Chapter 9 cont'd: Origins

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In the beginning, there were Three.

But before the beginning—before time held meaning, before there was a before or afterthe universe was a dark, empty void stretching out in all directions. The primordial beast Chaos reigned over the yawning abyss, ruler of everything and nothing.

When Chaos could bear the weight of eternity alone no longer, the beast split itself into three. And so the Three were born from Chaos into the formless void. For ages, they dwelt apart, unaware of their siblings' presence, shaping the space around them in their own likeness. Out of the darkness, Cathair created Night, Emese created Light, and Teivel made Spirit and Shadow.

If it were not for Emese's Light, the Three might have forever stayed to their own corners of the universe. But her Light shone like a beacon in the darkness, drawing her brother-gods to her like moths to a flame.

Cathair found Emese first and became her lover. Cathair and Emese comingled as one, and made the Day from Night. But Cathair was not meant to stay long in the Light, so he retreated to his own realm of eternal Night. But he took a piece of Emese with him, and made the moon and the stars, so she could find her way to him in the darkness.

While Cathair was away, Teivel came upon Emese, and under her Light he fell madly in love. But Emese had already given her heart to Cathair. Teivel remained at Emese's side, pretending contentment with nothing more than a sister's love, all the while secretly plotting against the brother he never met.

When Cathair returned to Emese, Teivel launched a vicious attack, forging a sword from Shadow. Catching Cathair by surprise, Teivel cut off his right hand. In retaliation, Cathair thrashed Teivel until he bled.

Distraught, Emese came between her two brothers and begged for peace, weeping as she pled with them. Her tears rained down on Cathair's right hand, and together with Teivel's blood, godsflesh and salt tears fused together and hardened to form the earth, an imperfectly beautiful blend of land and sky and sea. The Three watched over the world they shaped together, and for a time, there was peace between them.

But despite all its physical beauty, the world was barren and dead. And Emese, the Great Mother, despaired, for she was a mother without children. Seeing his lover's despair, Cathair molded creatures from the clay of the earth to inhabit the world. But though his creations were well formed, they lacked the spark of life, animate clay puppets moving according to his will. And he too despaired.

Emese saw what Cathair had wrought from clay and witnessed his despair. She went to the creatures and breathed into them, filling them with life. Animals and men, they multiplied and covered the land and made their mark upon the earth. And Cathair and Emese were well pleased, and loved their children. And their children loved and worshipped them in return.

Teivel saw his siblings' offspring and was jealous. He crafted like creatures, but he lacked Cathair's gift, and the creatures he made were ugly and twisted. Teivel looked upon his terrible creations and his jealousy grew. He breathed life into them, but he lacked Emese's gift too, filling his creations with nothing but anger and jealousy. And he grew more jealous. So he crafted a new creature in his own image, and he poured into it his own divine blood, gifting it with godly powers and immortality. Teivel declared his new creations his true sons—in the Old Tongue, his daem.

Cathair and Emese saw what their brother had wrought and were awed. The abilities of the daem went far beyond that of their own creations. The gods walked with their brother's sons and taught them great magics. And the daem multiplied and grew in power and knowledge and brought joy to the gods and great pride to Teivel, their father.

But Teivel's blood contained his jealousy and greed, and soon the daem sought dominion of the world, no longer content with the riches the gods had bestowed upon them. When their ambition turned to conquest, Teivel bequeathed them with the weapons of warfare.

Unaware of their brother's interference, Cathair and Emese went to the daem and bade them to stop. But the daem were arrogant and full of their own power, so they refused. Cathair became angry and sent his creations against the daem. But he had taught his brother's children too well, and they murdered many of Cathair's most beautiful creatures. Many of Teivel's sons died, too, and the world was awash with blood and ashes.

Devastated by the loss of life and destruction, Emese pleaded with her brother gods to put an end to the war that had divided their children. Cathair and Teivel agreed to a truce and pledged that their troops would stand down. And for a time, there was peace.

But Teivel, the Great Deceiver, struck a false bargain, for he saw that Cathair's children were weak. And he could not forgive the deaths of his beloved sons at their hands, no matter that it was the daem that had spilled first blood. He waited patiently for his brother's men to lay downtheir defenses, lulling them into complacency. And he prepared his children forone final attack, promising glory and revenge. Cloaking the daem in Shadow,Teivel led his sons into the cities of men undetected. In the dark of Cathair'snight, they struck.

Emese and Cathair felt the sting of their brother's betrayal as sorely as they felt the slaughter of their children. But they had enough love left for their brother to spare him. Together, they banished Teivel and his sons to the realm of Spirit and Shadow, the Afterlight, imprisoning them in a fortress made from an unbreakable alloy of their divine blood. They were not without mercy, for the Afterlight was Teivel's domain. But he was bound by their blood, freeing the world he helped create from his corrupting influence.

And for a time there was peace.

A/N: Need to figure out how to make this little creation myth feel more seamless with the rest of the story, but in the interest of keep on keepin' on, here goes!

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