Long, long ago, when the aged universe took its last breath and civilization was still strewn across the stars, fledgeling and weak, there was an unassuming planet with crystal mountains and golden seas.
She stood there, waiting like a statue, with eyes round marble, lips polished ivory, wings white as stars in a time when light had not yet even reached this planet, when it was to be shrouded in darkness eternal, lit only by the glow of the oceans. She was a brilliance and a wonderment, and she was also terribly bored.
This nameless figure and Her mighty aspect of light is our Goddess now. Then, however, we had not yet found Her, had not yet been born. This is our tale, and Her tale, a tale of we who are now known as the Earthborn.
She is so bored, then, at this time, that She cannot think of any particular thing She would like to do; She knows all that has ever happened, at least in this sector of Everything That Is. Goddess has nothing to occupy Her mind, then, and it is this boredom, this terrible dullness, that leads Her to scoop up some of the crystalline earth and fashion an immense mirror.
This mirror reaches into the sky, not out of necessity but whim, for the Goddess has full control over Her form, and therefore could be smaller or larger as She would see fit. No, instead the Goddess creates it this large merely so She may interest Herself with the reflection of the light which is long overdue.
If you promise not to inform Authority, young one, I will tell you what She did next. Our Goddess has long been rebellious, and it is this rebellious nature which led Her to cause the light from the stars around Her planet to move faster, to move fast enough that it might touch the mirror She had created, to reach Her little sanctuary in the dark. She is sorely tired of the void that surrounds Her little planet.
So She defies the Powers That Be and hurries the coming starlight along. It shines, then, reflects off of the crystalline mountains and the golden seas of our world as it was. When all was ablaze, however, with that light, and after She had returned its coming to normal speeds, She is overjoyed. The massive, mountainous mirror She had created shines down across the world.
The angle, however, is wrong, and, after some thought, our Goddess tears the mirror free from the earth of the world and hurls it into the sky. It rapidly burns into dust, but with the Goddess’s will, that glittering dust coalesces into a sphere, a shining reflective sphere that is suspended in the sky by Her power. With a smile on Her face, She murmurs something, and though no Earthborn was there to hear it, we have decided it must have been this:
“Let there be reflection.”
Light sparkles down upon the world in refracted and reflected colors. No longer simply gold and crystal, now reds, blues and greens shine all over. Now the light is spread across world, and so it has been since.
But that is only part of the tale. The Goddess, so enamored with Her reflection as it appeared in this sphere, can only be distracted by such a trivial beauty for so long. Eventually She becomes bored again, and this time She is somber, somber as the stars in the sky and the cold, vast loneliness of space.
Her image then, only brings Her pain (since it reminds Her of how alone She is), and She cannot bear to see it. In Her frustration, Her feelings burn strong enough to fuel the planet’s rotation– it begins to spin, and in doing so, to the Goddess’s surprise, it is lit up by the sphere-mirror’s reflective surface only half of the time.
She finds this serendipitous turn of events to be satisfactory, but She still finds Herself chillingly lonely. For a time She remains motionless, staring into space.
Then She acts, child. Then She lifts Her hands and drives them into the crystal earth, lifting up a huge chunk of it. Her hands are strong, Her fingers are strong– She molds the crystal structures into the shape of something ridiculous, at first. It is an immense construct of hard corners and rough edges. No matter how hard She tries, Her first sculpture’s edges remain wild and untamed; She cannot smooth it. It floats in the air– Her power contaminates it to the point where it possesses the ability to levitate.
This first creation she calls ‘Shar Milos’, after its abominable nature. Sometimes in the dark-cycle She can feel it tapping into the weave in order to move. It glimmers in that darkness, and fills Her with a sinister dread. That a Goddess could be so afraid of Her own creation has long puzzled us, but it is this fear which led Her to create us in the first place.
She created many other such imperfect things, some monsters and some not– the tall and strong dwarves, for instance, or the even taller and ambitious humans. Elves and faeries who laugh and play cruel games, the corrupt orcs and the hated goblins. She created trees and plants, strange things far up on the surface of the planet, to grow in the reflected light of the daysphere.
She created many surface animals, which in turn grazed on plants or fed on one another, on the species, the others She had tried to make in Her own image.
No, it is the Earthborn, it is our kind that the Goddess created last.
For long ago, not as long as at first, but long enough that the eldest of us cannot remember it, Shar Milos began subsuming all other species– all the animals and plants that it could.
It would annihilate whole villages, whole nations would crumble– none could touch it, and the Goddess had weakened to the point where She could no longer stop it or keep it in check. Her efforts at birthing so many civilizations and so many peoples already left Her weak. She could only slow its movement, not stop it entirely.
So it was and so it is that She created us, the Last People, the Earthborn. She entrusted in us the Key and the Way, and ordered us to lock up Shar Milos, knowing that our combined strength would be enough to banish that brilliant, radiant abomination to a place it would do us no harm.
Then She vanished.
And we failed. We gathered our strength, but the crystalline abomination struck down our greatest keepers without a second thought. We were not truly united then, and we are not truly united now.
We, as a people, and as the Earthborn, are not worthy. We were made in Her image, made from the stone of the earth instead of its crystal, made from the living rock of the core instead of the dead crystal the other races were sculpted from. Instead of that which makes up the dread being known as Shar Milos.
One day we will banish it, and banish it for good, but until that day we know, child, we know that we will never see the Goddess again. Her life force surrounds us, but She is out of our reach.
The moral to this tale is simple enough, young one. It is right that we repent, and it is right that every day we should strive to become stronger, so that when the time comes we can lock Shar Milos away and meet our Goddess once more.
We are Earthborn and earthbound now, but one day we will rise.
©2012 Sam Oliver (Eris)
Just a story. Legend, really, from a culture never really touched on in any of my works– the closest world to it is probably the one in Silver and Steel. Whatever it is, I hope you at least find it entertaining~ it was one part exercise and one part story.
I’ve been thinking about the world of Silver and Steel lately. Thinking maybe it’s time for me to revisit it. But that’s all I got for now.
I’ll keep on trucking, I suppose.