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Fiction

Halaefea's Bones

The wind howls in the hollow tower of Yeranem, mourful sounds like a dirge played on a bone-flute. Legend has it that's what it is.

The giant Halaefea taught mortals the secrets of fire and tools, and the gods of the Heavens killed her for what they called treachery. To make sure neither the other gods of the Earth nor the gods of the Underworld could restore Halaefea to life, they scattered her bones.

Around her spine grew the mountains of Vaenn, and now there are a thousand rumours concerning what could be found in the hollow where the marrow used to be.

Her ribs were scattered in the sea, forming the foundations for the atolls of Gwandeh, Jirael and Mdaeh.

The small bones of her hands and feet the gods of the Heavens scattered over the desert of Kyriemakeitikosh, where to us today each is a lone mountain.

Her long bones they kept for themselves. They carved a trumpet from her right thighbone, and spears for their Chosen from the bones of her arms and shanks.

Halaefea's skull, the house of her mind and soul, half-blackened from the wrath-fire that killed her, they put in the highest heaven, with the greatest treasure that is the sun, guarded by the great army of stars. Her clan can't conquer the heavens to save her, and she is out of reach of the ghost-talkers, even the Greatest Shade itself.

Her left thigh bone, now, Joraen, wanted for a weapon for themself, Koruen, wanted it as a hammer for their forge, Gesion for a flute. They argued among themselves and with their siblings, until Joraen started a fight, in the course of which an end of the bone broke off. Ayanaiss said they should send the bone back to Earth, pretending it a token of respect, and so it was done.

The thighbone struck the ground and buried itself deeply enough to stand firm as a mountain. The gods of the Earth, unable to exact their revenge, mourned their sister, and left her remains in peace, as is all gods’ custom.

Mortals found Halaefea's thigh, the strangest white mountain eyes had ever seen, and settled there, carving their first homes into the bone itself.

And, do you know, sometimes a ghost-talker will say when they stayed there, in the centre of the tower that is the heart of Yeranem, they heard echoes of Halaefea's life, in the wind howling in the hollow where her marrow had been.

Happened when the origfic_bingo prompt "tower" met me reading the title "Learning the Bones of the City" by Lyn Thorne-Alder

Comments

An epic legend!

Very evocative

Very evocative