Feyrik and the Fish

There is a tale shared amongst the folk of Essator about a man who, like many before him, went in search of his destiny. His fate, however, is a warning to all who would desire to do the same. Sometimes destiny is better left unknown.
 
Under Mount Kiradean is an enormous cavern with a deep pool which many travelled to for a chance to glimpse their future in the waters. Believing himself to have a great destiny before him, Feyrik, son of Thidril, took up this journey accompanied by a few of his closest friends. They made camp by the entrance of the cave and Feyrik entered it, promising to return soon with a tale of all that he saw. The path was dark and wound its way down into the depths of the mountain, but it was a well-worn path and easy to follow. With torch raised high, Feyrik's anticipation built with every step he took. Soon he would witness what the gods had laid in store for him.   As he drew nearer to the cavern, he noticed a peculiar light ahead. Abandoning his torch, he stepped into a cavern of great beauty, the like of which he had never seen before. At the heart of the cavern was a large pool, its waters dark, but around its edges and along the walls were luminous plants of many colours. Feyrik followed a path leading to a ledge which offered a view over the dark pool where he stood and peered into its depths. What Feyrik saw in that pool, none will ever know, but it had filled him with fury. Now Feyrik was a skilled huntsman and never travelled without his spear. This he now took up with an angry shout and cast it into the pool.
  As the waters stilled, and his rage passed, Feyrik looked once more into it and saw that his spear had pierced the heart of a great fish at the bottom of the pool. As he marvelled at its size, he realised it would be a mighty trophy to return with, which would surely bring him fame and fortune. With his mind set on gold and glory, he hauled the mighty fish out of the water and onto the shore of the lake, where he sat and congratulated himself on claiming such a prize. After a moment's rest, he took out his knife and set to work on the beast. So absorbed was he in this bloody work that he did not notice the lights of the surrounding plants flicker and dim until he found himself in darkness. Feyrik made a small fire and cooked a portion of the fish as his hunters share before he would return to his friends to share the tale. However, this great fish was no ordinary fish; it was the source of the visions and portents that people came to see, and his name was Nabra, and was the pet of the Goddess Narvelli.    When the aroma of Nabra's cooking flesh reached Narvelli, she came to the cavern and saw Feyrik there, the body of Nabra sliced and scattered around him while the man feasted upon it. Such pain and grief filled Narvelli at this sight and she revealed herself in all her terrible beauty to Feyrik and unleashed her wrath with a tremendous shout, causing the earth to shake with the power of it.   
Feyrik's friends jumped up at the sound and feel of the earth moving and rushed in to the cavern in fear for Feyrik. Yet when they arrived, they saw no sight of him, only a dying fire and a trail of blood that seemed to lead to the pool where a great beast thrashed and struggled. Quickly they assumed this creature had attacked and devoured their friend, so they turned their sorrow into vengeance and took up their weapons and struck it. Yet it was Feyrik's spear that delivered the killing blow, for one of them had found it discarded by the shore, took it up and plunged it into the heart of the beast. And so it was that Feyrik was dealt his first death. For unbeknown to his friends, Feyrik had been cursed by Narvelli and transformed into a blind and scaly beast to dwell in that dark pool and endure as many deaths as equal to the years Nabra had lived.   With the beast slain, the friends retrieved their weapons and settled around Feyrik's fire. They sang songs of memory and prayer, hoping he would find rest in the halls of their ancestors. There they spent the night rather than risk the mountains, for well they knew of the dangers that prowled there at night. One by one they fell into sleep until all were awoken by the sounds of splashing. In horror, they watched as the beast was healed and life brought back to it. Too weary to fight, they fled the cavern and cursed fate for bringing them to such a foul place.
  Tales of the unbeatable beast soon spread, attracting warriors and adventurers alike to the cavern to test themselves against it. Some still visit the cave in search of their destiny, believing that if they could slay the beast once and for all, the gods will reward them with their heart's desire.
  How many deaths Feyrik is doomed to endure is unknown. Some tales claim it was a thousand, some suggest a hundred thousand. Others claim Nabra was eternal, so Feyrik's curse will never end. Whatever the case may be, it is agreed that destiny is something better left unknown.


Cover image: by AP. (via Artbreeder) WA-SC logo (edited in Photoshop)

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Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
13 Jul, 2021 19:11

That poor little fish :(   I'm torn between thinking Feyrik must have learn his lesson by now and then thinking about the poor goddess who saw her beloved pet get cooked...   I'm intrigued by Feyrik having been drawn to blindly attack the pond... seems suspicious... If it were Greek/Roman mythology, I'd say another god had cursed him to cause trouble...   Great article, this is a really well written myth :D

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13 Jul, 2021 21:00

Oh I like that idea - another god cursing him because they weren't happy with the fortune-telling fish / or argument with Narvelli.   Fun fact - this story is the reason Narvelli worshippers don't eat fish ;)   Thank you! Was a lot of fun to write. I do love a good myth and am pretty pleased with how it came out. Glad you liked it!

3 Aug, 2021 22:20

This is such a great myth and cautionary tale. I love little pieces of the unknown scattered throughout.   Poor fish. :(

4 Aug, 2021 11:00

Thank you Emy! So glad you enjoyed it! x