A reprint of Milk Man's classic text, winner of the 2016 Cu Classique Article Contest.
Cath Bruig Imperial Geographica
October, 18 AF
SEXUALITY AND ANAMNESIS AMONG THE MYTHERS
An eminent warlock and psycho-sociologist conducts field studies among the dwarves of the Great Devoid border region
The road to the wild and remote Great Devoid border region was long, arduous, uneventful, and decidedly boring. Three Vulture Drum, the Heron Guard assigned to protect me was bad company. Stone faced and sulky, he spent the entire journey drinking that vile rye whiskey of the Norsemen. He was not happy about having been sent back, yet again, to this intellectual and economic backwater. Indeed it was only when my motley caravan of maul sherpas bearing my assortment calipers, sketch pads, phallus-libidometers, and ethnological materials crested the last, suffucatingly forested ridge that my heart began to race and my intellectual spirits lift. In the valley below, I could see that famously dark and bottomless hole in our world’s surface, The Great Devoid, and the primitive huts of the eastern dwarves, the smoke of their wood stoves and burning dung heaps streaming into the coal-grey sky.
The wild and remote Great Devoid border region plays a great role in our Empire’s remembrances of the great war—the story of the destruction of the Balor’s head and the last gasp of Soulblighter’s army needs no retelling. And yet despite its importance in our empire’s identity and lore, little is known of the inhabitants of this remote land; a land of wild ghols, and even wilder dwarves. Quite unlike the forward-looking dwarves races to the south, the social lives of the dwarves of this forgotten corner of our vast and beautiful empire seems to center around the ritual reenactment of the great wars against Balor and Soulblighter well over a decade ago. This reenactment takes place through another of clay figures or “units,” each depicting one of the many races that fought. The game they play, everyday without cease, is called, in their crass and brutish tongue, “Myth.” Indeed, these simple rustic dwarves attachment to this game is such that they have dubbed themselves “Mythers.”
The entire social structure of the dwarves of the great devoid seems to center upon this game. Not in the passing way that certain fashionable customs come to dominate the lives of our youths for a time before quickly passing away, but in an enduring, quasi-neurotic fashion. They play this game from morning to night, and even when, like all dwarves, they are in the midst of their most drunken midnight carousings, they continue to move their “units” across their old, weathered maps of the Great War’s battlefields. Not only do they wake everyday only to resume reenacting the same battles with the same units on the same maps ad infinitum, they seem to renew the same emotions, emnities, and passions. Hardly a day or drunken night go by without some myther being called a “she-dog” or “ghol-arsed coward.” Indeed the mythers seem to have a capacity for fractiousness and discord that far exceeds that of other peoples. Perhaps most amusingly, the trow “unit” is especially popular among the mythers, and there is something both laughable and grotesque about how they caress the musculature of their little trow figurines; the bodies of giants submitting to the ministrations of their dirty and stunted little hands.
There are, perhaps, a few outliers who do not engage in games of myth: mythers who have gown tired with the game and choose to withdraw, though always with a watchful eye on their compatriots, whose interpersonal dramas and misfortunes they tend to relish as great theater. Of these, the most famous is perhaps Cu Roi—anyone who knew the real Cu Roi, the sorcerer and avatara who famously died collapsing the Tain, whoever has basked in the presence of the man’s stately and imposing frame, would no doubt chuckle slightly at this diminutive, dirty subhuman taking on the name, and it is perhaps with this irony in mind that his compatriots have shortened his name to simply Cu. In any case, outliers like Cu are much reviled by the community at large. Many (probably apocryphal) tales are told regarding Cu, holed up in his mountain solitudes, fuming with hatred for various mythers in the valley below. They say he never tires of shouting abuse and lurid threats at any mythers who approach him, that he spends his days trying to send dwarven mail bombs through the Imperial courier system, and that he married a ghol and ceasely probes her grotesque cloaka. In any case, Cu actual existence cannot be empirically confirmed, and he may exist only as a trickster figure or moral counter-example within their simple but all-encompassing world view.
I had come to the Great Devoid border region in order to study east-dwarven sexuality, having set out to verify ethnological accounts of an obsessive lust for human women among the mythers. This in spite of the fact that there are no women among them (indeed, as most of Imperial Geographica readers surely know, the mode of dwarves sexual reproduction remains a mystery). I had wanted to see the famed caverns where the mythers retreat for hours at a time in order to engage in auto-erotic acts in front of vast, pornographic freezes of human women in various states of abjection and copulation. And yet, in my search for informants, I could hardly get these surly and neurotic creatures to tell me of anything except the game which so enthralls them.
So, it was with relief, though certainly not with pleasure, that I finally obtained my first informant in the person of an elderly dwarf; a decrepit and emotionally infantile individual, shellshocked by his precipitous fall from grace as his myth prowess declined with age. It was with this doddering old myther that I first entered into the famed masturbatory caves. Flatline, as the old dwarf was called, was a fount of information on myther sexuality. Unlike in the Cath Bruig empire proper, where the regime of free love instituted by emperor Alric to help repopulate the land and spiral-up the national libido has long since erased the preoccupation with “heterosexuality,” the ritual maintenance of the avoidance of a sort of homosexual contagion seemed to preoccupy Flat (as his companions not-so-affectionately called him) down to the very core.
“You can’t help but look at the penises,” he informed his hand gesturing towards the flickering, candle-lit images. Yet, with little prompting, he launched into a series of increasingly insistent denials of having ever looked at “real cocks,” either willingly or by accident. Do these phallic icons of auto-eroticism serve, for the primitive mythers, as both a source of paradoxically heterosexual pleasure, and even perhaps as a talisman against the threatening “real cocks” of the outside world? In talking to flat, it often seemed as if the harsh and threatening world, which had robbed him both of his skills and his social standing, had been sublimated into the image of a great, threatening penis.
Yet it was only when Flat, in an uncharacteristic moment of self-awareness, began to notice that I did not share his concerns with the homosexual contagion that made him tremble so that I began to understand that the compulsive nature of myth play carries over into other facets of myther life. He began to ask me incessantly, with a mix of both puritanical horror and perverted fascination, whether I had ever touched a man’s penis. I tried to deflect the question, but falling back into his near-animalistic senility, he persisted, repeating the question ad nauseum. It was only with difficulty that I was able to politely extricate myself from the situation.
My thoughts concerning the compulsive nature of myther “heterosexuality” was only compounded when I met a second informant, young Zaknafein or, as he is more widely called, Zak. Though both Zak and Flat were rather socially marginal figures, Flat’s discontentment centered upon the loss of his faculties, whereas Zak’s stemmed from a perhaps overactive and too-creative mind, one which could not be kept within the confines of the myth game’s traditional strictures. Rather predictably, he was quite reviled by the community, who told many (again, probably apocryphal) tales about his various misdeeds. And yet, when we visited the cave of myther auto-eroticism, the young dwarf’s reactions, though different in content, they were nearly identical in their ultimate outcome and emotional tenor. In contrast to Flat’s logic of penis-avoidance, Zak seemed to embrace great multiplicity of penises: he fawned over the convoluted images of women being penetrated by great numbers of penises from every direction. Had Zak found himself outside of the traditional preoccupation with unsullied heterosexuality? As we talked, I came understand that this was not at all the case. Rather, I discovered another east-dwarven mental model, which I will call the “women-as-condom” model. According to this primitive but elegant logic, any number of penises can come into contact so long as they “wear” a human woman’s orifice around them. Just as the erect penis-image keeps the homosexual contagion at bay for flat, all the while serving as a source of sexual and otherwise libidinal attraction, for Zak the human women’s genitalia worn as a thin layer between penises, not only serves as a talisman against homosexuality but perhaps even enhances the heterosexuality of the participants, all the while yielding a flood of pleasurable sensations.
Where the two psyche’s really dovetailed, however, was in the neuroticism of their response to my expressions of doubt regarding their model of sexuality. Indeed if I could not entirely keep these doubts from the dense Flat, I certainly could not entirely hide them from bright, perceptive Zak. And yet their obsessiveness was equal in both intensity and scope, though whereas flat became obsessed with my having possible touched a human penis, Zak become fixated on coming back to Muirthemne me to “double penetrate” human women.Once again, it was only with great effort that I politely extricated myself from a pushy little dwarf’s ramblings. Perhaps there was some symbolic underpinning to this cyclic thought process that dominates both the sexuality and the games of myther society, that is, a deep neuroticism that characterises both their attachment to the game of myth and their attachment to bizarre feedback loops in their “heterosexuality.”
The mythers, it seems, are stuck in an unending time loop; a deep set anamnesis whereby they cannot escape the social structures and historical happenings of an era 18 gone by. And yet, isn't that the way of our own everyday lives, lived as an unbroken cycle of relived memories and automatic actions? I looked through the smokey air of the dwarven myth-huts, over the dung heaps at the villages periphery, and out through the dark pines and solemn spruce trees. There lay the Great Devoid—black, abysmal, and brooding. I had already grown accustomed to the dreadful thing. Perhaps there is something deeper to be learned here. Just as the mindless and compulsive nostalgia and conservatism of these primitive dwarves allows them to normalise and elide the Great Devoid in their midst, even unto the point of invisibility, perhaps our own everyday lives serve to acclimate us to some great emptiness shadowing and haunting our short existences.
Grim musings. The solitude of life among these simple-minded creatures has worn me down, but I know that the work of a scientifically rigorous ethnographic mind is unending. The research is ongoing.
"...turning the godhead of the ghols into a monument to Balin's victory. Nothing else has done more to sustain the mutual hatred since the ghols raided the crypt at Myrgard for 'victuals'."
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