The Missionaries

Here’s a bit of an excerpt from an unfinished story that is an example of the First Age missionaries going about and spreading the Word of the Dawn.

10. History of the Hagolings

The missionaries’ procedures were generally benevolent and successful. The Hagolings are a good example of such a meeting.

In Talastar, shortly after the Dawn, the Theyalan missionaries found a small clan who called themselves the Hagolings. The Hagolings were a miserable people, skinny and unhealthy. They were typically poor, without any substantial material goods, even lacking sewn clothing. For weapons they bore sharpened sticks, large gnarled clubs, and anything which they could throw. They ate a variety of roots and tubers, springtime shoots, and rough leaves but, typically of the pretheyalans, were unable to know that a variety of other foodstuffs were all around them.

The Hagolings fled when they first saw the Theyalans. But, as was usual, the Theyalans made a fire which they left burning, prepared a simple feast, played some music, and departed to the distance to watch. Sometimes this led to nothing but flight. But like all the clans that were later called the Nine Talastari, the Hagolings came back to the fire, ate the food, and did not run away when the White Woman approached them. She sang her peace songs. These always make anyone feel better, because they take away all the small pains and aches and worries for the time it is sung, and for as long afterwards as it was sung. Naturally she gained their simple confidence. Then she healed the worst among them. He’d been mauled, and his leg was festered, with bits of bone still sticking out. She made him still, and the clan gawked as she opened the wound, spat on a cloth and wiped away the pus, then put the bones back into place and closed it. She never stopped singing until she was done. After they calmed, she sat them in a circle, leaving seven seats empty. She took out her bundle, and from it a tool for each empty seat. These bundles were, of course, different from tribe to tribe, clan to clan, and cult to cult. These particular human missionaries were from the Vestantes tribe, and so they carried their regalia in a sheep skin. When the White Woman unrolled it the Hagolings broke into excited speech. They explained later they’d never seen any sheep skin except their own goddess’. When they saw that one, they all felt they were surely in the presence of lost kin.

When the White Woman placed a curled ram’s horn upon the seat where her Orlanth friend would sit, the Hagolings got even more excited and began talking among themselves.

After a time the other missionaries came out of hiding, and with great care they took the seats where their particular regalia waited. The Hagolings were most interested in the Orlanth representative. They could hardly take their eyes off him, and they were nearly pop eyed with wonder. He began to speak to them, in the missionary’s song. The missionary song was not the same as the one Ezkankekko had sung, but more polished version which was adapted after meeting many of these ragged peoples. He sang, for the Hagolings, forty two verses before he sang one which they knew.

The ice kneads my flesh.
The needles of death hold me still.
There is a warm skin about me.
My heart is the fire.
Little one, go forward.

That one known song was all the people needed, though. They began to speak, freely, and in the process the missionaries began to learn their dialect. It was hard, with the Hagolings, and at first only the Speaker thought that they were talking the Orlanthi tongue at all.

They were eager learners, of course. Every day they spent learning songs and lessons that brought new revelations, whether it was needles or recognizing that a fruit was edible. After a few years, when the Hagolings learned the Elmal Verses so they could find ripe fruit in summer and autumn, the Hagoling elders brought forth Hethana’s Hide, and told their story about how they had survived the Great Darkness.

The Hagolings flourished once their eyes had been opened with the Theyalan intelligence. It took about three years of teaching them until they all agreed to sacrifice to Orlanth and Ernalda. Their offerings were received the people rejoiced to join the worship of these great gods and their pantheon.

Shortly afterwards the Hagolings found Lanisti claim stones amidst their lands, which they destroyed. Consulting with their teachers, the Hagolings made a formal Orlanthi claim to their lands.

The first Chief was named Pundarl. He made a bold plan. As was common by that time, some of the original missionaries had married into the new clan, and sometimes brought their own kinsmen from afar. Since the Vestantes knew the new song to summon the Storm Sheep, they did so, and Pundarl and his companions walked the winds after them. They strode across the air, and laid their claims to a larger territory that way.

When the Lanisti clan attacked the Hagolings they were ambushed and driven off, and the Hagoling markers were never disturbed.

After several generations the blessing of Hethana was given to the Hagolings. Their sheep which grazed upon Hethana’s own lands grew wool which was golden in color, which was woven into clothing of tremendous beauty by the clan women. Distant people believed the sheep actually grew wool made out of gold wire, but that is foolish. Those fibers came from sheep later, after Lokamayadon.

The Hagolings flourished and after a couple of generations their clan had grown so large that they sought other ancestors and established several clans where there had been just one before.

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