Also! Of Gods and Demonai...
Previous - this entry written on August 29, 2008 at 2:53 pm - Next

Before the worlds were, there was the All and the Nothing. Neither awake nor asleep, neither alive nor dead, they existed. And it came to pass that the will of the All grew strong and from that endless will the boundaries of the universe were formed, and the unshaped worlds within. As the All became aware of this the awareness too gained shape and structure, and these were the First Gods. Of the First Gods there were ten:

The Mother,
The Hunter,
The Teacher,
The Runner,
The Color-Bearer,
The Singer,
The Builder,
The Warrior,
The Jester,
And the quietest of them all, the Shadow Dweller, whose words are whispers and echoes of dreams, who walks between the worlds.

And it came to pass that the hunger of the Nothing grew apace with the will of the All and from that hunger arose the voices of the First Demonai, kin and balance to the Gods. Their voices were strong and could be heard across the universe, unfettered and wailing with need and fear. Of the First Demonai there were also ten:

The Flame,
The Ice,
The Blade,
The Vision,
The Dust,
The Star-Swallower,
The Motionless,
The Shatterer,
The Gatherer,
And the strangest of them all, Cacaphony, whose voice is the sound of all things and all creatures, and whose chaotic dance keeps the stars moving in the sky.

The All, aware where Nothing could not be, took pity on the Demonai and gave them bodies that they might join their kin and aid in the Creation. But the Demonai were first born of Nothing and their bodies were touched with that taint, and slowly withered into dust. The Gods, newly born as well and still full of the All, gave to each Demon a portion of their fire to help quench the hunger. The Demonai, malicious, gave in return a portion of the void within them. As each God drew the fragment of Nothing into themselves they became linked to the Demonai who had gifted them with that horrid thing, their fates bound together. For the Demonai, though young, knew already the gnawing of fear and wished to ensure that the Gods could not harm them without harming themselves.

For a time there was conflict but in an unformed universe all things settle, and when the All and the Nothing drew back beyond the boundaries of the Universe there was peace, Gods and Demonai working together to give shape to their surroundings.

Each gathered up a portion of the matter, taking it and kneading it slowly as they discussed how to begin.

"I will give Light to this," said the Flame, and he threw his portion into the center of the universe where it caught fire and burned with an unending, white-hot light. This pleased the Gods and Demonai alike, all save one. The Shatterer turned to her brother and said to him, "I will spread your light across the universe that all can see it." So saying, she threw her portion at his, and when they struck together there was a vast explosion, tiny fragments of both sent flying across the universe, and thus the stars were born. As each moved further from the white-hot center it changed, the heat sometimes quenched by the Shatterer's clay, and some became dark, but some burned hotter than the clay and engulfed it, becoming brighter for her fuel.

The Builder next took up his portion of the universe's clay and with swift hands, rolled it into a ball, setting it to hover, saying, "Let this be the strong foundation, and let us create a world on which we can walk and live until we rejoin the All and Nothing." And the Gods and Demonai agreed, all of them but the Flame and the Shatterer adding a bit of their own clay to the ball as well until it was of a pleasing size. Unwilling to be left out, the Flame set his own fire to burning in the center of the ball, to give it warmth. His sister breathed on the ball, and the clay began to shift and move, the surface no longer smooth, always changing. This pleased the Gods and Demonai, for they valued newness and change.

The Runner spit into her clay, turning it fluid, and poured it over the surface of the new-formed world, letting it settle in the low places and trickle through the cracks in the surface. This too was deemed pleasing, and the Ice stepped forward to add her clay as well, giving the water the strength to freeze, the lightness to turn to steam, and a weight that surprised the Gods and Demonai both. "Let this be one of the Truths of this world, that to survive one must share in the Water," she said, and the Runner said, "May the Water always flow." It was agreed that as long as they resided in this world, so it would be.

The Color-Bearer, impatient now, took up his clay and began to scatter it over the ground, his fingers tinting each scrap a different shade, letting each crumbled scrap grow and blossom, savoring the fire of the earth and the cool refreshment of the water. Thus it was that plants took form, each rising slowly from the murk to reach upward, straining to the stars, wildly colored and beautiful. He turned to the Gatherer and said, "Give me some of your clay, that I might make these bear fruit." The Gatherer gave most of his clay to the Color-Bearer, who formed fruits and nuts, berries and grains, crisp sweet roots growing deep in the ground, bulbous edibles resting in soft soil, delicious round juicy berries dangling from trailing vines. In return, the Gatherer touched each piece formed, giving it a time to ripen and be picked, and setting inside each a seed, that when it was planted it would be the Gatherer who would be remembered.

Next the Hunter stepped forward, setting bits of her clay to tumbling over the ground, some soft and some hard, some large and some small, all of them moving and fit to be prey. The Blade spoke now, saying, "It is not fitting that the hunted be unable to defend." And so he gave them claws and fangs, terrible venoms and strong muscles, keen eyes, fierce jaws, and a hundred other means of attack, each beast in some way able to respond and fight to stay alive. The Motionless now took up the task, giving to each beast as well a weakness, setting fear in the hearts of some, dimming the eyes of others, or slowing their feet, saying, "It is not fitting that the hunter cannot at times triumph." The Teacher spoke as well, saying, "It is not fitting that there be equality between beasts," and she gathered up a handful and threw them into the waters, and another handful she threw into the air, that they would take to different hunting grounds. With her clay she gave to each type of beast one perfect example of its kind, the finest prey, and one weakling, to be the sacrifice to let the others escape their hunter. And the Gods and Demonai agreed that the beasts were a grand Creation and would make their world interesting.

While the others did this, the Mother and the Vision had been murmuring to each other, passing their clay back and forth between them, and only now did they place their efforts on the world. Strange creatures these, with four arms, four legs, and two heads, each one alive and full of more than merely existance. Some of them looked like two women back-to-back, some like two men standing against each other, and many looked like a man and a woman with their backs together. The clay from which they were made was a multitude of hues and shades, so that no two creatures were alike. The Vision had kneaded the glittering colors of dreams into the Mother's clay, filled the heads and the hearts of these newest beings with things that only the Gods and Demonai could see - love, hope, fear, rage, pleasure, desire, joy, sorrow, a rainbow of emotions and ideas that gave the creatures a taste of the All. These strands of strange thoughts were woven so deeply into the clay that there was no way to pull them out again.

"These new beings have the potential to be more than mere clay," said the Singer as she bent over them, watching them with curiosity, "and thus they will need to communicate with each other and with us." She drew strands of her clay and set them in place within the creatures, granting the gift of speech and the power of empathy. "They will need to be strong, to face the trials they will experience as they grow," the Warrior said, and his clay as well was wrapped about them, giving them courage, curiosity, and a desire to protect one another.

The creatures began to smile, and to glow as they first glimpsed the All within themselves and within each other, communing with the All. Seeing this, the Gods and Demonai felt a tinge of fear, seeing how powerful the creatures had the potential to become. They discussed them, argued about them, considered them, and in the end, came to an agreement. After they had conversed for a long time, and when they finished, the Star-Swallower stepped forward. He carefully formed his clay into an axe stronger than any metal, sharper than any blade, and on the handle of his axe the word 'karma' was inscribed in gleaming letters. "Let there be Balance," he said, and with that he brought the axe down. Each of the creatures was split in two, the spark that made them more than clay divided, shared between the halves.

The Dust strode forward as well, saying, "Let there be a boundary between 'I' and 'them'." With her clay, which by now had dried and crumbled to a fine powder, she covered them, healing over the physical wounds and at the same time, binding their power within the clay, forming a skin that would keep all but the strongest and most curious of them trapped within their form, unable to move beyond it. The creatures were crying now, from the shock, from the pain, and from the anguish of being separated from half of themselves. As they struggled through their lives, the creatures kept searching, always searching, for their other halves, but did not always find them. When it became clear to the Gods and Demonai that they were suffering too much, the last three who had not spoken stepped forward.

"I will give them laughter, humor, let them be able to shield themselves from their pain," said the Jester, and he did.

"I will give them chaos, that they might always experience new things and always have the hope that things will change," said Cacaphony, and she did.

"I will give them the one thing you have all forgotten," said the Shadow Dweller, and the others turned to look at her, curious. She smiled, and for a moment the universe trembled. "I will give them death and rebirth, so that they will not suffer forever. I will give them death and rebirth, so that they will have peace. I will give them death and rebirth, so that they will be able to start again, over and over, until every one of them is truly happy and whole again." She stretched out her hands, touching each one, making their bodies age with time, so that they would always be able to pass on. When the others saw how precious the gift was that she was giving, they joined with her, extending it to all things, all life, so that everything dies in its time...

...and everything, in time, is reborn.

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