Aanarakka, Tamer of the Evergale

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Admiring "Aanarakka Receives Kakkarah's Staff"
"Who is that, Grandsire?"

"That, child, is Aanarakka, the Tamer of the Evergale. She is one of the Awkwana's most important Waverider heroes. In fact, there wouldn't be Waveriders if it were not for her and her mentor, Kakkarah. That's him gifting her with his Staff of Storms. Aanarakka was the first one to sail through the Evergale Straits and return safely. Until that voyage, the Waveriders were nothing more than a village of fisherfolk. But thanks to her, the Waveriders are now an important power on the seas all across Cartyrion.
— An old Awkwana and his granddaughter touring the Hall of Heroes
It is imprinted into the Awkwana that they should seek out the place in society where their talents and skills are most needed. This was particularly challenging for Aanarakka, as she was gifted by the gods with a number of special talents. Other cultures would say she had more than her share, but the Awkwana do not think this way. In fact, the abundance of gifts was a burden for it made finding her place all the more challenging.

Early Life

Aanarakka began life like many others in the city of Kaal Ruk high amid the peaks of the Farspine Range. Her name loosely translated to "Reach the Stars" in the common speech of Cartyrion. It was a goal set by her parents with her naming, but a goal she had no idea how to fulfill. She learned what all young Awkwana learned, and experimented with many skills and possible callings, but none seemed right. It was as she acted out her frustrations that her first "special gift" manifested. Seeking to escape her inner conflicts one day, she ascended to the roof of one of Kaal Ruk's taller towers and sat - in a driving thunderstorm - to look out on the world beyond the city. Perhaps her future lay out there somewhere.

When others found her, she was lying semiconscious on the roof, the stones around her still smoldering. She had been struck by lightning, but remarkably, she did not appear seriously injured in any way. There are many among the Awkwana called the Affected. They have a penchant for being 'bad luck magnets', but they always seem to survive the ills that befall them. To all who knew her, Aanarakka's lightning strike marked her as one of the Affected. This changed everything for her. Her parents even wanted to change her name, as was custom with the Affected, but she would have none of that. She was Aanarakka, and she would remain so. She would reach the stars - whatever that meant.

Aanarakka's First Journeys

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Aanarakka At Work
Kaal Ruk Hall of Heroes
Considered to be one of the Affected, Aanarakka found her former friends were afraid to be around her. They did not wish to be too close when the next lightning bolt shot from the sky. She came to realize that wherever her destiny lay, it was not in Kaal Ruk. It was time to leave the city. There was only one other sizable settlement of birdfolk at the time - a settlement on the coast of the Sea of Storms called Glaakra Ruk. She sensed that her calling involved craftsmanship, but most artisans in Kaal Ruk worked with metal and stone, and she knew these were not the materials for her. In Glaakra Ruk, there were workers of wood - perhaps that was where she would find her place.

After apprenticing with a few artisans, it became clear that her talent was indeed in the shaping of wood, and in particular the making of the boats the Awkwana of this city relied upon to harvest fish from the sea. Though she did not realize it at the time, this was where her second gift manifested - she could shape wood with exquisite skill because she had been given an innate ability to call upon the magic of Cartyrion to do so. Because it was natural for her, she did not even sense the magic she shaped, but her artisan master did. She could do things that no skilled craftsperson could.

Soon, she was crafting vessels faster and better than those with years more experience, but she still felt that she was not reaching her potential. Parts of the puzzle were falling together, but there were some pieces missing. And her heart began to tell her those pieces lay beyond the shores of Glaakra Ruk. She began to craft a vessel unlike any the fisherfolk had seen. Larger and more stable in the water, she called upon her instincts - and some memories of tales she heard about Dwarves far away to build a vessel that would take a small crew of Awkwana beyond where the fishing boats dared go... beyond sight of the shore... into the deeper sea. She wished to discover what was "out there".

It took a year to build the craft, and another to convince four other fisherfolk to join her in an attempt to see what lay beyond the sea that touched their shores. They set sail to the north and west, toward a place the Dwarves called the Farsea. But it wasn't long before she and her crew learned why the Dwarves called the waters around Glaakra Ruk the Sea of Storms. Far from shore, gales often blew. Her crew believed that the storms were the bad luck of an Affected, but they also believed she and they would survive. They pressed on until they reached the Evergale Straits that separated the Sea of Storms from the Farsea. But the storm that raged there - a storm that seemed to rage on without moving or diminishing - the storm for which the straits were named - would not let them pass. After weeks at sea, they returned to Glaakra Ruk badly battered, the crew convinced that they were simply not meant to pass those straits.

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Aanarakka Finds Kakkarah
- Kaal Ruk Hall of Heroes

Kakkarah

Aanarakka would not accept defeat so easily, but she had doubts. Was her calling out there, or was she mistaken? She needed guidance, but there was nobody in Glaakra Ruk that could help her - until an ancient woman, also of the Affected, told her of a Seer that lived in the mountains near Kaal Ruk. Kakkarah was his name; he was a hermit rumored to have great powers of divination. Aanarakka decided to seek out this mystic. Returning first to Kaal Ruk, she learned where she might find this Kakkarah, but It took a year of wandering in the mountains before she finally found his home. It sat atop one of the great peaks of the Farspine from which, if the weather was crystal clear, the spires of Kaal Ruk were barely visible.

Kakkarah sensed immediately there was something special about Aanarakka. He was not truly a Seer, but he was touched with magical gifts. Other folk of Cartyrion would call him a Druid. He was attuned to the natural world, able to speak with small animals and plants, and even the rocks around him. When Kakkarah heard Aanarakka speak of her woodcraft, he knew she shared his gifts. He took her as an apprentice and began to teach her all he could about the natural world around them, and how its energies could be bent to their will if they knew how and had the determination. It soon became apparent that Aanarakka was even more gifted than he was.

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Aanarakka Receives Kakkarah's Staff
Kaal Ruk Hall of Heroes
The last things Kakkarah taught Aanarakka were rituals to command the weather. She had learned spells to bring up dust devils and gusts of wind, and even to call down lightning from a clear sky, but this magic was far more powerful. As Aanarakka learned, she knew these rituals would defeat the storms in the Evergale Straits and allow her to sail to the Farsea. When she mastered these rituals, Kakkarah told her that he could teach her no more - it was time for her to depart. His parting gift was the staff he had fashioned for himself to focus his will and shape magic to his bidding. He explained that, like her, the staff itself had a greater calling. But it was in her hands, not his, that this calling would be realized.

Aanarakka's Second Journey

It was a full four years after leaving Glaakra Ruk before Aanarakka returned. It took another year to restore the vessel she had built to seaworthiness once more - even with her new powers to shape wood with her magic as well as her hands. Remarkably, her original crew all agreed to try once more, and so they set out. But this time, when the storms blew up, Aanarakka - holding her staff high above her head - commanded them not to impede their way. She reshaped them, putting the wind behind their sails to speed their journey.

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Commanding the Storm
Kaal Ruk Hall of Heroes
When they reached the Evergale Straits and the great storm there, she called upon all she knew and all she was. She commanded Nature itself to yield to her. It did not do so easily. The winds howled and whipped about, but she calmed them. The storm hurled lightning at her, but the strikes were deflected away from her and the ship, spending their energies in the waves. Waves crashed fiercely against the ship, but she quelled them. Finally, the storm yielded. The skies in the Straits parted to reveal the sun as the small ship sailed into the vast waters of the Farsea.

They sailed for another few weeks until they sighted a great city on the shore to their south. This was Cliffport, the home of the Seafarer Dwarves - the Dwarves she had thought were only fantasies talked about by merchants. The Seafarers were amazed when her crew told them of the passage through the Straits, as no Dwarven ship had ever successfully made the passage before either. When it was time to depart, Aanarakka and her crew carried with them gifts bestowed by the elders of Cliffport, as well as an elder Dwarven cleric who wished to see her magic for himself.

The return journey was somewhat easier. The Storm was raging once more, but it was as if it remembered - and respected - Aanarakka. It yielded much more quickly this time, allowing her vessel swift and sure passage. It seemed to the crew that even the typical gales in the Sea of Storms granted them easier passage; their voyage back to Glaakra Ruk was swift and uneventful.

At first, though she was greatly respected for her achievement, the Awkwana did not recognize its import. Aanarakka made the voyage several more times, carrying trade goods on subsequent voyages. But it was the passengers she carried back to Glaakra Ruk on her third voyage that allowed her to finally realize her place in Awkwana society. These passengers were four Dwarves selected by the elder cleric that had traveled with her on her first return trip - selected for their apparent innate tendencies to interact with Nature as Aanarakka could.
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Map of Aanarakka's Voyage
Kaal Ruk Hall of Heroes
She was to be their teacher, as Kakkarah had been hers. She would teach these Seafarer Dwarves - as well as four Awkwana she selected herself - the rituals that granted passage through the Evergale Straits.

Legacy

The school Aanarakka founded with those first eight students exists to this day. Those who show the proper innate tendencies are trained first to sense, then to weave the magical fabrics of Cartyrion itself. The most skilled learn the most powerful rituals, and to this day, every ship that sails through the Straits carries one of Aanarakka's Stormtamers. In time, even the Humans, the Chittiki, and the Amurrun sent students to learn the druidic secrets as they established themselves upon the seas of Cartyrion. Today, all who sail the seas, whether Awkwana or other Folk, know Aanarakka's name and are grateful for the persistence she showed in finding her place in the world.

"Aanarakka taught those first students, and many more before she traveled to the Afterlife. And when it was time for that last Voyage, it is said that our goddess Tah Ak Glaakri, Master of Seas, Patroness of the Waveriders - the goddess responsible for Aanarakka's many talents, bestowed her last gift. The very stars in the sky were reordered and a new constellation appeared."

"Ooh! Aanarakka's Staff! You showed me that one the other night!"

"Yes, granddaughter. With her last breath, Aanarakka witnessed her arm and her staff set into the night sky for all time to come. As she thought about Kakkarah saying the staff would find its destiny in her hand, she heard the voice of the goddess in her head. Tah Ak Glaakri told her that she had, as her name had challenged her to do all her life, finally reached the stars."
— An old Awkwana and his granddaughter touring the Hall of Heroes


Credits
Page banner background by TC Perch from Pixabay
Birdfolk in page banner, and all images of Aanarakka and Kakkarah in portraits generated by Bob O'Brien using Hero Forge
Birdfolk visiting the museum and sidepanel images of Cartyrion's heroes also generated by Bob O'Brien using Hero Forge
Mountain background in Aanarakka Receives Kakkarah's Staff by Musthaq Nazeer from Pixabay
Ship & storm background in Aanarakka Commands the Storm by Bob O'Brien using Flowscape
Aanarakka's Voyage map by Bob O'Brien using Inkarnate   Museum room image by DarkmoonArt_de from Pixabay
Parchment outline of map by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Picture frame images by Thanks for your Like • donations welcome from Pixabay
Picture nameplate images by Jarkko Mänty from Pixabay

Comments

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19 Jan, 2021 09:55

Maybe it's the time of night, but the ending to this story made me tear up. What a lovely tale!

Author of the Wyrd West Chronicles and the Toy Soldier Saga Eater of pickles, Friend of nerds, First of her name
19 Jan, 2021 12:43

Thank you!

21 Jan, 2021 22:40

This is such a beautiful story - she certainly triumphed over adversity. I love the art you've created for this as well. Such a creative use of Hero Forge! :D

Emy x   Welcome to Etrea!
22 Jan, 2021 05:24

Thank you!

25 Jan, 2021 17:24

That was awesome! You crafted a really neat story and an interesting character. The ending was particularly touching...   I'd love to know, prior to the shipping lane being established, how did the Awkwana and the Dwarves know of one another?

26 Jan, 2021 04:17

It's hard to see on the map provided, but there's a Dwarven Delve (citadel) in a mountain to the northwest of the city of Kaal Ruk. The Dwarves taught the Birdfolk how to build with stone to allow them to build their city at the peak of the mountain where they were first created into the world. (Overland travel is possible, and the dwarves had done so for migration purposes. but the land to be crossed is not amenable to trade routes or any sort of regular passage. This is why a sea route would be so important.

Sage eccbooks
E. Christopher Clark
11 Feb, 2021 18:21

Nice work! I especially love the use of the picture frames to frame each portrait.

14 Feb, 2021 13:22

Thanks! I was going for a "trip to the museum" vibe throughout. The article body itself *might* be grandfather recounting the whole tale... or it might just be a narrative... the reader can decide, but I tried to subtly suggest the latter by using the "portraits on the wall" approach to the images.

19 Feb, 2021 01:05

I really like the legacy she left behind.

Too low they build who build beneath the stars - Edward Young
21 Feb, 2021 13:15

Thanks! And thanks for the "like"!

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