Lands of Alba: Lost Doggerland
It’s said by those who heard the tale that in the times before the Moon, when the Ice covered the North, Alba was a much greater land. Vast plains rolled off beyond the Fenlands, which were themselves more like the North, rolling dales and vast moors.
It’s said that in the centre of this land, called Doggerland, was a great mountain range, atop which was the hall of three mighty heroes of the age.
It’s said that these heroes thought themselves the equal of the gods and, in their pride and hubris, they offended each of them in turn.
To Potter, they said “We have made a hall greater than any you can build in a city that will endure forever.”
To Farmer they said “Our subjects will never want for anything and that is more than can be said for any of your children.”
To Hunter they said “No beast of the field nor sea has ever survived us, what need have we of your love?” and to Warrior they said “No champion can best us in war or contest; we have no need for your oversight.”
To Midwife they said “We are wise in the ways of the world and we have escaped the balance of life and death; we do not need your luck any longer.”
And to Storyteller, they said “What need have we of your learning any longer? Our legend will endure until the end of time.”
And Storyteller smiled politely, and said “I don’t think so.”
And the gods blessed the heroes of Doggerland exactly as they had asked for.
Potter turned his face from the city on the hill and the walls crumbled and the towers fell and the people prayed to him for aid but he would not hear them
Farmer turned his face from the land and the crops were blighted and the beasts of the field poisoned, and the people starved and cried out for aid and Farmer said “fall upon each other for your meat; I care not.” And they did, and thereby became monsters.
When their farm animals died the people who had not been cursed by the Farmer set out to hunt the beasts of the wild but all that dwelled still in doggerland were vile monsters. They prayed for succour to Hunter but she said “You have no need of my aid. Face your monsters without me.”
When the hunters were dead or fled and nothing was to stop the monsters from reaching the city on the hill, the people cried out to Warrior, but Warrior turned his face from them and pointed to their heroes. “There are your warriors. Let them protect you for they need not I.”
The three heroes went out to face the horde of monsters that ravaged the plains of Doggerland, and they prayed to Midwife for good fortune. Midwife smiled behind her veil. “Unlucky,” she said. And she twisted their fates with Farmer’s curse until they had lost their speech and their shape and their wits, and were indistinguishable from the monsters they had gone out to face. For ten years they dwelled among the horrors that ravaged their land, until there were no people left, only the abominations which fought amongst themselves.
And when the three heroes lay dying Midwife relented, and granted them in their last moment clarity of thought. They looked upon their despoiled city and their dead people, upon the ruin their pride had made of their land, they said to the Storyteller “will we be remembered?”
“Oh yes,” he said, with a chuckle. “You’ll be remembered for a very long time. Just not the way you think.”
That winter, the Ice in the north began to melt, and before long, great floods came as rivers burst their banks and coasts were flooded with brackish salt marsh. Before long the great plains of Doggerland became swamp, then shallows, then eventually sea until all that remained of that land was the peaks of the mountain range where once stood a great settlement.
This island now stands far off the coast of the Fenlands, and it is called Doggerland. And from it, by the light of the full moon, come to Doggeri; the last descendants of the monsters which ravaged that land and laid low its people, to trouble the coasts of Alba.
The Doggeri cannot speak. They are driven to slay and raven and destroy all in their path until they are themselves slain – and only upon death are they freed by Midwife to say one last utterance – thank you.
As for the heroes that begat them – nobody remembers their names but the Storyteller, and he’s got no reason to tell.