog Domers" and feel they are inferior.