In The Beginning
Many years ago, more years than there are stars visible in the sky, Ur and Shadak were as one. They walked upon the body of their sleeping sister Shantryl hand in hand and were content but alone.
Ur spoke, “Day is followed by night, the tides ebb and flow, and all elements are separate into their spheres. It is good and there is Order; Our work here is complete.”
But Shadak was always seeking change and replied “But Ur, there is no one but Ourselves to appreciate the fluid beauty of Our creation. Let us wake Our Sister and show Her all that we have completed.”
The god of Order gave this great thought, as was His want, and He agreed to Shadak’s opinion. “It is only right that Our Sister gaze to Our handiwork.” And forthwith, Ur and Shadak traveled to where their Sister yet slept.
Now the two gods had shaped and restored the body of Shantryl from where the great furies and conflagrations of the previous Age had scarred Her. Ur had set the Sun and Moon to their proper cycles. He had divined the lost rhythms of reality and restored the tempo of existence. Shadak had spent His time with Shantryl’s children: Fire, Earth, Water, and Air, and taught them how to dance upon reality’s beat. Shadak and the children of Shantryl danced and from their movements, the mountains rose heavenward and the oceans refilled.
Ur and Shadak had restored their Sister to beauty while she slept, but they were the only beings who strode upon her. Save one. While they had been the first to awaken, they were not the first to be awake.
From the Age before, one who may not be named survived. It was one with the darkness of the world, both in thought and in spirit. The Nameless followed Ur and Shadak as they sought out their sister, for it lusted after Shantryl and sought to possess her for its own.
Safely within her bower of glass and steel, Shantryl slept still. Ur and Shadak followed the hidden ways while He-who-must-not-be-named followed after them. In the secret cove, the two gods woke their sister while her children watched and kept guard.
Great was the joy through out the world when the three siblings united. From the notes of their song, all things good such as Love, and Laughter, and Delight were born. The Nameless one fled that scene, less the light that came forth exposed its dark and evil intent. As it ran, fear, hatred, and terror trailed in its wake.
Shantryl, Ur, Shadak, and the five children of Shantryl trekked far and wide to see all things beautiful. Wherever Shantryl went, life sprang from her footsteps, and she would dance…
When Shantryl danced with Earth, all the plants and animals of the soil were born from their gyrations.
When Shantryl danced with Water, all the creatures of the waves were born forth with their movement.
When Shantryl danced with Air, all the creatures of the skies were born forth in their joy.
When Shantryl danced with Magic, great wonders were produced. Many of these things were of such beauty that the Gods did take them and set them aside less they fall into the wrong hands. Here too were born the Fae and the Sidhe and the spirits of wood, river, and mountain, for Magic encompasses all things and nothing at once.
When Shantryl went to dance with Fire, however, her youngest child grew shy and stood back. “Mother, I am not yet ready to dance with you, I must go practice.” So Fire left the others, and traveled far and into the deepest of caves. Even now, Fire practices dancing in every little flame. At times Fire grows too wild and in its excitement volcanoes and lava spew forth. One day, Fire hopes to be worthy to dance with its Mother.
Now Shadak came forth and asked to dance with Shantryl. She accepted since Ur was busy both by naming each new creature upon the ground, in the waves, and through the air, and by making sure that each knew its orderly place in the world.
As Shadak and Shantryl danced with great abandon, Shadak’s chaos wove its way through the fabric of the universe. A great many creatures were touched and therefore changed, some for the better, and some for the worse. Yet Shantryl and Shadak did not notice for the passion of their dance overpowered their senses. Dragons, gem-kin, and half-men, were born of this dance.
It was Ur who finally bade them cease, for the chaos that Shadak had released threatened to mar the very balance of the world. The two bowed to Ur’s wisdom and separated. Resolved to ensure a proper measure in all things, Ur requested one more dance from Shantryl.
She complied and the two deities strode across the world in precise but beautiful motions. Ur sought to erase the blending of Shadak’s chaos for because of the Chaos all things existed at the same time. The dead continued with the living, and all time was as one.
From their footsteps grew the seasons, and from their shadows grew the cycle of life and death. In this way all things living and all things dead would each have their proper place. At last their dance ended, and from the final steps sprang forth the first humans.
Now He-who-must-not-be-named watched all this and from his heart grew envy and greed. He despised the pretty things that the gods had created; for they reminded him all too much of what it had lost from the age before. With great cunning, he assumed a pleasing shape and presented itself to Shantryl while all the other Gods were distracted with exploring what they had created.
Shantryl had seen no other being so beautiful as the one before her, and was easily tempted to take the hand of Nameless for a dance. At first the steps they took were ones of beauty and from these few moments arose the Titans and the few good giants. Yet the concentration needed for the dance meant that the Nameless could not maintain his disguise. Shantryl screamed in terror at the creature she was embraced with and the very world shook.
As the Nameless’ beauty slipped away, so did the beauty of those things that arose in the wake of the dance. Evil giants and darker shadows began to rise as Shantryl fought against the black embrace. He-who-must-not-be-named was as old as Shantryl and his strength was great. Swiftly he spirited her away and wherever his shadow fell, the world was marred and the creatures twisted.
Ur, Shadak, and the five children of Shantryl heard the cry that almost shattered the world. They took up great weapons and gave chase against the shadow. This was the First War of the heavens, and it was fought on the earth.
It was a dreadful conflict and many things of beauty perished or were corrupted to evil. The children of every dance chose sides and served in the vanguard of every battle. They contended with the shadowy corruptions of the Nameless One and some of every race but the Sidhe were wooed to the side of darkness.
Only the Titans were powerful enough to refuse to take sides, for while they bore their dark father no love, they did not wish to raise arms against their sire. They traveled eastward to just before the Sun Rises and there live in Exile and seclusion still from the world.
While it was Shadak’s tactics and wits that defeated the many minions of He-who-must-not-be-named, it was Ur’s bright spear that banished the Nameless one to the void of night.
Shantryl was freed, though the ordeal had left her sorely weary. She saw the destruction her temptation had wrought and wept tears of sadness.
These washed away many of the hurts of the world, but not all. Her children led her back to her silent bower, and promised to wake her when all had been set aright and darkness was removed from the land. They linger still in the world while their mother sleeps.
Ur climbed the skies until he reached the Sun and from that vantage point awaits the Nameless one with bright spear in hand. Rarely does he leave his perch and the task of removing the taint of the monstrous spans of darkness falls upon the Children of the Dance.
Shadak lingered a little longer before discerning that Ur could not be in all places at once. The god of Chaos took to harrying the darkness across the night skies and took the shape of the thousands and thousands of stars to do so. So long as Shadak exists, the Nameless one has no rest.
Such was the way of creation and the First Heavenly War.