Surtur Myths

Excerpt from the Urdinikon Regarding Surtur

The Urdinikon is the story of Urdin, the first dwarf, and his sons, and what they learned from the gods. This is a small part of the great tale translated into common from it’s metric form in Dwarven. The section refers to Surtur, and his relationship to the Dwarven pantheon, and what this teaches dwarves.

Once there was a great dwarf king Ketsaw who made great sacrifices through Surtur by the heat of lava. But the heat was too great, and the priests were weak and refused to help after a time. So Ketsaw replaced them. Eventually he concocted a ritual so extreme that it would take a seven times seven years to perform, and no priest would aid him. Leaving in anger, the king went off to be a hermit in the mountains for a while, speaking to Moradin. After a time Moradin, impressed with the king, asked if he could grant a boon upon Ketsaw, and Ketsaw asked for Moradin himself to aid him in his sacrifice. Moradin said that this was not normally the place of a god (and odd to help in making a sacrifice that would come eventually to himself), but that he would do it if Ketsaw himself made sacrifices to Moradin every moment for seven times seven time seven days. Ketsaw did so, and Moradin directed him to a avatar deep in the mountains who would aid him. This being was Morazakin, he of the earthen heart, both priest and warrior.

The sacrifice was made, and Surtur drank pure gold for a gross of years. For once, Surtur was sated; so much so that his fire nearly went out. He was now Argutin, the bloated golden bellied one. He needed life to make enough heat to melt the gold down and pass it on to Moradin, so as to ennoble all of the gods of the dwarves who would behold the sacrifice. Asking Moradin what would help, Moradin reminded him of the time he had eaten the great mountain Koranaokos at the Gods’ request, and that if and when Surtur should eat it again (it having re-grown in the interim), he would regain all his fire.

So Surtur tried to eat the great mountain, but was thwarted by his brother, Thryrm, who is the cold wind of the north and heights, even as his brother Surtur is the hot wind of the south and depths, he who will freeze the world after Surtur ends it by burning it all. The mountain of Khoranaokos is far in the cold north, in Surtur’s brother’s domain. When Surtur would try to melt it to eat, his brother, who wanted to protect some of the spirits living on that high mountain, would blow the cold wind of the north, and bring snow, and thus prevent Surtur. And the spirits there would help him, too, using powers of cold to prevent their home from being destroyed.

Surtur returned to Moradin, and told what had happened. Moradin, in his wisdom, noted to Surtur that two great dwarven heroes were near, who could help. One was, again, his own avatar, Morazakin, who was wandering the world with Markad, first son of Urdin. Morazakin’s mission was to teach Markad in the ways of proper dwarfdom.

Surtur, knowing the heroes would need aid, created for them impervious shields, and spears that could be thrown un-erringly, and would strike with the power of an army of spears. Amd he made for the heroes a stone boat that would carry them forth on a river of magma that would be the last of Surtur’s hot blood, so they could proceed on it into the heights where the spirits were.

Seven streams of lava poured forth, then, and the heroes rode to the top of Khoranaokos. The spirits tried to put out the fires on the mountain, but were slain by the heroes first on the left, then on the right. Then the lava boat took the dwarves down to the base of the mountain to a valley that was the only escape from the mountain. There they prevented any of Thrym’s spirits from escaping, cutting them all down as they came.

Surtur’s brother began the snow again, but the heat was too great, and it did not reach the mountain. He tried harder, and a great flood fell from the sky., and wind blew most furiously from the north. But the heroes struck the snow with their spears, and knocked it from the sky. Thrym, angered that a mortal dwarf would stand in his way, blew hard on Markad, who was then frozen, long enough for one spirit to escape. Thrym’s pet his pet, Tyl-remoraz, the giant frostwyrm of one thousand legs, escaped to safety Thrym’s fortress in the far north.

Then Thrym called to himself his brothers, and all assailed the heroes. But the weapons of Surtur were too potent, and they were driven back by these, and Surtur’s terrible heat. They were forced to retreat from Khoranaokos. And Surtur burned the mountain.

Two dwarven sisters lived on the mountain, both of them having taken husbands from amongst the spirits of the mountain. One, Korga, had married a spirit of snow, and the other Morga, had married a spirit of frozen stone. Surtur would have burned all that remained, but Morga came first to Surtur and begged him to spare her two daughters of snow. She praised Surtur, and offered him great sacrifice of diamonds made of the snow of the top of the mountain by her daughters. Surtur cares not for words or sacrifice, and pressed on slaying Morga’s daughters.

Surtur came then upon Korga and her two sons of frozen stone then. She stood saying nothing, knowing that Surtur does not listen, prepared to die in fire should that be Surtur’s will. However, Surtur could see that these children were blackened, even as he was blackened, by having been exposed to fire many times to harden them. Their mother had prepared them well for the world, purifying them with fire, and so when Surtur began to burn all again, Korga’s sons were spared. Surtur could have burned them, as he can burn anything, but these had followed his dictates and so were immune to his wrath. They were, however, no longer frozen now, having lost the chill of Thrym, and they left the remains of the mountains to travel with the son of Urdin.

Morazakin then told the son of Urdin three truths of the world. The first is this: “Surtur must eat the mountain, because that is his nature, and to change the destiny of the mountain would be to change Surtur and his role. Moradin would, if he could, have it so that Surtur’s destruction would not be. But Moradin must not change Surtur, nor must wild Thrym, who would throw order to the four corners of the world, be allowed to stop him from burning, lest the order of the universe be upset, and the end of the world never come (and, thus, it’s renewal never come as well). And, too, must Surtur be allowed to burn the evil mount, so that the evil spirits upon it do not grow too powerful with time. As we must accept the destruction of Surtur for the greater good, so too must each dwarf accept the order of the universe, and their hold within it the universe, and their place within their hold.

And Morazakin said further: Surtur is the pain that is endured, so that the coldth does not kill the sons of Dwarves. Just as Thrym is the cold that is endured so that the warmth does not kill the sons of Dwarves. Dwarves must accept these pains, as the nature of the world, and thus better understand Moradin’s will. Only then may a dwarf appreciate the joys and pleasures of the world.

Morazakin spoke to the son of Urdin yet a third time, saying: proper worship of the gods is not to flatter them. It does no good; they know they are great. Proper worship is to act appropriately. If that means the god demands a certain sacrifice, then that must be sacrificed. If they demand an act, then that act must occur. Promises of future acts or oaths of one’s devotion are like falling snow over a fire, they will land on the ground if and when they will land on the ground, and cannot be counted until this is so. Swear oaths, as it is honorable to do so, but know that the gods will not hear them until they are come true. And woe be to the dwarf who swears an oath in my name, and then forgets his word. For Moradin gives these betrayers unto Surtur.

The son of Urdin learning these lessons well, and having proven his worth in battle, asked to keep Surtur’s spear and shield, given to him for battle, and Moradin himself came up from the depths of the earth to proclaim the edict that would allow him to keep such objects of power.

Questions for Shreyas: Given that the dwarves understand the Fire Giants (at least from legend, though word is getting around that giants are on the move in the west) to be cruel, enslaving, torturing and even eating dwarves:
  1. Do the dwarves call him Surtur?
  2. Do the giants call him Surtur?
  3. Is he, in fact, the same being? Are they facets of the same being, or actually entirely the same?
  4. How do they reconcile worshiping the primary diety of the henotheistic worship of a group of evildoers? Why does Surtur, if he is not evil, allow such beings to worship him?
  5. Is he an evil that requires propitiation?

Surtur Myths

Beer Run Mike_Holmes