It’s called echoic memory: that amazing and powerful phenomenon where simply hearing a snatch of a tune immediately brings a memory to the surface; one you might not have thought of in a long, long time. Our brains tuck these connections away every day, though we may not be consciously aware of it, and not always with songs. Sometimes it’s a scent, a word or phrase, even a taste that triggers the memory. Many people have learned to benefit from this mnemonic tool to help with memorization, test taking, and more. Some create “mental mansions” or “palaces” in which they have learned to actively store information they wish to remember, and they can walk through these imagined structures, pulling up vast stores of information at will!
We here at Legends of Cyrradon do not aspire to such feats, and yet many songs have earned special places in our hearts because we tend to listen to music as we write. Over time, and with the right coincidence of song and thought, many songs have commanded places of high standing in our playlists, A few, in fact, have a playlist of their own! We call these our Unofficial Theme Songs of Storm’s Rising.
Each song that has risen to this station in our hearts typifies, we feel, a certain aspect of our world of Cyrradon. Many of them seem to capture the essence and mood of a particular character, and a few give us the sense of an entire race of people. Here, for your enjoyment, we would like to share just a few of these songs along with some insights as to how and why we have crowned them as unofficial theme songs of our world.
[Pro tip: Grab your headphones and click HERE to listen along while you read!]
The Package – by A Perfect Circle
Clever got me this far, then tricky got me in
Eye on what I’m after, I don’t need another friend
Smile and drop the cliché, till you think I’m listening
Take just what I came for, then I’m out the door again
If you’ve read any of our Storm’s Rising series, you’ve undoubtedly met the young, snarky and angsty rogue, Lendil Strongblood. He’s a bit of a rascal, with a dark side driven by having seen greatness once before in his family line, and then watched as that greatness decayed from within until nothing respectable or honorable remained. Over his adolescent years, much of the parenting he received came from those associated with the local thieves’ guild of Granite Hedge, the Association of Humble Merchants. He is both exceptionally clever and physically agile, making him an excellent student of the street arts. Lockpicking, pickpocketing, climbing and jumping, knife throwing, disappearing into a crowd, and even learning other languages, all came quite easily to Lendil.
But beneath all the skill and potential there was a brokenness that showed itself as cockiness, arrogance, and greed. So when we heard the song The Package, we knew right away it belonged to Lendil.
Lie to get what I came for
Lie to get just what I need
Lie to get what I crave
Lie and smile to get what’s mine
This Night – by Black Lab
There are things, I have done
There’s a place, I have gone
There’s a beast, and I let it run
Now it’s running my way
As you get further into the story, you begin to learn something about the dark mage, Hawk. He is deeply troubled and suffers from a curse not even he fully understands. He is of mixed heritage, though mostly human, and yet by some artifice that remains unrevealed, he cannot die. Well, that’s not exactly true. He does die, again and again through the centuries. But then he returns, with all the memory, all the anguish, all the loss, many times forced to abandon the life he’d had previously and begin a new one, only to be drawn back into the same fate as ever: to be the sole worshiper of the abandoned goddess Reyth, and to guide each new generation of the chosen as they strive to do the gods’ wills on Cyrradon.
Can you imagine it? Starting life again and again, endlessly entangled with the gods’ chosen ones, to watch as they grow and face unimaginable dangers, eventually come to love them only to have them die and leave him alone in the world until the next calling? Can you conceive a torment greater than to love and lose, again and again through the centuries, each time telling yourself you will never let yourself be vulnerable again…until the next time?
There are many, many songs that speak to us of Hawk. But This Night is the song we think, perhaps, his soul sings when all about him is darkness and loss.
So take this night, wrap it around me like a sheet
I know I’m not forgiven, but I need a place to sleep
So take this night, and lay me down on the street
I know I’m not forgiven, but I hope that I’ll be given
[If this song alone does not speak volumes to you of Hawk’s despairing existence, listen next to Not a Saint, by Breaking Through, on our playlist. We are certain this will draw the complete picture for you. No need to thank us – you’re welcome.]
Blood, Milk and Sky – by White Zombie
To understand why this song has such a correlation to our world, you must first understand a little of the Jeborrhadim, and how the elder races came to be. In the beginning, the Father God Aralieth created the world, and populated it with a race of people he called the Mayhara. The Mayhara were beautiful and perfect, and lived for many centuries in contentment. But eventually they became restless and wished to wander the lands of Cyrradon in separate tribes. But all wished for Aralieth to be with them. Aralieth was saddened for he could not be with them all. In the end, he drew from within himself aspects of his being and created the five Noralieth: Bhoros, Skeld, Reyth, Nara and Morab. Each of these gods chose for themselves one of the tribes as their children, and their children took on aspects of their chosen Noralieth. Bhoros became god to the humans, Skeld the dwarves, Nara the elves, and Morab the Tarkuurians.
Reyth, though she chose and would have loved the fifth tribe of Mayhara, was rejected by them, for they wished to worship the elements of the lands and not be beholden to a god. In her anguish, Reyth cursed this tribe to become what they worshiped. This race became the fractured and widely dispersed race of giants: the Jeborrhadim. The Jeborrhadim roamed the world, seeking after the objects of their infatuation. Some worshipped the sun or moons, some the earth itself, some the sea, some the sky, some the wind. And true to the curse of Reyth, each of them slowly became consumed by whatever it was they sought after, to their doom. Very few Jeborrhadim remain on Cyrradon, and those inhabit the most isolated, most desolate lands, where the object of their worship is strongest. It is a lonely and terrible existence for them, for throughout their short lives they reach with every fiber of their damned and cursed souls for something that will never love them in return. Blood, Milk and Sky, we think, powerfully and hauntingly captures the hopeless existence of the Jeborrhadim.
The siren sings a lonely song, of all the wants and hungers
The lust of love a brute desire, the ledge of life goes under
Divide the dream into the flesh, kaleidoscope and candle eyes
Empty winds scrape on the soul, but never stop to realize
Animal whisperings, intoxicate the night
Hypnotize the desperate, slow motion light
Wash away into the rain, blood, milk and sky
Hollow moons illuminate, and beauty never dies
Waking Up – by 10 Years
Now that you know something of Reyth and the Jeborrhadim, you might imagine the existence of a goddess full of desire to love and bless an entire race of people, only to watch them greet each sunrise by turning their worship to the inanimate rocks and trees and wind. With good reason she is called the Anguished One, and also the Jealous and Vengeful, for her abandonment and pain do not diminish. To her they are as bitterly heartbreaking as ever, and yet there is a piece of her soul that still yearns and hopes for them—for anyone—to be hers.
Over time, Reyth has had followers, though they are few and short-lived, for the only worship that truly reaches Reyth now comes from those in the grips of complete and utter despair. Therefore, the vast majority of would-be followers of Reyth acknowledge her as their goddess only long enough to take their own lives, deepening her loss. Still worse, in the lore of the gods it is told that her brother, Morab, took advantage of her sorrows and seduced her. For this unholiest of sins, Morab was banished from the Hall of the Noralieth, but the injury done to Reyth was enduring and terrible. For Morab blamed her for his punishment, and as retribution forbade his people, the Tarkuurians, from speaking her name or acknowledging her in any manner. Thus, Morab cursed Reyth to be forgotten by two races, doubling the depths of her despair.
Waking Up embodies so perfectly what each morning must be to Reyth, First Daughter of Aralieth, to open her exquisite eyes to a desperate hope she knows will only be answered with pain.
Distance and space, allow emotions to age into faith
Our bodies may end up alone, but close
Are you there? Can you hear me?
Are you there? Can you feel me?
Good morning to you, my dear
I’m waking up
Enduring my biggest fears
We hope you have enjoyed reading about these songs, and how they have such powerful connotations to our world! Of course, this has been but a sampling of our unofficial theme songs playlist. Many of them could uncover mysteries we do not yet wish to reveal to our readers, so we’ll leave those for you to contemplate on your own! We invite you all to follow our playlist on Spotify! And we would love to hear your ideas about who or what you suspect the other songs might relate to! Feel free to comment here, or in whatever forum this article appears.
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Thanks for reading, and happy adventures, travelers,
Jason and Rose
Creators at Legends of Cyrradon