History Of Creation

Long, long ago, before Iridine was founded, and indeed, before any living thing existed, there was Ereal. Ereal was the bright, warm sun, and he walked through a void darker than the darkest night, and everywhere Ereal walked, the darkness was dispelled, but there was no one to notice or to care, for Ereal was alone.

Ereal wandered through the void for a timeless time which only a god can know, the void never changing before or behind him. Then something happened which had never happened before. Ereal came upon another thing which was not himself and not the void. Ahead of him, simply lying in the void, he saw a rock. Ereal was young then, and he had never seen a rock before, and for a moment he was unable to speak, so strange it was to see another thing in the Void Beyond Time beside him. Then Ereal asked, "Who are you, that you walk in the Void beside a god?" And the rock replied, "I am World. I do not walk the Void, but I rest here, waiting."

"For what do you wait?" asked Ereal.

"I do not know," replied the World. "But I have found it. I have waited here always, and now you have arrived."

"Waited for me?" replied Ereal, astounded. "Why? For what purpose?"

To which the World replied, "I do not know. But come, lie down with me. We were and are for each other, at least now." And the World was so happy that she cried tears of joy and sadness, and water ran over her. And as she had asked, Ereal lay down with the world, and from that union World was impregnated, and she blossomed fertile with the promise of life to come, which would rise forth from her when the time was right and join World and Ereal in the Void.

And after he lay with her, World said, "Come, I am cold. Lie close beside me, and hold me in your embrace, for our children are within my womb, and you must help me care for them." Ereal considered this. He was a kind god, and rather than becoming bitter that World made such demands upon him, Ereal was filled with affection for his children to be born.

"They shall be my sons and daughters," replied Ereal. "I will lie close to you and keep you warm, that they may be born strong and walk the void, lighting it as their father has. We shall fill the Void with our offspring, World, and dispel it, and it shall be the home and servant of our children."

But World was unswayed by Ereal's bragging. She knew with the heart of a woman that Ereal had the weakness of pride which is in all men. Still, she did not hate him for it, but felt rather a kind of quiet affection. She did not reply to him, but smiled the knowing smile of a woman who will not share her secrets, and she settled down to rest as her belly grew big with Ereal's get.

As time passed, life blossomed in World. Her salty tears at meeting her husband became the seas, and creatures of all kinds bloomed on the rock that was World. As life from their marriage bed came to World, fish appeared in her seas, and Ereal warmed them. All manner of forests and crops came to grow on the land, and Ereal gave them sustainance. Animals ate the plants, and fish ate the plants, and animals ate the fish, and World blossomed with the secret glow of an expectant mother, and Ereal watched with pride, bathing them in his warmth.

In time, other things grew. In time, Man came to life on World, and when Ereal saw Man, he knew that he was seeing the face of his children. As the animals ate the plants, so did Man eat the animals. And as Man ate the animals, the animals tried to eat Man.

First Horse tried to eat man, gnashing at him with dull teeth, but Man was clever, and he bridled Horse, wrapping Horse in leather and beating him with a stick, until Horse cried, "Stop! I was a fool to attack Man, for you are the greatest child of Ereal! Stop, and I shall always serve you," and Man relented, no longer beating Horse, but he did not remove the leather wrappings from Horse, and Horse wears Man's bridle to this day, Man's faithful servant in all things.

Then did Cow attack man, but Man fought back with anger and intelligence, riding fast and far upon the back of Horse, crushing Cow with weapons of stone and wood, until Cow cried, "Hold! If you strike me again, you will slay me forever! Only do not slay me, and my children shall obey you, giving you their bodies as meat and their milk as drink, as long as you promise never to erase them from World!" And Man relented, and Cow came to serve him, and Man has kept his vow, and though Man ate of Cow's flesh and drank of her milk, she prospered under his care and grew large and fat.

So too did several other animals attack Man: Sheep, Goose, Dog, Cat, Mule, Ox, Chicken, Duck- all did Man master, or they were driven far from him, to hide in the dark places of the world, away from the healing and strengthening light of Ereal.

And as World was a woman, she was overcome by fits of temper, and sometimes fierce storms blew across her face, storms which erupted from her heart and swept with a mighty fury over her, but in time these passed, and for the most part, World held her mighty temper in check. But when the storms grew too fierce and World cried to Ereal, "Look what you have done to me! I have grown fat with your child and you are happy about it!", Ereal knew that he should move away for a while. He moved a few steps away, so that World could not lash out at him with her temper, but as he gave World more room in the Void, winter swept across her, and Man grew cold.

Ereal had pity upon Man, and the Sun reached into his belly and pulled forth a sliver of his own heart. This he placed in Man's cold hands, saying: "I must leave World for a time, for she grows tired of my company. But remember me by this part of me until I return." And Man called this sliver of Ereal's heart "Fire", and with it he warmed his home and cooked his food and obtained all manner of benefit, for a sliver of Ereal's heart was of great value indeed.

When World's temper had cooled, Ereal returned to her, and summer came to the world again, but always she had fits of ire, and at these times, Ereal, who had little ire in himself, grew frustrated with her and, rather than war with his wife, moved out of earshot, and at these times, Winter came again. So it is that every year, Ereal moves a little farther from World for a while until she allows him to return to her side, and every year World welcomes her husband back, and the celebration of their reconciliation is the wild, crazy riot of life known as spring.

Time passed, and Ereal looked at World and saw that his children had multiplied. There were many men now, and all of them busy with their little lives and their little wars. Ereal tried to watch them all, but he was too busy, for he had so many children now that he had to move constantly back and forth across World so that flowers could bloom and crops could ripen. From orchard to meadow to forest he walked, reveling in the beauty of his offspring. But as Ereal moved across World, he could not spend much time with his children. Some grew sick and died. Others lived in darkness, blinded by their own ignorance. Still others foolishly consumed World herself, thinking that eating their mother would make them strong.

"I must teach my children," thought Ereal, "but there are so many! How will I teach them all?" Then Ereal had an idea, and as he moved across the face of World he searched, looking down upon Man, until he saw a lowly shepherd playing his pipes in a field. And Ereal moved over the field and asked the shepherd, "Ho, Shepherd, how is it that you are so happy when so many across World are suffering?" And the shepherd replied, "My sheep are fed. My belly is full. The sun shines down upon me, warming my bed here upon the grass. The people of World are good, but they are like children. They need help to live, and to see and to feel. They need someone to teach them the beauties of life."

And Ereal thought, "This shepherd is the man for me." So he said, "Shepherd, will you serve me?" And the Shepherd replied smartly, "Will you serve me instead?" And Ereal replied, "I already serve you, for I make your bed warm and I make the grass grow for your sheep to eat. I have given you fire, and I ripen the crops in your fields." And the Shepherd, who was wise, thought about this. Then he said, "You serve me. So shall I serve you. Speak, and I am yours to command." And Ereal said to the Shepherd, "I command you thus: go forth into the world, finding your fellow men, and give them my blessing. Heal them in their sickness, educate them in their ignorance, and protect them from their own destructive hearts."

And as Father Ereal had commanded, so did the shepherd obey. He moved through the world, teaching others of Ereal. But he found that the world was a large place, filled with many people. So as Ereal had commanded him, so did the shepherd command other men of gentle hearts, teaching them how to heal the sick, and how to see the truth, and how to live in harmony with their mother the World.

So to this day do the Priests of Ereal follow the example of the shepherd, serving, as our lord Ereal has commanded, for Ereal loves the world and the people in it, but he is so busy ripening crops and warming the waters that he cannot possibly serve each man directly. The Priests of Ereal heal and teach and protect for their Lord of the Morning, Light, and Warmth, doing the work that their god has commanded them to do.

Someday, World's time will come, and she will give birth to her children. The sons and daughters of Ereal will walk the Void with their father, but to do so they must be strong and wise and gentle. It is the task of the Cult of Ereal to heal their bodies and light their way and protect World until the time of mankind's birth arrives.

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