Fire Rain, Fire Rain Myth in Creus | World Anvil
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Fire Rain, Fire Rain

Vance folded his hands in front of the memorial. It was cold and wet here, where the waters ran down from the hillside and gathered in the ruins of the old keep before flowing further downhill, drenched by a monsoon that seemed to soak through his oiled leather raincoat and gather in his boots. He unslung his warbow and raised it, drawing it slightly as though to test the arc. At this range, it wouldn't have taken much skill to drop the fire on target. His companion gave him a raised eyebrow. "What are you doing?"   "Just lost in my thoughts." Vance lowered his bow. "It's one thing to remember that the rain will burn, it's another to be where it happened." He shook his head and knelt down at the monument in front of him. The slightly timeworn inscription,  
A great tragedy occurred here, caused by that greatest of vices, intemperance. For intemperance, the women died. For intemperance, the children burned. May Etoile remember, so that it may not be repeated.
Rathnait shook her head. "The memorial looks like alright condition, it won't need refurbishment or replacement." The Master Trader sprinkled a pinch of sand in front of the monument. "Shall we get going?"   Vance shook his head. "I remember singing this song as a five year old on the playground. I wonder why."   "History, Randell. Fickle and random, as we're both well aware." Rathnait's wooden umbrella was streaming off water in a way that cascaded in front of her face. "If you're feeling guilty about singing a child's song as a child, don't. Progress's intention was to make sure things like this had no place in the future Etoile. The song is just a song."   "Just makes you wonder what the dead would have said about that." The mercenary shuffled forward in the mud to take a closer look at the ruins of the keep. Anything that could have been carried away by the incessant water had already washed away, leaving only the scorch marks of the sturdiest wood piles to give proof as to the Fire Rain.   "Nothing. They're dead." The Master Trader glanced at her pocket watch. "Perhaps this is prosaic coming from me, but it is strange that you obviously feel strongly about this incident and I don't, whereas you've slain people in the course of your duties, and I haven't. I don't know. I would have expected some degree of...inurement."   "They were children, Rathnait. Not just random bandits. That's what makes the difference." Vance stood. "You're right that there's no reason to dwell on it, though. Just remind me to tell my kids to not sing the damned song, if I ever have any."


The 'Fire Rain' myth is a children's song that is commonly sung in playgrounds, especially when the children are doing something that's particularly intense (spinning on a playground carousel, for example). The words sung follow along these lines,  
Don't let the rain stop,
Don't let the rain stop,
Let it keep raining,
Let it keep raining,
Or else the rain will burn,
Or else the fire will come,
Don't let the rain stop,
Or the rain will burn,
The rain will burn,
We'll all come burning down!
More than one commentator has remarked on the disturbing content of this song, but the children don't seem to mind. In this conception, the song is little more than encouragement to go faster and faster and don't stop, entirely divorced from historical context. Without knowledge of that historical context, a common interpretation of the song is simply that of agriculture, the wish for rain to keep the crops growing, as opposed to sun and drought scorching the fields and causing famine. This interpretation of the myth, while prevalent for many years, was firmly disproven by the publication of a book investigating the origins of the song, late in the 680s. Nevertheless, children are told this interpretation of the song, should they ask about what the lyrics mean.

Historical Basis

The true basis of the song is traced to the Siege of Floodcrest Keep, a minor battle in The War of Unification. While the wooden keep was strategically important due to its control of the freshwater supply in the region, it was militarily insignificant, merely a small garrison cut off from aid and rescue, and steadfastly refusing surrender to the Nasse Ground Forces despite their hopeless position. This siege was particularly miserable due to the monsoon rains that turned the moat surrounding the keep into a flood, prevented campfires, and otherwise taxed the patience of the besiegers. The Siege launchers that were normally available for breaking defensive positions were unavailable for this battle, needed elsewhere by a larger formation.   After roughly three weeks of incessant rain and taunts by the defenders, the commander on scene had had enough. One morning, the rains broke for a few hours in the grey clouds of early morning, and the Nasse Ground Forces took the opportunity. Small catapults launched barrels of oil, tar, and alchemic accelerants into the keep, and the archers of the unit began to drop fire arrows into the keep. Fire arrows will not ignite wet wood or dampened animal furs, but will readily burn fuel, and so much fuel was thrown into the keep as to ignite a massive blaze, one that was not quenched by the resumption of the monsoon squall later that afternoon. The report of the Ground Forces mentioned that arrows were rained into the keep 'all day and all night', and that at least three surrender requests were denied, the messengers hit with arrows and dumped into the moat.   The next day, the keep was largely destroyed, and no survivors were found; charred corpses would wash up on the riverbanks downstream for several weeks. While the act was formally marked as merely a tragedy of war, the commander of the Ground Forces there was forcibly retired for his excessive brutality, as it turned out that Floodcrest Keep was giving shelter to a number of women and children, and could have been taken by storm without significant casualty. The site is now marked by a small memorial to the children that were slain in the battle.


It is unknown how the tale of Floodcrest Keep was turned into a children's song - linguists from The Academy of Etoile hypothesize that it was at one point a song of old soldiers turned to drink, some sort of lamentation, before turning into a children's song. In either circumstance, it is now a well known children's ditty, being universal across the Principality of Etoile

Cultural Reception

The backstory behind the song is not well known in 725, and those who are told of it are typically quite horrified to hear of its origins. The Principality is not particularly proud of the incident, preferring to portray The War of Unification as no bloodier or violent than was required to bring Progress to all corners of Saibh - incidents such as this may have been marginally acceptable in the more brutal era of warfare during the time of the First Princeps, but are no longer considered such in the modern day.   Attempts to ban the song are occasional, but such efforts are almost never successful in any context for any reason - children simply like to sing catchy songs.

In Literature

The backstory behind this song was not known at all in the public sphere until research by one Claude Gherrin of The Academy of Etoile resulted in a shocking publication in 683, detailing the precise circumstance of the Siege of Floodcrest Keep, all from public records maintained by the Archivist of the Etoilean Ground Forces. The book was widely sold and distributed, and in response, the Princeps of the time held an official inquest and repudiation of the commander of the era (long deceased), and authorized the placement of a permanent memorial. Commentary at the time noted that there was an element of performance to this act, as it was not as if anyone could be punished, or the dead resurrected; nevertheless, the book became required reading for most Officers of Etoile, as a grave reminder of the past that the Progress of the Principality works to overcome.   While the book is widely read in the highest circles of Etoilean society, it is not particularly well known to folks of ordinary circumstance in Etoile, and the topic of conversation is one that only shows up sporadically in polite discourse.

In Art

A mural of the 'fire rain' is painted as a landscape in Ebensberg, at the Longhall of The Magistrates, as a reminder to those black-robed what can happen if they fail to uphold and model the ideals of Progress.
Date of Setting

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Aug 10, 2023 16:54 by Sapha Burnell

Thorough myth! I love the history and literature you went into to qualify this. Well done!

Aug 14, 2023 00:47

Thanks for reading! It's a bit grim subject matter, but so were many of the tales of the Brothers Grimm.