In the Shadow of Griffin Mountain
What the Shaman Says
Where did the world come from?
The world was created long ago by the Creator, who was assisted by the First Four Companions: Turtle, Loon, Otter, and Sea Eagle. Creator made the world but then lost interest in it and leaves us alone. After a long golden period when berries were on every bush and there were no hills something went wrong. Cold Wind slew the Sun and threw the world into Darkness. All was lost and dying in Darkness until Hearthmother found a baby which she fed her famous three meals to. This baby was Foundchild who taught us how to hunt. Foundchild was the father of Votank who taught us the right way to live. Votank’s ten sons are the founders of our clans.
Where did I come from?
In the Golden Age, prey and predator were the same. During the Darkness we were lost until Foundchild told us how not to be prey. Now we are predators and we eat of the prey of the world. Votank gave us laws and wisdom to live by and this makes us humans.
Why am I here?
Once long ago men and women were one creature until they were separated by Squirrel the Trickster. Since then men and woman always try to become one creature again. They always fail but every attempt is a holy summoning, inviting one of our ancestor’s spirits to live again. You are, were, and will be a Balazaring and Votanki until the end of the world itself.
Why do we die?
We die because that is the lot of prey and predator alike. Without death there can be no prey and no predator.
What happens after we die?
When we die our spirits return to the ghost hearths of Votank’s sons to be reunited with our ancestors. There we wait until we are called back to this world again.
How do I do magic?
Magic comes to us from the spirits, small magic from the small spirits and big magic from the big spirits. Outsiders call these big spirits gods and say they are different than spirits but we know better. The big spirits also give us small magics along with their big magics. Different spirits offer different magics.
I have heard of other powers. Can you tell me the truth about …
Aldrya is our enemy and our friend. Our enemy because her forests wish to cover the plains we love and our friend because she too hates the dark men (trolls) and those who would build stone tents. We treat her people with the respect they deserve but always remember that the Balazarings have killed the people of the trees and burnt the forests in the past and we can do so again.
Chaos? Do you mean the spirit of Cannibal whose name should not be spoken? You must not refer to Cannibal by his name as you do not have my magical protection. Rather you should refer to him as the old friend of the Votanki who is always cold and hungry. This is the hunger that exists to break the laws people hold dear and wishes to devour the world itself. It is the source of all evil. Resist its lure, destroy it when you can and flee when you have to.
Who? Is this another name for Grandmother Earth or the Wild Mother? Grandmother Earth is a goddess women worship. She is very important but I know nothing of her worship and but little of her many names. The Wild Mother is source of wild animals and plants. We offer her thanks for her bounty.
The Mother of the dark men is our foe. Her people claim to hate the Cannibal spirit as do we but her people eat ours so they are clearly contaminated by Cannibal. No alliance between the Balazarings and the dark men has ever benefitted us for long. We have used them against the other not men in the past and may do so in the future. Trust them not but fear their might.
…the Lunar Goddess?
The Red Goddess was brought to our land by the outlanders who conquered Elkoi. She brings strange ways and beliefs to our land. She is not to be trusted any more than any other outland deity.
You seem to know the names of peoples and gods that I know not. Have you perhaps been listening to the missionaries of the Lunars?
This is the god of the stone men. They are our enemy because their way of life is so alien to us. Fortunately they have no interest in us or our land. They know much that is strange to us but fear the open air we love. Beware their weapons and magic.
We know this one as Cold Wind. His worshipers once came in large numbers to our land but do so no longer. They are outsiders like the rest, no better and no worse.
All the worlds are full of spirits if you have the eyes to see them. Many are our friends and and allies but some are enemies
This is what outsiders call the sun. Since he is now dead and deaf we have no need to worship him. Warriors and chieftains worship his son Yemalio.