Gather 'round, children and gentlefolk, gather 'round me and let your ears open wide and your mouths fall shut. I bring you the story of Lysadis and his Drinking Horn. I bring you the story of the fight between Lugh the Dwarven Smith and Lysadis. I bring you a story to broaden your world...
You have all heard it said of those impossible things that 'it will be done when Lugh repairs Lysadis' Horn'. Let me tell you of the tale behind those words.
In the early times of our world when the people were new and the Gods were carefree with their blessings and curses alike, a Council of the Gods was called. It was to be long, lasting many days, for the Gods were trying to settle their boundaries and this was a matter of much argument. To keep themselves comfortable each God brought mead and bread to sustain themselves, finely worked goblets and drinking horns, and platters and utensils with which to eat. The Gods of the hunt provided a huge stag, roasted and trimmed. The Gods of the river laid salmon and coppertrout and river shrimp out, baked and broiled and perfect. The Gods of the fields and forests presented the Council with fresh fruits piled higher than a man could reach, and with all of Nature's bounty, some cooked, some fresh. The other Gods and Goddesses took their turns making mead and bringing fresh water and chilled wine to clear palates. It was a feast to delight the eyes and the stomach alike...
Indeed, child, I am a bit thirsty. Fetch me a dipperful of water, that my story may continue without delay. Ah, thank you, child. May the Gods and Goddesses bless you.
Now one of the Gods at the feast was Lugh, the Dwarven God of smithcraft and of the working of metal. He had been working deep within the mountains when the Council was called and had not had time to prepare or even to fetch for himself so much as a cheap pewter mug. Lysadis, seeing his fellow God's dilemma, offered the loan of his Drinking Horn for the evening. Though Lysadis had a reputation for jokes, Lugh accepted, for his thirst was great after the heat and labor of the forge. He promised to bring the Horn back intact and unstained by wine, for he had decided not to drink wine or mead, but to take only water and thus keep his head clear for the arguments to follow the feasting.
As the day wore on Lugh refilled the Drinking Horn over and over again, wondering at the refreshing taste of the water. He did not realize that he was slowly becoming intoxicated; after all, it does take enough mead to drown a horse if you want to get a God drunk! Indeed, so well-known is this trait that anyone who can hold his wine is said to 'drink like a god'. But Lysadis had placed a special working on his Horn and it was this: that anyone who drank from it, whether God or mortal, would find himself intoxicated. Water, wine, seaspray, or juice, it mattered not. Each sip from that Drinking Horn was like the strongest Mead, fit to knock a man flat on the floor!
As the night drew near, Lugh became so merry, dancing and shouting, calling for other Gods and Goddesses to join him in his joy. He offered the Horn to Ryah, the Goddess of Midwifery and of Motherhood, saying, "Join me, drink deep and let us celebrate, both here and later..." which most insulted her. She complained loudly... you have all heard the midwives of the towns complaining about their men, surely? Much like that was her lament, loud and long and as musical as the braying of a donkey and the yowling of a HoolieHound. Ryah wandered from table to table, telling any who would listen of the slight that Lugh had offered her and of his drunken state.
Word came to Gertle, the promise bride of Lugh. She was justly furious at his behavior and she stormed through the Council to find him. When the beautiful lady found her betrothed she raged at him, and Ryah who had followed her raged at him, and the two women argued amongst each other as well, each blaming the other for his behavior. Lugh was greatly displeased by the squawking of the women and in his anger he reproached them both. In his wrath he dropped the Drinking Horn that Lysadis had loaned him, trodding on it and denting it quite deeply.
Shunned and hurt, Gertle left the Council and retired to the mountain Dorosh to weep. Since that day Dorosh has been filled with pale blue crystals, like unto this...
Scribe's note: Here the storyteller displayed a cheap blue-tone stone fragment, much like those commonly used in Dwarven love potions according to the works of the Scholar Marius, who spent many years in the Dwarven strongholds. The blue stones are said to be more useful to turn away the eyes of an unworthy suitor than to draw the eyes of a lover, but are in fact used for both purposes. The Scholar Rechter writes, "Rarely are the Tears of Gertle used by skilled mages without disastrous results; the most stable of spells cast on them are those meant to turn away the eyes of watchers, particularly lovers or mates. They are prized by hedge-mages as charms for cheating husbands and wives."
...a Tear of Gertle, these are called. Gertle was so crushed by Lugh's harsh words that she never did marry him, you know. She remains somewhere within Dorosh mountain, they say, and sometimes miners in the mountain claim to have heard her sobbing. She still mourns her lost love and her lost future... perhaps someday she will find a husband and be once again a bride-to-be.
The rest of the Council retired for the night. In the morning when they returned to their meeting, Lugh looked about him and asked of the other gods where Gertle could be found. Ryah stood up and spoke loudly to all present, saying, "Gertle has left the God of the Forge, for he was in a drunken state and did insult her cruelly. Also did he insult me, me the Goddess of women everywhere."
To this Lugh replied, "Woman, I do not know what you speak of. I admit I was in fine fettle yesterday, but I swear to you I drank only water, and never did a drop of the fermentation of berries, or fruits, or honey or grain cross my lips."
Ryah pulled forward one of the Goddesses who had been bringing drinks. The young Deity, child of Ryah herself and guardian of unwanted children, spoke up boldly and said, "Indeed it is as Lugh says, for neither I nor any of the others gave him aught but water, and that poured straight into the Drinking Horn he was using."
Now all the Gods were most curious to find the cause of this trouble, which was delaying their Council. They requested that the Drinking Horn be brought to them. When this word went out, Lysadis came forward and held up his Horn. It was battered and dented, for Lugh is not a featherweight God by any account, and in his soused state he had trod upon it most thoroughly. He had an injured look about him and he gave a grand speech to the assembled Council.
"Behold the damage," Lysadis said to the Council, "behold the cruel beating Lugh has given to my Drinking Horn, which I loaned to him in good faith. I'll admit I was surprised that he would choose to use it, for I thought all here knew of its property. Any liquid poured into my Horn, either water or wine, juice or ale, is changed. Whoever drinks from my Horn becomes drunk, no matter their tolerance or what they choose to drink. I loaned my Horn in good faith, and I demand it be repaired." When he had finished speaking this, he sat down and poured himself a glass of wine in a wooden mug.
At this Lugh looked rather sheepish, for he had indeed heard of the miraculous Drinking Horn. He simply had not remembered when it was offered to him... but he could not admit his lapse. He rose and apologized to the Lady Ryah and to the assembled Council and left, stating only that for his people the Dwarven Kind he claimed the high mountains and the deepness of the earth. As he took his leave of the Council Lysadis handed over the Drinking Horn and asked that it be repaired. Lugh knew his obligation and took the horn, promising to return it in perfect condition.
The moment he returned to his forge he tossed aside the Horn and spent months searching for Gertle. Poor are those who loose love indeed... he searched the sky and the sea and the forests and the plains, but never did he think to search within his own mountains, and so never did he find Gertle. He set aside Lysadis' Drinking Horn and although he will keep his vow to repair it, he has not yet laid hammer to metal.
Thus, my children, we speak of the Drinking Horn and use it to mark time... for "When Lugh repairs Lysadis' Horn might not be until the end of the very earth, not for a thousand thousand years or more. Thus do the Gods measure time... but not I, who am but a man and a hungry one. Pass the plate, gentlefolk, and may your hands and hearts and pockets be generous to a poor teller of tales... if my words did please, then please the tongue that spoke them, that I might have bread and ale tonight.