The Legend of Skatha

Note: The story below will appear in an upcoming novel in the Phantammeron epic fantasy series. Skatha and the legends of the giants of Anatar will likely appear in books four (4) or five (5) of the Phantammeron. As of 2015, only book one (1) of the Phantammeron has been released, and is for sale as an eBook at Amazon Kindle. Books two (2) and three (3) will appear in 2016 and 2017. – the author

Spread before the world lay the fallen bones, bleached white, and chewed by black wolves, the bane of the world. These relics of the corpse of the Giant, Yrglemur, the blessed father, lay now silent, fallen and wasted for all time on the frosty rim of the world. From out the hollowed form of him that was no more, rose a mist, and then an icy current, which dripped long and slow down the slopes of Argmund, the Great Cow of the north, the snowy milky peaks, pure and full, the nourishing breast of the ancient earth. From out of this white flesh, in the shadows of the mountain now shrouded in mist, there was heard a lonesome cry. A child. A boy-child, alone and yet coveted by the earth, held deep in a womb of black basalt, nourished by Argmund, which held him close to her. This boy was the earth child, Skatha, loved by Aman, who is the World, yet the first-born of the rocks, which the Giants call Yrmr. Skatha came proudly into this world, a swarthy, brooding new babe; born of the dark flesh of Aman, the All-Father, and a form forged from the remnants of the bones and remains of Yrglemur.

This boy was closest to the heart and mind of Aman, so he lifted up the child and gave him the power to walk on two great feet. He heard his fathers call, so he rose from the earth and walked upon the face of the world. He strode out proudly across the northern wastelands, and all manner of beast and creature fled before him. He that was vast in breadth, higher than the loftiest peaks, stronger than the sturdiest chains that bound the world, claimed the world as his own. He who carved his mark upon the world, and who loved this earth, granted to all things after, that this world was free to all manner of creature that walked upon the rocks. For the shadows in this world, it is said, were a little shorter when Skatha walked upon this earth, and the light that rent the clouds in two fell warm for a time on the colossal monuments left behind by the Skatha and his Skaelings, until the day of his departure from this world.

Skatha walked proudly across the ancient world freely in those days, but set about building a place for his kindred, the Great Ones, the Giants or Skaelings, which the father told him would be born into this world in an age of his own reckoning. So, Skatha carved out from the great mountain homeland a city for his siblings, as well as mighty causeways and hallways of stone, with stairs that descended deep into the catacombs of the underworld. This would be a city for the children of the earth, protected from the violent storms and the wild beasts that in those days roamed freely across the surface of the earth. Skathas creative powers were great as a  youth, and soon a mighty acropolis rose up in the shadow of the mighty mountain of black basalt. There Skatha prepared a city-homeland for his people, the titans of the world, when he was in the flower of his youth.

It was Skatha that named the ancient land, “Adda”, which in Skaeling means “first-land”. It became Avaras later, named so by the Fey, and the brigands and dwarven people named it in their own tongue, Kalivaras, or “new lands” for to them, enslaved as they were, it was a place of freedom and new hope.

The Giant  children came, and joined Skatha in his work, adding to the city of stone , and building mighty towers and castles of their own creation. This city they called Guligarma, which in their language means “Tomb of the World”, for those that come to rest and those that come to die sleep there, far from the beasts that would naw on their mighty bones and scatter the remnants of the giants far across the world. Few of the Great Ones remained after the forging of the palaces of stone were complete. Many fled east and west and disappear from history. Yet among them a few mighty heroes were born and their tale begins here.

In those ancient days, walked Skatha, a preeminent Giant of towering aspect and fearsome countenance. He gathered the Giants together, and formed a great army. This army was covered in plates of stone and iron, and sought to challenge the evil that was devouring the world. Skatha had forged a weapon, a club  called Orendal (‘spirit-head’), with which he fought back the beasts of the netherworld, taming the creatures that roamed the ancient forest called Ironwood. He alone, rose to prominence and forbidden to him, entered the dark acropolis of Shadowland and battled the mighty Bala for dominion of the World. But it was Bala who had watched from afar the coming of Skatha’s people, and grew jealous of their might cities of stone, and so tricked Skatha’s people by promising them the wealth of Maru’s realms, so enslaved them, and harnessed their skills to create a great necropolis in the underworld, which he used to house his growing armies in his war against the Children of Shining and the Fey who had fled to Vallandria. Many died in building the underworld cities, in search of the hidden treasures of Aman. Some in turn used the knowledge of Aldaru’s powers to forge, with their own hands, slaves of their own – the Dwarves – who in turned were used by the giants to delve even deeper for riches and treasures buried deep in the earth. But the dwarves knew the secrets of the earth and that only in the heart of Aman, the world, lay the secret treasures. But they would not share this knowledge with their enslavers. So, these slaves of the Skaelings fled from their masters, and into the lands above. But the Giants had placed a curse upon them. As soon as the light of day fell upon their kind – the sorrows of Unavera’s light touched their flesh – they would return to their original form, which is of clay and stone. But one of these escaped. His name was Govan, and his story is not told here, for it is an important one. It deserves telling, as does the shame of the ice giant, Jarmhymla. But that too shall wait. But this turned the dwarves against the Giants and Bala and released knowledge of the secret metals upon the world, changing the destiny of power between Gods.

Such was the power of Bala, however, that upon his transformation into the wicked beast they called Wogaman, the Giants themselves, shackled to unending agonizing torture in the underworld they had forged, fled to their ancient cities in the north, sealing the gates of iron and stone, and sinking down into the earth to sleep an endless sleep. These sons of the earth were no more. Only their kindred, the Giants of the north, children of Yseir,the last great Ice Giant King, remained in this world and haunted the farth northern realms hidden from the eyes of the ancient ones.

Only Skatha, the old Giant Father, remained untethered to the plight of Unending Rest that so many of the mighty fell into, following the fall of Bala. In a thousands huge sepulchres, the great tomb of the world, slept his kind, the Giants of the Old World, in endless rest from their work. Yet Skatha remained.It was Skatha who gathered those remaining of his kind, and spread the Skaelings North and South. They were in fear of the ever increasing shadow and darkness of to the south, where the minions of Shadowland and Wogaman’s evil were hidden for a time. Yet Skatha knew the fate of the world held in the balance if Bala and his evil could not be stopped. It was Skatha who confronted the evil Bala, and stole from him powers related to the knowledge of the cursed cauldron, the Argyl Pyr, and its forging, before he too was destroyed by Bala.

Yet, even Bala, in his defeat of the mighty Skatha and his Giant-kind, the Skaelings – with all their force of will and powers of the earth – could not escape the tragic fate of the world; the Curse of the Cauldron, forged by Govan to contain that curse, yet unleashed fully upon the world.

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