Maha'i Creation Myth

An Excerpt from Sir Kieran Harthen’s “On the Cultures of Gallidus”, published in DT52.867 in Hammerdine, and now held in the library of the Knights of the Silver Dragons in the same city.

As for the Maha'i of Jevereshk, it is well known to every traveller who passes below the shadow of the White City’s walls that the largest buildings atop the mountain are the temples dedicated to the gods they name Teresh and Ezderha, and any conversation with a shopkeeper will reveal the reverence that this race has for Markus the Noble, as they bless his name when they speak it. However, seldom does the traveller delve beyond these superficial facts to see the stunning peculiarities that accompany this race’s worship of the gods that we suppose are analogues of Pelor and Ehlonna.

According to Maha'i myth, Ezderha is the Queen of the Heavens and Ruler of the Stars, and is associated with Pressen above. She is also, in contrast with Ehlonna, not only the Lady of the Forest but primarily the Lady of the Sands, and her symbol is the desert oryx, a strange two-horned deer that resides in the Niktean Wastes and uncannily resembles what would be a four-legged version of the Maha'i. Her chief consort, replicating the rigidly matriarchal society of the Maha'i themselves, is the Lord the Sun, Teresh, Potentate of Light. These two are the Great Ones, the gods whose union created all the other gods, as well as the dragons and the Maha'i. The many other moons that orbit Pressen are associated by Maha'i astronomers with these other minor gods, which are often somewhat altered versions of our own, including, notably, the one the Maha'i denominate Shkretmekk, which in our tongue is called Arkenos as a moon and Nerull as a god.

Jenoa itself has the name Aruzventark in the Maha'i tongue; according to their belief, it was the last-created of the moons, but the most significant in one way: while the other moons were the domain of singular gods, it was on Jenoa that Ezderha and Teresh deposited their mortal children; for after the last god was delivered Ezderha gave birth to twins, a female golden dragon and a male Maha'i, named, respectively, Hevonennin and Aruzventark. Jenoa, in their reckoning, is made to mimic the pattern of a typical Maha'i skin: light on the front side and dark on the back, with surrounding dark oceans (as their stripes) which is why their word for Gallidus, Fezrikkalim, actually means “World-Stomach”. After they found themselves as the only creatures on the world, the Ezderha gave Hevonennin the power to assume the form of a Maha'i, and in this form did she and Aruzventark mate and produce the first new members of the Maha'i race. Then did Ezderha restore her proper form, and for a day gave unto Aruzventark the form of a silver dragon; from this second union of the two beings came the metallic dragons of Jenoa. On this very day, as well, Aruzventark repelled an attack by a marauding blue dragon, casting him down upon the mountain where the Maha'i had been created and lived, which is said now to be the hill upon which Jevereshk itself stands. Aruzventark was then restored to his original form, and presided with Hevonennin over the incipient draconic and Maha'i races. When he died, his children buried him, sitting with horns pointed toward the sky, on the peak of the hill. It is on this very spot, and in similitude of his skyturned horns, that the Twin Towers of Teresh rise today over the barren desert landscape, marking the passage of the father sun through the sky. However, before his death, he communicated the message from Teresh and Ezderha that he would be allowed to return, in the name of the Silver Dragon, when his children most required it. To this day, the coat of arms of Jevereshk depicts a three-horned sun with the shape of Pressen, the three horns representing Ezderha, Teresh and Aruzventark; there are also three stars associated with the same figures.

As the Maha'i believe that they alone, with the dragons and gods, are the direct offspring of the Rulers of the Heavens, the question of the other races easily arises. To this, the Maha'i respond that the races were created by their particular gods, not begotten; humans are somewhat of an exception to them, as the Maha'i believe that they were the creation of Teresh Himself, while the other races were the handiwork of the children of Teresh and Ezderha. Thus, the creatures that come in the Dark Times are the ones that were created, naturally, by the ruler of their world, the god of Destruction and Death, and Arkenos is their home and domain. Those of the dark and evil races, according to the Maha'i, crossed to Jenoa millennia ago as they invaded from Arkenos; the other races likewise came from their home moons, whether by magic or long-forgotten astronomical approaches.

Throughout Maha'i history, various heroes have been associated with Aruzventark and believed to be a new manifestation of him. Most notable is Markus the Noble, whose dramatic rescue of the Maha'i during the siege of Jevereshk – upon his silver dragon mount – and later founding of the Knights of the Silver Dragons was seen to be in fulfillment of the prophecy that Aruzventark would come in the name of the Silver Dragon. This has not been without controversy, however; while the scholars of Jevereshk argue that Markus could fulfill the prophecy, given by Teresh, and be an incarnation of Aruzventark because he was human and thus a creation of Teresh, those of Gtarrei and the Order of Faris Attineen believe that Markus would have had to have been Maha'i to fulfill the prophecy, and thus preach that his identity as a human was a historical deception, perpetrated to marginalize the Maha'i. Even more recently, Tawru Khimmak Tova has been regarded by some as another incarnation of Aruzventark; partisans of this view point out how he was the first and only Maha'i accepted into the Knights of the Silver Dragons, and indeed came in their name to liberate the enslaved Maha'i at Laishtek. This is further compounded by the saying that Tawru, before he died, foretold that a son of his same father would be a future savior of his people. There is conjecture that Aruzventark will reveal himself once more before the next Dark Times, but this is widely recognized as mere speculation even as it is widely believed across all nations of the Niktean Maha'i, whether loyal to Gtarrei or Jevereshk. Some even forward the improbable idea that the proposed revelation of Aruzventark’s new incarnation during the next Dark Times could heal the rift between the Maha'i factions and increase the race’s repute throughout Jenoa, but this is nowhere openly acknowledged, as neither government, Gtarrei or Jevereshk, would acquiesce to the rule of – or even alliance with – the other.