The Myth Behind the Gard - IV: Black and White Cadejo
Updated: Oct 18, 2020
The Black and White cadejo are creatures taken from Central American folklore. Cadejos are large wolf-like creatures with cloven hooves that appear at night to travelers. Generally the White Cadejo is considered benevolent and protects travelers and drunks from thieves while traveling home, while the Black Cadejo is depicted as evil and tries to kill them instead. Depending on the tradition, the roles can be reversed with the White Cadejo considered evil and the Black cadejo good.
The Black Cadejo has three major variations in how it is depicted. Sometimes it is considered an embodiment of the devil and does not actively hunt its victims but acts as an observer. If spotted, the Cadejo is seen as an omen for a tragic event.
The second variation is the most dangerous, where the Black Cadejo stalks and kills its prey. At first, the Black Cadejo tries to scare and taunt its victim with strange noises before pouncing. In this version, the Black Cadejo is unstoppable and their attack can only be prevented if a White Cadejo intercedes.
The third type is a hybrid between a regular dog and a full-blooded Cadejo. These Cadejo's are mortal and if killed will smell terrible before rotting away and disappearing completely in seconds. Bald patches of earth are said to be where a Cadejo has died. Instead of attacking, this type of Cadejo drives its victim mad, and is used as a way to explain mental illness.
In El Salvador, the origin of the Cadejos is described in a tale of two brothers who seek shelter at a magician's house during a storm. When the magician asks for help finding logs for a fire, the boys do a poor job yet eat what little food the magician had. In retaliation, the magician puts a curse on the boys which transforms them into the Cadejos and forces them to wander the roads forever.
In popular culture, there is now an El Salvadorian craft brewery called the Cadejo brewing company that offers a range of dark and light beers. The artist Carlos Lorca used the Cadejo as the main motif for his art, as he believed his father was protected by a White Cadejo and that the White Cadejo was also his own guardian spirit in his battle with alcoholism. The Cartoon Network series Victor and Valentino also had an episode that features the Black Cadejo.
The Last Re:Spawn - The House of Frost
Darkness. Darkness beyond darkness separated Avanyu and the twins within the house of frost: an icy labyrinth of frozen caverns interwoven beneath xXtH4_d34tH_l0rDzXx palace. The trio tried to call out to each other in vain, but only a cold deadly silence managed to escape their throats. The low roil of fierce growls grew with foreboding frequency from an unknown source. Swarms of glowing eyes glinted ravenously from the abyss, ominously in search of a warm meal. The clip of their gnashing teeth crept closer to the heroes hides with increasing proximity.
Avanyu feared not so much for himself, but for that of his much frailer compatriots. The air's bitter chill sapped his mobility at such an alarming rate he knew that the others would succumb to the frigid conditions before him. But without his voice, he would be unable to call down the blessings of thunder to light his way.
One of the hounds managed to nip one of his tails, shearing off a row of feathers that shattered like glass in the beast's jaws. Avanyu's options were growing more and more limited with each passing moment. He knew what he had to do: there was a reason his feathers bore a reddish hue.
With his last few ounces of his waning magical energy Avanyu ignited his billowing plumage, revealing the snowy trappings of his surroundings with a dancing fire. The slinking dogs retreated behind the shadows of melting icicles, cowering in fear of the divine light. A wolf that had strayed too close screeched in pain as its own fur set ablaze from the contact. As the fire's warm air filled his lungs, Avanyu raised his head to the heavens and called upon the strength of his ancestors for aid:
'CHAAC MUUK KAAM!'
An immense bolt of blue lightning cut through the roof of the cave and struck Avanyu, arcing through his body to scorch his surrounding enemies with a brilliant azure flame. Exhausted, Avanyu collapsed. His feathery fire reduced to a scant cobalt glow. With his immolated enemies fleeing in terror down the hollow tunnels, the lethal frost quickly crept back into his bones. Avanyu hoped that the flailing death throes of the burning beasts were enough of a beacon to guide the others his way.
Blanque had never known death, and so he wasn't even sure if he was still alive. It was only the air's vicious bite eating away at his extremities that kept him guessing. He would never admit it, especially to his sister, but this was the only time he ever felt envious of Junah's insulating locks.
As hope and heat drained from Blanque's heart, a faint far-off flicker rekindled his resolve. A howling hound doused in orange flame twisted round a bend before falling in front of him, twitching sporadically in its waning death knell. Blanque shakily crawled over to the smoldering body and desperately tried to warm his hands with the dwindling fire. As the fire fizzled out, Blanque noticed another source of light take over.
Blanque looked up to see a blindingly majestic wolf step forward with an angelic grace. With a curious sniff, the glowing wolf playfully inched closer for a pet from his shivering hand. Despite the wolf's calming color, its fur quickly drove out the cold from Blanque's fingers and breathed fresh life into his body. The beast's tongue lolled with a cheery whimper as Blanque embraced the wolf, thawing rapidly within its thick coat. Seeing Blanque raise himself with renewed vigor, the wolf spun and barked excitedly at him, looking back at him while it hopped towards one of the tunnels. Without delay, Blanque charged down the cavern trying to keep pace with the bounding hound.
Avanyu could no longer hold back the ravenous wolves with his ebbing flame. The vicious dogs swiped mercilessly at his dimming tails that whipped frantically to keep them at bay. Backing him into a corner, the beasts suddenly stopped their advance. They parted and bowed to let through an immense pitch black wolf with menacing red eyes, drooling at the prospect of delivering the final coup de grace. Just as it reared back to pounce the creature was intercepted by the white wolf.
The two beasts tousled in a rabid scrum, matching each other's moves in a blinding cyclone. With their fangs embedded in each other's necks, their contrasting fur folded into a swirling blend until the margins between them disappeared and became one. A wave of energy burst from their union, sending the other wolves scattering in all directions. A cloud of residual wisps draped over Avanyu, instantly restoring his finery plumage.
Junah and Blanque each appeared sprinting from around opposite corners of the labyrinth, looking at each other quizzically.
'How did you get here?'
'I was following a white wolf…'
'You saw it too? But...how did it lead us both?'
'Let's not question the nature of our serendipity. We still need to find a way out.'
A disembodied bark echoed in response, illuminating a set of pawprints that settled into the snow. and led the way to a faint pinpoint of light in the distance. While exuberant, the bark also carried with it a twinge of urgency.
'Wait, what is that sound?' A distant rumble shook the loose pebbles from the cavern floor, and sent broken icicles crashing around them.
'Look!' From the other direction of the pinpoint of light the heroes could see a growing wall of fire fill the caverns behind them with a rising roar. Junah and Blanque broke into a run while Avanyu slithered with redoubled haste.
'We're not...going...to make it!' Blanque said between breaths.
'You might not, but I can!' Avanyu said
'Go...then!..Save yourself!' Panted Junah as she waved him forward. Avanyu shook his head.
'Remember our original deal?' Junah and Blanque look at each other quizzically before grabbing onto Avanyu's tails for dear life.
'EHECATL LIK PAAJTALIL!'
A powerful gust of wind seeming to rise from nowhere pushed Avanyu forward, transforming his body into a beam of pure energy that left a clap of thunder in his wake. The trio shattered through the thin membrane of ice that blocked the exit, and into the next chamber of horrors the lords had set for them. iut
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