March 25, 2014

THE FIRST CHILD

“The beginning, if there is one, is beyond us. Our knowledge begins with The Divine Siblings and Their adventures in the After, where, for an eternity of eternities, They matured in contentment. Schöpfer hunted. Muumba sang. Seisakusha fishing. Creador built. But eventually, They did as gods do.

“They grew bored.
“To break the monotony of eternity, the Divine Siblings created the world and filled it with simple creatures of the basest instincts. For a time, They were content to watch Their creatures grow and transform. Some sprouted feathers and took to the sky. Some grew fins and learned to breathe water. Still more perished altogether, unable to adapt to the world as it changed around them. The evolutions proved fascinating to behold, but for all their many adaptations, not a single beast developed a wit or soul, and therefore could not nourish the Divine Siblings with intellectual sport or spiritual sustenance. Time passed.
“The gods grew bored.
“One day, while swimming with Her favorite pod, Seisakusha became fascinated by the nurturing relationship between dolphin calf and cow. The affection displayed through the familial bond inspired Her. She Sent her thoughts to Her Siblings, scattered throughout the After in Their individual realms, ‘Sister! Brothers! Let us make a Child!’
“In the West, Creador toiled at His smithy. He paused to wipe sweat from His burning brow, and then Sent thoughts back to His sister: ‘What is a Child?’
“In the wilds of the North, Schöpfer nocked an arrow to her mystical bow Tomorrow, and then took aim at one of the giant snow bears roaming Her realm, Amaranthine. She exhaled, released the arrow, and a moment later, the giant white bear fell down dead, a golden shaft through its heart. The day’s hunt complete, She bent Her thoughts toward Creador and the others and Sent, ’You remember children, Brother. The beasts make them. A male beast mounts a female and plants its seed in her. That seed grows into a whole new beast, one made up of bits of the male and bits of the female. It’s how they simulate immortality.’
” ‘It sounds messy,’ Creador Sent.
“’A Child?’ Muumba Sent from the Crooning Wood in the South. ‘Oh, this sounds like a grand undertaking! Our Child shall be the most beautiful creation We have fashioned yet!’
“With the gods in agreement, each returned to His or Her domain to prepare.
“Schöpfer knew of a rare and mystical clay deposit deep beneath the Amaranthine Mountains, a rich crimson adobe, dense enough to take and hold the spark of immortal life. For thirteen days and thirteen nights, the one-breasted goddess dug. Physically, She was the mightiest of the Divine Siblings, and She tore through the rock and turf with Her massive bare hands, mining the mystical loam and packing it into wagons. When She had done, She summoned Her companion Radulf, the leader of the Wulframn, a pack of giant, intelligent wolves with wings like a raven’s.
“Schöpfer bade Radulf’ and his pack to fly the loaded wagons to Her brother’s realm in the South, and the Wulframn obeyed, spreading their silky black wings and launching into the indigo skies of the AFter. For thirteen days and twelve nights they flew. On the thirteenth night they reached the Crystal Hall, deep within the Crooning Wood, where Muumba lived and created divine works of poetry and art and song.
“’Hallo, Brother,’ Schöpfer said upon delivering Her precious cargo. ‘Here is clay for You to shape in Our image.’
“’Asante, Sister,’ Muumba said. He showed the Wulframn where to deposit the clay, bid them all farewell, and went to work.
“For thirteen days and twelve nights Muumba molded the rich red clay with His eight clever hands, sculpting only the comeliest of His siblings’ features onto the faces of the Child. On the thirteenth night He gazed upon His finished work, one hundred faces of stunning beauty, the first of my people. But those faces were shells, hollow and without life. Muumba packed them onto the backs of His favorite spiders and led them across a silken web that stretched from the Southern shores of the Crooning Beach all the way to the Nephrite Isle on the Sea Eternal, home to Seisakusha when She was not ranging the emerald deeps. He found His sister lounging on a jade beach, dreaming rapturous dreams and sunning Her long virescent tail in the golden rays of the sun.
“’Habari, Sister,’ Muumba said upon delivering the hollow faces. ‘Vessels for You to fill with the Waters of Life.’
“’Arigatō, Brother,’ Seisakusha said. She showed the spiders where to leave the lifeless vessels and bid them all good day so that She could get to work.
“For thirteen days and thirteen nights Seisakusha drank deeply of the Sea Eternal, passing the divine waters through Her serpentine body, transforming it into the raw, sludgy fluid of existence, which She then poured into each face of the First Child. But immortal life is ignited by Celestial Flame, so Seisakusha summoned Her brother, the god of fire, to lend the Child His spark. But Creador could not travel Muumba’s webs, for He burned too hot and would melt them away. Nor could He swim or fly.
“But He could build.
“For thirteen days and thirteen nights Creador assembled lumber from the Spirit Wood to bridge the Sea Eternal. He met Seisakusha on the Nephrite Isle and Their siblings arrived shortly thereafter to witness the birth of my people, the First Child of the gods.
“’ Kon’nichiwa, Brother,’ Seisakusha said to Creador. ‘A Child for you to ignite with life.’
“’Gracias, Sister,” Creador said, and filled Himself with with Celestial Flame. The halo of fire about His head grew so bright that even His Siblings had to shield Their eyes or risk blindness.
“Creador stood before each face of the Child in turn, kissing all one hundred sets of cold, crimson lips. One by one, the first of my people opened their eyes, which blazed with the golden fire of eternal life. When He had done, Creador stepped away from the First Child and joined His brother and sisters to gaze upon one hundred faces so exquisite that even the gods wept to behold them.
“And thus my people, the First Child, were born.
“The gods loved us. And we returned that love with all of our hearts.
“And so it was for a time, but then the gods did as gods do.
“They grew bored.
“In Their complacency, the Divine Siblings took our love for granted and after a time, ignored us. Despite the neglect, we grew and learned and reproduced. We had souls beyond measure and lives unending. Over time, we, the First Child, came to resent the forced worship of gods we rarely saw. By the time the gods realized we had moved beyond Them, it was too late. The First Child needed Their love no longer. We refused to heed Them, refused even to be named by Them, and we told Them so.
“’We are your children no longer. We are duende.’”
–Wicasa the Sage