Drowning Damara Myth in Zheng-Kitar | World Anvil

Drowning Damara

The cruel and capricious ruler of the Liuwang ocean, and beast feared by sailors everywhere

Damara, O' Damara, take this offering and rejoice - spare us the starmaw another day and take our gifts to placate your wrath. By this bounty we offer unto you, O' Damara, we ask you grant us safe travels upon this ocean that we may reach our destination intact 'neath the mast.
— Common phrase spoken when offering up tribute to Damara


Though the myth of Damara has spread far and wide in the millennia since the first myths sprung into existence, the original myth is better known as a tale by the name of "Lament of the Last Leviathan" - a story that was believed to originate from the lands that are now the modern day Ustanan Concord, home of the Ustanan people.   In this tale, set during the fall of the Sapphire Elves before the Advent of the Spirit Kings, it speaks at length of a great underwater kingdom of seafolk, lead by a number of "divine beasts" - massive, towering oceanic leviathans that were said to be divine envoys of the gods themselves, and protectors of this ancient kingdom, allies and friends to the Sapphire Elves.   However, as with all people during the Age of Desolation, with the Sapphire Elves broken and scattered, the forces of the Yema(Foreign gods) that were slowly destroying Zheng-Kitar piece by piece did not merely stop with the lands above the waves; even the underwater lands were scoured and obliterated, slowly but surely...and in the tale Lament of the Last Leviathan, it tells the tale of the youngest and most juevenile of the Divine Beasts, forced to watch in isolation, unable to help and unable to stop the obliteration of the kingdom she and her kind had been sworn to protect, watched the end of her people, kingdom, and species - all fell beneath the harsh hammer of the Yema's scouring wrath.   Forced to flee the conflict because of her own helplessness and inability to properly wield the power of her kin, the nameless main heroine of the tale survived a harrowing escape from the Yema forces thanks to the sacrifice of all of her friends and allies along the way - her elder Divine Beasts slain to the last in cataclysmic underwater battles that remoulded entire swathes of underwater terrain, the kingdom she had been sworn to protect burned and put to the stake, her friends giving their lives to allow one of their fabled 'divine protectors' to escape the carnage.   Forced to flee, the nameless main heroine watched in hiding in a far distant corner of the ocean, alone, afraid, and cold, as every last trace of her people and kin were scoured from existence - a lonely leviathan, last of her kind, watching as the world she knew burned all around her. Centuries she spent in hiding, avoiding the eyes of the Yema who sought her destruction, and was only freed from hiding when The Six Great Ancestors gave their lives to invoke The Spirit Kings, who then scoured the Yema from the continent and beneath the waves alike.   The tale ends with the lonely leviathan, cold, afraid, and scarred after centuries in hiding, meeting The Spirit Kings and being offered amnesty and security beneath them as a subject if she would but leave her past behind - but, warped as she was by her centuries of hiding, refused their offer and retreated to the furthest reaches of the ocean's waters, unable to bring herself to abandon the memories of her people and kin, which only served to warp her even further over the proceeding millennia.   Now, millennia later, the myths speak of this lonely leviathan as having reached full maturity, still unable to let go of her people nor her past, demanding tribute as she polices the Liuwang ocean, hoping to one day rebuild that which was taken from her...

Historical Basis

Though the tale of the Lonely Leviathan is believed by many to be exaggerated hyperbole and little more than a tale told by sailors to explain away the acts of a massive, terrifying beast of the ocean, there has been recent historical findings by joint archeological teams of Sea Elves and other surface races that have uncovered scattered ruins that hint to the existence of a great underwater empire - a 'precursor' civilization that, unknowingly or not, much of the underwater races of the modern day may trace their roots to.   So, while the veracity of much of the story cannot be verified, evidence does exist to support some of the myth, at least partially - and if such a massive 'precursor' civilization did truly exist, it would likely have been targeted by the Yema forces during the Age of Desolation...at least, so historians speculate. However, a troubling wrench in these theories is the complete lack of information on this 'precursor' civilization - even the likes of the Sapphire Elves are known to the modern races, so a reason as to why this underwater 'precursor' civilization vanished so utterly is a mystery none can fathom, though many are curious about.   The existance of the "Divine Beasts", protectors of this ancient precursor civilization, has been tangentially verified as well - several centuries ago, a massive skeleton was unearthed on the shores of the Jugeum Union, not far beneath the waves along the island nation's western shores - this gigantic skeleton was a strange mix of inhuman and humanoid biologies, and displayed signs of life even so many millennia after its supposed time of death...almost as if the beast was so powerful that even in death, it lived on in some small way. Unfortunately, this skeleton was lost as an unknown third party salvaged the recently uncovered skeleton and whisked it away to parts unknown before it could be properly catalogued.


The myth of "Drowning Damara", cruel Oceanic Goddess who rules over the entire Liuwang Ocean, has spread from the lands of the Ustanan Concord all the way to the Kingdom of Tarthus-Tetsu and the Jugeum Union.   Not only has it become so pervasively popular, but many more myths have spread across the world as a result - as well as the dangers of sailing through the waters of the LIuwang Ocean without giving "Drowning Damara" her proper due...

Variations & Mutation

Over the millennia, the original myth that spoke of "Drowning Damara" became more and more cruel, speaking of her in less and less of an innocent and weak light until more extreme variations of the tale describe her as HELPING the yema destroy her kingdom in exchange for being spared - though this is believed to be more of a result of the increasingly cruel actions of Damara herself as the centuries wore on.   In addition, many later versions of the original Lament of the Last Leviathan(And even some arguable interpreations of the original myth) speak of the fabled "Divine Beasts" as being not only holy protectors of this ancient underwater 'progenitor civilization', but as a sort of pseudo-cycle that their souls returned to upon their deaths - these Divine Beasts automatically intaking the souls of the departed and distributing them to newly concieved children as needed. This variation, if true, paints a sad tale for the eponymous "Last Leviathan" - carrier of the entirety of the souls of the people she was sworn to protect...and as well, some theorize, might be the source of the 'starmaw' she is able to generate: A tempest of souls thrust upon the water, eager to wreak carnage on any they can to appease their pained souls.

Cultural Reception

Drowning Damara is universally a figure of awe-inspiring terror to all cultures and peoples who know of her - as a beast of unfathomable size she is capable of swallowing ships both big and small with incredible ease, to say nothing of individual sailors or the like...even the likes of the Bushūbunáo, Capital of the Migrant Fleet, is not safe from her wrath, and has been on one especially heinous occasion devoured whole by the massive leviathan goddess when The Gāngtao Migrant Fleet attempted to subjugate her and 'civilize the ocean' upon which they sailed...only to learn firsthand that the ocean is not so easily tameable.   As such, she is not only feared but venerated by more primitive and tribal people - most notably, the Yatsimoan people of the Glacial Drift, who venerate her as the ocean itself and offer up regular tribute and sacrifice to appease her wrath during times of storms, unrest, and the like.

In Literature

Countless tales have been written of Drowning Damara - though most are variations of her origin myth The Lament of the Last Leviathan, many others exist as well, from tales about romance found after being captured and offered as sacrifice to her, to books written by sailors whose ships were devoured by the massive beast only to be returned to shore alive and intact through unknown means, to even an autobiographical book dictated by Damara herself to a captured author...though all copies of said book have been believed destroyed or lost.

In Art

Drowning Damara is frequently depicted in art - most notably, as a figurehead on the prow of sailing vessels, though also as flags on sails, in ship-borne tapestries, and in great works of art drawn by coastal artists who are drawn to her awesome power to paint incredible landscapes and still-frames of her form emerging from the waves, attacking ships, and more.

A name with power

  Much like Vhiilan Reiko, the ocean goddess Damara's name is believed to, in itself, carry power - a series of tests carried out by a Tarthan oceanographer proved that the beast seems to be capable of apparating not only its physical presence, but its senses as well in spots where its name is invoked, with repeating invocations allowing more and more of a presence until the beast herself becomes capable of apparating where her name is spoken.   Unfortunately, said oceanographer met his end at the hands of the Starmaw herself - after his last and greatest experiment to see what would happen if Damara's name were invoked dozens or hundreds of times in succession, which ended in the total subsumption of the isle of Ursek-Har into the sea and his presumed death.   As such, sailors usually refer to Damara as "The Starmaw" or "The Goddess of the Liuwang", with "Starmaw" being the most common epithet. "Drowning Damara" is believed to be different enough to not invoke her presence as well(Though this is not proven), and is used as a curse by many sailors.  
Just as Shining Serah be the gentle, benevolent spirit of the Oseishin Ocean, Drowning Damara be the spirit of the Liuwang Ocean - she be a cruel mistress, just like tha' Liuwang, but she ain't beyond reason. Treat 'er right, give 'er the respect she's due, offer up tribute where it's due, and keep yer wits about ye, and you'll live jus' fine.   Might even get to know 'er along the way, if ye be lucky, and attentive.
— Unknown
Date of First Recording
Myths of Damara stretch as far back as 100 ASK.
Date of Setting
The original myth of Damara is said to take place around the year 0 BSK.
Related Species
The Starmaw, Drowning Damara
Specifics unknown, as depictions of her size vary depending on artistic interpretation and from one account of her appearance to another. A titanic beast of unfathomable proportions, at the very least. Potential size-changing properties.

Tribute to the Starmaw

Every sailor and coastal culture knows full-well the terrifying wrath of the ocean goddess Damara, better known as "Drowning Damara" for reasons that are patently obvious to those who fail to appease her. Most common of these ways to appease her are offerings of various kinds, with anything from gold, fish, food, grain, metal, valuables in general, or even live sacrifices being common ways to ensure that one is not attacked or accosted on one's journies across the Liuwang Ocean(And oftentimes lead to small economies of scale and job markets based around which objects are determined to 'please' her more in a given month).   These tributes are somewhat standardized among sailors and those who travel the Liuwang Ocean, as well - a certain 'weight' or 'amount' of offerings is typically good for a standard month, though lesser amounts may be good for less. These 'timeframes' are made potently clear by Damara herself, as the waves around vessels that have earned her wrath darken and begin to glow with motes of starlight, as if one is sailing upon a sea of stars and space itself - the amount of these 'starmotes' visible in the water are signs of her level of displeasure...with a full starry sky, the legendary 'Starmaw', sign of an imminent attack that even the likes of The Ramshackle give pause before provoking, as the threat of one's ship being devoured, captured, or smashed wholesale by the legendary Goddess of the Liuwang Ocean is a terrifying one indeed.   The power of this fabled 'starmaw', sign of Damara's imminent wrath, is not to be underestimated - in a most famous example, The Gāngtao Migrant Fleet made a concerted effort many centuries ago to hunt down and be rid of the fabled leviathan, in an effort to 'civilize the seas'...however, that effort came to a horrific end when the massive leviathan promptly swallowed the fleet's capital, the supercarrier known as the Bushūbunáo, Capital of the Migrant Fleet. The ship sat in the belly of the leviathan for weeks, its inhabitants melted into sludge and the ship slowly melting apart(Surviving thanks to the furious resistance of Father Ferrolis), until the Migrant Fleet capitulated and agreed to pay its dues to the starmaw...and ever since, have been forced to pay extorionist tribute to Damara as a result.


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