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Oliver D. Bernuetz's Stories

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Whitewall - Helamakt versus the Waves

And it was during the war against the waters that Helamakt did battle with the waves. The waves were attempting to overcome the land, surging over Ernalda bearing their cargos of monsters and sea life. Where barley field had been was now found merman's beard, where fat cattle had grazed, fat fish floated. When Helamakt saw this he was moved to battle. He leapt to the beach and roared a challenge to the waves. They heard his challenge and answered it by surging eagerly forward. He slashed at the waves and laughed at them. But wave piled on wave and the water got deeper and Helamakt found it harder to fight. Eight mighty waves had rolled up to him and the water was already high enough so that only his neck and shoulders were out of the water. But the ninth wave bore a mighty monster of the deep and this Helamakt slew with his Slays Sevens Blow. He leapt onto the monster's back and again was free to battle freely. But more waves came and started piling higher again and after eight Helamakt found himself struggling again. But again the ninth wave bore a mighty monster and after a brief struggle it too was slain and piled on top of the first monster. And so it went. Nine times nine times nine waves came and each ninth wave bore a mighty denizen of the deep. And each carcass was added to the pile. But finally the waves wearied of the fight and their brutal losses and retreated leaving Helamakt unbloodied atop a tall pile of the monsters of the deep. And Helamakt roared his defiance of the waves and stomped his foot turning the monsters into stone. And you can still see the bodies of the sea creatures in the stone at Whitewall. It is also said that if you listen carefully in the caverns deep below Whitewall you can still hear the sea and see ghostly fish. It is also rumoured that careless wanders, lacking wisdom and wards, who go too deep within the mound may never return but fall prey instead to some phantom monster of the deep.

The great tor on which Whitewall stands is a gray limestone. The outside is weathered but you can still see traces and signs of the sea creatures whose bodies formed the tor. Helamakt created the tor when he battled the waves, piling one defeated sea monster atop another to have someplace safe to stand. Finally he stomped his foot in victory and turned the mound into limestone. Later it is said the arm Destor tore from Lant Ulfar at Larnste's Table struck the top of the tor and turned it into the purest marble. Drops of the giant's blood were turned into crystal. Others say that it was Sestarto the Artist who turned the top of the tor into marble so he could build Whitewall. Either way, whether the crystals are crystalized giant's blood or the remains of sea creatures they can still be found.

After the great battle Helamakt was weary and he lay down for a rest. He lay his body down on the great plateau and rested his head on the Tor. Shepherds can point to the dents in the plateau and tell you which part of his body made them. There's a small lake where his divine posterior rested. Legends swear that the entire Tor once show the marks of his hair but Sestarto is supposed to have erased most of them except the spot where he had a cowlick (a spiral patch of hair) which forms the floor of the Orlanthi temple.

On Black Rain Day the cliffs of the tor and even the shining marble of Whitewall itself is made from seem to swirl slowly - perhaps imperceptibly, until one is attuned to the mythic currents - as the half-evident bodies of the denizens of the deep twirl in hypnotic repetition of the battle. The charged atmosphere stings of ozone and brine and only the most insensitive cannot hear the sea and the storm battling.

Oliver D. Bernuetz plus the Whitewall gang.

Last updated February 20, 2017

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