The Cuada stared impassively into the face of the hapless victim who lay spread-eagled on the vast stone alter of the goddess Tiocha. Looming up like a malevolent reef, the hideous and deformed visage of the stone idol gazed across the vast expanse of the massive coral hall. The gaping shark like maw of the goddess seemed to await her next sacrifice with an almost palpable hunger.

Muttering almost apologetically, the Cuada begun to chant. 'Glory before the gods, peerless son of the Matriarch. May you be one with you divine mother once again. The gods will never forget your selfless offering of your own blood'.

Mother of The Brave People

The Old One is the living core of Tarrod. Springing from the womb of Vaet when the being known as the Creator Serpent impregnated her, the Old One immediately begun ejecting a foam from her pelvis, out of which sprang all creation, and the various lakes and lagoons that cover most of Tarrod’s surface as well as the very Gods themselves. But this task so tired and weakened here, that she immediately fell into a deep slumber from which she never awoke. It was not death, but merely a state of stasis in which she will always lie. The foam continues to pour from her still, nourishing the waters of Tarrod and the beings that depend on them for their life. But this takes a terrible toll on the health of the Old One. As eons pass,the life giving foam seeping out of her continues to drain her of her health. Ultimately there comes a point of time when the Gods themselves must die to feed and replenish her strength. The blood they spill when they slay themselves to keep the life-giving foam flowing, restores her to full energy. Though the Gods sacrifice themselves, their death is but temporary. Out of the blood that remains, they emerge whole and new once again.

Religious and Spiritual Associations

The Old One is the living force that animates Tarod via the medium of the foam that she secretes. As such she is present in everything, from a tiny minnow to the vast lakes that dominate the expanse of Tarrod. The Eshal belief that in order for them to prevail against their enemies and ensure that the waters of Tarrod are never depleted by Voooosahalkosh, the accursed demon of dryness, it is necessary to ensure that the the Gods of Water are sated with the blood and flesh of sacrificial victims since it is they who die in their turn to support the Old One. In ensuring that the spiritual chain of energy consumption which links the victims of sacrifice with the Old One herself,endures, the energy that the Old One utilises to ensure the sustenance of Tarrod can be returned to her, thereby preventing her from diffusing her vital strength too widely with catasthrophic results for the sumberged continent.

Time as the Brave People reckon it, is a monotonous expanse of space dominated by the ceaseless struggle between the demon of dryness and the Gods Of Water. The former seek to leach the Old One dry of all vitality and reduce her to a dessciated, withered corpse, thereby dooming the submerged continent to devastation. The gods for their part, seek to thwart this outcome by nourishing the Old One with their lives should the Mother of All totter on the brink of death.

Thus, to server any link in this cycle of sacrifice that feeds the gods is tantamount to dooming Tarrod to destruction. In history of the universe ever since its inception by gods so old that their names are now lost, thrice has the terrible curse of cataclysmic drynesss engulfed Tarrod, slaying all life. Each time, the Gods of Water have driven off the demon of dryness and subsequently shed their blood anew to revive the Old One and the mortal races alike. Thus, as humans account for time, not a month passes whereby the Brave People do not seek out their foes to prevent the catastrophe from befalling Tarrod for the fourth time. To this end, much blood is shed on the alters of the Gods of Water in order to strengthen them. Hence, every moment of the existence of an Eshal is devoted to this lifelong quest of aiding the gods in their perpetual conflict with the forces of death and drought. Any sacrifice, from a small fish to the ritual slaughter of a captured Anura chief is vital to ensuring the continued survival of Tarrod.

However, the Old One's essence is not distributed evenly among the denizens of Tarrod. While the blood of alien races like the Anura and Curd can somewhat nourish the gods and hence help to keep the forces of extinction at bay, it is the princes among the Brave People themselves who contain the greatest reserve of the Old One's essence. Due to their ties of blood to the Matriarch who is the very daughter of the Old One, they carry within their living forms a tremendous amount of power that can play an instrumental role in ensuring the victory of the gods. Thus, there have been times when the gods, speaking through their First Born, have demanded the blood of some of the scions of the Matriarch,a demand that is never refused. The Brave People never oppose the dictates of the First Born who are the physical extension of the very minds of the gods themselves. Even the Cuada themselves do not hesitate to offer their own young to the ravenous hunger of the gods if it is demanded of them.

The Truth

The Cuada are not messengers of the gods. They are a race of parasites who seek to blind and hence bind the Brave People to their will through their deceitful lies. Their demands for the deaths of certain Emperors is actually a means of ensuring that Eshal rulers who attempt to oppose them are quickly disposed off. Many an emperor who has been suspected of being a follower of the Wave Rider hearsay has met a premature end in this manner. Moreover, the ceremonies surrounding the Old One are also a convenient way of ensuring that they can be rid of the defective among their own offspring who due to some innate flaw, cannot successfully undergo the rite of saining.

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