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#1
Old 05-08-2008, 10:25 PM

As my regular correspondent, and friend, Sir Cassian Keane the Third, has not yet published his series of books and he has authorized these excerpts to be posted, I decided to make a sort of archive of these stories so that you all may more easily locate them and enjoy them.

I will add any further stories that Sir Keane is so kind as to send to me to share with you all, as they are given to me! They are, of course, not in the order they shall appear in the books when they are published.

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#3
Old 05-08-2008, 10:29 PM

The first I shall post to share with you is not one from Sir Keane's books yet at all, but rather a tale I heard myself when I first came to Menewsha. I have, of course, told Sir Keane of the legend, and I am sure it will appear there as well.

---

The Legend of the Mountain


A local legend, it was said that there were three spirits who controlled the magic of Menewsha. One was considered the good spirit, who represented greatness and kindness. But the good spirit was not always great and good. It too had inner turmoil. The second spirit was evil, often playing on the troubles of the people and wrecking havoc on the town. The third spirit was considered neither good nor evil - a neutral sort. A trickster. It seemed to enjoy pitting the good and evil spirits against one another and watching the battle that always ensued, whether it was physical, mental or spiritual.

One Hallow's Eve, as a storm raged over the island, the three spirits stumbled upon one another in a cave carved into the side of a mountain. But "stumbled upon" couldn't have been more inappropriate. Some might have called it fate. But that wasn't the case either - the trickster spirit had secretly intervened, making the good and evil spirits to come together. He smiled amusedly as the good spirit attempted to show the evil that the world of goodness and light was a much more fulfilling existence. But the evil spirit attempted to tempt good toward evil, showing him the fun in darkness and treachery.

In the shadows off to one side of the cave, a tall, stooped figure in a hooded black robe watched with disdain as the good and evil spirits fought. He had been waiting for such a showdown and quickly ran to his room within the cave, grabbing the talisman he had forged for just this purpose. He quickly moved back toward the main cavern and faced the spirits, feeling the adrenaline rush through his body. He lifted the talisman with both hands into the air and began to chant.

M-sha mon-yet. Wa-san pul-ett!¯

The air within the cave began to swirl and all three spirits turned to look at him with surprise in their eyes as their forms began to meld with the swirling air. The hooded man's arms began to shake violently as the three spirits seemed to be drawn into the talisman, their bodies seemingly sucked inward. The room resounded with screams of protest from all three spirits, but it was the evil spirit who smiled wickedly at the cowled figure and howled a warning at him.

"I'll get you for this!" it hissed as all three were pulled inside the talisman and locked away.

Exhausted, but not finished, the stooped man sat the talisman near the wall of the main cavern and began waving his arms and resumed his chanting once more. With a loud rumble, the rock seemed to become liquid, moving up around the edges of the talisman and seemingly swallowing it. Eventually, the liquid rock completely covered the talisman, and the stone reformed, rising up to form a pedestal.

The hooded man then returned to his room and retrieved a stone tablet, and with after a few more incantations, the tablet was sealed into the wall of the cavern.

Below, in the small town of Menewsha, the townsfolk felt the ground shake and fled inside their homes for shelter. The earthquake lasted mere seconds, but once the shaking had stopped, they felt somehow different but couldn't quite put their finger on what the difference was. But they quickly realized what was missing when all items created and forged from magic crumbled to dust and blew away on the strong winds of the storm, to be forgotten.

The hooded figure who had trapped the spirits inside of the talisman remained to ensure that the seal was never broken and that magic would never be loose in Menewsha again.

Last edited by Car'a'Carn; 11-09-2018 at 07:54 PM..

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#4
Old 05-08-2008, 10:37 PM

The Creation of Menewsha, the Sinking of Atlantis, and the Birth of the Guardian Spirits

The God of Fire and the God of Water are brothers and like all brothers, they loved each other as much as they fought with one another. This time, they were arguing over a sandbar in the ocean somewhere off the coast of the Mainland. Their battles raged for hundreds of thousands of miles along the coast of the Mainland, creating The Chain. They finally rested on the biggest of these islands. They wiped the sweat from their brow, tears from their eyes, and blood from their bodies and sat on the sand together. They agreed that the Fire God, as the elder of the two, would keep that island, which he called Menewsha. The younger Water God would obtain domain over the next, which he called Atlantis.

The Fire God cupped his hands together, filling them with fire as he shaped a protector for his island - setting the fiery bird he called the Phoenix on the top of the nearby mountain where it could watch over the island.

The Water God cupped his hands together, filling them with water as he shaped a protector for his island - tossing the half-fish, half-horse creature he called the Hippocamp into the foamy waters off the coast, and then promptly sank his island beneath the waves so that his avatar could fully protect his island.

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#5
Old 05-08-2008, 10:41 PM

This is an excerpt from The Book of Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, and Legends of Menewsha: Volume IV (Fairy and Folk Tales), compiled by and re-written by literary historian, Sir Cassian Keane the Third.

The Hearted Fox Who Became a Man

Once there was a hearted fox who wished to be a man. "Surely things are easier," he thought. "They can walk on two legs, they have hands to grasp with, and they are so fascinating to watch - they must be fun to talk to!"

So very badly did he wish to be a man that the hearted fox left his friends, the other foxes, and moved to the capital city. He had decided to stay there for a time. "Certainly I can learn what it is to be a man here!"

During a year, he saw acts of kindness and generosity that made his fur gleam white. And sometimes he saw acts of greed or spite that turned him coal black. But he never changed his mind about wanting to be a man. "I know what it is to be a man, and I now I also know what it is to be a shoddy one."

But the hearted fox studied men and women for another year before he finally sought out the Witch of the Wood. He made his way to her hut in the forest and knocked three times. Knock. Knock. Knock. He waited a few moments, politely, but when no one came to answer him, he said aloud, "Mother of the Wood, will you please answer your door?"

A creaky old voice like wind in the branches of old, dead trees replied, "What sort of creature is it that comes to my door and knocks three times, Knock. Knock. Knock. and wants to see the Mother of the Wood?"

The hearted fox shifted from one foot to the other before replying. "It is I, the hearted fox who wants to become a man!"

There was a long pause before there was a great groaning, like the sound of tree trunk bending under the weight of a heavy winter snow. The door opened a crack and a beady yellow eye peaked out of the door. The owner of the eye said, "The Witch of the Wood doesn't do anything for free. If you want something from her, you'll have to do something for me."

"Name your fee," the hearted fox said after thinking it over.

"There is a woman I want killed -" the owner of the yellow eye began.

"No," the hearted fox interrupted as politely as possible.

"There is something I want you to steal -" the owner of the yellow eye tried again.

"No," the hearted fox replied, steadfast.

"Shaping up to be a fine man, aren't you?" the owner of the yellow eye sneered. "Then you'll have to give me something of yours!"

"I'm not sure I possess much," the hearted fox said politely, "But if I can give it to you, perhaps we have a deal."

"Men don't need to live as long as you. Give me your extra years and I'll give you a fine man's body and a man's lifetime."

The hearted fox thought a moment. He had lived many mens lifetimes already and would have liked to have lived many more. "That's all any man can ask for," he finally replied.

"Done!" the owner of the yellow eye replied and slammed the door.

At first, the hearted fox thought nothing had happened, so he reached out to knock again - and noticed he had a man's hand. He knew of a pool of water nearby, so he ran (awkwardly, as he was not used to human legs) to see himself. He dropped to the side of the water and looked within - only to laugh at the face of the young man he saw in his reflection.

The hearted fox had become a man - and he lived as a man for a man's lifetime and was as happy as he made other people, which was quite happy indeed.

Last edited by zigbigadorlube; 11-25-2014 at 02:18 AM..

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#6
Old 05-08-2008, 10:42 PM

This is an excerpt from The Book of Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, and Legends of Menewsha: Volume IV (Fairy and Folk Tales), compiled by and re-written by literary historian, Sir Cassian Keane the Third.

The Dragon and the Fox

My father's father said his father told him this tale, so now I'll tell it to you! But he was quite the shady fellow, so who's to say it's true?

Once a hearted fox and a dragon met to play. They danced around and swam the sea and did so almost every day.

"What fun this is!" the dragon cried, his eyes so bright and gay. "Indeed," the hearted fox replied, since there seemed nothing else to say.

And what a sight it would have been were we there to see! Who wouldn't like a dragon so green or a fox as white as she?

As with all, the years pass, as much as we try to keep them at bay. But the time had come for the dragon to go far away.

"My mum says I must take my place as a Guardian to us all!" His friend the fox replied, "I'll go with you, for alone, this life would pall."

"I'd like that, my bonny friend!" the dragon was quick to speak. "But the Guardians say that those who need others to be happy must be weak."

"How foolish these great dragons are - that they choose to live apart! Don't they know they greatest strength lies in following your heart?"

The fox's coat then changed from white to black and then she ran away. And try as he might, her friend couldn't call her back and say what he meant to say.

With sadness, the dragon went where he was bid. He learned many things and became strong - only his loneliness he hid.

'Til such time as the Great War was upon us all. It devoured everyone and everything - be they large or be they small.

"Let us send forth our greatest Guardian," the leaders of the dragons decreed. And our friend, now warrior, went where there was need.

The Great War he conquered - the Great War he subdued. The King and Queen were grateful; the warrior smiled and went away to brood.

"I'm unhappy with this life. All I want is my friend." And he looked down the beach - to see the fox at the end!

"I knew you'd think of me once more!" the hearted fox sang with great delight. And her coat shed the black and turned once more to white!

"The Guardians may have their way on where to send me and when - but this dragon will never be apart from the white fox - his friend!"

And what had the dragons to say about all this fuss - what measure did they decide? Well, I saw a dragon once, and on his shoulder a gleaming white fox happily did ride!

Last edited by zigbigadorlube; 11-25-2014 at 02:19 AM..

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#7
Old 05-08-2008, 10:43 PM

This is an excerpt from The Book of Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, and Legends of Menewsha: Volume IV (Fairy and Folk Tales), compiled by and re-written by literary historian, Sir Cassian Keane the Third.

The Princess and the Fox With the Heart Face

Once upon a time, in a small, little, tiny kingdom that sat just over that distant mountain, there lived a Princess. As with many princesses, this princess enjoyed all the usual privileges - she was beautiful, merry of disposition, and had nearly anything she wanted right at hand.

The Princess had lots of suitors, but she had no interest in romance. Her mother, the Queen, pressed her again and again to make her choice of the men who tried to court her. "Your father and I want for you to marry and be happy, Daughter."

"But I am happy enough by myself, Mother," the Princess replied, and returned to dancing with her friends.

Finally, the King and Queen could take no more of their daughter putting them off, so they arranged a court function in which the Princess formally met each of her suitors. With as much grace as she could manage (as the Princess was very embarrassed), she sat her throne and waited as each of her suitors came to her, bowed, stated his name and country, and declared his interest in her.

The Princess turned many of her suitors away, knowing from their manner that they held no affection for her and wanted only her throne. Others she turned away for being too young or too old. By the time the audience was nearly over, the Princess had six suitors arranged to one side of the room.

"This is the last call to present yourself as a suitor to the Princess!" The majordomo called, rapping his staff three times upon the floor.

There was a pause of silence, during which the whole court could hear the sound of nails on marble floor. All eyes turned to the open doorway as a white fox with a heart on its face scampered into the room. The majordomo tried to stop the fox, but the fox seemed to laugh as it nimbly dodged the man, ran across the room, and jumped into the lap of the Princess!

The Princess laughed as well and hugged and petted the fox with the heart face. "Oh, you silly creature!" she cried. "Have you come to court me as well?" The fox settled itself into her lap and seemed to look at everyone in the audience chamber as if he were the ruler. No one challenged the fox's impertinent manner.

After the majordomo had rearranged his clothing and got his composure back, he rapped his staff three times upon the floor again and announced, "The Princess has made her choice of her suitors. She will spend a month of constant company with each suitor and make a decision regarding him at the end of each month. That is all."

And so it went - the Princess lived her life as usual, dancing with her friends, riding the countryside when it was sunny and studying when the weather was poor. The only changes were that each month, one of her suitors accompanied her, and the fox with the heart on its face was her constant companion.

At the end of each month, the Princess locked herself in her room and thought about the man she had spent the last month with. "Does he love me?" she wondered aloud. The white fox stared up at her and she petted him. "Perhaps... But do I love him?" The white fox would turn black, and the Princess came to understand that she did not love the man, so she sent him away.

After she had sent away all six suitors, her parents were quite upset with her. "You must marry! And we will see that you do!"

They locked her within a tower, set many obstacles and challenges around it, and declared that the first one to reach the Princess would be her husband. Dozens of men gathered to attempt the mighty feat. The Princess watched from the window of the tower and worried, seeing that most of the men there were suitors she had rejected outright and had never even made it to being included in the final six suitors.

With a heavy heart, the Princess saw as men threw themselves at the challenges, but her heart lifted as she saw a streak of white and red weaving its way through them. It was her friend, the fox with a heart on its face! She cheered him on as he dashed up to the foot of the tower and made a mighty leap to the window. She caught him and laughed.

Her parents were in the tower with her, so she turned to them and said, "You said the first to reach me would be my husband - if I must marry, meet your son-in-law!"

The King and Queen had nothing at all to say in response, for the white fox laughed his silent fox-laugh at them, seeming to dare them to set him another challenge. They decided not to press their daughter to marry, and she and her friend the fox lived happily in the other's company for many years. Eventually, the Princess did decide to marry - but that is another tale!

Last edited by zigbigadorlube; 11-25-2014 at 02:19 AM..

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#8
Old 05-08-2008, 10:44 PM

This is an excerpt from The Book of Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, and Legends of Menewsha: Volume IV (Fairy and Folk Tales), compiled by and re-written by literary historian, Sir Cassian Keane the Third.

How the Heart-Faced Fox Got an Ever-Changing Coat

Once upon a time, there lived a fox with a heart on his face in place of a pair of eyes. The fox spent his days running through the forests of Menewsha, but he never found another of his kind.

"I am all alone," he cried in the fox language, and hung his head. But the fox never gave up searching for more like himself, even though his fur turned slowly black from sadness.

One day, he stopped by a running stream and drank from it. When he looked up, he saw a spirit beside him.

"What is the matter, black fox?" The spirit asked, tilting its head to the side curiously.

"I am all alone!" The black fox replied. "Every day I run through the forest looking for foxes like me, but every fox I meet has eyes on their face. I'm the only one with a heart!"

The spirit thought for a moment and said, "Ah - you are lonely. I see." The black fox nodded and started to leave, but the spirit spoke again. "Sometimes, black fox, I am lonely too."

"I'm sorry, Spirit. If you like, I could keep you company while I search."

"I would like that," the spirit said. And the two kept each other company for many years, during which, the black fox was happier as the spirit's company eased his loneliness, but his coat stayed black.

After a few years passed, they arrived again at the stream where they had first met. "Here I must leave you, Fox," the spirit said. The fox hung his head again and his fur immediately darkened to a pitch-black. "But I won't leave you alone."

The spirit walked them to the edge of the water and gestured the stream. "I will make as many heart-faced foxes as you see reflections of yourself in the water." Having said that, the spirit disappeared.

"All right, Spirit." And so the fox kicked several pebbles into the stream and saw dozens - hundreds - of reflections of himself. And when he looked up again, there were as many heart-faced foxes beside him!

The fox was so happy, his coat turned white. "Good-bye, Friend! Thank you!" the fox called to the spirit, and danced and played with his new friends.

Ever since, the heart-face foxes could change their coats from black to white, depending on their moods or the moods of those they loved the best.

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#9
Old 05-09-2008, 01:28 PM

The Phoenix's Orchid

Once upon a time, when faeries danced in every garden and a troll lurked under every other bridge, there lived a young man. He was healthy and capable, and his heart was the size of any six average boys' hearts together.

He was very kind, very earnest, very generous, and very, very gullible. But the people of Menewsha were, as a whole, honest and would never have dreamed of taking advantage of the young man. They laughed and would turn his generosity to those who needed it more than they.

But of course, not everyone in this world is as good as that.

A townswoman who was not fully adapted to the lifestyle of Menewsha saw the young man offering a bag of gold to a friend, who smiled and turned it away with his thanks.

"Give it to me," the townswoman said, when the friend had said his good-byes and gone about his way.

"With all my heart," the young man replied, handing over the bag of gold without hesitation and with a charming smile besides. Surprised and not knowing quite what to say, the townswoman took the bag and hurried back home.

For the next few days, she paid attention to the young man and his behavior - and the behavior of the Menewshans. She decided that the next time he offered something and the person he offered it to turned it down, she'd ask for it again. This time he was offering a hat that she coveted. When that was also kindly refused, she approached the young man again. "I will take that," she said.

"Then I give it to you with all my heart," the young man replied, placing the hat upon her head and seeming to be quite happy with merely that as his reward.

Again not knowing how to respond, the townswoman went away. But she sat and thought about it. "I wonder how far he would go to please a person?"

It was not long before she was to find out - she ran across him the very next day. "How are you? Is there anything you need?" the young man asked, seeing her expression.

"Would you really get me anything I asked for?" she questioned him.

"Oh yes - nothing would make me happier!" he replied.

"Then I'd like a flower -" she began. "An orchid..." That still didn't quite feel special enough. "An orchid that grows only in Menewsha!" And still - it didn't sound quite special enough. "And it must change its color every time it blooms!" There - that sounded quite special indeed.

The young man looked puzzled a moment, but agreed readily enough. "With all my heart!" He turned and walked immediately in the direction of the home of an old man who knew Menewsha the best, leaving the townswoman speechless - as she rather had expected he would refuse.

The young man walked twenty miles over some of the roughest terrain in the area to reach the man who knew the most about Menewsha, but the old man did not know of any such orchid. "You may wish to ask my grandfather," he wheezed. "But the way is long and hard - surely it is not that important?"

"It is my Quest," the young man replied simply. "Where might I find him?"

So the young man was told to walk the entire length of Menewsha to find the old man's grandfather, who lived on a rocky beach. It took him quite a long time to find the cottage and he was worn and weary when he arrived - but the ancient man who greeted him was kind and fed him a soup that helped him to recover. The young man told him what he was looking for and the ancient man shook his head, having never heard of such a thing.

"But you may wish to talk to the guardian on the mountain," he sighed. "But the way is long and hard - surely it is not that important?"

"It is my Quest," the young man replied simply. "Where might I find the Guardian?"

The ancient man instructed him to climb the tallest peak of Menewsha, where the wind howled its fury all year round. He crossed the whole of Menewsha again and scaled the mountain. It took him a very long time and when he reached the summit, he saw nothing at first.

"Oh - I've climbed the wrong mountain!" he cried, never for a moment believing he had been lead astray, even as his teeth chattered and he turned blue from the cold. He had not the strength to climb down again.

A sudden flash of heat chased away the chill and the young man looked up to see a phoenix standing over him - its wings spread and warmth radiating out from the magical bird like a warm summer sun.

"What a foolish creature you are," the phoenix remarked, its eyes bright and tone exasperated. "You need not explain why you are here - I was told as I flew over the cottage on the rocky beach. Is this that important to you, then?"

"It is my Quest," the young man replied simply. "Where might I find such a flower?"

The phoenix regarded the young man for quite awhile, which allowed the young man some time to thaw from the cold. Finally, it replied. "There is no such flower now, but go you back to your town and build a garden. When it is finished, I will plant this orchid - one unlike any other in this world - and every time it blooms it will be of a different color."

"Thank you!" the young man cried.

"But be warned - the way is long and hard. Tell this to the townswoman - she shall have to work to earn her special gift. And you - you may help her as much or as little as you like. But it will not bloom if she does not put in her fair share of the effort. How can she appreciate something she has done nothing for?"

The young man, for once, had no ready reply. It seemed as if he had taken the phoenix's meaning, so the magical bird sent him on his way down the mountain and back to his town. He built the garden, and the phoenix came, planting a seed in the ground before flying away.

The townswoman came and demanded her flower, and so the young man explained what the phoenix had said. She pretended to agree, but left the bulk of the work up to the young man. So the orchid did not bloom that year. Nor the next. By the third year, all in the town knew the story, so the townswoman began to feel as if she should work a bit more, if only to escape the knowing looks of the townspeople. And as she worked, she began to wonder what the orchid would look like as it bloomed - so she worked a bit harder.

The third year the phoenix's orchid bloomed - a flower so lovely it moved people to dream. It moved the townswoman to tears. "Let's celebrate your success!" the young man said, happy to have finally fulfilled her wish.

And so every year the phoenix's orchid blooms, the island of Menewsha celebrates, knowing that hard work is what brings the purest rewards.

Last edited by zigbigadorlube; 11-25-2014 at 02:19 AM..

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#10
Old 08-01-2008, 06:46 PM

The Legend of Celes Paradi

Hundreds of years ago, on the island of Merkhet that lies a long voyage away from Menewsha, its three finest ladies of the time were contemplating their own boredom. The eldest of the three suggested a contest, of sorts. Each lady would use the servants of her household to put on the grandest show they could for the citizens of the city, using a full day and a full night to do so.

"But who could possibly judge such a thing?" asked the youngest lady.

"The Sun and Moon will be our judges," the eldest lady said.

"But what happens in the event of a tie?" the youngest asked again.

"The Morning Star, who always sits in the sky, shall be the tie-breaker," decided the third lady.

The Celestials, overhearing the conversation, sent a shooting star through the sky to tell the ladies that they agreed to be judges. "You have a day to prepare yourselves!" the star cried before streaking over the horizon. The three ladies drew names from a hat to decide their order and prepared their resources during the course of the next day.

On the first day of their challenge, the eldest lady put on a stately presentation. Her servants were dressed in their finest clothing and made a solemn procession through the streets of Merkhet - carrying representations of the sun during the day and candles to represent the moon at night. They sang songs throughout the day and night, impressing the townsfolk with the pomp and circumstance. The Sun and the Moon were flattered.

On the second day, the youngest lady put on a wild show. Her servants put on colorful, often skimpy costumes and danced through the streets during the day to percussion instruments and then at night, lead the townsfolk to a tall hill for a giant bonfire, around which more dancing ensued. The townsfolk were delighted. The Sun and the Moon were entertained.

On the third day, the third lady held a grand feast. Her servants handed out treats to the townsfolk during the day and at night, she held a banquet by torchlight, inviting everyone to partake. The townsfolk were grateful. The Sun and Moon were impressed.

On the fourth day was the judging. The three ladies and their servants gathered at twilight in the city square to hear the results of their efforts. The townsfolk waited curiously - they had enjoyed all three days of the festival and couldn't imagine who had won.

"We have conferred," spoke the Morning Star - acting as mediator as the Moon was losing power and the Sun had not quite gained enough. "I shall let them speak for themselves."

"For my choice, I selected the youngest lady. I enjoyed the good fun," spoke the Sun.

"As for myself," whispered the Moon, "I choose the eldest lady, for her elegance."

"And so the choice comes to me," said the Morning Star. The ladies and the townspeople waited for the tie-breaker. "...I was most fond of the feast..." The ladies and townspeople were unable to help themselves from breaking into excited or confused mutterings. But the Morning Star continued. "So we three agreed that the first loser would be the one who did not repeat their performance. So that the ladies may live as long as that takes, they will be elevated to minor goddesses. The last lady to put on a performance and her supporters shall be rewarded handsomely." Everyone started talking excitedly again. "Until such time," the Morning Star said, with some irritation, "Please do not call upon us to judge."

Ever since, the townsfolk have determinedly put on the same event every year - and no lady's group has missed a year yet.

In time, the three Ladies came to be called "Song", "Dance" and "Feast" and forgot their mortal names entirely. As their roles consumed their lives, it also consumed their mortality - making them goddesses of their names in truth. But you have only to be so lucky as to attend one of their Celes Paradi celebrations to know that!

Last edited by zigbigadorlube; 11-25-2014 at 02:20 AM..

 



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