The Vague And Mysterious Origin of Zednenem


Ah, what can one say about Zednenem? What mystic force makes him so... mysterious? What draws perfectly normal people 2000 miles away from their homes carrying lemons on their backs? As any Gortoraman will tell you, he certainly isn't the most important of the Servants of Gorto. He only appears twice in Lord Hrauvas's collection Tales of the Gorto, although there are plenty of hints that between his first and second appearances much happened (one such hint: in his second appearance he is fifty years older). In any case, Zednenem inspires debate like no other Servant, more even than Maakrti. Sample debate:

FIRST PERSON: This Zednenem character certainly is mysterious.

SECOND PERSON: No he isn't, you twit! He's among the least important of the Servants of Gorto.

FIRST PERSON: Who are you callin' a twit, numbskull!? You wanna fight!?

SECOND PERSON: Them's fightin' words!

So, what can be said about this mysterious figure? Just why am I constantly calling him mysterious? Don't I have a thesaurus? You might think so, and you might be right. But I'm rambling. Again.

What follows is a selection from Hrauvas's masterpiece Tales of the Gorto.

Tales of the Gorto

Chapter XIII: Zednenem and Engortho

No tale here is less like the previous story, "Coralto and Vanya." While that had romance and danger and suspense, this has a bunch of guys talking in a store. I'm only presenting it because I didn't want to give our next story, "Alagorda's Ragtime Band," unlucky thirteen as a chapter number. --Hrauvas

Near the town of Acthû, by the Great Desert, Zedgeleb and his sons owned a convenience store. It happened that on a day in summer they were visited by Gorto Engortho, He Who Wanders in the Desert, The Mighty Thirsty One, and he asked them for a drink.

Zöa, the younger, said "I will get you our finest soft drink, and I will not charge you, as you are a deity."

But Zednenem said, "But Zöa, what will our father say if he finds we have given a customer beverage without cost? He will demand seven times the cost from us."

And Zöa said, "That is true, but how can we demand money from Engortho, the Sandmaster, He of Steel Feet? I would sooner face our father's wrath than his"

Zednenem thought, and saw that Zöa was right. "Zöa," he said, "You are right. If only there was some way we could avoid angering our father."

Zöa thought, and soon he had an idea. He said, "Perhaps we could blame it on our sister Zilna?"

"I know she's our sister, twit."

"Yes, yes. But what do you think?"

"I think she'd turn us into carrion, at the least. If she were in a foul mood, she might tell Maakrti what we did."

Zöa shuddered, for he feared Maakrti greatly. Engortho, meanwhile, was not growing any less thirsty, and he let that fact be known.

"You know," he said, "I'm not growing any less thirsty."

"Right," Zednenem said, "I will get you our finest soft drink and pay for it myself." And he did so.

When Engortho had had all he could drink, and Zednenem was considerably poorer, he thanked the brothers and said to Zednenem: "Since I have drunk you into poverty, I will give you a gift: if you so desire I will make you one of the Læmyr, whose master is Gorto the Great, and whose spelling is pretentious. You will be given the power to tell mortals what you think of their work."

Zednenem thought this was far better than working at his father's convenience store, and he accepted gladly, and to this day he makes snide comments in what people have written.

Zöa, meanwhile, inherited Zedgeleb's convenience store and lived a comfortable life, and eventually became friends with Maakrti after he and Zilna wed.

Well there you have it, the Vague and Mysterious Origin of Zednenem. It should be noted that Hrauvas's introduction leaves something to be desired. Engortho is one of the fourty-nine names of Gorto, Master of All. (Master of All is represented by name two, Omnigoro.) Zedgeleb is the son of Zednarem, a major player in "The Revenge of Cstholi," which surpasses even "Coralto and Vanya" in terms of action. Maakrti and Zilna are one of the five important couples throughout the Tales of the Gorto, eventually producing Maakarem, Avenger of Acthû. For more information, I would suggest going to your local library and asking for a copy of the Tales of the Gorto, except that there's almost no chance they'd have a copy.

Critics of Hrauvas claim that his sources for this story are shaky, consisting mostly of a rendition found scrawled on the back of a tablet describing a recipie for a rather tasty lime pie. In Myths of the Læmyrs, Sally Kapferin describes Zednenem thusly:

Zednenem: One of the less powerful Læmyrs, Zednenem's powers seem to be limited to making snide remarks, similar to Alphys, but generally less witty. Zednenem has a special relationship with Engortho, which comes into play in the only major story in which he appears "The Return of the Revenge of Cstholi," where he serves a minor role in the conflict keeping track of Engortho's Thousand Running Shoes. He is also connected with Maakrti, one of the few non-Læmyrs to appear in these stories.

So who is correct? Well, most scholars of Gorto tend to side with Kapferin's more conservative description of Zednenem, but many have faith in the accuracy of Hrauvas's methods. A third group contends that 'Zednenem' is just a typo for 'Alphys', who serves a similar role. However, this view is not widespread.

Anyway, I hope this brief look into the myths of the Gortoramans proved interesting. I'd give you a link to a major source of Gortoraman information and literature, except that there don't appear to be any on the 'net. Oh well.

ZedneWeb: The Origin of Zednenem

Last updated February 26, 1996 by David Menendez.