lebiro wrote: The Eight Stories of Y’ffre and the Eight Promises of the Bosmer
It is perhaps incorrect to call this tale a “creation myth” as it clearly begins some time after creation. Nonetheless, it fills the role of a mythical history which most races begin with Anu and Padome.
Like all the great tales of the Bosmer, “The Eight Stories of Y’ffre and the Eight Promises of the Bosmer” is intended to be shared as a poem, song, or elaborate performance with masks and costumes (where Azurah is invariably taught Payment in Kind by the generous audience), perhaps accounting for the seemingly stilted language. Regrettably, all semblance of rhyme and rhythm are lost in translation.
The mortals were young and Mundus was strange, and there was much they did not know about each other and themselves. The mortals did not know their proper shapes, and changed always from mer to man to beast to plant and back again. And Y’ffre saw this, and it made him sad, that the Natural Order was not yet settled. So Y’ffre Sang one of his Songs, and every mortal heard it, and every mortal knew its shape. Mer became mer, men became men, beasts became beasts, and plants became plants. And Y’ffre saw these shapes and smiled, for each was unique and beautiful. But of them all he had one special favourite. To him, the forest folk, were the most beautiful of all, though they did not yet know themselves, and he watched them always.
But Azurah saw Y’ffre’s happiness and she was jealous, for she had nothing to make her smile, and she whispered secrets and passed into the world. She saw Y’ffre loved the forest folk, and was jealous. So she took as many as she could hold, and she whispered more secrets and changed them. Azurah’s forest folk forgot their true forms that Y’ffre taught them, and Azurah taught them knew ones, more than they needed so none could tell which was right, and she told them they were Khajiit.
Y’ffre saw his favourite people change and he wept, for Azurah had spoiled his work and broken the Natural Order he had settled. So he spoke to Nirn and told her of Azurah’s wicked deeds, and Nirn wept rivers across the forests as she looked, for the forest folk were her favourites also, and Y’ffre’s Natural Order was a beautiful thing. And Nirn was sad, but Nirn was angry, and she changed the lands of Azurah’s forest folk. She made their deserts hot and dry, and she made their forests dark and filled with poison. And when she was done she thanked Y’ffre, and because she loved the forest and the forest folk, she did not change Y’ffre’s forest. It would be green and good forever. And Nirn told Y’ffre that Azurah had spoiled his Natural Order so his creations were all unbalanced, and Nirn told Y’ffre to make a new one. So Y’ffre returned to his favourite people, and he saw that they were lost and unbalanced, and he knew he must change them so they weren’t. And he thought of ways to change them.
And while Y’ffre thought, he met Z’en who lived with the men of the swamps, and Z’en taught him Payment in Kind. If he gave the forest folk only gifts, they would never know Payment in Kind, and would always be weak and greedy. Z’en was a clever god and Y’ffre believed him, and he thought of ways the forest folk could learn Payment in Kind. When he found his forest folk he had remembered all the things he knew, and all the things he could teach them.
Y’ffre knew much about names, for he had Sang them all when Mundus was new. So he Sang the forest folk his first story, and they learned they were Bosmer and not Khajiit; elves, and not beasts. And they learned the names of all the beasts, and how they could remind them of Y’ffre.
And Y’ffre knew much about shapes, for he had already taught the mortals their own. So he Sang the Bosmer his second story, and they learned to open their eyes wide and make their ears sharp, so they could always see and hear secrets like Azurah’s.
And Y’ffre knew much about the forest, for he had Sung it to life and walked all its paths. So he Sang the Bosmer his third story, and they learned how to care for the forest as he did, even the graht oaks that were his favourite trees.
And Y’ffre knew all about bows, for he had made the first one for Auriel. So he Sang the Bosmer his fourth story, and they learned all about bows, and they made them for themselves.
And Y’ffre knew all about the Natural Order, for he had settled it twice now. So he Sang the Bosmer his fifth story and the Bosmer learned to understand the Natural Order as he did, and care for it as he did.
And Y’ffre knew all about singing, for he had taught the birds and the streams and the wind to sing. So he Sang the Bosmer his sixth story and the Bosmer learned to sing as only they can.
And Y’ffre knew all about Singing, for he had Sang the names and Sang the shapes and Sang the secrets and Sang the stories. So he Sang his seventh story, but only to a few of the Bosmer, because too much Song would spoil his Natural Order. But Singing was harder than singing, and the Bosmer could only Roar until their voices were strong like Y’ffre’s.
And Y’ffre thought he had Sang all his stories, and the Bosmer would be happy. But he saw all that the trees saw and all that the water saw, and beyond his sacred forest he saw men and mer and beasts and others grinding their axes and stoking their fires. And he saw how already they had learned to make war, and to kill the peaceful, and to cut and burn and eat the forest. And he looked at the Bosmer and saw how they were small, and smiling and peaceful, and he knew they might never be safe, and he wept. But Y’ffre remembered there was one other thing he knew all about. Y’ffre knew all about the chaos before the Natural Order because he had seen it all before he Sang the shapes and ended it. And he looked at the Bosmer and he knew he had to Sing again. So he Sang his eighth story, and the Bosmer learned all about the chaos, and how to remember it, and they learned the chaos could save the sacred forest.
And now Y’ffre had finished his stories, but he remembered what Zen had taught him. He had given the Bosmer only gifts, and he did not want them to be always weak and greedy. But Y’ffre did not know all about Payment in Kind, because Z’en could not Sing like Y’ffre could, and so he could not teach all like Y’ffre could. So Y’ffre had to teach the Bosmer Payment in Kind without Singing.
So he told the Bosmer there were gifts he wanted in return for his stories, and the Bosmer asked what they were.
“First,” Y’ffre said, without Singing, “you must love the Natural Order as I have. You must always preserve it and never break it as Azurah did, for it is my greatest work and the smooth bones of creation.” And this was the First Decree.
“Second,” Y’ffre said, without Singing, “you must never harm or abuse the plants I love, and you must never kill my trees.” And this was the Cutting Injunction.
“But,” he said, seeing how mer and men and beasts had already learned to sail, “I give you a special tree, whose fruit will bear you as wooden boats do,” and he Sang to the trees on the riverbank and they became Rellyeis. And this was the Maritime Provision.
“And,” he said, seeing how mer and men and beasts had already learned to build great houses of stone, “I give you one special tree that is my favourite, to be your home forever,” and he Sang to the mightiest graht-oak and it came to him. And this was the Falinesti Permission.
“Third,” Y’ffre said, without Singing, “you must never eat my plants. You must eat only meat, for you are hunters, and your kin must eat in three days whatever you kill, for that is the Natural Order.” And this was the Meat Mandate.
“Fourth,” Y’ffre said, without Singing, “you must defend my sacred forest from those who would harm it, for it brings me great joy and gives you all you have. And you must use my eighth story only to this end, for I weep to see my Natural Order broken for nothing.” And this was the Guardianship Clause.
“Fifth,” Y’ffre said, without Singing, “you must welcome peaceful visitors with open arms, for though you are my favourites, I love all who love the forest.” And this was the Oath of Acceptance.
“Sixth,” Y’ffre said, without Singing, “you must make war only in defence of your lives, your kin and my sacred forest, for I weep to see my favourite people bloody themselves with war, and such death is not the Natural Order.” And this was the Promise of Peace.
“Seventh,” Y’ffre said, without Singing, “You must avoid secrets and deceit, and punish those who practice them against you, for they are the ways of Azurah and have broken my Natural Order once already.” And this was the Stricture for Truth.
“Eighth,” Y’ffre said, without Singing, “You must remember me always, even when I do not walk among you, for I love you and you alone can keep my commands and care for my forest.” And this was Y’ffre’s Ordinance.
And now he had given the Bosmer eight commands, Payment in Kind for eight stories, and he gave his hand to the Bosmer, and they took it. And this was the Green Pact.
And when all this was done, Y’ffre remembered Azurah, who had not learned Payment in Kind. And he climbed the highest tree, and he Sang out loud Azurah’s secret, so that she might weep as he had wept. But she did not, and she never learned Payment in Kind.
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