Myth – Ernalda and the Golden Age

This is an Orlanthi myth of Ernalda, the Great Goddess and Earth Queen.

Once the seas covered all. But the world grew and Ga, Earth, emerged from the depths. Mountain peaks, plains, ridges and hollows rose above the waves. Gata was born. Empress Earth joined the Cosmic Court.

Earth birthed twin daughters, Asrelia and Ty Kora Tek, who came out from the deepest earth. Asrelia’s daughters were Maran, Esrola and Ernalda, whose beauty and bounty brought life to the land.

Asrelia ruled the Earth Tribe and was the first Goddess to live outside the Great Mountain. She had many children but only a few are important to us here. From all the goddesses came Life. In that prehistoric Green Age, Flamal’s spores and seeds spread everywhere and everything was good. No drought or famine visited the land. Everyone lived in peace and plenty for all their lives which went on forever. It was the Golden Age.

The world grew and new things kept coming into existence. Things were made and born that confused the Old Gods of the Celestial Court and so the most ancient entities of the Spike appointed one of the younger entities, called The Emperor, to rule over the new world. Now many gods, Elder Races and tribes of human beings inhabited the world. Emperor Yelm ruled from the Golden City.

However, the great burst of creativity and freedom was over. The Emperor was appointed to oversee things As They Are, and further changes was frowned upon and discouraged. The Emperor brought all power to his own palace. He even forbade the Celestial Court from acting except upon his sole command.

The oppression and suppression of the Emperor could not restrain the universe forever. Many small changes occurred, especially as minor deities mated and bore children. Then the greater gods united, and born was Umath, a great god himself. Asrelia was beloved by Umath but was separated from him by the Elder Powers. All the ancient creative powers were polarities – paired and complete. Each goddess had a husband and each elemental had an opposite. That was the way of the world. Umath saw Asrelia and asked for her as his reward for driving away the invisible Predark army. Together, they would be complete. The Emperor refused this, saying it was inappropriate and then kept them apart. From this came sorrow and anger. From this was born Desire which would plague and enrich the descendants of these deities.

Umath seized his own place and exercised his power. The Emperor resisted more and more severely, until at last he sent an army, led by the Jagrekriand Red God who fought and killed Umath. The central powers rejoiced, thinking this would end the changes in the world.

Yelm the Emperor brought Order to the universe. When he extended his Cosmic Rule to include the Earth Tribe, Asrelia retired. The Queen divided up her earthly goods between her most important daughters. Maran Gor received The Great, Esrola received The Most and Ernalda received The Least.

With the Great, Maran Gor became the goddess of the earth’s greatest manifestations such as landslides, earthquakes, volcanoes, disease, autumn and disease. Those tools which bring death are also sacred to her, particularly Axes.

With the Most, Esrola became the goddess of the earth’s bounty. Children, food, sexual desire, and blood are her domain and she is known by many names to many peoples. Baskets carry her bounty and are sacred to her.

With the Least, Ernalda was acclaimed Queen of the Earth for her spiritual and magical powers were far greater than her sisters. Her power is not found in solid things but in actions, rules, ceremonies and families. Her symbol is the Loom, with which she weaves the fabric of family and society. She is Queen, Mother and Grandmother of the Earth Tribe and is the living power behind the world. Although she was given the Least, Ernalda is the greatest of all the gods and goddesses.

Many suitors vied for Ernalda’s favors and she gave them freely, choosing a new husband when the strength and virility of an old one waned. She and her sisters bore many children who are worshipped.

The Emperor decreed that Ernalda, though Queen of the Earth, must be given to him. Ernalda brought two of her own handmaidens Esra and Eninta with her. One brought her basket and the other the sacred birthing cloths. Kestra brought food for the long journey. At the Celestial Palace of the Emperor, Ernalda set aside a place for her Loom, and soon was weaving splendid raiment for the court. Other young goddesses joined her retinue: Berlintha, who made clothing from Ernalda’s cloth; Mahome, who tended the hearth fire, took service with Ernalda, leaving her Fire Tribe. Istena, who tends the kitchen, served those guests who visited the Loom and its goddess. Arnna, who came from the Earth Tribe later, guarded her treasure. Jesta, who could heal small hurts, assisted Ernalda in her work. Beseta and Besanga, sturdy mares, carried burdens for the others.

Throughout the rest of the Golden Age, she sheltered in the Celestial Palace and wove cloth for the Celestial Court on her loom. But even in those days, the world was troubled though the Celestial Court would deny it. Indeed, they could not, by their nature see it. But Umath had already made his great Camp and war came to the borders of the Empire. Vermin had been seen in the kitchens of the Palace and creatures stalked the Perfect Garden. Ernalda was no longer safe. She needed a new protector.

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