The Children of Mralot
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by Tim Ellis
(A tale inspired by Tradetalk #10)
Back in the great darkness, the children of Fralar, father of carnivores, stalked the land killing and eating all they encountered. So it was that the children of Telmor feasted on the family of Mralot, leaving many families sundered. Three young Mraloti survived the onslaught of the terrible Telmori, and as they huddled together in the darkness they pondered their future and how they would survive.
The first young Mraloti wanted to seek out help to the East, while the second said that he felt the West offered more chance of survival. Each one tried to convince their third sibling, but he refused to leave his ancestral home "I am Mraloti", he said, "and I will not turn away, and I will not compromise". Since the family could not agree on a course of action they each set out on their own.
The first young Mraloti headed East until he came upon a tribe who worshipped the great storms that blew through the land. They had many fierce warriors who were chasing off the monsters that hunted through their lands, so the young Mraloti approached their chief and begged him for aid. "You are not kin to us", said the chief, "why should we help you".
"I am kin to Mralot the boar, and Entra the sow", said the Mraloti, "My family were killed by Telmor's kin. If you will protect me, I will work for you"
The storm chief consulted his council and asked them what they should do
"The enemy of our enemy can always be our friend", said the chief's shieldthane, Yinkin, "and this foundling has no love of Telmor".
"Another weakling mouth to feed is no use to us" said the chief's
"If he works hard he will more than repay the cost of keeping him, and we will prosper", said the chief's dishthane, Harst.
"Orlanth took in people who were not kin, and made them a part of the Storm Tribe" said the chief's backboy, Lankhor the Historian.
"We must not honour him above members of our clan", said the chief's wife, "or we will sow resentment and envy".
The chief listened to all the arguments, and came to a decision. "You may join us", he said, "as a stickpicker, fetching wood from the forest. Work hard and you may one day own your own farm, for everyone here is rewarded for their own abilities"
So it was that the first young Mraloti gave up his old life, and lived in the cottage of a stickpicker.
The second young Mraloti headed west, until he came to a land inhabited by wealthy lords, great knights and powerful wizards who ruled over the peasants and protected them from harm. "This land looks safe", thought the young Mraloti, "I will ask the rulers if I may live here too"
The rulers, however would not listen to the young Mraloti, and waved him at their servants, the Taxmen. The Taxmen seemed to care little for the plight of the young Mraloti either, and cut short his pleas for aid. "You are obviously of peasant stock", they told him, "Go to the village and plough the fields like the other scum. Keep your nose clean, obey orders from above, and pay your share at harvest and you may live here. Fail us, and you will wish that the Telmori had caught you along with your kin. Now bother us no more".
Feeling somewhat abashed the young Mraloti headed for the peasant village, where he was met by an old woman who said her name was Mumbor, servant of the Earthmaker. "I am a son of Mralot, the Great Boar" said the young Mraloti, then looked puzzled as Mumbor started to beat him, and call him Heretic.
Mumbor explained to the young Mraloti how Mralot was a false god whose foolishness caused nothing but problems, while the Earthmaker and her helpers were the true power who would aid and protect him - after all, wasn't it true that Mralot had not protected his family, while the peasant village was still there? Confused by her argument, but desperate for aid, the second young Mraloti agreed to worship only the Earthmaker from now on, and to grow straw for his new overlords.
The third young Mraloti continued to live in his ancestral home, in the same way that his ancestors always had, hunting and foraging for food, and living in a home strengthened with Gulrit's Mud. Life was hard for him, but whenever things looked darkest he remembered who he was "I am Mraloti" he repeated "I will not stop, and I will not turn away, and I will not compromise".
The Terrible Telmori came back, but they could not breach the young Mraloti's defences, and he took the name "Slasher, the Warrior" and chased them away "I will not stop, and I will not turn away, and I will not compromise" he told them.
Foraging in the darkness, the young Mraloti came upon a strange glowing spirit that had been hidden since Telmor had eaten the sun. "What manner of being are you?" asked the Mraloti.
"I am Afka, the spark" said spirit, "but right now I am cold, weak and hungry"
"We should work together then", suggested the Mraloti, "for if we help each other we can both be stronger, safer and happier" and he took the spirit back and gave it a home in his hearth.
Again, the Telmori returned, leaner and hungrier and angrier than ever, and threatened the young Mraloti. But he was growing stronger, and called himself "Ugonro, the Hunter", and aided by his ally Afka he was able to turn the tables on the Telmori, and kill some of them, and feed on their spirits. "After all," he said, "I am Mraloti, and I will not stop, and I will not turn away, and I will not compromise".
So it was that when Spider Woman was able to restore the sun, the Children of Mralot had survived the darkness.
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