Blood of the God
Deep in the Duwia Mountains, there is a cave. In the cave is a spring. From this spring flows a stream. The stream flows out of the mountains and eventually joins two others to form the Afondri, a river of many natures. Nothing much to pique the interest, is there? Very ordinary, and commonplace. Not so, impatient one. Heed these words and learn. You have a mind, I expect to see evidence of it. Ages ago, as we conceive of time, the gods lived in the Duwia range. They roved all of their creation, but the mountains were their home. Each had a role in bringing forth this world, and each excelled in something beyond their fellows. None had ultimate power. Each found something in the world that they cherished above all else. For one god, it was the deep places of the earth. No, I am not going to tell you his name, or her name - you will have opportunity to learn it for yourself. One of the deep places, was the cave I began with. It was deep but high in the mountains, cool and dim and the water was bitterly cold and clear. It bubbled up from the greater depths then carved its way bit by bit and eon by eon till instead of the blackness of the underground it came to light and life and the world above. Now don't be thinking that this water was anything special, or alive or any such romantic stuff and nonsense. It was just water, for now. It did what water was created to do. It flowed, it nourished, it moved always downward to the sea. Now, the god in this tale had been pleased at this cave within the earth and with the spring that flowed from it. This god wasn't present when the water made its way to the upper world, and when that became known to the deity on a random visit to the place, there was a sense of loss. But, being a -moderately- wise being there was no interference in the destiny of the unnamed flow. Yet. Time passed, as time does, even for the gods. The stream had joined others to form the river we know as the Afondri Yes, I mentioned this before, I wanted to see if you were paying attention. Well done. Those other streams were different, somehow, and our god of the depths did not want his favorite to be just ordinary. But in what way could it become something more? There is strength in the mountains, the beautiful bones of the earth. There is power and the ability to endure long and well. There is patience, and stillness, but wildness too. Could these things be part of the nature of the water also? Obviously, if a god gets involved, it can. Our god descended into the cave where the spring burst forth. With an enchanted spike from the cave's ceiling a great slice was made in each arm. The blood that flowed from these wounds spilled into the water, turning it red. Some say the god still bleeds within the cave, offering the blood which heals and strengthens to the waters which carry it forth. Some say the divine gift need not be eternal, once the blood touched the waters, the change was permanent. What we do know is those waters flow red. Those who drink straight from the stream, or bathe in its flow receive strength to their mortal shells. Some become more patient, some gain calm. There is enough evidence to this that there is little doubt it is effective. No, it doesn't give you the strength of a god, it doesn't make you immortal, or impervious to pain, injury or death. But it is good for you.
Many are the gods worshiped here, and myriad are their names. If you were to visit and record the stories of each people regarding their deities, very little would be the same. I believe the gods like it that way. -- Ontheway the Wiser, historian and archivist.