Musings on a Dark Mythology
1. Musings on a Dark Mythology
I’m double dipping here into the ‘I’m a Believer Challenge” and the “HASA Birthday Challenge”, because I have wanted to know for some time just what it is that the emissaries of Sauron tell people that is so attractive. Here is my first take on the subject. Remember this does not have to be "true" or "exclusive", just believable. I know it contradicts the Tolkien mythos in most places. I also assume that the late Third Age Men this is destined to be told to live away from the elves or the Númenorean kingdoms and would not know the 'real' story of the creation.
I have had a lot of excellent input into the myth from Tanaqui (especially the ‘fire’ explanation), Marta (helped me find Sauron’s role), Cheryl and Lady Aranel, who are the best beta readers any author could wish for.
Musings on a Dark Mythology
In the beginning Light was. And all the universe was scorched and empty save for the gods who worshipped and tended the Light and they were alone and without form. But two of the gods came together and one of them perceived a new thing. Taking into Herself part of the essence of the other She conceived and stealing away in secret She created a globe of Dark and hid it from the Light. And with Her was the engendering spirit who had given His essence to the Dark, and other spirits who saw the beauty in this new thing. Within the protection of the Great Dark She brought forth Her children, who were serene and gentle and lived on Her bounty in the kindly darkness that covered all the world. And her children worshipped Her and were glad.
But after an Age, Light became aware of the place where it penetrated not and was wroth with Its servant. Fashioning two great balls of Light It hurled them through the encircling Dome of Dark and placed them in the heavens above the world to bring Its harsh light to all the dark lands and banish the dark forever. And the world was scorched and burned. The life-giving waters dried up and the plants withered and died in the terrible light.
The light drove the children of the Mother mad for She had not foreseen the effect of the cruel light on her creations. She made for them refuges under the earth back in Her dark womb but this did not cure them for the scars of the light were too deep.
Then in Her wrath She would gladly protect Her children, but She could not long endure the Fight, for it was not her nature. Her temper was that of a creator, not a destroyer. So she called upon the Father, whose heart was given to battle, to strive with the Light. He was valiant, and by His efforts a mighty battle wherein the shape of the world was changed was fought. The great holes in the Dome of Dark were sealed with a web of his essence and the deadly light of the orbs darkened, but ere they could be totally extinguished his strength failed. So the blessed darkness still covers the world only half of the day.
But the Light had seen Her servants and envied Her. It stole them, but they could not endure the light and so perished far from Her comforting embrace. But It took the essence of the children and warped it and created Its own servants, cruel and bright and hard, that could endure His burning presence. The Minions of Light envied and feared the Dark and wished to bring the cleansing harshness of Light to all ends of creation. And It sent them down as a rain on the Dome of Dark, and where the essence of the Father was thin, they plunged within the dome and the fierce fires of the outer Light shone through the holes and brought fear and madness to the Children of the Dark.
So the Minions warred on the children of the Dark Mother, and brought death and despair to the world that had not known them. The Minions of the Light harried and killed the children of the Dark and they became fierce and could not be controlled. But should ever a Minion of the Light be killed, their fiery spirit ascends back up through the Dome of Dark and the wound is sealed as they are thrust back into the horrible Light outside.
Having pity on her children, the Mother took unto Her the essence of the next mightiest of her followers and brought forth another great creation: Men, who could endure the light and love the dark and be shepherds to the mad first children. Men who would lend Her strength until the last great battle when the Light within the Dome would be destroyed forever and the world return to gentle darkness and eternal life.
Some Men have been corrupted by the lies of the evil Minions and have fallen away from the truth, and some Men were brought forth far from the places where the truth is known and wander in the Light without hope, and some Men are wicked and have allied themselves willingly with the Light. But it is the place of all good Men to stand for the Dark against the withering and corrupting Light.
Until the day of the final battle, the Mother must be kept strong with sacrifices so that She may fight the ongoing battle and every day and every year bring blessed darkness and peace to the world so that it may not be utterly scorched and destroyed.
Implications of the myth:
Men who have been corrupted and enslaved by the light are not recognized by the first children (orcs) as masters, so the men who follow the darkness have to ‘mark their doors’ with the remains of the sacrifice to be recognized and left alone. If, for some reason, this is not done correctly, the protection is nullified.
Men can ‘master’ light. They can create and put out fires. But darkness is primordial and can’t be controlled or created. It just is. This is a good sign for the apocalypse, that Men can control light and extinguish it. However, although men have mastery of fire, the Light is very angry about this and It sends Its rage into the fire, so that fire cannot be trusted and it burns the homes and the crops of the men of the Dark. Therefore fire is made only when it is needful and extinguished when it is not.
Light is everywhere and corrupting, so if you sacrifice a creature to the dark, you may not also eat it or you will imbibe corruption. Non-sacrificial animals are not corrupting and may be eaten even if cooked because men were created to endure the light and must have some aspects of light until the final battle. The really devout eat only raw meat.
Sacrifices consist of making a fire to show mastery over it, burning the sacrifice to 'darken it' and sanctify it to the Mother, and dousing the fire and the sacrifice with water. The remains of the sacrifice are buried (placed in the dark) to further dedicate them to the mother. The more the animal is of the light, the better the sacrifice. The ideal sacrifice is a creature of the light, an elf or a man/woman/child corrupted by the elves, or, if none is available, your own child given back to the dark mother in recognition of the gift of life and as an acknowledgment that more children will come from her. Death is an aspect of the withering properties of light. Once the light is finally overcome, men will live forever.
Main sacrifices are done at the solstices and equinoxes to send away the light and strengthen the dark. Smaller services and sacrifices are also done at the full moon and new moon to drive away the light and call back the dark.
Men are the natural masters of the orcs. The orcs have been driven mad by the light and do not always recognize this, but they can be made to acknowledge this by using the right signs and doing the right rituals.
Men need to be ‘initiated’ into the religion, by walking over a bed of live coals in the dark, to show their mastery over both fire and light.
And as thoughts for further nuzgûl, the Haradrim, living in the desert, would have the 'dark of the year' as the fertile time. The summer would be too scorching to grow things. I assume their mythos is slightly different than the above, but is based on this or this is based on theirs.
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