The Fall of the Corrupted
The Fall of the Corrupted is a famous myth in the Ravkan religion. It tells the story of the legendary battle between two of the Defiled: the Creator/Destroyer and the Corrupted. At the end of the argument, the Corrupted is defeated, but it leaves the Defiled as a broken unit instead of the family they'd always been. It's both an important myth to Ravkans and Kezens (although those identities often overlap) and has been retold in many ways in many forms over the past thousands of years.
Before time, the Defiled lived in harmony. At some point, humans were created by the Creator, and that added only to the Defiled's happiness; even though humans possessed all of the negative qualities the Defiled represent, they were also full of many positive qualities as well. At some point, the Corrupted took on human form and wandered the world. It's said that he came to Thenia and fell in love with a young woman. Even knowing who and what he was, the young woman still loved him dearly. For the first time in his existence, the Corrupted felt...uncorrupted. This became a problem, though: the Defiled were only supposed to superficially interact with humans, not fall in love with them, and the Corrupted had certainly done that. Word began to spread amongst the humans that the young man courting one of their young women was actually one of the Defiled. Unknowingly to the Corrupted, the people stopped praying to the other Defiled, as they had one in the flesh. This angered the Defiled, but the Corrupted was one of them, and so they stayed silent. That is, until the Corrupted went to the Creator and asked for a favor: he wanted the woman to be an immortal, like them. The Creator had never allowed that, and wasn't going to in this case, either, as they felt that would disrupt the balance of nature. The Corrupted argued that although they had never gifted immorality before, there was not a more noble reason to do it than love. The Defiled were split down the middle: the Chaos, the Witch, and the Tyrant all agreed that they could not gift immortality to humans, while the Corrupted, the Beast, and the Cursed thought otherwise. Unfortunately, the Creator/Destroyer, as the head of the Defiled, was allowed to break the tie, and it was decided that immortality would not be given to the lover of the Corrupted. Perhaps things would have improved over time, but very suddenly, the Corrupted's lover died. The Corrupted was devastated, and in his grief, he went to confront the Creator, who met him at the River of the Defiled. The Corrupted shed his human form, and the Creator and the Corrupted had a cataclysmic fight as gods. Because the Creator is also the Destroyer, the Corrupted was ultimately "destroyed" during this altercation. (In reality, the Defiled cannot be, but this was as close as they could come.) As the Corrupted's "godly" essence left him, it besmirched the River, giving it the saltwater quality it has today. From then on, even after the Corrupted was resurrected, the Defiled was a broken family instead of the strong family unit it once was. This myth serves two purposes: first, it explains the oddity of the River of the Defiled, and second, proves the Ravkan concept that nature must be in balance in order to have the world function properly.
Although there's no historical record of this event, Kezens and Ravkans hold it to be true because of the unique nature of the River of the Defiled. In this world, that a saltwater river ccomes from a freshwater ocean is convincing that something supernatural happened to cause that phenomenon.
Every Ravkan and every Kezen would know this myth, and many other Thenians would as well, regardless if they are Ravkan or Kezen. Because of the proliferation of the myth (largely due to the romantic nature of it), the myth has been retold countless times across Thenia.
Variations & Mutation
Because the myth has existed for thousands of years, there are a great deal of variations. Interestingly, the main components have stayed the same, but tiny details have changed, including the genders and ethniticies of various characters, as well as the cause of death of the Corrupted's lover. For example, in the case of the last detail, variations range from the Corrupted's lover dying of completely natural causes to her actually being killed by the Destroyer in hopes that the Corrupted would forget about her. Additionally, because the Corrupted is considered an agender being, the Corrupted is sometimes a female while her lover is a male. (In more "contreversial" retellings, sometimes the genders are the same.) However, that the myth is at its core a love story has never changed.
As mentioned, this myth is extremely important to Ravkans and Kezens alike. Not only does it explain the oddities of the River of the Defiled, an important geographic and cultural landmark, it also proves that nature must always be in balance, an important tenet of Ravka. To other Thenians, most consider it a legend: perhaps it's true, perhaps not, but many are attracted to the romance of the myth. At times, variations will pop up that are clearly that myth with other characters, but it's understood that the original myth is Ravkan. (Some other religions say that the only good thing Ravka has contributed are their myths.)
This myth has been retold countless times in books. A simplified version makes its way into children's books, and more complex versions pop up as basis for romance books quite frequently. Part of the Dark Library (located in the Dark Temple) is dedicated to collecting every printed version of the myth available.
Thenia, and Kezig especially, love to honor this myth in art. Several art pieces exist across Thenia that are visited by tourists, including an ornate tapestry housed at the Dark Temple and a statue of the Corrupted at the River of the Defiled. Bar songs have been written about the story, from beautiful ballads to bawdy tunes that can't be repeated around children. It's not uncommon for a Ravkan to have something in their possession, whether it be a book or piece of art, that depicts this myth. Interestingly, some married couples (and Ravkan couples especially), design jewelry that depicts this event as proof of their undying love to one another.
Date of First Recording
Sometime around 1800
Date of Setting
Early human history