[Book] The Legend of Bhag Two Tongues

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[Book] The Legend of Bhag Two Tongues

Post by gro-dhal » Mon Mar 19, 2018 8:10 pm

Hi all, this is something I wrote for /r/teslore about a hundred years ago. Thought it might be of interest. It contains a silly but not exactly lore-unfriendly secret.


Bhag Two Tongues was king of the land now called Skyrim. He went by many names. He was called Bhag Salt-Suckle because he was born amid the crashing waves on the long voyage from Atmora, which some still attempted in those days. He was called Bhag the Old because his hair went grey at the age of six. When he came of age he earned the name Tree-Eater. He performed many great feats even before he was king. Of his countenance, Gronmeld Snow-Burn said:

Face like the hillside

In Autumn when hearthfires burn

And eyes of amber.

Bhag was favoured by Kyne above all others. In his youth he killed forty-four horkers with his bare hands after their king denounced the wind and rain from the safety of his sea-palace. The king himself was the forty fourth killed, the others were all his shield-men. Since that time all horkers have remained silent in fear of repeating their king’s blasphemy, and they come ashore during storms to beg Kyne’s forgiveness. This was all Bhag’s doing, and it won him the esteem of the goddess.

On another occasion he was approached by the men of Windhelm, who were beset with hunger. Feeling pity he wandered the gold-meadows, chewing up flowers and spitting them on to the ground. Where the flower-balls landed strange houses sprang up, filled with insects. He brought these back to the Windhelm Jarl and showed the people how to take honey from them. He called the creatures Bees, after another name he had been called in childhood. In the first year the people ate honey, and in the second their crops returned in great strength. Windhelm mead is beyond compare to this day. In this fashion he earned the acclamation of men as well as gods.

When the old king died a crown-moot gathered at the spot where he fell. Bhag was there, and so was Rilda Iron-Boat and Lemm the Scratcher. All had good claim to succeed the king [whose name and achievements have been struck from the annals because his death was unseemly], but Frorir the Lyre, who was also present, says:

Bhag spoke the name Kyne

And roared of Windhelm’s glory

All who heard believed.

His first act as High King was to appoint a songbird as his regent and depart the palace. This startled all except his household, who knew of his wandering nature. He climbed the stone-trial of High Hrothgar and came to the hall of the Greybeards, who tried to teach him the Voice but found him a troubling student. He had caught a chill on his climb, and could speak only through his nose. In this manner he learned Thuum. When his health was recovered he showed he could shout through both his nose and his throat, as though he had two voices and not one. Many across history have tried to imitate this feat, and many have made themselves appear foolish. Only Talos learned to Shout through something other than his mouth, and that was many years after.

Bhag won all debates with this great power, and Kyne blessed him by sending her sons to rebuild his palace in stone. The new palace was one thousand feet high and rose above the trees, the first house permitted to do so in all the history of man. The palace was called Anthor and now looks like a mountain.

On the Eastern frontier were the enclaves of the elf-folk, who troubled the villages of Skyrim every generation. Bhag resolved to end the errant nonsense of these elven clans, and led his thanes into the forests of Vraech. The elves sent many tricks. Metal men who wailed and hissed were shattered when Bhag shouted away the music in their hearts. Enemy wood-stalkers in beetle motley came unprepared, not knowing that Bhag could make himself bigger like his giant ancestors and crush them like cockroaches. All the deceptions of the elfkin came to naught, and soon even their demon gods were roused by his actions.

The elven skald-king came to the forest, at a time agreed. By the great hollow menhir Bhag and the demon met, as the sky roiled and turned blood red. Bhag knew that the skald-king was a trickster who delighted in confusing his enemies (on this occasion he appeared as a beautiful woman), so he recited the battle poem of his ancestors as they fought. As they traded blows he recited the glorious deeds of his forebears, and added his own. The skald-king did so too, but he could not use the Thuum at the same time and was at a disadvantage.

After a day-long combat the skald-king was battle weary, but Bhag had barely begun reciting his war edda. Sensing defeat, the elf devised a new ruse. He joined Bhag in his poem, but misspoke and corrupted the song. Bhag, who had always been so sure of himself, grew uncertain, only for a moment. He was struck down. The demon carried the king’s song from the field and took it back to his hall as a trophy. Yddva, the Jarl of Windhelm, carried Bhag’s body back to her hall. She placed a runestone in his mouth with these words:

A stone tongue herein

For a builder, a warrior

Gone back to the dust.

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