Story for the Day: The Two Giants -- Part 1
Frewyn has many myths and legends, one of the most famous is about Cathal and Cine, two giants from Frewyn's frigid desert of the south, who decided that they were going to drive away the children of the Gods from their home and ended up receiving a standing lesson in tolerance and benevolence.
The giants of old, who, according to Frewyn’s history, lived along the southern borders of Karnwyl, and though there was land enough to share the space with those amongst the fre-mhin, the Gods’ children, to settle there and form their archaic and dotted villages, the giants could not approve any addition to their primitive society in the south. They lived amongst the snows, settling in the drifts and huddled against the raging squalls, eating the grouse and squirrels and roasting pine cones, and though they were formed to survive the most unforgiving of climates, and enjoyed their seclusion rather well, they could not abide the ceaseless tumult of noise emanating from the churches and squares, newly put down and populated by the Gods’ children. The hymns of the Gods’ Day services and lilts of the old men and women diddling about the village offended their ears, the chyrme of children and cacophony of harmonious mirth disgusted them, the gleeful brocades of the markets and all of its blinding hues slighted their sensibilities. This intrusion of the sight and sound was not to be borne, and though many of the giants swore their fealty to the Gods and promised not to injure their children, Cathal and Cine, two giants who refused to submit to the whims of those of had cared little for them, could endure the high revel and felicitousness of this new civilization no longer. They invaded the settlements, destroyed the churches and demolished the squares, avowing that the Gods were unworthy of veneration, they must be debased and spurned, and their children must be taught to be silent and give away to different masters, ones who had ruled the land as self-proclaimed kings since the first snows fell in Frewyn. Many were wounded, some even killed, houses were razed, villages went up in a blaze of amber and delitescent smoke, the children of the Gods were devastated and defeated, and the giants’ point was made. While the children of the Gods bowed to their supposed masters, their lips were engaged with prayers; they called out for Frannach, God of War and Peace, Rage and Penance, to release them from their insufferable oppressors. The giants only laughed and declared that the Gods had little time for their children; they could not care whether such undersized servants lived or perished, for if they did not hear the cries of their children while the giants were burning their homes, they would not hear them now.
They were mistaken, however, in thinking that the Gods would abandoned those whom they loved best, for when the giants turned to strike down a shine to Frannach, the God himself appeared, his chariot materializing in an inundation of light, his presence magnificent, his helm and tasset shimmering, his form gargantuan and unassailable, his muscles continually contracting, his long untamed tresses undulating, his chest broad, his shoulders tense, his carriage overwhelming, his countenance unforgiving. With a swift gesture, the giants’ were shackled, and with another, Frannach transformed them into two immense horses, cursing them to be his servants, to drive his chariot across the skies, to take him wherever he should wish to go, to obey his word, to be haltered, tackled, and tied, that they might hear his name exulted, his grace glorified, that they might repent for their transgressions, that they would learn how to treat his children, that they might understand their errors and beg for pardon. He would torture them, he would make them know the agony of starvation, he would break their bodies and bend their minds. They became his legendary steeds, forced into prudence and obeiscence, and when they tried to escape, Frannach’s hand was unmerciful, and the more they resisted their captivity, the more they were violently punished. Greatly did they resent their master, and bitterly did they bewail their situation. Angry and wretched, they rejected their imprisonment, but they would learn the joy in worship through excruciation, they would learn to deserve pardon through their misery. They would dissent, but they would at last desist and own themselves conquered before their true rehabilitation were to begin.
Every day, they were obliged to drive Frannach’s chariot, and every evening, after being whipped across the skies, paraded about and humiliated, they were allowed to rest for a few hours before the torment of their castigation would begin anew, the sting of Frannach’s whip fresh, the oppression of his inescapable commands compelling them to obey against their wills. When he commanded them to stand, they stood, and when he ordered them to come, they came, their feet following the motions that their consciousnesses bound would refuse to perform. It was a miserable sufferance, the torture of being exhausted beyond one’s threshold, of being beaten beyond what even cruel civility would admit, of being in possession of a body that would only obey the word of another, of being rapt in the despondence of one’ own crime with the knowledge that they need only yield to a most malicious master to end all their affliction. Cine refused to surrender, bucking and kicking, hoping to break his stall and liberate himself from his chains, but Cathal, of a softer temper and despondent hue, resigned himself to being defeated, and sat in quiet contemplation, disgraced and disconsolate, to bare his dreadful sufferance, whether merited or misapplied he would not dare confess, to sit in compunction of his offenses and in consternation of his master, silent and submissive, doing everything he was commanded until all glint of rebellion had gone. While Cine endeavoured in vain against a God who would not be tried, Cathal was beaten and bruised, sorefooted and subservient, who returned to his stable at the end of the day, his legs barely able to hold his weight, his conscience fatigued, his heart very ready to relinquish life in exchange for a celeritous and painless death. He begged for his end as he collapsed under the preponderance of intolerable exhaustion, his form feverish, his breath short, his frame starved with cold, his mouth dry with thirst, his stomach wracked with the pangs of violent hunger.
“Do you yield?” Frannach’s voice rumbled, his foot at Cathal’s neck, but Cathal could only breathe and close his eyes, and succumb to a somnolence whence he hoped he would not rouse.
In the silence of his slooming mind, he begged to be released from this torment, whether by freedom or death, he cared not which. His entreaties caught the attention of Borras, who, from the inherent kindness of his heart, advocated for the giant’s release.
“He has learned,” said he, his large hands browsing the giant’s mane. “Free him and allow him to return to his people.”
“I will not free him,” said Frannach, “until he has asked for forgiveness. He has harmed our children, and captivity is but a portion of what he deserves, but he has borne his punishment well and has learned to obey, and therefore he has merited my generosity.”
“You are cruel to him, brother. He has learned to obey from fear, not from love. He will never love you now.”“I do not need his love, only his atonement. I will forgive him when he has understood the extend of the damage he has inflicted. And I am cruel—I must be to exact any punishment-- but I am fair, brother. He has submitted, and I will relent.”