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The Stran

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The Stran; The Quest For The Seven Skies: An Oral Epic Recorded by Diedrik Carrion II

 

"Now gather round small children and listen to tale passed down from my grandbub to my mother to me. This is old tale from Old Country, where Sun did hardly shine and  winters were long and white..."

 

A small rascal by the name of Alexei spoke up "Is this story of The First Strannik?!"

 

The Old Bubovh smacked the small boy on his small head. "Quiet and listen to your Bubuhv! Make respect of your elders!"

 

The old woman gave him the crows eye and continued on. "In country of Old Raev there was hero of folk legend. Coming from roots of humble streltsy, this man started young and ended... well you know story. Quested long and far, seeking entrance in Seven Skies. In end, he found Seven Skies and Ascended in feat of great strength, faith, and sacrifice. And he was called Stran..."

 

Once more the small boy broke in, standing among his peers seated on the cold floor. "That's him! That's first Strannik! He's -"

 

"I say shush small boy! Clearly my grandnephew taught you ney manners!  Sit and shut mouth!"

 

The boy sat and shut his mouth.

 

"Alexei is right and wrong. He is first Strannik, and he is where we get name. But do not interrupt or I will give you hard beating on tucas.”

 

The old woman settled in her seat, motioning for the children to come closer, to better hear her gravelly voice.

 

“Many, many ages ago, when the first Raevirs lived in Raev, when they lived in sin and debauchery, when men were false, when foreign folk tread their feet on the soil of Old Country, there was revelation. See small children, then light of Godanistan was found only in the darkest cave, in the coldest forrest. Men were faithless then, with no belief in God. Before we toiled in soil for Godan, we toiled in soil for ourselves and pagan gods. Raevirfolk were not the humble and holy folk we are now. Savage, brutal, and without our creator’s grace. 

 

However, it is for this that we became a faithful folk, an obedient and humble folk, one to restore humanity to what it once is. See children, it is only those who know their people’s darkest sins that can save them from such damnation once more.  It is why to this day, Raevirs have defended their faith and humanity with such fervor. 

 

But what man could do this? What man could be the first to rise from sin and damnation and provide his brat’ya example, to show them what they must do? I will tell you. A man who must discover this himself first. This children, is the Strannik. Though in those days he was simply “Stran”. His name though is hardly important. A name is only a name. What were important were his actions. And they start with a quest…

 

[As the old crone prattles on, she tells the epic known only as The Stran. The story is a long one, and to record it in its entirety would be lengthy, and nigh impossible. The tale contains many of the old parables that the people of Old and New Raev told to one another to teach the fundamental cultural tropes and values of their society. In its essence though, The Stran tells the story of four young individuals, three knights and a fourth man, of various cultures. 

 

The first is “The Orenian”, a man from the Heartlands. This man embodied the common tropes of all Orenians. He was an idealist, a fervent zealot, and what would be considered a “chivalrous” knight. However, despite being the “ideal Orenian”, this knight is anything but ideal. He is bold but brash. He is zealous, but crude. He is honorable, but a braggart and proud. 

 

The second is “The Hansetian,” a brutal northerner. His character offers many insights into what the old Raevirs thought of their northerner cousins. He is brutal, crude, and a hedonist. The Hansetian revels in his victories, drinking from dusk to dawn to celebrate in all manner of drinking and whoring. However, he is in many ways a reflection of what the pagan Raevirs were and what they sought to leave behind. His martial ability and remarkable loyalty to Stran is something to take note of when considering their ancestors. 

 

The third is “The Salvian”. Hailing from the harvest lands of the south, he is another caricature of this people, as the first two. The Salvian is pragmatic and savvy, easily capable of seeing all sides to a problem, and being able to exploit any weakness. However, this gives an example of what skill without virtue can do to a man. He is greedy, arbitrary, and deceitful. The general mistrust that he sows about him tends to plant paranoia in his mind, undermining his goals.

 

Finally, the last among these men is the strannik himself. Although, at this point he is simply known by the name of “Stran”. A brief note on stranniks; the word originates from the Old Raevir term for a “wanderer” specifically a warrior. Many tribeless warriors of great skills travelled from chief to chief in pagan Raev, searching for a benefactor to fight under for riches. These were in reality the first stranniks, long before Stran came about. It is believed by many that Stran lived during the massed invasions of Old Raev, where the conquests of the Heartlanders spread the Faith among the Raevirs. After the consequential adoption of the Heartlander’s feudal system, many stranniks that converted found similar service in the courts of the lord’s courts, among their retinue. The term over time became used for the sworn swords of a lord, or warriors who seeked martial service and recognition within a lord’s retinue. The practice is still ongoing to this day. Essentially, the net change was the religion of the stranniks and their masters as well as the general structure of the society. However, the strans of the Order of the Strannik are unique in several areas. This will be elaborated later.

 

Stran himself made the fourth of the company. Hailing from a small village in the heart of Mother Raev, the story tells of a young man, hardly of age, who hears calling to him the voice of God. Hearing this voice, he is entranced. He wishes at first to hear it again, only to grovel in the richness of it. He waits many moons to hear it, but it does not come. Finally, one night when he has all but lost hope in its return, he is drawn from his hovel. Making his way to the nearby creek, under the endless night sky he spies a rock dove, a pigeon. Moving to it, the bird does not shy away. Suddenly, he is smitten by a blinding light, and hears the divine voice once more. All thoughts of pleasure and enchantment are lost as he trembles in its might. He quakes in fear, and cries out, begging for mercy. Then, the light no longer blinds him. It warms him, and he receives a vision, a divine revelation. The Light comes from Godanistan, the Raevan name for ‘Holy Creator’. He learns of his quest, to follow the Light wherever he may go and seek the Seven Skies Above. He is told that where the Faithful’s zeal burns brightest he will find three companions, also seeking salvation. Stran is baptised in the water of the stream, and vows he shall uphold his quest with all the persistence of his people. At the break of dawn, Stran takes up a staff of pine and sets off. He finds in the gravel on the road a cross of oak, by which he strings it around his neck with yak wool. Travelling to the city of Raeknik by will of God, he finds his companions, all three knights of the Creator, seeking the Seven Skies in this pagan land. After offering to join them on their quest, the knights agree after much deliberation. They then set forth, and so the The Stran begins.

 

Stran is a model of Raevir cultural values. Coming from a world where not all Raevirs had yet converted, he gives a perfect example of what all Raevirs should strive to be. He is humble, always amongst the presence of the knights whom hold themselves with much distinction. He is faithful, always following the will of his God above other worldy temptations. He is persistent, born in the cold world of Mother Raev, where only the hardy survive. He works diligently in his village, seeking only to do his lot in life. Stran is cold though, and cynical. He is stringent with his traditions, and wary of strangers. However, though he may feel with way towards his companions in the beginning of the Stran, as the epic closes he finds brotherhood amongst them, and accepts them as his own, with loyalty and love that Raevirs bestow onto those they truly befriend and accept. While his dour demeanor, and pessimistic nature is viewed with disdain by his companions at first, written off as grim and morbid, the pious, hardworking, and persistent wanderer eventually finds his place among them, as another servant of Godan Above. 

 

The epic of The Stran, while not regarded as a holy text, is sacred among the Raevir people. Many of its parables are preached in mass, and offer many many lessons and allegories about the Raevir people, teaching their customs and ensuring that they survive throughout the ages. It offers many metaphors about their fellow men, teaching that while each man may have his vices, all are God’s sons and all are men. For example, an overarching lesson that is resolved only at the end of the epic is that of the acceptence of Stran by his companions. At first, they are leary of this pagan turned pious, and are skeptical to outright disbelieving of his faith. This however, gives way to acceptance and eventual admiration as the story wears on and ends. This has been viewed by many Raevir scholars as an allegory to the Raevirs slow integration into human culture. At first, they were treated with distrust and disdain. However, slowly the men of this world became aware that the Raevirs, despite their strange accent and architecture, were just as them and here only to save their world alongside their brothers.

 

The literary classic and historical archive that is The Stran is a piece of literature that can hardly ever be translated or recorded in full. Many have tried, though it is often that another historian brings forth yet another parable that was once believed to be lost. While I may try as hard as I might to find them all, even I cannot fathom such an endeavor. Here I shall record all that I found, and here I hope that other scribes will pick up where I left off, to see to it that our culture and way of life never perishes from this world. God over you my bratan, may your quill hand never tire.]

 

Following, is a vast collection of stories and excerpts from The Stran. The last leaf off the introduction to the book is signed in sloppy handwriting, perhaps a reason why so many of his works remain unpublished…

 

Diedrik ‘Barrow’ Carrion II

 

 

((All Credit to the lost Raevir hero Komodo. Found this in my documents and thought i’d share a bit of Raevir history with you all, I hope you enjoyed this amazing piece of work.))

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((Good read!)) +1

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