The Trials of Horran

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This note is found in the Sanctuary of Harron.

All who drink of the waters and bathe in their cleansing currents shall give thanks to Horran and be indebted. For it is the blood of his love that gives liquid life to the valley of the Eldritch Sun.

Before the walls of the temple gleamed in the light of Rahn, before the first of the Korvan people arrived to build the foundations of their faith, there was only Horran.

Scorned and persecuted by his people for the depth of his faith in the god of gods, Horran fled to the burning desert to seek a life of devotion in solitude. For a time, the desert provided for him as it had not provided for any creature before him. There, Horran lived happily and spent his waking hours meditating upon his faith.

In time, as do all virile creatures, Horran grew lonely. And so he prayed to our eldritch patron, pledging all he possessed for the pleasures of companionship. As the glow of Ateph graced the burning sands, he fell ill and, though a cool night drew upon him, the heat of the day still burned in his skin. His god bade him sleep and as he slept a feverish vision overtook him.

At daybreak, Horran awakened from his dream and set upon his quest. With his sole possession, Aineth, the goat which had given the best of its years to run thick with milk for him and whose offspring he had gorged himself upon, he marched deeper into the desert. The burning light of Rahn weighed heavily on him that morning and for seven days hence he marched without food or rest. On the fifth day Aineth, like many creatures before it, succumbed to the heat and could go no further. With waning strength, Horran carried the beast and cared for it until his body would serve him no more.

There, at the end of his journey, Horran collapsed and prayed to the Eldritch Sun for mercy. His god commanded he lay dead Aineth, to slit the beast's neck and drain its blood upon the sands, and Horran did as his master asked. As the crimson waters of Aineth's life ran out upon the sand, it hissed and burned in the midday sun. From the pool of burning life there arose a woman. Eyahna she was called and she poured upon Horran the love for which he had so yearned.

Together Eyahna and Horran knew only ecstasy and for a time they were happy. But their love bore no fruit and so they once again prayed to their god to sate their desires. Thusly Yahlia was born. A child of such immense beauty that Rahn and Ateph both became jealous of how the light of the sun and of the moon danced and sparkled in her eyes. Eyahna and Horran were happy once more.

But there was a gift that was given and a price that was yet to be paid and so the desert turned against them. Struggle and strife beset Eyahna and Horran. Food aged and rotted at their touch. Water turned to sand as they drank and young Yahlia fell ill of hunger.

With nowhere to turn, Horran begged his god for mercy and the Eldritch Sun answered. But to save the life of Yahlia there was a price that needed to be paid. Horran once again did as his master bade him and gathered up the blade which had slain Aineth. Then, as he stood there hovering over the bed of Eyahna, the jagged and terrible blade raised high above him, Horran's faith faltered. He could not take the life of his love, not even to save Yahlia. Horran turned the blade upon himself and drew its claw-like edge across his throat, but it made no mark. Then, Eyahna called out and clutched desperately at her neck, the red life seeping out between her fingers. Horran ran to her side but it was too late. The warm blood flowed from her body and pooled in the sand beneath his feet. From the pool of Eyahna's life there burst a ceaseless spring of cleansing water.

The Eldritch Sun had once again answered his prayers, but Horran's life was not his own to take. Horran bathed Yahlia in the water of the spring and she was healed. But the lovely child would never forgive him for the death of her mother. As the cost for his greed, Horran was cursed with ceaseless life such that he might remember the death of his beloved Eyahna for all eternity and so that one day he might hold Yahlia in his arms as she too drew her final breath.

Such is the price of godhood.