[Book] The Friend of Giants

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pirosmani99
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[Book] The Friend of Giants

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In days of old, Shor the Fox ruled over Atmora and was hailed Rakjalmundr, victorious protector, for he guarded men and giants from elves and demons with the sharpness of his wits and teeth and claws. He gave us life and luck. The wife of Shor was Kyne the Hawk, mother of men, who taught us agility and intelligence to surprise the enemy. [...] The second brother of Shor was the Bear, Hirtyk-Tsun, who taught us strength and endurance to overpower the enemy. [...]

Shor and Kyne taught men to hunt for survival, but Hirtyk-Tsun taught men to hunt for sport. He taught men the pleasure of overcoming the strength of beasts. He taught how to hunt stags and boars and wyrms and all manner of demons for glory. He taught men to fight against fear itself. In his teaching, the hardship of the hunt was the greatest of honours. But some, having heard his teaching, turned elf-like against their unsuspecting elder brothers the giants and thought it glorious to hunt them and slay them like beasts. Hirtyk-Tsun the friend of giants was sorely grieved, and commanded men of true heart to hunt down the kinslayers in turn. But hurt had been done and many giants had turned against men in revenge for their fallen, for their grieving had no end. This was the first breaking of kinship between men and giants.

The Fox and the Hawk and the Bear mended the peace between their people for a while. Together they commanded men to make sacrifices from then on, that we might not forget our sacred ties of kinship again, and commanded the giants to be merciful and forgiving towards men. At the last great battle against the elven demons, the giants of all clans stood alongside Shor with their friend Hirtyk-Tsun and lost many lives in his service. After the death of Shor, men of true heart followed the guidance of Kyne and kept peace with giants. But others forgot the peace and their ties of kinship, and attacked giants again, even lying and saying that the giants had sided with the elves. Kyne had given her breath to the wind that pollinates the mountain flowers, and could no longer chastise the kinslayers except through her faithful children who repeated her former words and kept the peace. Left alone and aggrieved, Hirtyk-Tsun despaired of fickle men. He made his home among his friends, the giants, the noblest of hunters, the purest of heart, who worship him to this day.

[Translator's Note: This story is unusual in several respects, particularly its identification of Tsun as a brother of Shor and its suggestion that Tsun did not die alongside Shor as held by other versions of the battle myth. Also notable is the use of an embellished name "Hirtyk-Tsun". We know that "hirtykr" was an archaic word for "bear" in the Nord tongue, so this can be read simply as "Tsun the Bear". However, the similarity of the name to that of Hircine - a hunting god well attested in sources from High Rock - is a striking one.]

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