Journey to the South: Nine of Thirty

Posted: February 10, 2013 in Fiction
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     My childish misgivings and fearful imaginings of dark, haunted forests filled with blood-thirsty savages proved to be so much useless worrying. The first settlement we came upon during our journey south through the snow-covered forests of pine and oak and ash, was a large village called Jitra. Surrounded by farms growing corn, wheat, barley, and raising cattle, sheep, and pigs, the village itself was a cluster of brick buildings covered in stucco and white-washed. The traditional Kravri style of architecture.

    We stopped briefly in Jitra to take a meal and to stretch our legs, and found the populace to not only be a mix of Kravri and Tijhori families, but to be some of the most generous folk I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. They offered us food and drink, feed for the convoy’s horses, and even extended quarter in their meager homes for us. While we gladly accepted to break bread with the villagers, we had to be back upon the Imperial Road before Tulaar began westering. The images of fur-clad savages disappeared from my mind as I watch Rajak and my daughters playing with the village children while we adults shared a meal. Even should those nightmarish phantoms of the past still exist somewhere in these southern forests, how could I fear them when my own children felt no fear in playing with their children?

    As we prepared to leave, the villagers of Jitra gifted us with a cask of ten year old mead and wished us the good favor of Tule as we traveled. While we passed through yet one more naked, icy forest, my mind reflected upon that prayer to the Kritanoi on our behalf. I had noticed that many of the villagers of Tijhori stock had wished us Tule’s blessing, right alongside their Kravri neighbors. Though, logically, such a thing was not unusual – the Moy had never sought to wipe out the cults or religious practices of those people it absorbed, unless said traditions posed an active threat to the state. Why should the Tijhori not wish us the blessings of the Kritanoi? It was just as likely that they worshiped the Kritanoi as it was that they worshiped the traditional, ancestral gods of their people.

    And yet, the thought gnawed at me and I tried to remember what I knew of the Tijhori myths and cults. The Tijhori counted themselves as, ultimately, the “Children of the Mother”, with said “Mother” being the mighty Tijhor River that served as an outlet from the Yevij Sea to the Serranian Ocean. Nearly all tribes of the Tijhori claim descent from the People of the River, their pantheon of gods, who are the offspring of the Tijhor and Ulusas, their name for Tulaar. The People of the River, in the Tijhori tales, went about shaping the land and giving its form, eventually going to war with an elder race of beings who dwelt in the dark reaches of the rocky earth. When the elder race had been defeated and chased back into their deep caverns, the People of the River shaped men and women from a pair of trees, gave them life, and then went about interbreeding with them, giving rise to the Tijhori tribes.

    That was the extent of my knowledge of Tijhori beliefs at the time. I knew not what deity they would have invoked had they called upon their gods for our safety upon the road, but something still teased at my mind that they should have invoked their own gods. Why I felt that, I still do not know.


Note: I know I missed yesterday. Yesterday was busy: there was no water most of the morning and afternoon, followed by grocery shopping, and two birthdays to celebrate. Anywho: I won’t be shirking this and – unless further such disruptions happen – I’ll continue on into March.

  1. Sam Joines says:

    I enjoyed reading this. Nicely written.

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