This tale is an older Myth from the Jharhandi region. Due to its age, variations of this myth are found across Paorr.
There lived a man of great skill and courage. He lived in the valley and was the envy of other men. His muscles were plentiful, his legs carried him great distances at great speed, and his quick wit left him the joy of many and the bane of others. He gladly took any maden he wished as his looks could not be denied.
However, one day there was a maiden who denied him. This upset the man, who was not used to rejection. He pursued her for twelve days and twelve nights. He serenaded her. He wrote her sonates and poems. He completed her chores and completed great tasks to show off his strength. He bestowed many gifts upon her and her household, all to no avail.
One day, the maiden spoke with her grandmother as to how to deal with the man. The Grandmother gave her advice, that she passed onto the man. The Maiden challenged him to head north to a great and dense forest. In the center of this forest lied a great treasure. Were he to retrieve this treasure, she would agree to court him.
So the man went on his great journey. Upon arriving at the forest, a wise old man stopped him at his path. “Go not into the wood,” said the old man, “For inside lives the mighty Bachaav.” “I fear no such creature,” said the man, “For I am strong, swift, and smart. Only by retrieving the treasure at the center of this forest, will I succeed in my goals.”
Drawing his scimitar, he walked around the old man. As he heads into the forest the old man yells from behind, “He will hunt you until you kill him or he kills you!”
Deep into the jungle went the man. After several hours of exploring, he came upon a clearing. In the clearing, a large creature stood, eating of the fruit of a tree.
The creature had the head of a bull, and shoulders much larger than that of a mortal man. He had hands as a man would, but his legs ended in muscular hooves. Out of its bull-head were two, menacing horns as an Oxen might.
The man had discovered the Bachaav. The creature was a cursed man, doomed to tend to the needs of the jungle and protect the treasure deep within. The Bachaav would challenge any wishing harm to the jungle, it would end those hunting its treasures, but it would also help those in need passing through.
The man sought to take the beast by surprise, and with the beast’s back turned, he sprang upon it with a large rock. The rock shattered against its head.
The beast drew it’s mighty khopesh, Phaadanevaala,and swung it. The man barely rolled away as the beast cleaved a nearby tree straight through the trunk.
The Bachaar lunged forward, burying Phaadanevaala into the Orr. The man had been missed by the length of a maiden’s hair. In a moment of quick thinking, the man jumped onto Phaadanevaala and leapt at the Bachaar. With a mighty slash, he attempted to cleave the head of the beast.
However, the blade barely sunk into its neck before it was stopped by inhuman muscles. The Bachaar gave a roar that filled the jungle. With a swipe of his mighty arm he tossed the man from him, separating him from his weapon.
Now disarmed, the man ran into the jungle, fleeing and escaping the creature. As he ran, he could hear the Bachaar give chase behind him. Where the man jumped and evaded trees, brush, and stone the Bachaar would bash, crush, and push down any obstacle.
Thinking quickly, the man hid in a hollowed stump. When the Bachaar came past, he was blinded by his own rampage and passed by that man without second thought. When the noise of the Bachaar’s chase died away, the man left the stump and escaped deeper into the jungle.
For three days time the man evaded the rampaging Bachaar. He ate of the jungle and slept high in the canopy. For three days time the Bachaar hunted him relentlessly. Never did he appear to tire and even when Dimitrius set he took no rest.
Just after dawn on the fourth day, the man stumbled on a chasm, deeper than he could see and wider than he could leap. However, on the far side, appeared a rope bridge. The bridge was lowered into the chasm, and a pulley system looked to control it from below. The chasm circled an island of land in the center. In the center of the island sat the largest gems the man had ever seen. Each gem was filled with mystical power, and they awaited setting into the perfect necklace made of Gold and Silver.
To the man’s right was a slope, that he could see lead deep into the chasm below. The man armed himself only with a spear he had fashioned himself and a few perfect rocks for his makeshift sling. When he was ready, he descended into the chasm.
After reaching the bottom and exploring the bottom, he found it a graveyard. Bones of warriors, predators, and some unknown creatures scattered about. They had been cast from the opening above. The man could find no way to scale the chasm from below. However, in the far end, a winch was located.
After repairing the winch, the man toiled to activate the mechanism. Above, the bridge was lifted into place. After successfully lifting the bridge, the man locked the winch into place. Before he left he cast aside his twig and rocks to grab a rusty sword and a dented shield.
Reascending the slope, the man made his way through the jungle to where the bridge was. Upon reaching the opening before the bridge, he was stopped in his tracks at the sight before him. The Bachaar stood before him on the bridge. His neck still showed signs of dried blood and he glared into the jungle, expectantly.
The man walked from his hiding place among the jungle and stood at the bridge. The Bachaar flexed its muscles,but made no move to approach. The man sighed, knowing he would have to kill the creature with inferior weapons then he had tried killing it before. The creature bellowed out once more, the sound filling the jungle.
The man wielded his blade, and brought down the sword on the very bridge in which the creature stood. With a few expert strikes, he had severed one of the ropes. The man instantly started on the next.
When the Bachaar saw what the man was attempting, he raced forward. Bellowing in anger, the creature shook the rope bridge with every step. The effort was in vain, as the man’s blows would bring the bridge down before the distance could be closed.
With a final swing aided by the beating of the creature’s hooves, the bridge snapped away. The Bachaar disappeared into the gloom below, and its body was shattered as it hit below.
The man rejoiced at his victory, however he soon found his mood soured. Although he had slain the beast, he was now left across the chasm. The treasure stood, out of reach, on the other side. The man had nothing to show for his toils.
Vodd Patel started as a small lad from a well to do family. As a young boy, he excelled in school but eventually chose to join the military.
Soon, he was a cunning Sergeant and partaking in the wars that would soon make the Empire. Here, he stood out amongst his peers.
Bravely, he charged an entrenched enemy and took control of their defenses. However, after suffering heavy losses, he was forced to hold the position during a counter-attack. For hours, Patel lost man after man until he alone, swinging his officer's saber, held back the approaching men until reinforcements arrived.
He was promoted, and served beside a great Captain. He led a team of men down a river to surprise the enemy encamped deep in a jungle. He also commanded several successful cavalry charges against early mechanized armor and won.
He was able to divert some men, capture an early airship, and use it to help break the siege of an enemy fortress. This act won him many medals and world renown as well as a promotion to full on Captain.
The legend of Captain Patel differs wildly with many stories that are hard to verify. Many can be fiction, but with Captain Patel's lack of record keeping with his plans, all have some witnesses or facts that corroborate them, and all have witnesses and facts that disprove them. In the end, these stories just added to the legend of Captain Vodd Patel.
One story tells of how Captain Patel led a full force to surrender to the enemy. The enemy, not expecting this, was completely unable to handle the influx of new Prisoners of War (POWs) and the small camp where they kept prisoners was not enough. Now with an additional 500 men to command, he led a prisoner revolt and overwhelmed the guards and small force reinforcing them. Grabbing weapons and now with prisoners of his own, he was now in a position to hold an enemy city by attacking it from behind. This daring rescue and military victory severely hurt the Jhardhandi forces in the area.
Another story has him and two sergeants dressed as women, sneaking past Jhardhandi patrols to capture an outlook of cannons. Turning the cannons around, the three men began firing on the encamped army, signaling for the Empire's forces to attack under cover of canon fire.
Another has him defending a bridge and realizing the enemy was digging below the river to circumnavigate the bridge all-together. After thinking quickly, he had his men dig into the riverbed, and they dug directly into the enemy tunnel. The tunnel flooded, drowning many men, and securing the bridge in the process.
There are also Jhardhandi stories of this man, unverified by any accounts, that make him out as a sympathetic supporter of the annexed people. In one he was on patrol and happened upon a family of refugees. Instead of calling out or beating them, he indicated they were to remain quiet and still. He reported to his supervisor that he had seen nothing, and the patrol continued on, allowing the refugees to escape.
In another he happened upon a farmhouse where the inhabitants had no food or money. He allowed his men to give them a cow from his unit. In some stories, it is medicine from his doctors. In others, he leaves soldiers behind to guard the people as they pack up and flea the area.
In a popular one, he struck down a subordinate who had been abusing prisoners and refugees, declaring them to be treated as family among the soldiers. An alternate of this story is as the subordinate went to fire a pistol, Patel took off his hand with a dagger.
Whichever stories are false or true, he survived the war. Coming home, he was hailed a hero and honored for his many accomplishments. Misrepresenting his wealth, he married into minor royalty, and was even made a member of the royal court for a short period. He lived lavishly, but his children spoke to him being quite poor after his death, saying he relied heavily on his wife's dowry and his officer's pension.
One thing is certain. Captain Patel was promiscuous and unfaithful, and his exploits would soon become infamous. He was known for seeking out 'adventurous' couples of the higher class and even the King's court. He would go to special parties. He would travel Greater Kantebury and Jhardhandi, and it was known he was never alone despite not bringing his wife.
After his death of disease (officially consumption but some speculate syphilis), he left behind his four children, who in turn gave him 15 grandchildren. However, it was revealed he had many illegitimate children that he knew of. A letter he left behind for after his death listed 8 children he knew of, and speculated on 'many more'. Allegations surfaced about him with tens of women during and after the war.
The notion that any bastard children in the nation could be connected to the legend, Vodd Patel, quickly swept the nation. Many people came forward, claiming to have been related to the legend. Many orphans and fatherless children began to change their names to Patel. Many poorer families also named their children's last name as Patel hoping the notoriety of the name would rise them above their station. Even two incidents of fatherless children being born in upper class families were claimed they had been the result of a secret affair with the famous Captain.
This resulted in a massive boom of the Surname 'Patel' in the continental empire in the decades after his death, and even now it sits as one of the most popular surnames in the Kantebury Empire. It no longer holds the weight as it once did, but it is common for family members to tell tails of how far removed they are from Captain Vodd Patel or to speculate how their neighbors had faked the relation.
Some of his legitimate grandchildren attempted to change their surnames to Patelikar to set themselves apart from the false claims, however that only further isolated themselves from the legend of Vodd Patel.
The Worm and the Sparrow
Once a Sparrow flew up to a worm and was about to eat him.
"Wait," cried the worm, "I am a glow worm. Are you sure you wish to eat me?"
"I do," said the Sparrow , "Double now, for I have yet to have a glow worm."
The Worm quickly replied, "My dear friend, if you wait to eat me, I shall tell you something to your advantage."
The Sparrow thought a moment before saying "proceed".
"I am one of many glow worms," said the Worm, "But I glow so faint, none can tell. I was cast out, and seek revenge on my brothers. If you wish to have them all, follow me."
"Certainly," said the Sparrow , and followed the worm deeper into the jungle.
The Worm brought the Sparrow to a group of men, their campfire just beginning to grow. The Worm gestured to the sparks and embers as they leapt from the fire.
"Look" exclaimed the Worm, "There they are, warming themselves by the fire and flaunting their red glow!"
The Sparrow looked hungrily at all the glowing worms. Quick as lightning, it flew at the embers and the sparks and began to eat them and swallow them. It darted around the fire, getting light after light.
After some time, the Sparrow fell to the ground, moaning. Its beak was burned, and its throat and stomach threatened to revolt. As it moaned, black soot fell from its mouth and nostrils.
The Worm smiled, and exclaimed, "Ah, to be Wicked and Wise is more advantageous than to be the bird to the worm!"
The Stallion and the Ghaza
One day the Stallion was parading through the village. The Ghaza had gotten in its way, and it stamped impatiently behind it.
"Oh, what sorrow must your life bring, being the slowest of the beasts of the plain," said the Stallion, "For if you were a horse, you would be at your destination before even I."
The Ghaza, who had grown weary of the Stallion's taunts, turned to him and said, "Pray wager with me, sir Stallion. If you had wisdom as I do, you would never want for speed."
The Stallion laughed at this, "Dearest Ghaza, do you believe you could reach the temple before I, the fastest steed in the land?"
The Ghaza thought a moment, before smiling and declaring, "A wager we have, then."
The Ghaza stepped aside, and allowed the Stallion to pass.
"I will reach the temple before you," said the Stallion, "Now watch."
The Stallion took off down the street, and rushed to the temple. The Ghaza also headed off behind him.
The Stallion gallopped along, pasing houses and shops with swiftness.
However, first he was stopped at the marketplace. Rabbits had come for lunch, and the street was full of them. He impatiantly stomped his foot.
Looking behind him, the Stallion did not see the Ghaza. He smiled and decided to also grab a lunch of oats if he was slowed anyway. So he grabbed some oats with the Rabbits, and they marveled at his great height and muscled legs. The Rabbits were not as swift as he.
When the meal was done, and the Rabbits left, he continued on. Running towards the edge of town, he reached a river, and the normal bridge which stretched across it was closed with several beavers working on it.
The Stallion cursed his luck. However, he peered behind him and did not see the Ghaza in his wake. He smiled once more. He had plenty of time to find another path.
The Stallion took off down the river, and followed its bends further down. Finally, he came across a bridge he was able to run across and continue on his journey. He followed the river back to the correct path, and the entire time he never spotted the Ghaza on the opposite bank, making his way around.
The Stallion found himself at the final stretch, the temple in sight, when he was beckoned from the Temple's stables. There, three gorgeous mares stood, and feigned over him.
The Stallion looked behind him, and still he did not spot any sign of the Ghaza behind him. The Stallion chuckled and approached the mares.
"How beautiful your coat," said one mare, "What destination has you galloping so swiftly by our stables?"
"Tis a race already won," smiled the Stallion, "For I am the swiftest in the land, I have moments to spend with lovely mares."
"Whom would race such a powerful steed such as yourself?" asked the mares, "For you are swift and muscular with a coat as shiny as any ever seen."
The Stallion puffed out his chest, "Only the slovenly Ghaza of the village. I seek to arrive first at the temple."
The mares gasped, "By the sun in the sky, you might have lost! For the Ghaza has already been through here and greeted us this very day."
"Impossible," said the Stallion.
However, the Stallion did race, twice as hard as he had that day, to the temple. Sure enough, waiting for him inside the gate stood the Ghaza, laughing and eating among friends. The Stallion was aghast.
"How?" he asked.
The Ghaza smiled, "Simple."
The Stallion demanded, "How did you get past the marketplace, choked with Rabbits of every size?"
"Dear Stallion, one should know it was lunchtime," said the Ghaza, "I simply took the next street down and bypassed the traffic caused by the Rabbits."
"How then," said the Stallion, "Did you find a bridge to take you over the river swifter then I?"
"It is summer," stated the Ghaza, "And the river was shallow. I simply walked across the river and continued upon my way."
"How," said the Stallion, "Did you make it here without me seeing you?"
"Simple," said the Ghaza, "For you were so sure you were ahead, you never looked forward for me. You spoke with Rabbits and Mares, so sure of your lead."
The Stallion felt defeated as he asked, "But I am the swiftest in the land!"
"Ah," said the Ghaza, "But arrogance lames the swiftest of horses. It outwits the cleverest of foxes. It cuts short the life of the sturdiest tortoise. To think: you could have avoided all of this by simply taking the next street down instead of challenging me to a race."