Fiction: Legend of the First Tribe

The creation myth of the Oghuran nomads, which features prominently in the first segment of the Books of Gur.

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All the world was once oasis. All the lands were once verdant and bathed in the waters of the everlasting Stream of Life. All the air was still.

First there was just the Stream, running all the way from Sunrise to Sunset through barren, featureless rock and sand. Then came a rain, and the Stream had so much life in it that it became too swollen to flow within its banks. So it spilled over a little, and out came vines and roots and shrubs and trees. They spread over the land and made it green.

Then came another rain, and the Stream swelled up and overflowed again. Out came the beasts of the land, which crawled and climbed out into the Oasis. Some of the water splashed so high that the beasts within turned into birds and flew out over the treetops.

Then came another rain, and the Stream swelled up and overflowed again. There was a great splash, and the intelligent beasts came with it. The Sweith Shmar took wing in the skies. And the Sweith perched in the trees and cried thanks to the Stream of Life and they flew east and west to find a home.

But the Stream was swollen still, and so out of its waters flowed the First Tribe. They climbed from the waters and lived happily in the Oasis. They cultivated the ground for fruits and vegetables, and they fashioned crafts out of wood and reed. The First Tribe numbered twice seven. Their names were San, LHuta, Teh’aqu, Rõyo, Ughar, Yast, Ngarua, Aqa, Gureh, N?, El?oq, Seynar, Khostar, and Terung. Their village was on the north bank of the Stream of Life, which ran all the way from Sunrise to Sunset.

There came a day when the air began to move. A soft breeze came from the North. The First Tribe put their noses in the air to sniff it. But the Stream flowed quietly and reassuringly beside the First Village, and so they were not worried or afraid. The First Tribe sung songs about the air and painted pictures on their dwellings and went to sleep.

On the next day, San saw a rodent walking through First Village. It was going from north to south. He followed it to the bank of the Stream, and there it swam across and kept going when it reached the other side. San told the First Tribe what he saw, but the Stream still flowed quietly and reassuringly, so they did not worry.

On the next day, the still air became a steady breeze. The First Tribe noticed more and more of the rodents traveling south. Small lizards and other animals had joined them. San thought that the First Tribe should go south with them. But the rest of the First Tribe wanted to stay in their Oasis, and so San grew angry and he left alone.

All was quiet for a time, but then the air changed further. Now the steady breeze was sometimes a wind that made the trees sway back and forth. The wind blew waves across the Stream. The wind pushed the flat ground up into dunes and tumbled boulders from hillsides, for the Stream of Life is not the only force that shapes the desert. LHuta went out that day and saw that now the small animals were gone. She missed them, and as she went for water she saw a kren come down to the Stream, put its paws in, and swim across. LHuta feared that all the kren and larger animals would disappear, so she went to the First Tribe and asked them to follow them and go south. The First Tribe wanted to stay where they lived, but Teh’aqu said he also was afraid and would go with LHuta. So the two of them went South.

Time passed, and then the First Tribe felt heat for the first time. They stretched out in the sun and basked. They lay by the banks of the Stream of Life and enjoyed the warmth of the world.

But the next day, when Rõyo left his dwelling, he noticed that it was too warm for the grasses. The grass had shriveled and become brown. He saw that across the Stream to the south, the ground was still green, and so he told the First Tribe that the north was drying up. Rõyo and Ughar despaired that they would not be able to grow their crops in the Oasis, and they decided to go south where growing things were. As they went, the grass shriveled behind their footsteps.

The First Tribe now numbered only nine, and the North was changing around them. They were now without anger, fear, or despair at their predicament. But still they worried that when the next change came, they might all have to leave their Oasis home.

Time passed, and the Stream next to the First Village slowly dwindled. Then one day, the winds rose and the sun beat down and there was a storm. Lightning stuck and dust blew in. The trees in the Oasis bent and the dwellings of the First Village were damaged.

The First Tribe convened in the village center. They could no longer grow food in the North, for the land had dried. But they did not want to leave one another. They resolved to all go south together. So they packed up their belongings and set up sledges, and they harnessed the few onga that remained in the North, and they crossed the Stream whose waters had moved on.

The First Villagers traveled south for a time over the sands. Then they reached the Gates of the Desert. At the Gates they found some green land, but less than what they remembered from the Oasis.

The First Tribe was running out of food, but there was only enough green land to grow food for four. So Yast, Ngarua, Aqa, and Gureh elected to remain and grow more food for themselves, while N?, El?oq, Seynar, Khostar, and Terung continued south. The remaining nine of the First Tribe resolved to meet up again, and they devised signals from firesmoke and signs to carve in rock to guide each other, and they found ways to use the Stream that flows around all living things to strengthen these signals and signs. A time later, N? spotted an oasis and his group stopped to make camp. They turned their sledges into houses. Thus were the Second Villages founded.

But as time passed, the desert claimed the green lands around the Second Villages as well. And so the First Tribe and their families packed their belongings and turned their houses back into sledges, and they set off across the desert until they found another green land where the Stream of Life had overflowed into the desert and caused it to bloom.

When it came time for the First Tribe’s lives to end, they slid back into the Stream of Life and remained there as Wardens to watch over those they left behind. They flow through Time in the Stream, making certain that their descendants fare well. They are the Ancestors of all Oghura.

And so the descendants of the First Tribe spread across the lands of Oghura, moving with the shifting sands and seeking out the green spots in the desert.

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