Cahuac and the Sun
A Myth from the Cahuac Cycle
Hear, O Children, hear of the days when the world was yet young and the dew lay still upon the earth, of a time when the shadows from the dark places stalked the People.
In those days, the earliest that we know, in the past so distant that numbers can not count the passing of the seasons, the People dwelt as one. Mighty hunters they were, that feared neither the shadows nor the dark places they crept from.
Mightiest of all was great Cahuac, he of the People, yet not born of the People. Child of the fairest maid of the Sky-Plains, She of the Silver Moon, he was gifted to the People in the hour of their darkest need.
As a child he was gifted, and like all young he grew, yet he was unlike any other child of the People. Tall and strong he became, mighty and fair to behold, the splendour of the shimmering moon resting upon his brow and his voice like unto soft music that drifts ephemeral through the night should he wish, or unto the rolling thunder that crashes its majesty across the plains. In all things he was the most skilled, yet he turned not to pride at the works of his hands or tongue, giving freely, for all he did was done for the People.
Upon the day of his coming of age he journeyed far at the behest of his mother, She of the Silver Moon, questing in the dark places and daring even to wrest from the grip of the shadows weapons of power. Many were his deeds and long were his journeys, yet they remain deeds to be sung another day.
In those days Sun followed not a set course across the Sky-Plains, for he was a mighty hunter, journeying where he would in pursuit of the Animal-Spirits, even questing for the Lady Moon, for her beauty had intoxicated him and his desire for her was great. Where he lingered on his travels, the lands became burnt and lifeless, and in those lands that he forsook, darkness fell and the sharp bite of cold was felt.
Thus it came to be that Sun travelled far beyond the mountains to the distant lands and lingered there, for he found the lands there pleasing and bountiful in game. Darkness swept across the plains and the sky dimmed; colours faded too, their warmth and vibrancy seeping into the gloom. A chill settled upon the People and they suffered dreadfully, crying out in loud voice of their despair, begging for Sun to return and with him his life-giving warmth.
One though alone knew not fear, nor despair, even as he suffered cruelly. Despite the chill that seeped into the very bones, despite the darkness that bore in all malignantly, he vowed that he would journey forth to see Sun and return him to the People, even if it should take him to the far corners of the world and consume a thousand lifetimes.
“People of the Aracan,” Cahuac cried out, the darkness giving way to the keenness of his tongue as water before a spear. “My brothers and sisters, despair not. Though Sun has journeyed far from us and our lands and left us with naught but the dark and the cold in which the shadows dwell, I shall go forth to find him and compel him to return to our People.” Then the People were left in wonder at the words of Cahuac, and praised him loudly, for they lightened hearts that had been weighed down with dread and fear.
Then the people bid their farewells to Cahauc, and unto each other. Men and women, young and old, even the very dogs of the camp, all lay down on the chill earth and silence fell heavy, all waiting, as if already dead.
Cahuac took up his weapons, those that he had wrested from the shadows in dark places. A spear he carried set with a blade of deadly bright bronze that shone like unto Sun in his glory, whilst the haft was of dark wood that could be neither burned nor broken. A knife too he had, of stone as black as the deepest night, and unto its edge all things parted as if they were but mist.
Fleet of foot Cahuac set forth, like unto the wind or kangaroo that bound across the plains, hunting Sun as he had hunted the beasts that roamed the grasslands. He sought high and he sought low, forsaking food, forsaking water, even forsaking sleep. There was no place that could escape his keen eyed gaze, keen as that of the hawk that soars above.
Yet great Cahauc, mightiest of us all, was not without limits even though his endurance was as a dozen men. The seeping cold and the darkness rested heavy upon him and in time even he too wearied in his search for Sun. The cold earth offered itself up onto Cahauc, and he rested there upon it. As sleep stole upon him, dreams came upon his moon-graced brow.
There was naught but the plains in his dreams, running endless and forever, yet even so Sun was not to be seen. It came to his mind that Sun must lie beyond sight, even beyond the lands where the People Born of Earth dwelt, and thus the only way forward was to ascend to a great height and thereupon attract the attention of Sun.
And lo, there appeared scattered before him across the plains many rocks and these Cahauc gathered up unto himself, and with these he fashioned for himself, with strength renewed by firm purpose, a mighty cairn, stones piled one atop another in the darkness until they reached the very roof of the Sky-Plains.
As the very last rock was laid upon the cairn, Cahauc awoke and beheld before him the very cairn of his dreams, now like unto a mountain. Thus was born Tatochec, the Pillar of the Sky that reaches unto the very roof of the world, made by the moon-graced hand of Cahuac.
To ascend the Pillar is to take one’s life into one’s own hands even at the best of times, yet brave Cahauc did so even in the dark, scaling the frozen heights for the sake of the People. Despite the cold, despite the gloom, ever upwards did he climb, ever onwards. Cold bit at him and sharp edges tore at hands and feet that he could neither see nor feel.
Yet all journeys come to an end, and thus it was that moon-graced Cahuac at last stood atop Tatochec, having conquered its heights in a journey that none other could have made. Casting his bright-eyed gaze forth, he could see the People, the frozen suffering People, lying still as unto death, yet also he saw, beyond the distant mountains, where dwelt the People Born of Earth, the lingering light of Sun.
With a voice that boomed like the thunder of summer storms Cahauc cried out. “Sun, come to me!”
Yet Sun ignored him and did not come.
Again thunder cracked in a voice more terrible than had been heard before or heard since. “Sun, I, Cahuac, bid you attend me!”
Yet Sun ignored him and did not come.
Then with a voice like unto the softest of breezes and the gentle song of music once more he called out. “Sun, the People need you. Come to me, least all shall perish.”
And Sun was intrigued by this whispering voice and thus it was he sped across the mountains and the plains to where Cahuac stood atop Tatochec that had not previously existed. Slowly, slowly, light and warmth seeped across the plains, then flowed and finally burst forth in a mighty flood of colour. The People cried out in joy, for their suffering was now at an end.
With a voice like the all consuming fires that devour all in its wake Sun spoke. “Why have you bid me come, Cahuac of the Aracan? Why bid me leave those places that I enjoy to come to these cold, dim lands?”
“The People, they suffered, O Sun,” noble Cahuac replied, the glory of the moon shining from his brow, “For you had gone far beyond these lands and left naught but the dark. Across the Sky-Plains you must hunt for the benefit of all, else pass your powers unto another who will.”
And Sun refused, his laughter washing over Cahuac like flames racing across the grasslands, yet Cahuac flinched not.
“If not by your will, then by mine,” Cahuac pronounced, hefting forth his spear of deadly bright bronze. With full measure he launched it and it sailed true, striking Sun upon the chest. Blood like the very fires sprayed forth across both spear and Cahuac, yet he cried out not.
Taking up his knife of black stone, Cahauc again smote at Sun, who cried forth as yet more blood flowed, spilt across the heights of Tatochec until it burned and sent forth great pillars of smoke. Then with a mighty roar, burning-eyed Sun did turn upon Cahuac, the Hunter of the Sky-Plain against the Child of Lady Moon. Great and terrible was their clash, and the ground shuddered at the impact of their blows as they smote upon one another. Across the far plains was seen the flaring of Sun’s fury, and the bellowing of Cahuac’s thundering voice spread wonder to all corners of the lands. All who beheld it cowered in terror, for it was like unto as if the world was being torn asunder.
Yet not even Cahuac, mightiest of us all, can best he who is burning-eyed Sun. In time Cahuac, exhausted beyond all measure and battered, lay defeated before the very feet of Sun. Yet Sun did not strike him down. A veil of darkness passed before Cahuac’s eyes and he fell into a swoon, lying as one who is dead. He had not fallen though, for the mighty Chief of the Sky-Plains raised him up and the veil fell from his eyes.
“By your deeds and courage, Cahuac of the Aracan, I shall honour your request,” burning-eyed Sun told him. “From this day forth I shall travel the ordered path of the Sky-Plains, yet each night I shall rest at this place to honour your bravery. It shall not be without price though, for none here after shall set foot atop sacred Tatochec and live, as the blood that I spilt here would burn them and consume them unto ash. Upon you shall fall a different fate, for you have been marked by my blood, in remembrance of this battle. Go now, and peace be upon you in the long weariness that awaits you.”
“Most noble Sun,” Cahauc replied, his voice melodious yet ringing with power, “I regret not what comes upon me, for all that I have done was not just for the People, but for all people.”
And Sun bowed before Cahuac.
Thus Cahuac, mighty Cahuac departed, taking up his weapons now imbued with power from the blood of Sun, and he strode down from Tatochec to return to the People.
Many were his deeds and long were his journeys.