Tales of Granamyr's Lair
By Kirk Trigon (excerpt from Eternia Lost: Origins of the Masters of the Universe)
In the ancient folktales of the Grayland Skul tribes, Granamyr (or Volgraynamir) is the supreme master of the sky and cosmos, as well as the father and king of all gods.
He admits the most fierce warrior dead to the Land of He and the most dishonorable to eternal torment in the frozen underworld. Granamyr's victory over the other sky spirits and subsequent ascension to a celestial throne is a feat of cunning and brutality that exemplifies Skul ambition. For the Skuls, the tale provided a fitting object lesson, but for us, it allegorically illustrates the thinking that shaped the ancient civilizations of the Evergreen Forests and Golden Isles.
In Skul tribal folklore, the G'nonimyar rain giants, who determine the fate of the cosmos, live in a great circular tower, at the center of which is a vast hall, which serves as arena and forum to them. Around the hall, in the walls of the tower, are many expansive, luxurious chambers, in which the giants are waited on by lesser sky spirits, like gryphons and faeries, and no creature may reach its upper half, without magical aid or knowledge.
At the dawn of time, the G'nonimyar decide to hold a contest of strength to decide who will rule the universe. Brooding outside their tower's walls, Granamyr is the only sky creature to refuse to serve the rain giants, but is determined to be their master. He is only half the size of any rain giant and a third as strong. He also knows any direct challenge of them will be his end, but determines to win their wrestling contest anyway.
Conquering the Rain Giants
After devising a scheme to insure his victory, Granamyr sends his falcon agent, Zoar, to the tower. There, he is appointed to serve a well respected member of the giant's congress. When Zoar tells his new master of a field full of giant spiced calves, the hungry giant sends him to fetch one. After eating the calf, the giant finds his size has increased significantly and sends Zoar to find another such calf. The falcon obeys, returning with another on the following day.
Soon, all of the G'nonimyar, eager to put on weight for their tournament, are asking Zoar for giant calves. With Granamyr's help, Zoar supplies the giants with spiced calves. When the rain giants have each fattened up to their satisfaction, they all enter the great hall for their contest. They begin wrestling, but are so heavy that the entire tower collapses under their collective bulk!
At this, Granamyr dashes into the tower's ruins and, in less than a day, devours half of the injured rain giants! The rest, trapped beneath huge Vulnarium blocks, are helpless, as Granamyr proclaims his lordship over them. "I sent you the giant calves, which have made you bloat and weak! I have pinned half of you with your own weight, devoured the other half and won your contest! I am your master!"
The G'nonimyar, dazed and too fat to move, concede the celestial throne to Granamyr. At his command, Zoar flies to all reaches of Eternia, calling the other giants and elementals to see the rain giants humbled and witness Granamyr's divine coronation.
On Zoar's tailfeathers, thePauir Mountain giants swear eternal loyalty to Granamyr, who ignited the enchanted forge, which produces their indestructible weapons. Granamyr accepts their oaths and employs them as the chief enforcers of his will, knowing the Pauir outclass the G'nonimyar and all others, in strength. Secure that this arrangement will hold his humbled skyborn enemies in check, Granamyr calls forth their queen, Dor, goddess of mercy, and makes her his wife. The dragon's absolute sovereignty over the cosmos, stands unchallenged by all, .. but one.
The deposed king of the rain giants, Protovograst (meaning 'refuses Granamyr'), once, was the master of a giant, two-headed wolf, Lukras, who obeyed his every whim. As his conqueror, Granamyr, proclaims dominion over the sky, Protovograst bids Lukras to hurl himself at the dragon's throat. With a fiery breath, Granamyr sends the wolf back at Protovograst! His coat ablaze and mad with pain, Lukras attacks his master, setting the injured giant's robes on fire! Fleeing the monster's fury, Protovograst encloses himself in a Vulnarium chest, but Granamyr admits Lukras to the chest and casts them both into the frozen underworld. In their struggle, the combatants burn a tunnel to the center of Eternia. Lukras, alone, survives their fiery fracas, but is consigned to a miserable fate. Every night, in a howling frenzy, Lukras runs across the Eternian skies to cool his infernal, silvery coat, becoming Eternia's two moons.
With no more challenges to his rule, Granamyr makes the last of his appointments. Though, he has nothing but contempt for the G'nonimyar, the dragon knows their wisdom to surpass that of all other living things. Granamyr allows the rain giants to reform their congress and restore order to the universe, but appoints Zoar to watch them closely for any hint of treason against him.
Leaving administrative matters to the rain giants, Granamyr retires to some lofty place with the giantess Dor, who yields the dragon many impressive offspring. As soon as they are born, they are all dispatched to various parts of Eternia to subdue the will of mankind.
The Lord of Dragons is known by many names.
He is called Vogira, by the Golden Isle Shojitsu. The G'non and Helat of the Iron Mountains call him Volgras, and he is known as Old Gray, among the Rio. Throughout Eternia, in the folklore of every civilization past and present, the legend of his wrath has endured the ages.
While his foes have not always faired so well, they have endured with him, and a few have survived his wrath to become the most celebrated heroes in folklore.
From the Golden Isles, comes this story of the winged hero, Giro, who learns that the price of conquest is sometimes too high to pay, even for a son of gods. The original morality tale inspired a few others around the globe, but the adaptations never got the point across quite as effectively as .. a mouth full of boiled, old man's kidneys!
Giro is the son of the dragon, Mazugira, and Kaguya, the goddess of the Moon and Sea. Upon his conquest of Kaguya, Mazugira takes possession of her lunar kingdom and sovereignty over the fate of mankind, as his whims are greatly influenced by the moon.
When he becomes a man, Giroboasts that he will succeed Mazugira as Master of Men, by conquering the moon and claiming its powers for himself. Kaguya warns him to stay away from the place, as it is ruled by the inviolable dragon and haunted by flesh-eating shadows, called Ninjor! When Giro refuses, Kaguya arms him with the Klingozai (Sword of Doom) and sends him off to the Moon, with her blessing.
When Giro reaches the Moon, he finds a long road, at the end of which stands a great, black tower, whose uppermost levels are as one with the starry sky. Recalling Kaguya's description of it, Giro knows this to be Ningozai, the lunar tower, whose shadow is cast on all doomed men.
His flesh-eating cousins, the Ninjor, attack by the hundreds, and the young hero slices through a third of their ranks, leaving the rest in a broken pile, weeping on the roadside. When Giro reaches Ningozai, he throws open its doors and calls his subjects before him, but only a small, silver dog appears to greet him.
The dog guides him to a great, but dimly lit hall. Ningozai's servants empty the kitchens to feed the young hero, until he retires to an even darker chamber to rest, but sleep eludes him. There, Giro enjoys many lusty women in its shadows! When he is sufficiently exhausted by their savage appetites, the little dog escorts him to the tower's uppermost chamber, where Giro's father, Mazugira, rules the lunar kingdom.
The little, silver dog leads Giro up a winding passageway to a grand, ornate hall, encrusted with rare jewels, where the blue-skinned giant, Mazugira, holds court. Great Mazugira roars, and the hall fills with his servants! He rises from a stool, and all in his presence, great and small, prostrate themselves before him, begging to be used as his carpet! Out of respect, Giro joins them, until Mazugira signals his desire to share a feast with his son.
Eager to impress Great Mazugira and his subjects, Giro foolishly brags about his victory over the Ninjor and his attentions to the women in the rooms below, whom he confesses to never having seen in plain sight. At Mazugira's request, the women, usually confined to the darker halls for their unbearable ugliness, join the other guests, and Giro is ridiculed mercilessly by all present.
Finally, the feast is laid before the court, and Mazugira boasts to all of his son's magnificent appetite. He proudly tells his subjects that the kitchens below could not boil enough kidneys-of-old-men to satisfy Giro! Mazugira signals his servants to set the tray of old man's kidneys before Giro, but the young hero grows ill, throws himself over Ningozai's ramparts and vows never to return!
When Giro is gone, the little silver dog, Luxan, politely climbs into the hero's empty chair, gingerly nibbles the kidneys-of-old-man and is proclaimed Great Mazugira's heir.
Though his departure from Mazugira's kingdom is somewhat less than honorable, Giro never forgets his visit to the Lunar Realm. When finally his time comes to rule Eternia, he proves to be the wisest of kings, having learned that conquest for conquest's sake is a fool's enterprise.
Green Adam, the wild folk hero of the Iron Mountain and Plains Helats, is the son of a lost Helat princess and of Lukas the Wolf, Master of the Skuls and King of the Underworld. He is the mischievous brother and master of the Fire-wolves, who raise him from a babe in the Evergreen Forests.
In the Iron Helat version of the previous folktale, an encounter with the Lord of Dragons brings the cold sobriety of wisdom to his misadventures.
Upon becoming a man, Green Adam leaves his mother's country in the Evergreens and sets out to claim his father's realm for his own. He reaches the gates of the Underworld and sees they are guarded by a huge dragon, Volgras. Behind the dragon stretches a long road and, at its end, stands a large and ugly house, which Green Adam correctly surmises to be the Black Lodge, the house of Lukras.
Taking the dragon's measure, Green Adam sees that Volgras is twice his size. Knowing that any direct challenge of him will be his end, Green Adam attacks the beast with his sword and determines to best him anyway. Volgras swats him aside, but Green Adam charges him again. In kind, Volgras blasts him with his fiery breath, forcing Green Adam to retreat. Later, disguised as an old woman, Green Adam returns to the gate with a poisoned fish, which Volgras eats and falls into the ocean.
Green Adam proceeds to the Black Lodge, but along the way, his blood begins to freeze, and he calls to his brothers, the Fire-wolves, for help. They carry him back to the gate, but he protests, demanding his inheritance. The Fire-wolves explain to him that, because he is mortal, the cold of the Black Lodge would kill him. They agree that he is entitled to rule that which Volgras had guarded, and that he shall replace the dragon, as its champion. Green Adam accepts, and the Fire-wolves leave him at the gate with a chest of fine clothes, weapons, armor and a magnificent horse.
All the treasures once guarded by Volgras are his.
Left hungry by his fight with Volgras, Green Adam calls his subjects before him to prepare a feast, but none appear. When the youth rides out into the frozen wastes of the Underworld to question their impudence, they ignore him. "Boy, I may be, but I am your new king, and I have come to try you for your defiance!"
"We are the dead, and have already been judged," a shade tells him. "Starve us, beat us or cut us, if you like. We do not eat, bleed or feel pain of any kind. We have known all the pleasure your world has to offer and cannot be tempted by it anymore. Call your trial, if you must, but we will not attend."
Deeply insulted ..and even hungrier than before, Green Adam galloped off towards the sea, where he casts a net. "Fish! I am your lord, and I am hungry! I command you to leap out of the sea and into my net!"
"We are dead fish, and have already been caught," a fish-spirit tells him. "Catch us and cook us, if you like. We feel no pain of any kind, and do not fear you. Cast your net, if you must, but I will not fill it."
In the waters nearby, swims a beautiful maiden. Enchanted by her, the youth abandons his net, horse and fine clothes to swim after her. When she washes onto the rocks, he follows, swearing his undying devotion. "Beauty! I am only a boy, but I am master of this shore, and I will love no queen, but you!"
"I am a drowned beauty, and have already been loved," the dead maiden tells him. "Embrace me, if you like, but, I am as cold as the Ice Land Seas and will never love you. Kiss me, if you must, but I will not return the favor."
Humiliated and starving, Green Adam wanders back to Volgras's house, where he finds an old man at the hearth, eating a fish. When Adam, lured by the smell of smoked fish, approaches the old man and begs to share his meal, the man reveals himself to be Volgras .. and pins the youth beneath a giant claw!
Naked and defenseless, the young hero accepts his doom. "I am king of Death's Coast, but I have lost everything for my kingdom! Kill me, if you must, but I will not beg for my miserable life."
But the Lord of Dragons does not strike.
Instead, Volgras tells him not to be so quick to claim the kingdom of death, for all men will inherit it soon enough. With this said, Volgras picks Green Adam up and sets him back on the road to the forests of Eternia.
"I am Green Adam!" the youth tells the people of the forest. "I am wild and live in the woods, but I am swifter than the deer, as strong as the bear, and I will never die!"
As wise teacher, wrathful despot or evil genius, ..and throughout the respective legends of two hemispheres, Granamyr is consistently presented as an engine of change and personifies, however horrifically, man's eternal struggle to survive in the face of overwhelming odds and temptations.
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