The Legend of Borophus and Lialu
Borophus, the mighty hunter, strode through the caverns of the underdark hunting serpents. In his massive hand he held his spear, Harglan the Terrible. He swung his magnificent head from side to side, tusks gleaming, as he attempted to catch the scent of his prey. Suddenly, he came upon a beautiful woman tending a viper's nest. She spoke to Borophus, saying, "These vipers are mine and thou shall not harm them."
Her full breasts were bared, her fair skin glowed in the phosphorescent light of the caverns. She wore only a long, red silken skirt. Her lustrous dark hair, plaited in heavy braids, was entwined with sparkling gems. Her sensuous lips were curled with scorn, her dark eyes gleamed with angry light. Never had Borophus seen anyone so ravishingly beautiful.
Borophus spoke to the woman, but she rebuked him and spoke despairingly of him, calling him an ugly beast. He asked if he could but know her name, but even this boon she would not grant him. Saying, "My name is not to be spoken by one so hideous as thou. Take your grotesque visage from my sight or my husband, Gorak, shall forfend your right to enter the underdark."
"By what right has Gorak to deny my claim of dominion in this realm?" said Borophus, for he, too, sat on the council of the gods. "Gorak holds no sovereignty over me in these caverns." Gorak's wife then went to him and complained of Borophus, saying, "Who is this repulsive creature that claims to have dominion in the underdark. You have made the claim for paramountcy in this realm and no other has braved your wrath. Why do you allow this beast-man to enter your domain, attempt to philander with your wife and mock your power."
Gorak's anger with this was great and he came to Borophus and challenged him to combat. Borophus agreed to fight and said to Gorak, "That one who is proven supreme in this battle shall have the right of dominion in this realm and shall by that right have the power to banish the other from this place."
To this Gorak agreed, and he ridiculed Borophus, calling him weak and unskilled. Gorak was vain and sure of his victory. He spoke to Borophus, saying, "If I could not defeat so poor an opponent as you, I would flee in shame and never show my face again."
Borophus took up the challenge saying, "I will smite thee down and take your kingdom and your bride as my own."
Gorak, in his vanity, agreed to these terms. Now Gorak's wife, Lialu, heard this and was afraid. Lialu went to her serpents and took from them a deadly venom. This she placed in wine and brought the poisoned wine to Borophus, saying, "If thou are to be my husband, then I must learn to serve you. Here, drink this wine to fortify you for the coming battle."
Gorak overheard her words and fell into a jealous rage. He struck his wife, Lialu, and she fell senseless on the ground. Then he grasped the wine and drank of it, saying, "My wife shall serve no other but me."
With a roar of rage and hatred, Gorak fell upon Borophus, seeking to destroy him. Borophus struck but one blow with his fist and Gorak fell, unmoving, to the ground. The poison of Lialu stayed him and left him helpless. While Gorak lay unconscious, Borophus claimed Lialu as his own and returned to his labyrinth with her.
Gorak, made helpless by the vile poison crafted by Lialu, lay as though dead, deep within the caverns of the underdark. A demon appeared to Gorak and gave him back the power of speech. "Ah, poor god," laughed the demon, Ghalk. "You have been betrayed by that wicked woman and her beast-man. Would you like me to help you?"
"If you will help me to avenge my honor, I will give you gold and gems and many fine slaves," promised Gorak.
"I will give you back your strength," said Ghalk, "and you shall owe me a small favor. What that favor shall be, will be determined as events unfold. Do you agree to these terms?"
Gorak, wanting only revenge, agreed to honor this obligation to the demon. He cared not what price he would have to pay, if only he could be free to find and punish his betrayers. Ghalk used his magicks to rid the god of the poison and Gorak recovered his strength. He denounced Borophus as a coward and trickster who had plotted against him with Lialu. He believed that Lialu had deceived him with her cleverness and vowed revenge on the pair.
Borophus worshipped Lialu and built for her a temple within his labyrinth. He bestowed upon her all manner of costly gifts in order to gain her affections, but still Lialu refused his advances. He promised to protect her snakes for all time if she would only come to him willingly. He granted Lialu any request but for one. He would not reveal to her the secret of the labyrinth. Lialu could not escape.
Gorak sent his minions to search out the place where Borophus had hidden Lialu, but the labyrinth defeated them all. Gorak grew angrier and more obsessive in his search for his betrayers.
Now Atalia, goddess of the Moon, saw her way to revenge herself against her hated foe, Lialu. She sent her servants, the cavebats, into Borophus' labyrinth in search of Lialu. Not needing sight to travel the passageways, the bats were able to find the temple where Borophus kept his beloved.
Atalia went before Gorak saying, "I can reveal to you the hiding place of Lialu, where she is sequestered in luxury, mocking your efforts. But you must promise me her hair, made into a cloak, as my reward."
Gorak gladly agreed to Atalia's demand, knowing that having her beautiful locks shorn would be a humiliation to Lialu.
Atalia changed Gorak's form to that of a huge bat to enable him to find his way through the labyrinth to the lair of Borophus. He traveled to Lialu's temple, captured her, and brought her back to his realm. Even though she pleaded with her husband and assured him that she had not been at fault, he would not believe her. Lialu swore to Gorak that she had been faithful to him, but he called her a liar and deceiver. He ordered her beautiful hair cut off to make a cloak for Atalia.
At this, Lialu became enraged and vowed never to forgive her husband, Gorak, for this humiliation. Lialu was vain, and hid herself away, ashamed to be seen without her glorious hair.
She watched from her hiding place as the cave spiders wove her beautiful hair into a cloak for Atalia. Lialu put a curse upon her hair. Whenever Atalia dons the cloak, the light of the moon is covered also, during the time the cloak covers her shoulders. She dares not flaunt her revenge on Lialu but on rare occasions. Only during the High Councils of the gods, will she wrap herself in the cloak, for it causes the moon to darken and be obscured from sight.
Borophus was heart broken when he discovered that Gorak had abducted his beloved. He cared not for life and did not eat nor drink. The vipers of Lialu's temple took pity on him. They came to her and told her of the plight of Borophus. Knowing that returning to Borophus would be a fitting revenge against her husband, Lialu fled Gorak's abode and returned to the labyrinth. To punish Gorak, she took Borophus as her husband and bore him many children. Their children, the Orcs, were given dominion on Ereth beside the humans, elves, dwarves, and all the children of the gods.
Seeing this, Gorak, in his rage, cursed the children of Lialu and Borophus. He sent a plague of rats to devour the children of his enemies. But the council of gods intervened. They said that Gorak could not take his revenge upon the children and they raised his curse and sent the rats to feed on Gorak's grain stores.
Gorak swore his revenge against the council of gods. He defied the council and stole away Chala, the eldest daughter of Lialu and Borophus. Chala was the favorite of Lialu, her only joy.
Then Ghalk appeared before Gorak. "Now will you grant me the promised favor. I will have this one as my wife." Gorak gave Chala as wife to the demon, Ghalk. Poor Chala was sent to live in the land of demons, never to see her mother again. This saddened Lialu, for she loved Chala and desired her release from this marriage. Chala bore the demon many children. These children, the swinemen, were sent back to Ereth to prey on the children of the gods.
Lialu grieved deeply for her daughter and fell into a profound melancholy. She begged Borophus to find a way to bring her daughter back from the land of the demons. Borophus so loved his wife and daughter that he came to Gorak and offered to return Lialu to Gorak if he would release Chala from her marriage to Ghalk. To this Gorak agreed, for he still desired Lialu above all others.
Gorak stole into the demon's realm and kidnapped, Chala, the wife of Ghalk. Chala was returned to her father, Borophus. Lialu honored the agreement to return to Gorak and rules the underdark by his side. Chala cared for her father's house, never taking another husband. Borophus would have no other wife than Lialu and waits for the death of Gorak to reclaim her.