After supper, we sat around the carport shooting the breeze. It was one of those times when you spent more time talking than eating. We had a good crowd with brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, and cousins. The subject of the Cayn Trilogy, by McDonald and Isom, came up, and one asked: what is is the secret of the Cayn Trilogy? If the book was about the son of Cayn, then who was Cayn?
Who is Cayn? From scripture, Cain was the son of Adam and Eve.
“And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.”
The epic Old English story of Beowulf takes this a little further when describing the origins of Grendel.
Swá ðá drihtguman dréamum lifdon
éadiglice oð ðæt án ongan
fyrene fremman féond on helle·
wæs se grimma gaést Grendel háten
maére mearcstapa sé þe móras héold
fen ond fæsten· fífelcynnes eard
wonsaélí wer weardode hwíle
siþðan him scyppend forscrifen hæfde
in Caines cynne þone cwealm gewræc
éce drihten þæs þe hé Ábel slóg·
ne gefeah hé þaére faéhðe ac hé hine feor forwræc
metod for þý máne mancynne fram·
þanon untýdras ealle onwócon
eotenas ond ylfe ond orcnéäs
swylce gígantas þá wið gode wunnon
lange þráge· hé him ðæs léan forgeald.
The translation by Seamus Heaney reads as follows:
So times were pleasant for the people there
Until finally one, a fiend out of Hell,
began to work his evil in the world.
Grendel was the name of this grim demon
haunting the marches, marauding round the heath
and the desolate fens; he had dwelt for a time
In misery among the banished monsters,
Cain’s clan, whom the creator had outlawed
and condemned as outcasts. For the killing of Abel
the Eternal Lord had exacted a price:
Cain got no good from committing that murder
because the Almighty made him anathema
and out of the curse of his exile there sprang
ogres and elves and evil phantoms
and the giants too who strove with God
time and again until He gave them their reward.
“And out of the curse of his exile there sprang ogres and elves and evil phantoms and the giants too”
For the sake of our story we did two things: 1) Cayn (or Cain) had touched the face of Chaos and was driven insane, and 2) the blood of Cayn was so corrupted that what ever it touched turned to evil — One of the reasons the orcs in our books bleed black.
Interestingly enough Set, the Egyptian god of disorder and violence, was tasked with fighting Apep, the serpent of Chaos — and Sutekh, the god the baroness worships, is another name for Set.