The Legend of Fograth and Tirinon

The following is a Legend of the Nami related to the world of Dün, the location of Swallow the Sea and the Flame of Tirinon Trilogy. This legend chronologically follows "The Shaping of Dün."

Mosaic with a ketos (sea monster) found at Caulonia (Monasterace) in the Casa del Drago, 3rd century BC, photo by Carole Raddato, licenced in the Creative Commons

Othi and Ina had two sons. Fograth, the older son, was cautious and thoughtful. Tirinon, his younger brother, was impulsive and eager. They lived on the great mountain Nam-ithai, and the Nami were four.

Othi and Ina began to teach their sons to shape the world of Dün. They made a new continent separated from Eastärna by a vast sea, so that Fograth and Tirinon might learn to shape creatures without doing harm to the place where humans dwelt. (This, after the disaster in which Tirinon hurled a star into the southern plains, forcing Ina to shape the River Ovren to fill the bowl of Lake Myrga. But this legend is recounted elsewhere.)

They called this new land Wystärna.

Fograth shaped first a tree, then a four-legged animal with a curled tail that hung from the tree and swung from branch to branch. Othi and Ina were delighted, but Fograth was not. The tree had warts, and the monkey screamed in a way that irritated him.

They were not perfect, so Fograth destroyed them.

Meanwhile, Tirinon shaped a lion. Then he shaped a half-lion, half-eagle and called it a gryphon. He shaped a tremendous fire-breathing lizard and called it a dragon. He shaped a race of small, excitable fur-covered creatures that rolled themselves into balls and dashed quickly about. He never gave these a name, because he started laughing too hard every time he saw them. So they named themselves, and were called floims.

The floims interested Fograth. He felt they should not have fur, for it not only looked silly but hindered their speed. He made a new race of creatures, larger and furless and covered with scales. But they were not as fast as he had imagined.

They were not perfect, so Fograth destroyed them.

Meanwhile, Tirinon shaped a tremendous sea-monster, larger than the whales his parents had made. He shaped a tiny crescent-petalled flower that burst into flames when the full moon shone on it. Seeing that his brother had lost interest in monkeys, he shaped these anew in several colors and sizes. He shaped giants out of ice.

As time went on, Wystärna was filled with the creatures of Tirinon. But Fograth was dissatisfied with each of his own creations, and he destroyed them all. Then Fograth’s eyes turned toward the things his brother had shaped.

“Do you not see, brother, what an awkward creature this gryphon is?” Fograth protested. “It cannot run half so well as your lion. You have marred it, crossing it with an eagle.”

Tirinon was baffled. “But brother! It flies! What does it matter if it cannot outrun my lion?”

“Your dragon, furthermore, is too hot. Do you not see how unhappy it makes itself by incinerating its surroundings?”

But Tirinon continued to delight in all that he had made, and he shaped new wonders that outdid the former. Fograth, however, began to see nothing but flaws in his brother’s creatures. His frustration piled up, and one day he could bear it no more.

Fograth killed Tirinon’s sea-monster. It was eating all the whales.

War between the brothers ensued, fought in the dome above Dün. Even the humans saw it and trembled with fear. Othi and Ina intervened, horrified, and commanded that the brothers must never again destroy each other’s creatures.

“For my part, I need not worry,” said Tirinon. “Fograth destroys all his creatures himself.”

Fograth deeply resented his brother’s words.

He did not destroy the gryphons, exactly. But he lured some of them into the northern wastes of Wystärna, and when they emerged they were changed. Their feathers were black and buzzard-like, and they killed for pleasure. They fought the other gryphons, who exiled them. So Fograth brought the altered creatures to Eastärna against his parents’ wishes. The humans greatly feared griffins and did not know that they had once been majestic creatures.

Fograth did not destroy the dragons, exactly. But he began to speak to them of gold, and convinced them that this treasure was worth more than anything else Dün had to offer. He taught them to lust for gold’s smell, to drool at its sight, to go mad with rage at its loss. Then Fograth explained to the dragons that the places where humans dwelt, especially their great cities, were filled with gold. So some of the dragons came to Eastärna, terrorizing the human race as they built up mountain hoards.

Tirinon was furious with his brother, but Fograth insisted that the flaws he found in Tirinon’s creatures were put there by their maker. “Do not blame me,” he said, “for the imperfections you have allowed to endure.”

In saying this, Fograth hoped to induce Tirinon to destroy the things he had shaped. But Tirinon only made new creatures, wilder and bolder than before. In these, he often put strengths that protected or balanced the weaknesses of others of his creatures. So Tirinon sought to protect each beloved race from the ill-will of his brother Fograth.

And the ill-will of his brother Fograth grew stronger.