Mithra and Verethragna
Mithra and Verethragna aren't from the Sumerian Period of history. I was searching for Persian fables when I stumbled upon them while reading Myths of the World, the Illustrated Treasury of the World's Greatest Stories—you're going to hear me reference that book a couple of times over the tour because it had myths that inspired several characters in Sumeria's Sons. Back to what I was saying—I came across Mithra's Trusty Guardian. "In his martial guise he [Mithra] was protected by the fearsome warrior god Verethragna." I couldn't help myself. I totally shipped them. The Zoroaster wouldn't approve. These two are great heroes, persons of divinity in the Avesta, and I sprinkled them with a little bit of smutty thoughts, eluded to of course. Verethragna is called Mithra's consort in the series and that's it. (No smexy page time for them!)
As a mighty warrior, Mithra's weapon of choice was a famed one hundred-sided mace. I still have a problem picturing what that looks like. Not that I don't know what a mace is, but the hundred sides would make the thing huge.
Mithra was the Zoroastrian angelic godhead of the Covenant and Oath. He came with an exhausting list of titles: the Divinity of Contracts, an all-seeing Protector of Truth, the Guardian of Cattle, the Harvest and of The Waters, Mithra of Wide Pastures, of the Thousand Ears, of the Myriad Eyes, the Lofty, the Everlasting the Province Ruler, the Divinity of the Spoken Name, Who Sleeps Not, Who has Wide Knowledge, the Holy… seriously, the list went on forever. In short, he was thought very well of. I used only one aspect of Mithra in Sumeria's Sons, that of the guardian of the khvarnah or Divine Glory that bestowed legitimacy to kings. I didn't want him to overshadow the other gods and goddesses in the series. His role to the plot was important and essential but the era that Mithra was most popular in came later, around the 300 B.C.E. when the gods were either angelic or daevas (demons/monsters). I didn't want that perception for the series so kept Mithra's role to a minimum, eschewing all his other identities.
Verethragna's name meant "smiting of resistance" and was the foundation of the Persian word for "victory". He was described as highly armed and best equipped. He was in never-ending struggles with men and daemons, but his sphere of influence went beyond battles. References indicate that he was a healer and could pass on virility, but unlike other pantheons where the gods of sexual potency were equated to creation gods, Verethragna wasn't. He could take on other forms. You already know about the boar and obviously an armed warrior, but he could be a boy of fifteen, a ram, a wild goat, a bull with horns of gold, a horse with ears and muzzle of gold, a bird of prey, a camel in heat (LMAO! I guess this is part of the virility.), and an "impetuous" wind. You got me on that last one. If I ever use Verethragna again, the list of his forms definately gives me fodder to play with.
Mithra's protector interested me because one of his mighty forms was that of a boar that was girded in iron on his legs, hooves, teeth. I was like, "How scary could a wild pig really be?" If you read Surrounded by Crimson, Tristan had that same thought. When a modern day person thinks of a pig, the image is usually of the big pink ones that roll around in muddy wallows. Some people keep pigs as pets and I've read more than one article about how smart they are. What was there to be afraid of? Then I came across the article about the wild boars that were imported to the United States and used in Louisiana for exotic hunts. Now the state has a huge problem because they have herds of a hundred or more that roam the countryside and devastate vegetation and farms. They've caused hundreds of millions in damage and they have killed people. They have a plate of cartilage under their skin that is two to three inches thick that keeps bullets from penetrating into their core. Not kidding. They are aggressive, and frightening, and they made me rethink my, "pigs aren't scary," stance.
A huge thank you for allowing me to be a guest on the blog today! Throughout the blog tour for Dragon's Eye, I hope you enjoy the behind the scenes look at the gods and mythos, and how they play a part in Sumeria's Sons. For a visual representation, please visit my Pinterest page. (https://www.pinterest.com/lexiander1/sumeria-sons-inspirations/) During the tour I discuss the Sumerian pantheon, about who and what the Gods/Goddess are, and how I use them. Make sure you stop by the other blogs to get a complete look at the Gods and Goddess the Lycan's follow.
Also, Less Than Three Press is running a special sale on Sumeria's Sons from September 23rd through October 7th (dates inclusive).
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In the wake of birth and betrayal, Ushna takes the God Ashur to Tristan in a last desperate bid to save Tristan's life—and is helpless to do anything but watch as Ashur instead buries him in a grave. Though he has no desire to go on living, having now lost Brian and Tristan, Ushna has no choice. Not only do their children need him, the mysterious Simurgh has come out of hiding and forces him to continue on—for there is much to do and little time to do it, especially with treachery and danger closing in on them from every side.
Exclusive Excerpt #5
Climbing out of the vehicle, I met my mother's watery eyes. Without hesitation, she came to me, her hands cupping my face briefly before she turned her gaze to the bundle I held. She didn't say anything. She didn't need to. She was my mother and I her child, whom she knew well. I wanted to confess to her that I didn't believe Tristan was gone, that I could still sense him, but there were too many ears about. My confidence, my trust in those around me, was brittle. Someone not only jammed communications on Nathan's grounds but also planted a blood trail to lure Tristan into a trap. Until I could be certain of people on the estate, I'd keep my speculations to myself.
As if sensing I barely held myself together, her shoulders straightened, and though her eyes were red-rimmed, she didn't cry. "The nursery has been prepared. Corey said we had an unexpected third pup so Nathan brought down Tristan's crib from the attic." She paused and blinked several times.
The God Ashur followed behind me carrying Tristan, whose body was battered and broken. The cry of our newborn pups preceded me. Their birth was supposed to be a wondrous occasion, but through treachery and lies, that was stolen from us. Instead of enjoying the happy moment, I feared Tristan was dying.
There was so much blood. The damage to his body overwhelmed my senses. I was afraid if I didn't keep my eyes on him, if I turned my back for a second too long, his Flame would slip away. We ran through the cursed caverns that wouldn't allow me to touch my wolf or feel the song of the earth. Ashur's harsh commands to hurry spurred me on faster but I had to look behind me, I had to see with my own eyes that Tristan was still with us, still fighting.
The scars… I couldn't care less but Tristan might. I vowed I would spend the rest of my life showing him how beautiful he was to me—but first we had to get him out into the open.
I glanced back. "Hurry, Ashur."
The corridor seemed much longer than when we'd come in. Glancing over my shoulder again to ensure Ashur followed closely, my impatience caused a snarl to rumble in my throat. Tristan's skin was a gray-blue, stark and sickly against Ashur's rich mahogany tone. With every passing moment, we were losing him.
"Please." I don't know if I begged Ashur to go faster or if it was a plea to the Gods to spare Tristan's life.
When we entered the darkened corridor carved from the bedrock, I heard Tristan sigh. For months, he'd been teaching me how to listen to the Earth and I could practically feel her rush to him. I climbed the stairs, my foot slipping on the wet step in my hurry to get outside.
The open air had never smelled so good, filling my lungs with the scents of life. My wolf stirred, frantic for our mate. I reached to take Tristan from Ashur, but he dodged my grasp, moving off to the side. His low voice had a musical tone as he chanted in a language I didn't recognize and next to him, a hole formed in the ground.
"What are you doing? You said all we had to do was get him outside!" Why was Ashur not singing the song for healing? I reached again to take Tristan from Ashur's arms. Tristan was teaching me the complex chant, but Ashur was Tristan's tutelary. He knew what to ask the Earth for and how. Why was he not begging her to save Tristan's life? She wouldn't say no. She'd never say no to Tristan because she adored him.
It took a moment for the haze of my frantic thoughts to subside enough to realize Ashur was talking and then another for me to process the meaning of his words. What did he mean he couldn't restore Tristan's health?
With rising alarm, I said, "You've been teaching him how to sing to the Earth. Why can't you do that now?"
Ashur dodged me, laying Tristan in the hole atop the dark loamy soil. Something eased in me seeing Tristan in contact with the ground, although the Earth didn't rush up to him as I'd expected. She never missed an opportunity to touch him… until now. Instead, I felt power build until my bones ached and the snakes on my chest writhed in discomfort.
Staring down, I searched for the source of the energy, sure that at any moment, whatever it was would show itself. My gaze continued to return to Tristan with his ruined eyed, his torso ravaged and gaping. Never had I seen him so vulnerable, so small, the very sight calling to the caretaker within me.
Tearing my gaze away, I confronted Ashur who was pleading with me. "I teach him the songs but She doesn't respond to me."
An ancient sadness shone in Ashur's visage but I didn't care. I had trusted him to save Tristan. Never before had I been filled with such useless rage. I didn't understand what Ashur was saying. Who was he talking about? The Earth? He was the king's tutelary, so why wouldn't the Earth answer his call?
Desperation rose up and I barked, "Why the fuck not?"
"Because I took the wrong side in a war, now I'm forever separated from Her."
What did that have to do with the here and now? What did it matter he'd lost something or someone? My Tristan was dying and all he could do was talk. Ashur's pleading gaze held mine and I suddenly understood. I glanced back down at Tristan, lying in a bed of fresh dark soil.
"No! You cannot mean to do this. He's not dead!" I jumped into the hole; Tristan's single eye stared at me with clarity, despite the state of his body. His chest rose and fell with each labored breath. There was still time. I could save him.
With the strength of the God he was, Ashur wound his arms around my waist and easily hauled me away from Tristan.
I went mad.
I fought, screamed and begged. First Brian and now Tristan. How was I to stay behind? I pleaded with Ashur to allow me to go with Tristan. We'd travelled through the Earth together before, we could do it again. I could sing to the Earth and beg for Her help.
It wasn't too late.
Then Ashur chanted and the soil covered Tristan, taking him from my sight. I roared with fury, thrashing and clawing at Ashur's hands. I vowed vengeance for this act of betrayal. Silently, Ashur held me as I beat and wailed upon him, trying to free myself from his steely grasp. He whispered continuously, "I am sorry but this had to be done," in my ear. Tears of grief stained my cheeks and I hated him all the more because it didn't have to be like this. He had no right to take Tristan from me.
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