Once, when history was carried on the tongues of travelers, there was a small city on the banks of the Evod River called Nehsog.
The Evod River often flooded as it carried water from a distant mountain known as Ianis. Then at Nehsog, it would pool to form a lake and fall over a cliff they called Reve.
Reve overlooked a great gulf the citizens named Kaelb and beyond this gulf and out of their reach, lay a verdant land in the east called Nede.
Many years ago, as the travelers tell their tale, Nehsog was visited by a great flood. Most all perished, but among the survivors were Haiasi and his younger brother Nhoj.
It is said, that the Evod River took pity upon the citizens, telling them she would never flood again. But for this to happen, Haiasi must work her waters and train up his brother to do the same.
Haiasi was to remove the stones sent down from the Ianis Mountain, place them on the embankment, and then return to pull fish from the hollow left by the stones.
As Haiasi went about his work, the river talked to him and taught him many things. “My waters,” she said, “are full of wisdom. Share what you learn with the citizens. My waters flow into the Kaelb Valley to feed the roots of the verdant gardens of Nede.”
“It is beautiful over there,” Haiasi answered. “Unlike here.”
“In this world you will be bent and broken,” Evod said, “but in the next you will be made straight and whole. Persist, and you and your city will be rewarded.”
Believing this, Haiasi entered the water and labored to pull out the stones and fish to lay upon the shore and teaching his brother to do the same. By their works, the city was fed and many stones lay upon the land.
Outsiders mocked, calling them fools for believing.
But Haiasi did not listen to them, nor rest from the work given to him by the river. And, though his body became bent with labor, he grew in stature and wisdom in the eyes of those he served.
Then one day the river spoke to him differently. “You are to leave my waters and write upon the stones the words I will give you. Take these stones and build a wall around your city. Your brother, Nhoj is now ready to work my waters alone.”
And Haiasi did as he was asked, building a wall of words. Words all could read and marvel at, but not all could understand. Words from the mountain – words of mystery.
“These words from the mountain, tell us how to reach, Nede,” some whispered. Then they looked across the gulf of Kaelb where Evod emptied over the cliff and shook their heads. Not yet understanding.
Soon Haiasi died, yet Nhoj did not cease in his labor in the waters, but continued to learn and grow in wisdom and stature as did his brother.
Then a great earthquake shook the earth and Ianis spewed flames and lava from its depths into the heavens.
The Evod River rose and raged with a ferocity never before seen by the citizens and they were frightened. And, Nhoj stood in its violent waters, to see two timbers racing toward him.
Urged to flee, he did not budge and waited until the timbers came to rest at his feet. And, as he had been taught to do with the stones, he did with the timbers; he pulled them from the water, and laid them on the shore.
When the wood touched the land, the trembling in the earth ceased and it was quiet. As if blind, Nhoj ran his hands over the wood and saw they were notched at such a place to be joined as one. And, so he brought the two pieces together to form a cross.
Many pointed in horror. “It is stained, as if with blood.”
Nhoj answered in awe, “Such things are written on the stones of our wall.” He pointed eastward, toward Nede. “Place the cross at the cliff overlooking Kaelb.”
And the citizens did as Nhoj asked. And when the cross was erected, the sun shone on its face, casting a great shadow behind it that stretched across the gulf from Nehsog to Nede.
And then they saw Haiasi crossing over the great shadow, his body no longer bent. Their hearts were filled with awe and they bowed in hope to utter, “Amen.”
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