Sunna Myth Part One

The Sun Maiden came, in our time of greatest need. Let her mighty deeds be written here, that she might not pass out of memory, but be remembered evermore.
— The Book of the Askar, Chapter One, taken from the Sunna Cycle

It was in the cold years, when the sun was pale and the summers were short, that the goddess came to us. In that time of darkness, the beasts of the wood, barbarians of the wastes and brutes of the mountains descended upon us, and we were swept before them as reeds before the flood. First to rise from the mass of foes was Bragh, the Black Bull, slayer of a hundred chieftains, shattering armour and bodies with his great mace.

The people of the Askar lay in the path of his westward rampage. Their King, Warin, saw all hope was lost. Still he marshalled ninety brave warriors to hold a ford over the river Gewache, and buy his people time to escape the approaching doom. The eve of the battle found him in a riverside shrine, deep in prayer. To Ullor, Father of Winter, he prayed for blizzards. To Volund, the Smith, he prayed for strength of arm and steel of spine. Finally, to Sunna, he prayed that his people would see another dawn. The alarm was raised as he finished railing at the silence of the gods; the beasts came as the daylight failed.

Each defender gave their life dearly. No man fell with his blade unblooded; a score of foes fell beneath their feet. Yet it was not enough, for Bragh then took the field. The Askar died to his mace, until only King Warin stood between the Black Bull and the western shore. Great horns gored valiant Warin’s horse, and a single blow shattered the King’s shield and arm both. The Bull stood ready to deliver the deathstroke, when a lone soldier leapt forward.

Helm dislodged, golden hair flowed to the warrior’s waist, Warin was stunned to see a woman plant her boots in the bloody water between King and Beast. Dwarfed by the Bull, even a brave Askar maiden could not hope to hold back that enemy. But at this moment, the dawn broke, with a fire not seen in a decade. A blinding blaze of light from the eastern horizon ignited her polished breastplate and sword. The brilliance staggered Bragh as the woman struck. The first blow cut through Bragh’s heel, bringing him crashing to one knee. The second sunk deep into his chest, drawing a roar of pain that shook the earth. The third and final blow drove straight between the monster’s open jaws, and into his skull.

As the Black Bull fell, the beasts fled. Though only one in nine survived, the King’s men rushed to Warin’s side, pulling him from the river to face his rescuer. All clamoured to know the name of their saviour, yet the King stilled them by falling to one knee. He knew that face, lit by the dawn’s glory, and knew his prayers had been answered. He offered her his sword, even as he spoke: "It is Sunna. She has come."