Myths of the Rivals

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

See Also:
Sacred Societies of the Rivals
Cults of the Rivals
Summoning the Rivals
Once, along time ago, two mighty gods engaged in a series of contests which ended up with the world going mad and everything nearly being destroyed. They travelled the world and performed one contest in each of the places they met. One place was near Genert's Garden in a clearing in the forests of Prax. The two deities wanted a contest of Animals and looked for a judge. Eurmal was a friend of one of the gods and had been banished by the other and wanted revenge. He took a bundle of feathers and spat on it, making a new deity he called Raven. The two gods said they would ask the first spirit they saw in the clearing to be their Judge, so Eurmal hid Raven where no-one could see him. As the gods approached Raven appeared and became Judge for this contest.

Yelm produced the Sun Hawk, an osprey, a chicken and a winged horse. Orlanth made the mighty Thunder Bird, a sheep, a great deer and a mountain tiger. The playful Raven judged in favour of Orlanth even though Yelm was clearly the winner. Sun Hawk saw through the deception and chased raven from the field. Afterwards, Thunderbird always defeated Sun Hawk who defeated Raven who defeated Thunderbird. [1]

Eurmal tried to take back his feathers, but Raven liked being real and flew away. The sheep and tiger went West, the deer leapt over the mountains to the north, the winged horse flew north, the osprey and chicken stayed in Prax.

When the world was dark, after the two gods had fought and brought god things to an end, the Forest of Prax stood firm. It reached from the Earth to the Sky [2]. Among its branches sat four nests. The lowest was hidden in the darkness of the forest, away from the canopy, the next was in the windy branches, the next was in the Lower Sky and the highest was near to where the Sun used to live.

In those nest lived Raven, Thunderbird, Condor and Sun Hawk. Condor was a son of Vrimak, son of Yelm and had fought in the Gods' War until his rider fell and was consumed by Chaos. He saw the power of the Three Rivals and challenged each in turn. First he challenged Sun Hawk who was the Highest, but Sun Hawk was a Son of Yelm and Condor was only a grandson so was forced into retreat. Next he challenged Thunderbird who deafened him with a Thunderclap and chased him away. Finally, he faced raven who had been defeated by Sun Hawk, but Condor had no Clearsight and was tricked by his opponent's illusions. Defeated, Condor retreated to his nest high above the land where he sat and brooded.

A mighty and wild deity came to Prax in the Darkness and was welcomed by the frightened people. He was the son of Lodril and was called Oakfed. A god of fire, he was not lofty and aloof like Sun Hawk and gave his help freely. The people gave him food and he tore through the forests of Prax. First he reached the tree which held Raven's nest and was attacked by that demigod. Raven swooped down and was scorched black by the Wild Fire. He fled to his nest and hid it from view so that Oakfed could not find it. Next was Thunderbird who flew to Zola Fel who was his friend and took water into his wings, dropping it onto Oakfed's head. However, this was not enough and Thunderbird had to take his nest and carry it through the Air where it can still be seen. Next was Sun Hawk who saw Oakfed coming and knew that he could not defeat his cousin, so he took his nest and carried it to the Sky where it became a Star. Finally, Oakfed reached Condor's Nest where the bird sulked and brooded, not caring what was happening. The fires brought down Condor's tree and his Nest was shattered, becoming a pile of rocks, now known as Condor's Crags where Condor is still known to live.

Once, Eiritha stole Mother Ostrich's chicks and claimed they were her own. Mother Ostrich asked her friends for help - Condor said he couldn't tell, Thunderbird was too busy to help, Sun Hawk was too lofty and would not come down, but Raven came to the gathering of animals and said "does fur begat fathers?" Eiritha was overcome with shame and gave back Mother Ostrich's chicks and allowed her people to take care of Eiritha's children. Ever since, the Ostrich Tribe can raise herd beasts and worship Eiritha and the raven Society is strong and well-respected amongst the Ostrich Tribe.

When Waha wanted to bring back Eiritha's Children to the world he came to the Rivals for help. Sun Hawk gave him Clear Sight so that he could see through Tada's Illusions, Raven gave him a Cloak of Feathers which enabled him to pass unseen, Thunderbird gave him a ThunderStone which gave out a deafening thunderclap when thrown and Condor guided him to where Eiritha's children could be found. In return, Waha's Shamans do not hunt birds or eat birds' eggs. [These abilities are given as part of a HeroQuest to retrieve Eiritha's Children, either gain help from the Earth Witch or from the Rivals.]


[1] This myth of the creation of the Three Feathered Rivals is taken from the Gloranthan Encyclopedia, but is far too good a myth to languish there where nobody can see it.

[2] According to Shanon Appel, its roots were the Earth and its branches the Sky which is far more poetic, in my view.