Couvaros Myth in Enthion | World Anvil
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Couvaros (koo-VAR-ose)

If you live in Animusar among the q'tari, you appreciate and probably revere Couvaros, even if you don't believe the myths.

That's because Couvaros, with or without the myth, is a massive stone monument, or perhaps a natural feature of the land, that appears to have an organic structure--except that it's about 50 stories tall and appears to be one of the behemoths of The Sticks. Couvaros is composed entirely of minerals, largely calcite with impurities that make it a translucent, steel blue. The result is enough light to grow some plants, but a constant shade and protection from the searing, oppressive sun that makes much of the area unbearable in The Sticks' tropical climate on a summer day.

Couvaros is so massive that it allows for an entire city, the city of Jarynos, to live under its protective shadow. Additionally, actual behemoths in the area seem to respect Couvaros. Some will occasionally come so close as to stand nose-to-nose with the calcite clone of themselves, but they invariably walk off again minutes or hours later. Some say they are curious, others that they are paying respects to a lost sibling, either because it was magically turned into the calcite beast or because it's a monument to a friend or leader. No one knows the language of the behemoths, whose sounds are like a long, drawn-out foghorn, carrying for miles. The sounds are infrequent, and it's not clear if it's a true language at all. Like most of what little is known of the behemoths, it does little to remove their mystery.

Couvaros only heightens the mystery, but it's been standing for generations, and the residents of Jarynos rely on it, though it would be hard to say that they take it for granted. There are four holidays each year dedicated to Couvaros, one per season, and as residents pass in and out of the city, they habitually stop with paws (or, sometimes, hands) held to their sternum, nodding in quiet reverence and recognition to the great monument that covers and protects the city.

Couvaros is practical in a number of ways that have allowed Jarynos to flourish at its feet. To begin with, it's absolutely massive and The Sticks, while consisting of some mounds and hills, are virtually flat in relation to it, particularly near Couvaros itself, which stands between low clay bluffs and flat desert sand; this makes Couvaros a monument that can be seen for up to fifty miles away, perhaps farther if one has a little height and a clear day. It is, then, a beacon to the weary and the lost. In addition to this, Couvaros prevents rain from reaching the city center, though the monument is so tall that it only blocks the quietest rains along its edges.

Generations now long passed derived an ingenious rain catch system, scaling the monument and setting up a system of pipes and spouts. Over time, the system has expanded, and the top of Couvaros now houses a reservoir built over a natural depression in Couvaros' back, and later, additional reservoirs consisting of metal tanks set up near it. This, in combination with the pipe system that drapes down and around, gives a bit of a mystical, steampunk feeling to the great calcite beast. That said, the proportions of Couvaros are so great compared to the relatively small volume of pipes and reservoirs that looks something like modern jewelry rather than an overbearing adornment of copper (of which the pipes are made.)

There is a slender ribbon of a river that passes relatively close to Jarynos and empties in a lake, and that helps largely as a result of the underground aquifer it feeds, but without the massive catchment system, so large a city could not be supported. Those who believe Couvaros was, or is, a living entity believe that it was drinking from a river that no longer exists when it became frozen in time or turned to calcite. Indeed, the head of the beast faces the distant lake, raised high but titled slightly down, as though about to move in for a drink or having just returned from one.

Returning to the idea of practicality, Couvaros has effectively prevented any accidental deaths from the living behemoths it resembles, as the creatures seem to either revere it or at least treat it as a curiosity they have no desire to destroy. And while the behemoths seem to be peaceful creatures...fortunately, given their size...they are responsible for many deaths in The Sticks when they move quickly or when a supposedly-protected area caves in, problems the people of Jarynos do not suffer.

The pale, steely blue translucence of Couvaros lets in light, but it's never too bright, casting a sort of perpetual shade over the city center and keeping the city cool during the sun's deadliest hours overhead. The city of Jarynos is said to have been built in the shadow of the monument so many generations ago that its actual founding is lost to prehistory and wrapped in myth like the monument itself. Without Couvaros, however, it is safe to say that there would be no Jarynos, or at least no city remotely like the one known to its residents. It is safe to say that it is the most widely-known monument in The Sticks by a wide margin, and it is a wonder for all to behold, whether they have lived in its shadow or they are just seeing it from a distance for the first time.

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Cover image: Castle by jameschg


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