Monthly Meditation: Pasture, Fire, and Courage

Monthly meditation on the 15th of the Pasture-month: fire, and courage.

The Lore

The eighth month of the year on Halqueme, the Pasture-month, belongs to the lerale of fire.

The lerale of fire — which could, perhaps more accurately, be described as the lerale of heat — is the most ambiguous of the twelve Great Spirits. More ambiguous than Fate, even.

One one hand, fire is a life-giving creative force that staves off cold and darkness, makes food edible and turns ore into tools.

On the other hand, fire must destroy to exist.

On one hand, Hyzagar, the Firelord, is one of the three Ancient Ones that witnessed the formation of the planet. He is everywhere — from your beating heart, to the flame of the candle, to the blaze of the sun.

On the other hand, he hasn’t manifested in centuries, and, along with the Stormlord, can be called upon in oaths and curses with no consequences. (In fact, Hyzgar is the only lerale whose actual name gets mentioned in those contexts — sometimes in a minced form such as Zgar, Though, admittedly, there are theories that “Hyzgar” isn’t his actual name but a euphemism in some ancient tongue.)

Some say that Hyzgar is asleep, or trapped somewhere in the fiery core of the planet. Others say that he has disintegrated into multiple smaller manifestations such as wyverns and guivers, lost himself, and no longer truly exists.

Some say Hyzgar was evil and cruel and it’s only because he is no longer around that life on the planet is possible. And the wyrms are demons. Others say no life is possible without Hyzgar, and the wyrms make wonderful beasts of burden.

All agree that fire is a vital tool that must be treated with respect and caution. It takes courage and wisdom to harness it, but the rewards are without price.

…The eighth month of the year is usually the hottest on Halqueme. It’s the time when the crops soak up the sunlight to come to full maturity — and also the time of droughts and steppe fires. If, in the depth of winter, the Firelord is a somewhat treacherous ally, but an ally nevertheless, at the height of summer the Firelord reigns.

And it’s dangerous to ignore the reigning monarch. Even if — especially if — he may or may not be unaware of what he is doing.

The Mediation

I have a very deep personal connection to this theme. Like all reasonable humans, I appreciate the many uses of fire and the fact that without heat there’s no life.

At the same time, I have a medical condition that makes me extremely heat sensitive. I’ve been improving, but my ideal ambient temperature is still 17-20℃. At 22℃ I start getting pretty uncomfortable, and at around 25℃ my brain turns to goo. Metaphorically speaking, of course. 

I also live in a city where summer temperatures of 24-26℃ are the norm and 30℃ is nothing to write home about. We just went through a week of 30+. (So forgive me if I’m rambling a bit — I’m still recovering.)

In that way, I’m a bit out of sync with mainstream seasonal moods. Where normal people get autumn blues, hibernate in winter, and celebrate summer, I get spring blues, hibernate (aestate?) in summer, and the ominous “winter is coming” is music to my ears. 

That said, I didn’t create Hyzgar in response to summer heat. I don’t remember how I created him at all—he was one of the very first leralath I came up, when I was in my early teens. He has evolved a lot since then, from a satanic Big Bad to the ambiguous half-absent spirit that might not even have anything to do with the plot. 

Upon reflection, I’m not even sure why I made him into a Big Bad to begin with. Probably some carryover from Christianity and hellfire.

Hyzgar has preserved some negative traits in the lore of the Uncharred (the name of the land itself implies a conflict with him, after all). However, the virtue associated with Hyzgar is courage — the ability to act, despite fear, in a situation where the benefits of action outweigh reasonably estimated risks.

It’s that quality that’s required to work with fire — to cook food, to heat homes, to forge steel.

And, in a way, that quality also defines life overall — whenever the warmth of the ever-troublesome living prevails, if only temporarily, over the lifeless cold.

Artwork of the month

Forest Fire by Ylvers
Forest Fire, by Ylvers

What is interesting about this photo is that this isn’t really a forest fire in the usual sense. It’s a controlled burning, done by conservation authorities to improve wildlife habitat and prevent the truly dangerous wildfires.

This is literally fighting fire with fire, where the fire, while destroying life, is also protecting it.

As is Hyzgar’s wont.

Happy rest of the summer, everyone! =)

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