How Dendara Endured the Great Darkness

From: Andrew Larsen <>
Date: Fri, 15 Dec 2000 16:54:45 -0600

    This myth just kind of came to me. It draws on a more RQ2 approach to what happened to Yelm rather than more recent work. Despite that, I figured I would post it, in case any part of it would be useful for people. And yes, I know that according to what's been published, Yelorna is Ernalda's daughter, not Dendara's, but I like it this way more.

How Dendara Endured the Great Darkness

    When Orlanth slew Yelm, Dendara took up her widow's clothes and sat on her throne of mourning, determined to remain faithful to Yelm even after his death. Orlanth approached her and said, "Your husband is dead. Come, live with me as my concubine, and you may be the handmaiden to my new wife, Ernalda."

    But Dendara said, " Is your new wife so dull that already your eye is wandering? Shame on me if I ever betray my husband by bedding with his murderer. Do what you will; I will never be your concubine." Orlanth left the palace, his face red with shame.

    Later, one of Yelm's son's, Solenus, approached her. "Dear woman," he said, "we must have a new emperor, and you must have a new wife. Marry me, that I may lead our people against the forces of darkness and chaos."

    But Dendara said, "To marry my husband's son would be to murder him again. Would you dishonor your father's bed by laying with his wife?" Solenus left, hanging his head, and none ever heard from him again, so great was his shame.

    Then a spirit of darkness came to her, cloaked in a stolen mantle of light and with the seeming of Yelm. "My faithful wife and queen," he said, " I love you so much that I have returned from the dead to be with you. Come now and lie with me."

    But Dendara was not deceived. "You have my husband's light, but not his heat. You are as cold as the grave. Get you gone from here. Shame on me if I ever betray my husband!" The spirit fled from her.

    Then Yelorna came to her and said, "Dear Mother. We are sore oppressed by the darkness and chaos that surrounds us. Leave off your robes of mourning, take up weapons and help me fight them."

    But Dendara said, " I have not the strength to fight the darkness, and I am only one person. But I have borne my husband many sons who now carry on his fight. You have never understood that it is wrong for women to do these things. Put off your armor, go and take a husband, and instead of being only one person, bear many sons to fight." Yelorna could say nothing to this and left.

    Finally, Aurora, one of her handmaidens and sister to the Star Captains, came to her in excitement. "My queen! Look! Your lord returns!" Dendara looked to the east and saw the rising light of Yelm and felt his heat upon her face. She knew that he was returning. She left her throne of mourning, exchanged her widow's clothes for glorious raimant, and went out to great him.

    When he came to her, Yelm said, "Hail to you, my loving and faithful queen. Of all the joys of the world which I have missed, you beauty was the greatest loss of all. Your loyalty makes you more valuable than my throne itself. Let all women see your example and live by it." Then he took her by the hand and led her to their nuptual bed.

Andrew E. Larsen

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