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The Wooing of Fennoreth

- by Chris Bell

- as told by Martika Arkandsottir

This is a story about Orlanth's younger sister, Fennoreth.

In the old days, during Vingkot's time, Orlanth had divided up the peoples into Clans. There were clans such as the Hurts Everyone clan, who's chief was Vadrus, and the Barley Top clan, who's chief was Esra. Our ancestors chose Kero Fin to be our Chieftainess and Queen.

Sly-Voron was a crafty old badger... Great mother Kero Fin was most lovely and regal amongst the gods, the only Goddess who could stand besides Ernalda as equal. The mother of mountains defied the Bright Emperor by taking Umath as her lover and husband. While Ernalda was defferential and yielding, Kero Fin was hard, cold and defiant, yet just.

"Your arrogance is not justice. Your authority is slavery. I am every bit your equal, bright emperor, and my son will bring down your falseness, and defiance of the true law." Some say that Mother Mountain, who's own parent was the Spike itself, foresaw the coming of her magnificent son and chose to take Umath as mate. Clearly, she was every bit his equal in the pairing. Unlike the dance like courship rites of the solar court, the courtship between Umath and Kero Fin was one of tremendous storms and violence, interspersed with calm lulls. That's why the wind and air always gets stronger and more violent, the higher up you go. Because Kero Fin holds the air of her lover so close to her, it also gets harder to breathe. The regal mother is demanding, but always just and compassionate.

When her last and greatest son was born, Orlanth, she held him close, only her steadfastness and strength able to contain his fury and power. "Look upon your brothers," she said. "I shall teach you to be greater than they, and be heir to your father's powers and secrets." With Yinkin at his side, Orlanth learned the mystical secrets of his 6 virtues, which make any man great. Armed with these, Orlanth solved all problems and overcame all challenges. Sometimes he forgot these virtues, and made great mistakes, but he resolved to fix these problems that he himself created. Kero Fin was pleased greatly by this. Each of these virtues he gained from both his father and his mother. His father exhibited the 6 virtues unconsciously, being the primal air as he was. Orlanth's great feat was not only manifesting these virtues actively, and living them, but also teaching them to others, so that they could be great. In this way, Orlanth became and gave to others cosmic law. The love of Kero Fin and Umath for their son brought this forth, as Kero Fin was Umath's favored wife.

Now, born to Umath and Kero Fin was a girl goddess, one Fennoreth. Born a little after Orlanth, she was wild and frisky, not at all calculating nor stable like her aunt Ernalda, whom she however still loved. When Orlanth and his people made the migration from Dini, Fennoreth was the only sister who wanted to go. "I want to see new things!" She said. Her sisters asked, "But won't you miss your mother?" She replied, "I can see my mother from anywhere! No one is taller than she!" Often, suitors tried to catch her, but she flew away from them with ease, and was as good a flyer as Vangath, whom she loved. Her children are the Nar Sylla, who live on the slopes of Kero Fin. She is called daughter of the winds, laughing flyer, and she who is never caught. To those who would try to catch her and not court her properly, she is often called Much Trouble, as when one of the sons of Magasta tried to lay his hand improperly upon Fennoreth, and the entire Storm Tribe ceased their quarelling to abuse the offender. Orlanth and Vadrus jointly took the young water god and tore him into a million parts, but kept him alive, and thus Sea Spray got his name. Fennoreth was loved even by Valind, and Fennoreth could sing happiness into anyone.

However, during the great wars against the Water Tribe, Fennoreth proved herself a daughter of Umath. While Orlanth forbade her to leave the stead, she and Vinga formed the woman storm defense, surrounding the cyclone with an awesome column of spinning air to keep away the watery intruders. Fenneroth matched her own wild storm powers against the sly invisibility of Old Blue Hag, who was an ancient moon goddess. However, air does not need to see, it hears. Fennoreth heard the stealthy approach of the Bat Wing assassins,using the old secrets of Drum Thunder, an old alliance song that her Brother taught her. Fennoreth could not, however, keep her sister Brastalos from being kidnapped by the Water Tribe. Later, when peace was made between the Storm and Water tribes, Brastalos was kept in the marraige exchange. This was whispered into the ear of Magasta by the Old Blue Hag, and Fennoreth seethed in fury at the wicked deceptions of the Hag. "Brother, I swear by our mother, the Hag and her kin will be the ruin of us yet." The Thunder brothers laughed this off at the time, but with the rise of Sedenya, it seems that this was true.

The Voroni are so named because of sly Voron. Voron was one of the older men who served Vingkot, who used all sorts of sly tricks to defeat the solar troops. He made the old friendship again with the Drum Thunder, calling it for aid from a drumming song he learned in a dream. His wild beatings finally made Fennoreth come down to the ground, and dance. As he drummed like thunder, she danced wild spirals, resplendent in beauty. Of course, Old Mother, while she approved, would not take a weakling for a son-in-law, and neither would the flying girl. "To win me, you have to find for me a rare treasure, perform an impossible feat, and then loose when you should win. If you pass these tests, then I will consider becoming your wife."

Old Voron was a right sly bastard. "I already passed that test. I called you down to dance on the ground, where you normally would dance only amongst the clouds. With two more tests, you'll be dancing in my bed tonight!"

And Voron was right, as Fennoreth danced with Roitina the skirt-lifting dance, and pleased all the men, something no one made her do before. "Hmph. Well, that doesn't count, as I danced before the challenge was made. You old tricky bastard." She smiled. "But for the first test, I want you to leap to the top of my mother, without moving at all."

Old Man Voron laughed. "I thought this would be hard!" He leaned over and whispered to his uncle Hedkoranth. Hedkoranth laughed out loud and handed him Great Weighty. Voron tied a rope to Great Weighty, and the other end to himself. "Take me to my love!" He shouted. With that, Great Weighty shot into the air and carried him to the top of Kero Fin, so fast that he was there in a blink of an eye. Only Mastakos could move faster. Then, he shot back again, dragged along by Great Weighty and yahooing all the way, and was standing right next to Fennoreth.

"You moved! You lose!" Shouted Fennoreth with glee, at having beaten Voron.

"Not so. Did you see me move? If you can take hold of Jarani's staff and swear that you saw me move, then I shall agree. Did anyone here see me move?" But no one could say they did, and Mastakos simply did not speak. Thus, Voron won the second contest.

Fennoreth had a frown like a child on her face. "Second, I require a rare treasure. While I may be of storm, Ernalda is my elder sister-in-law, and by my mother's relation I am also of the earth, and I know women's secrets."

Voron dryly commented, "I could tell that by the way you did the skirt-lifting dance." But, off he went.

After a number of days, Voron came back with the largest crude stone tub anyone had ever seen. Minlinster helped him carry the thing in.

Fennoreth gasped. "What is that? That certainly is no treasure!"

Voron laughed. "I disagree! This is the stone cask of Argan Shenk. Zorak Zoran will hate me for this one, no doubt."

Fennoreth was confused. "Argan Shenk?"

"Yes," Said old man Voron. "Argan Shenk is an ancient earth spirit who was kidnapped by the Darkness Tribe. He discovered the secrets of creating brews of such potency that even the gods were well pleased. He also knew how to brew many syrups and medicines that came from the earth. The God of Hate used his magic tub to brew potions that would drive them into insane frenzies. However, Minlinster and I have plans to put this to better use. Of course, it will be the property of our family, when we marry. Let's say that I got to practice my disguise skills when I was in the skull fortress of the God of Hate. It's amazing who he will mistake for his sister. I'm glad I met Xiola Umbar." Both him and Minlinster laughed. Those who looked could also see that they were covered in rags and ashed, giving them the look of Uz, a bit.

"But no one with a brain would be fooled by that disguise!" Said Fennoreth!

"Like I said, Zorak Zoran makes Urox look like a scholar. Uh...OH! With all do respect, oh great and mighty bull."

Urox merely snorted, and stamped his hoof.

Voron shared the stone cask with all who wanted to learn from it, and the brews that Minlinster made that day were fine beyond imagining. It transformed itself to wood when barely hops or grapes were pressed into it, and it also brewed some fine medicines, and was even touched once by the White Lady herself.

Finally, Fennoreth said, "And now you must loose when you should win." The crowd murmured, as no one could see how Voron could trick his way out of this one.

Voron sighed. "Ah, I already have lost. You see, if I lose this challenge, I shall die a lonely and old man, since I have already lost my heart to you. I've loved you ever since I first saw you." With that, he made his lays and poems praising her beauty, singing of her wildness and her smile, her love of kin and her bravery, and her tenderness to those she loved. In doing so, he shamed some of the earth goddesses who were as cold in the stead as they were amongst strangers. Ernalda smiled, and held Orlanth's hand tightly as Voron made his lays. Even hard, cold, regal mother mountain shed a slight tear. That's why you see sparkles at the snowtops on a clear day.

Fennoreth, shaking with emotion, grabbed and hugged Voron, and kissed him passionately. This blew away the frost of his old age, and Voron was remade into the prime of his youth. Orlanth smiled and nodded, having already known the outcome.


June 14, 2001

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