But not all men seek rest and peace; some were born with the spirit of the storm in their blood.
-Robert E. Howard-
There once was a land that lay to the east of the golden isle; that abode of Godkings. This was a time when none might have dared crossed that ocean which now has no name. Where serpents and the battered divine drank the black waters that echoed the cold of the cosmos, and shone its ugly reflection back at itself, deep from within a night that never ended.
This place was known as Old Harrow and its King was Kol. The land was stoney and stark. Its air moaned forever as if the traveling wind coaxed its people away from the land’s emptiness. Sharp mountains of jagged grey stone slashed across the desolation in a manner which would have seemed unnatural to any who might have dared visit the pergatorious realm; yet none ever did. The mountains jutted out of the ground like the razor-sharp teeth of a beast from primordial waters now forgotten, and the sky was forever grey. Clouds full of tears that never fell, and only ever caused a grand pressure-spell which could only be described as a heavy weight upon the head of all who dwelled there under that rule of an immortal mountain king.
This Chieftain had made a deal with ‘The Darkest God Forgotten’. As is the case with many deals made with forces beyond our mortal comprehension, he had felt confident in the bargain’s boons. He should not have.
When Kol was young, restless, and lost he had traveled far away from his Father’s disheveled and gale-torn hut upon the south side of the mountain known as Old Rook. He traveled into the deep north, and starved himself in solitude as a means to grant himself audience with that horrid god his people had tried to forget. Every night he slept thinking about how cold, and agonizing this journey to a banished god truly was. Night after night he slowly began to realize that this sense of pain was not unlike the same pain he felt back home. For Kol was a man who had no love for the path, but would go anywhere for the treasures he imagined were his birthright. He thought about how much they pay off would be worth in the long run of things though, and that fact smote all other rationale he had learned from the elders, and all intuition his soul tried to shoot at him.
But Kol was certain that he and this poor God could come to some sort of deal, seeing as they were both down on their luck in this world which seemed to reject them both. As he dragged himself through the sharp spines of rock, and across the peaks that cut his flesh and soul he eventually came to his journey’s end. He found the blackest of caves, and struck the starkest of fires, and spoke the most ancient words. There he struck a deal with that dark God of the deepest caves. He appeared to him in the form of shadow, and not once did he show his true self to the boy.
The deal was that if he could guess the God’s ancient name he would be granted immortality for a small price in the face of his long and powerful rule; or so said the lurker of shadows. As is the case with all young and brave men, he could tell there was something amiss. For this entity which would scarcely even show its shadowy form to him from behind the crags and cracks of the dripping cave did not speak in a manner which calmed, and only spoke of a relief that rank of death and dimming. Nonetheless, Kol took his deal. He grew ancient, and over the long centuries he ruled and prospered his skin began to dry and crack. He saw himself slowly becoming not unlike those very mountains that took his soul long ago.
His eyes whitened, and his heart pumped blood no more. His soul yearned for nothing, and his mind was as a boulder upon the shore. Ever still and watchful over a vast sea of nothing. In order for this King to remain perpetual, and in order for him to cling to his life of purgatory – wherein his soul would wander instead of his physical- he was tasked by that God of the caves to devour his own daughters. His sons would perpetually wait for a throne he would never give up, and yet it was the will of this dark God to keep this power solely within the patriarchal lineage of Kol. And so for centuries did the old King eat his daughters and oppress his sons who were destined to become as cold, and hollow as he. For they too were tasked with the devouring of the feminine blood of Kol.
This story is of an unknown origin. It comes from a time that is no longer spoken of outside of dream. Yet we understand it, we see the same bones that move it. They pushforth our own spiritual understanding of the world around us, and navigate how we choose to conduct our own selves throughout the storms of this reality.
This is a tale of desperation that we might all sympathize with. Through disparity comes a bargain, and through bargains we meet the devil. When we become so weathered by the storm in our great and divine masculine search for something more, we will be greeted by the shadow many times before we find the true boons. But if we take his deal, that banished one that men have long discussed as they cling to the walls of caves, castles, halls, and houses throughout time-immemorial we only trade one agony for the next.
When we choose to throw in that towel, and seek the answer that has found itself in our minds through weakness, it was never the answer.
When we seek only to eliminate hardship from our lives, we swallow it like Cronus devoured his offspring (i.e his future). That is to internalize a problem, and bring it into our deepest and most spiritual chambers of the mind for the sole reason that it was too heavy a burden to bear in the waking world/ physical realm.
This was the answer for many individuals of many different time periods. And depending on how you view your quality of life, or the manner in which you might receive elevation within the social hierarchies, this path might be seen as an advantage, or even quite manageable. This is the power of this path, and it is the elixir of escape that many find to be more comforting as an answer. It is easier to be a king in a land of nothing, than a wanderer amidst the endless storms.
I speak to you now of a second path told within this tale.
Þracu Seventhson, was his name. He was known as a mighty and fearless leader of his father’s people. Out of all the sons of Kol, Þracu persevered with the flow of human blood far beyond all others. His might was unmatched, and his imagination beyond even the elves. He was able to take broken spirited men and rear them into a frenzy that no God had witnessed for thousands of years.
His father hated him for this. Kol watched as Þracu was thrown into any terrible fate that his father or his closest sons could think of from the darkest and coldest spots of their stoney hearts. Time after time would Þracu emerge victorious and brighter than ever. Red in the face, and fiery in the eyes. “Father, I have returned victorious” became words he spat at his father in a manner that could only be witnessed as primal youth triumphant over the bitter and old.
Until one day Kol looked over to the West from the top of his crumbling and cold keep. He saw the mists of the nameless ocean twinkle and hide the forbidden land of Godkings. For all knew the tales. Even he, as a poor farmer’s son, thought of traversing that endless ocean in hopes of finding the forbidden realm of goldenlight. But he did not. Yet he heard of these meddling tribes from the south. Two sons of the Boar King of Merunord had traveled the endless oceans, and none knew if they had made it or drowned. And so he had made up his mind. He would send this fiery son of his across the endless ocean.
“ÞRACU, MY SON” he bellowed like the wind down his stoney tunneled hall of black rock. All the elders and other-sons gazed at Þracu as he knelt upon the midnight blue carpet that draped down from his fathers jagged throne. He told his son of his newest quest. And all knew it was a sentence to death. For no good could come from traversing the endless ocean.
“A monotonous hell of cold, and damp. An immortal lulling of waves and foam which took every man eventually.” So said the elders who recorded their times at sea attempting to cross. It was suicide.
Yet Þracu was full of excitement. His father had sent him the grandest task of all, to find the land of Godkings. He was to be the first of his kind to find this land, and beat even those Sons of the Boar he so often dreamt of meeting.
He left as soon as he could, with a ship of his toughest and most loyal men. The son of the first stoneblood was to traverse the untraversable, and was laughing into the storm that sat dormant on the horizon like a reaper waiting for your arrival at the end of all things.
For days his ship tossed and turned, ripped, and swayed, and they found no land to the west. Þracu Seventhson of the Stoneblood Royal house was drowned that day. And he met that final wave with laughter and screams of pride.
But he did not find death like his companions, who had all but died days before they drowned. He sank deep below the bryne. Blue waters turned to green, and then to black.
And then there was light.
In the distance behind a shroud of his last breath’s bubbles, he saw a lantern swaying. All around it was hair that danced like seaweed. Eyes opened and they were the size of his ship. The face was fair and her skin was a seafoam green.
He had found a most ancient Goddess of the deep, and she had felt his heartbeat pummeling towards her for miles.
“You will not die this day, son of the storm. You have much left to accomplish upon your journey.”
This part of the tale should highlight to you the importance of the journey, and of the trials. For what is it about organic food we find more delicious?
What is it about the Chef who goes to the farmers market that outshines the chef who goes to the Superstore?
The musician that uses a variety of tools and pedals compared to that of the digital amp user?
It is a journey, of course. It is the story that the individual has created that matters much before the final outcome is to be appreciated at its finest. It is always the journey.
If you love the process, then your end result will be more powerful and resonant with others. Even if others don’t notice the difference consciously, you will at least take pride in knowing that you created something that told a story, that you found a pathway which gave you lessons, hardships, trials, and results. This is the difference between the Stonebloods and the Stormbloods.
With scars and shudders we Storm through it all and witness our ancestral spear become sharper and more accurate with every stride through this life. There is nothing to be disappointed in, even in the face of death and failure, when you know yourself to be a pathforger, and a firebringer.
You will march with pride through all storms once you realize that the mightiest skill a Halithazian might possess is the love the journey and not the destination.