The Last King of Lemuria

by R.T. Allenson


There is a tale my grandmother would always tell me on dark, gloomy nights like this.

Something to lighten my spirits up. That’s what she would say.

She is long dead now, buried beneath the ground. Her soul, I do not know where it has gone.

For you see, my grandmother believed in many things.

Spirits, demons, and all manner of ancient things.

And gods, of course. Many gods. But not the gods the you and I know.

Older things that the gods themselves merely thought of as myth.

Now do not blame me if I recount the tale differently. Stories have a habit of changing through the ages, but I know the important details. Forgive me if I do not remember the ones that may matter to you.

Now it goes something like this.

There once was a poor farmer who would struggle every day just to scrape enough food for his family from the barren soil where his father, and his father’s father, have always lived.

His wife was long dead and his two daughters were sickly. Every day and every night, he would toil aimlessly on his field. His sweat and tears would water the ground, and for a time, he believed something edible would grow.

But nothing he thought would help him sprout food, only weeds and a curious flower whose body coiled like a winding snake.

He cursed himself, cursing the gods who gave him such a horrible fate. He then cursed the flower, calling it useless and spiteful. He tore it from the ground, and sent its petals to the fire.

The following night, a great wind swept over the land. It knocked trees, laid low the great stones, and brought water from the depths.

The farmer saw a man standing amidst the roaring waters that were slowly swallowing his fields. He raised its hand, and with a voice like thunder, spoke:

“Through toil and suffering, you brought forth life.

A gift from the gods; a magic flower – a thing that would have given you everything endlessly.

But we see now that you harbor pride in your breast, now afloat on your head.

Such arrogance is unfitting of one such as you.

So now, I send your world to the depths.”

The farmer fell on the man’s feet, begging him to stay his anger. For a time, he believed the world would truly drown.

Moved by his plight and sorrow, the man bid the waters to return to the depths.

“Your actions were an affront, but I am not without mercy.”, the man spoke “But I will not leave without revenge for a gift bespoiled.”

The man pointed towards his house where his two daughters were cowering in fear. 

“One of them shall leave with me, for it was from my own flesh that I crafted that flower. It is only fitting that you give one of yours.”

The farmer refused, for he loved his daughters more than himself and the memory of their mother shone in their eyes. The farmer pleaded, asking him to spare his children and take him instead.

The man bid him to rise to his feet.

“My pity for you is not lessened. I will spare them and grant you a wish if you can guess my name. I will come back in three years, each asking the same question. If by the end of the third year you still fail to know my name, then I will have you all.”

The man left the farmer, vanishing like the wind. He then took everything he had with him, including his daughters and went on a pilgrimage in search of the man’s name.

He first went to the northern lands of Agkhur-Arun, the land of cold and winter where many great temples stand.

The people of Agkhur-Arun were very generous, and the farmer learned many things there. They gave him seeds that would grow even on barren soil, and an ewer that would never empty. These are but a few of the marvels of Agkhur-Arun.

He also learned the name of their god, who like the man, seemed to come and go like the wind.

At the end of that year, the man visited him. He was surprised at how comfortable the farmer’s life had become. True to his word, he asked the same question.

“What is my name?”

The farmer, brimming with confidence and renewed youth, answered:

You are the lord of darkness, whom the people of Agkhur-Arun know as Dagrogad. You who take the form of a man clad in night’s garb. You who are both cruel and forgiving, just as darkness is to feeble men. This is my answer, my lord.”

The man looked at the farmer and laughed. 

“The lord of darkness I am not.” the man spoke, “For though I appear to you as man, you know that my countenance is far more terrible.”

The farmer was fearful, and he bid Agkhur-Arun farewell for his pilgrimage was not over. His daughter, who had come to love the city, stayed, but that is another story for another time.

Carrying with him gifts from the people of Agkhur-Arun, the farmer and his other daughter went westward to Nammarsanan, a city in the great desert of Sarmassanath. 

He lived there for a time and was much celebrated, for the people of Nammarsanan marveled at the seed that grows in barren soil and an ewer that never empties. For the gifts he brought to their city, the people of Nammarsanan gave the farmer robes covered with jewels and crown made of gold.

He also learned of their god, who like the man, was of terrible countenance.

At the end of that year, the man visited him. He was surprised at how celebrated the farmer’s life had become. True to his word, he asked the same question.

“What is my name?”

The farmer, brimming with confidence and renewed youth, answered:

“You are Emitar,” the farmer said, “The lord of death whose countenance is terrible to behold. You who are lord of the places in-between.”

The man looked at the farmer and laughed. 

“The lord of death I am not.” the man spoke, “For though my countenance is terrible to behold, it is not the look of death that burns in your eyes.”

The farmer was fearful, and he bid Nammarsanan farewell for his pilgrimage was not over. His daughter, who had come to love the city, stayed, but that is another story for another time.

Carrying with him gifts from the people of Agkhur-Arun, and riding on the beast given by the people of Nammarsanan, the farmer went eastward. But there was no city there, nothing but the great waters.

The farmer despaired and sought to take his life. He dove into the waters and remained there until a fish saved him and asked him his plight.

The farmer told his story and the fish, being wise, told him the name of the god who used to rule the eastern marches. He spent his remaining year meditating beneath the waves, learning of the secret history of the world.

At the end of that year, the man visited him. He was surprised at how enlightened the farmer had become. True to his word, he asked the same question.

“What is my name?”

The farmer, brimming with confidence and renewed youth, answered:

 “You are Xaramasa. Serpent lord and god of light. The last king of Lemuria.”

The man was pleased and revealed himself to the farmer. He was indeed Lord Xaramasa.

“What wish would you ask of me then, farmer?”, asked the serpent lord. “What would you ask of me now that your daughters are free and happy to do as they wish. Now that this journey I have set you upon has given you all that you would need, all the wealth that you would ever ask.”

The farmer pondered for a while. He thought to himself that, indeed, he had everything he had ever wanted, but he still wanted something more.

He took a long look at his golden crown, and finally realized what he wanted.

“I wish to be a mighty king of a mighty land.”, the farmer answered.

“There is no king mightier than I.”, said Lord Xaramasa. His voice was harsh, and louder than thunder.

“That is my wish, my lord. You are bound to your word. You must keep your promise.”

In an instant, the serpent lord grew higher than the highest mountain until the sun itself was set upon his head like a crown. He looked down on the farmer, his face awash with rage.

“I have never seen such pride in all the worlds. Very well, little man. I shall make you a mighty king of a mighty land.”

Lord Xaramasa let out a terrible roar and in an instant, the farmer found himself on Lemuria, the mightiest land to have ever existed, with himself as its king.

But the farmer’s celebration was short-lived. For in the world, there is no mightier king than Xaramasa, who is the last king of Lemuria. Too late did the poor soul realize that he had wished for the serpent god’s place on the throne, in that land doomed to fall beneath the roaring waves of the sea.

Now you may be wondering where the serpent is now. It is simple; he is once more abroad in the world even as the gods who once thought of him as myth are no more.

Some say he still wanders the wide world, tricking people and discarding them as a snake sheds its skin.

As for the farmer, he now lies deep beneath the sea, surrounded by riches and wonders no living man remembers.

My grandmother believes this story to be true, for she was there when her father returned to Agkhur-Arun with a crown of fire and a serpent for a head.

But who is to say that the dead do not tell tall tales, even if they are of poor men and great serpents?

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