Romulan pixmit card featuring the Dirge Sisters, Seb-Cheneb (L) and Seb-Natan.

NOTES ON THE MYTH OF GANMADAN (THE END OF THE WORLD)

Version recorded by Prof. Ramdha of K’mu University, Romulus.

This myth is believed to descend from ancient Vulcan, long before the Time of Awakening and the departure of those rebel Vulcans who eventually settled on Romulus. It forms part of the Ilqoant Telant, or Book of Uncoverings, a collection of myths that, while they no longer form the basis of religious belief, are widely read and known to all literate Romulans, and have been retold in countless plays, operas, poems, films, holos, etc.

To understand the myth of Seb-Cheneb and Ganmadan we first have to know something of the creation of the world, which happened this way:

In the beginning, there was Zul (primordial magma), bubbling up out of the abyss. And from the steady pulse of the magma flow, like blood from a wound, there arose Time. And time passed, and Zul was divided from itself and became two, and one was Yon (fire) and the other was Shek- tukh (iron). And Yon looked on Shek-tukh and burned with love for her, and Shek-tukh longed to become molten in Yon’s desire. And from their coupling were born the Brothers of Iron and Fire, Lerash’es and Falek. They were mighty giants, and great warriors, but although they were brothers they looked upon each other with rage and hatred, and began to fight. They fought for ten times ten thousand years. And from the sparks of their clashing blades were born the lesser gods, and from their sweat arose the sea, and the earth from the blood of their wounds.

So fierce and so grievous was their combat that the gods despaired, and found themselves on the brink of madness. So they swore an oath never to harm each other, and pledged to bring peace to the world. Sa-Mekh, the eldest of the lesser gods, went to Zhuksu the Smith, and begged him for a solution. So Zhuksu cut a bone from Sa-Mekh’s rib cage, and plunged it into Zul, and when he pulled the rib from the primordial magma he had made the first link. And then he cut a rib from his own side and made the second link. And from these two links he forged a pair of chains, tempering them with powerful spells. And then when he was through with his labor the gods took hold of the chains, and bound the Brothers. And Lerash’es they buried under the mountain of the west, and Falek under the mountain of the east. And after that there was peace, until the coming of the first people, and silence reigned unbroken except for the raging and bellowing of those two volcanoes at the east and west of the world.

And when the gods have broken all their oaths, and the last of their pledges has been forgotten, then the time of the gods will come to an end. Yon will look upon Shek-tukh with sadness, and regret creation, and Shek-tukh will shed three molten iron tears. The three teardrops will fall into the Voroth Sea, sending up three whistling plumes of vapor. And from the vapor plumes will arise two of a new race of gods, Seb-Natan and Seb-Cheneb, the beautiful Dirge Sisters, first and last of their kind; and Seb-Cheneb will be the Bringer of Ganmadan. And since they will have arisen from the whistling and hissing of vapor, they will sing and play music, the music of the end of the world. Seb-Natan will play the drum, and Seb-Cheneb the horn of the hellbeast Ganmadan.

And the old gods will look upon the new with horror and fear, and cover their ears, and seek to destroy them. They will cause the death of Seb-Natan, but beautiful Seb-Cheneb will survive. She will raise her Hell-horn to her lips and blow a single piercing note of grief. And this will bring Ganmadan, the Day of Grief, the last of days. At the sounding of her horn all the gods’ hearts will break with sorrow, and people will cast themselves down on the ground in fear, and under the volcanoes at the east and west of the world, the Brothers will awaken once more. The note of Seb-Cheneb’s horn will snap their chains, and they will rise up and destroy the world: the gods, and the people, and the seas and mountains. And when they have destroyed the world they will turn upon each other, and resume their ancient combat until both lie dead on the Plains of Blood. And then Yon and Shek-Tukh will return themselves to Zul, and the primordial magma will flow smooth and bubbling over everything there is.

Berkeley, California