Noobhammer!

The ongoing adventures of a group of new D&D players in their first game

Anansus and Gruumsh, and the Coming of the Elves

“Too ebulliant for the Sisterhood, and too chaotic for the Five, Anansus was ever apart from the elder gods. She (when she decided she was a she) cavorted and danced through all of creation, existing here as a flock of birds – she loves ravens best – and there as a lightning storm raging across the sky; now a golden tortoise, or a twinkle of light from the Evening Star, or the sigh of your lover’s last kiss.”

“Papum, I’m only eight.”

“Hush. And he (when he decided he was a he) delighted in teasing the gods, playing merry pranks. Did you know he once turned every one of Thorus’s scales into fish, and set them loose in the Bay Of Clearfrost? Hah! The Five scolded Anansus that day (though not before laughing at their brother splashing about with an armful of bluebellies, naked and shivering). And though they scolded Anansus he never learned, for Anansus is ever a child, and hubris is his nature.”

“You were going to tell me about the Elves, Papum.”

“Don’t interrupt! Stories are like a river; you must –”

“Let them flow were they will, for they know their way. I know, Papum.”

“Hmph. So one day, old Anansus, he saw Gruumsh, the Orc-god, hunting a great boar in the forest.‘Here is some sport!’ he thought to himself, and when Gruumsh had lost sight of it for a moment, Anansus changed the boar into a tuskberry bush – the first tuskberry bush, in fact, which is why to this day we –”

“Papum!”

“Alright, alright, peace. so Anansus, he makes himself into a wild boar just like the one Gruumsh was hunting. And he leads poor Gruumsh on a merry chase through the forest for a hundred years.”

“That’s ridiculous.”

“Oh, so you know this story, do you? How about you finish it, then? Hmm?”

“…”

“Hmph. So Gruumsh tracks Anansus for a hundred years, until his belly is so empty, and his legs areso tired he throws down his spear, Itk’sha, and howls in rage. Seeing this, Anansus appears before him in her true form, laughing and dancing. ‘I won! I won! A hundred years and you could never catch me, Gruumsh.’ And she became the wind and danced away, laughing all the while.”

“Is that why in Elvish Anansus is called Corellon Larethian, Papum? The Laughing Wind?”

“You’re too clever by half. Hush. But Gruumsh, he was furious, and so he picked up Itk’sha and followed Anansus, stealthy as a grass rat, silent as rage. And wherever Anansus went, Gruumsh would spring out from behind a rock, or leap from a tree, or rise from the river and attack Anansus, hurtling his mighty spear. And should Itk’sha ever find its mark, Anansus would screech with pain and disappear, cursing Gruumsh and swearing revenge. But Anansus is too changing to keep to a blood oath, and soon enough would forget, and be drawn back to Telisar by one thing or another. And there Gruumsh would be again, and there was the barbed hook of Ituk’sha.”

“The Elves, Papum.”

“So for an age, Gruumsh would ambush Anansus wherever he appeared, and wherever Itk’sha struck true, a drop of Anansus’s blood would touch the earth. And from that blood rose the Seldarine, the first of the Elves.”

“Finally!”

“In the forest rose Rillifane; in the sea, Deep Sashelas; in the mountain tops, Aerdrie Faenya; and all their brother/sisters. And to each of the Seldarine was granted a full measure of divinity, for they were of Anansus himself. And like Anansus, these first Elves were ever-changing, as mercurial as Corellon, as they called him –”

“I knew it!”

“–and as full of joy. For a time the Seldarine made their homes here, on Telisar, and held dominion over the sea and the forest and the desert and the air, and they sired all the races of Elves. This was long ago, of course, before the coming of Lolth and her Drow. But that is another story, and the hour grows late.”

“Wasn’t Lolth an elf too? At first I mean?”

“She was. And perhaps tomorrow I will tell you that tale. For the tale of Lolth and Corellon, and the dividing of the Seldarine, that is a tale of woe and warning.”

“Did Anansus ever escape from Gruumsh?”

“He did! Anansus tricked him into turning his great spear Itk’sha into a snake, and the snake put out Gruumsh’s eye. And as the blood flowed from his ruined eye socket, thick and hot and black, it splashed upon the ground and from it the race of Orcs were born. And with the coming of the Orcs, the Seldarine – ah, but it is time for rest.”

“Papum!”

“Peace, Tiny Blossom. The fire is but embers. Rest now.”

“Very well. I love you, Papa Banu.”

“And I you, Granddaughter.”