((Arrrgh, I've been gone for so long. I should be shot @_@ I hate it when I randomly disappear, makes me feel bad. But I iz back now, so please 2 b no shooting? Anyway, this is a project of mine that I've been working on for about a month now, simply titled Ercovea. I've already showed it to some people, and they like it, so I decided to show it here as well.)) ~~~~~ The night lay softly over the land, soft and dark as velvet. Animals whispered in the darkness and their gleaming eyes flashed between the trees and undergrowth before disappearing into the night. The sky was clear of clouds, and the cold light from the two moons radiated brightly across the land, turning the tips of the trees to silver. One moon was huge, and was as bright as a silver coin, while it's companion was much smaller and situated just at the top right corner of the larger moon. This smaller one was a light blue, and mingled with the white moonlight to make a silver-blue combination of light that seemed to bleach everything into a light powder blue shade. In the middle of the woods, one clearing in particular provided an excellent view of the two moons as they made their journey across the starry sky. A large fire crackled merrily in the middle of this clearing, throwing its own orange light upon the many people that crowded around it. All of the occupants were children, except for one grizzled old man who sat in a chair while the rest of the children sat. Their ages ranged from five to seventeen, and even the oldest of them seemed to be excited about something. They knew they practically had the whole night to themselves, their parents knew where they were (although the younger kids thought they didn't, while the older ones figured it out a long time ago), and no dangerous animals would ever come so close to a fire. The children all sat, watching the old man with an air of restrained excitement. The old man seemed to be unaware of their presence. He sat in his chair, which had been graciously provided by one of the older children, smoking a pipe and watching the smoke as it drifted between the leaves of the trees and eventually into the sky as if reaching for the stars. His skin was a deep tan and he had more wrinkles than a dried apple. He sported a frizzled gray beard that went down to his collarbones and equally gray hair, his sharp eyes peered out from under gray eyebrowns and he seemed to have an eternal squint to them, and no one really knew why, he just did. The old man had been around for as long as they remember, and some of the children had the belief that the old man would be around forever. After a few long minutes of silence, the man dumped out the ashes of his pipe and began to refill it. As he worked, he suddenly said, "Now you lot o' younggins. I suppose you want a story, eh?" In contrast to his thin and wrinkled appearance, the man's voice was clear and strong as if it belonged to a man a third of his age. He stuck his pipe back in his mouth as the air was filled with excited cheers. "Tell us the story of the three men!" One boy crowed, bouncing up and down while waving his hand. "No! I want to her the story of the parsiath!" A girl scooted closer to him. "About the blood-drinkers and how they made their pact for immortality and were cursed forever." The old man gave her a look. "You young generations' a bloodthirsty lot," he commented. There were chuckles all around as the wittier children got the joke. "What about the tale of Morvyn the Great? Tell us about him and the giant snake!" Another child called. The older children didn't say anything. They had heard all the tales before, but they still enjoyed hearing them. Besides, they knew the routine between the old man and the children. The man held up a gnarled hand for silence, and he got it. Slowly and deliberately, he took a drink from the mug that had been sitting on the ground next to his chair. When he was done, he set it back down, cleared his throat, and spoke, "Well what's the use of telling stories if you didn't know how everything began? You'd be startin' in the middle of a tale, not the beginning. Everything has to have a beginning, else'n the thing just falls apart." There were nods all around. Many knew what was coming, but no one argued because they wanted to hear a story, and to get to the story they wanted to hear they had to endure the first one. The man puffed at his pipe and watched as the smoke rings floated away. "Now our beginning starts at the very, very beginning, of Ercovea itself." He settled deep into his chair listening to it creak until he got himself comfortable. "Now, in the beginning, before everything we know existed, there was a void. . ." * * * * In the beginning, before everything we know came into existence, there was a nameless void. It is known that the great god Luxovious spun our world out of this void, intent on making a home for him and his wife. Then he made everything. He made water, fire, stone, and air. He made he lands and sea, he blew his breath into clouds, he covered the top and bottom of the world with ice and made the far western lands a desert. Then he gave everything a name. They are not like the words we use today, like water, fire, and air. These names were the true names of all things, words that have been long forgotten over time. Luxovious' wife, Cerdwin, looked upon the bare world filled with ice and stone and sand. She wanted the world to be beautiful, so she ground the earth into soil with her hands. She scattered this everywhere, and with her will she made trees and plants rise from the earth. Her hands pulled the mountains out of the ground and made them stretch towards the sky. Then she filled the world with mana, binding everything together and bringing harmony between the plants and animals; she called this harmony Nature. When she was done, she and Luxovious settled into the Vertan Mountains. All the while Cerdwin had been heavily pregnant and after a few months she gave birth to two gods, a set of twins. One twin was bright and radiated a visible aura of light. The other twin was pale and shrouded in shadows. Cerdwin loved the two babies immediately, she named one Irvyn, which meant white, and the other Keaira, which meant little dark one. Being the children of gods, the twins grew up quickly, as all gods do. In a day their eyes were open; Irvyn's were bright gold and Keaira's were a pale ice blue. In another day they were walking and running and were about the size of three-year olds. On the day Luxovious showed his sons the world and taught them about it, and they just watched and listened. n the fourth day the sons were as large as children who have lived for ten years, and they spoke clearly and perfectly, naming everything Luxovious taught them. On the fifth day they grew into young adolescents and their powers began manifesting more greatly than before. In the final three days, the gods grew into men and became the gods of light and darkness respectively. They were already eight days old, but the twins were already wiser than mortal men. Irvyn gazed on the world and felt a great sadness in his heart. "Father," Irvyn asked Luxovious. "Why isn't the world a happy place to be?" "What do you mean son?" Luxovious asked, puzzled by Irvyn's question. "It is a wonderful place." "For us," Irvyn answered. "The mortals cower in fear, terrified by their dark world and the things that lurk in it. We should give them light. They may be below us, but that does not mean we cannot watch over them. We would not be much different from them if we didn't." The God of Light was not to be dissuaded from his decision. He took a handful of the gods' divine fire and infused it with light. He threw this ball into the sky and it became the sun. The mortals below were grateful for the light, and they thanked Irvyn graciously. One person did not smile at Irvyn's gift to the world, however. His brother, Keaira. "What is wrong brother?" Irvyn asked when he noticed Keaira's look. "Your sun-disk may not have been the best of ideas, brother." Keaira answered, looking up from the book he was reading. Irvyn could not understand the meaning of Keaira's words. The world was bathed with light and the mortals were happy. Was that not good? When he pointed this out, Keaira just smiled. "You shall see soon enough Irvyn," the God of Shadows whispered, "that too much light can be just as bad as too much darkness." And soon Keaira's words proved true. The ground began to scorch under the sun's heat, plants withered, and animals died from heat. The sands of Arunab became unbearable, the sand scorched the feet like fire and soon nothing could live there. The gods watched the world sadly; the mortals begged them for help. "We must get rid of this sun-disk," Luxovious declared. "Then we shall be right back where we started before Irvyn made the light," Cerdwin told him. She stood next to her son, fully supporting him. "We do not have to get rid of the sun," Keaira said mildly. He did not seem concerned at all. He still sat in the corner, reading his book. The other deities turned to him. "What are you suggesting, son?" Luxovious asked warily. At first Keaira did not answer, purposefully stretching the silence. Then he said, "We do not need to get rid of the sun. Just send it away for a while." "But then the darkness will come back," Irvyn protested. "Exactly," Keaira agreed, "the darkness will come and cool off the scorched earth and then the sun will come back. It repeats, and our problem is solved." Irvyn did not like the idea, but Luxovious agreed on the fact that they had no other plans. So Keaira ascended into the sky. The heat did not burn him, but the light did. The light burned his skin, wisps of smoke came off his body and charred his clothes, but Keaira still got close enough to the sun to touch it. He struck it with his fist and sent it flying across the sky and over the horizon. His hand burned from the physical contact with the light, all the way down to his bones, but Keaira still did his work. He threw out his robes and darkness rushed upon the land. The sky turned dark and night fell on Ercovea. Without the sun's rays to beat down the earth, and it quickly cooled down. Animals emerged and the ground could be walked across again. Keaira returned to Mount Kakara, where Cerdwin gasped at the sight of his hand, burned and useless. The god said nothing as she took his hand and began dabbing it in medicine and poultices, trying to heal it. Irvyn was horrified at what his gift had done to his twin and Luxovious wondered if Keaira could regain the use of his hand. But Cerdwin could work wonders, and almost completely healed the terrible injury. But as a consequence one of Keaira's hands is thinner and paler than the other. By the time Keaira was able to use his hand again, more problems arose. As Irvyn predicted, the monsters that dwelled in the darkness returned, plaguing the mortals worse than before. By the time the sun came back over the horizon the mortals were fearful, their gratefulness for the night briefly forgotten. Irvyn was not happy and wanted the night to be banished forever. Of course Keaira refused, and the two began arguing furiously. Light and darkness collided and all cowered in terror at the wrath of the gods. Not even their parents could quell their anger. To try and clear his head, Luxovious went out for a walk. He thought of his dilemma along the way. Both of his sons made solutions to problems, but in turn caused more problems. They could see the errors in their solutions, but were too proud to do anything about it. The father god knew he needed to make peace between the brothers, or else they would grow worse. His steps brought him to a feather lying on the ground, fallen from the wing of a hawk. He picked it up and studied it, and suddenly he knew what he had to do. The twins did not need something, but someone to make them see peace. "This woman shall have the spirit of a hawk, free and unchained from all of the problems that affect us," he declared. He said "woman" because he knew that having another male would only complicate things even more. "She shall be strong and proud like the hawk and her mind shall not be weak-willed, like most mortal women are." He thought about the person he wanted, what she would think and what she would be like. Then he took the knife from his belt and slit his hand. He curled his hand around the feather, letting the silver blood of the gods soak into it. He put his thoughts into his blood, and the feather lit up with a flash. From the light sprung forth a woman, clothed into a deep maroon dress and an even darker red cape. Her skin was a nut brown, her eyes the color of chocolate and her wavy hair spilled across her back in brown waves. She was proud and graceful, she held her head proud and high as she looked around. She was perfect, Luxovious thought, and he named her Caoimhe, which meant gentleness, beauty, and grace. "Where are my brothers, father?" Caoimhe asked, for she already knew the whole situation thanks to Luxovious' blood. "It is not wise to keep them fighting." "Back at the mountain. Come, my child." Luxovious turned to go. "Wait," Caoimhe told him. He turned in puzzlement and watched her as she went up to a large maple tree. She spoke to it, gently asking it if she could have some of its wood. The tree knew she was a goddess, and a gentle one at that, and gave up its wood graciously. Using the wood, Caoimhe fashioned a staff out of it, then she pulled a large red ruby out of the ground and settled it on top of her staff. "Now we can go," she said once the stone and wood had blended together and hummed with power at the goddess' touch. Luxovious led her to Mount Kakara, where Irvyn and Keaira were still arguing. They paused when they saw their father walk in with a beautiful woman trailing behind him. Caoimhe immediately went up to them and began speaking. She spoke soft, quiet words that reassured them and made their rage sweep away like leaves in a gale, and for once they sat back and began thinking. "Why not make a light for the night too?" She asked, "Not a bright one, brother Keaira. Just enough so the mortals can see and drive back the demons." With her advice, the gods all reached a compromise, and Caoimhe became known as the Goddess of Neutrality and Peace. Using their combined powers, the fives deities created the moon. At first there was only one moon, but they had used such a burst of power that a second, smaller one was created as well. Then, Caoimhe and Irvyn danced among the stars, and the souls that inhabited the stars danced with them. They led the souls around and around and eventually caught them, then they planted them in the surface of the moons. The moons lit up with light, making the world below visible. But as they watched, one final thing happened. The gods are supremely powerful beings, and when they are near their auras make strange things happen. The energy of the souls bled out from the moons, and with all five of the deities nearby and their auras flaming, the two energies mixed. The auras of the souls spun together and the gods' and goddess' auras weaved a net that held them all together. The deities watched in awe as two goddesses were born from the souls, quite by accident. One was a woman barely younger than Caoimhe and the other was a girl barely older than an adolescent. The women were called Alastria and Alastriona, and they became the goddesses of the moons and the watchers of the world. The rest of the deities settled themselves in their new and improved world, finding balance at last.