27 July 2007

Historia Antiquitatis - Part II

The following is another excerpt from the Historia Antiquitatis, by Ceorlinus Rectinarius, Sapienter Regalis of the Third House of Elvehelm, who lived, flourished, wrote, sang and died nearly a thousand years ago.

Sæculum Factionis ab Liberi Bræa

Fearing defeat in the War, Bræa pleaded with Anā for counsel; and both the Anari and the Uruqua were permitted to create new beings, of great but lesser stature, to serve in their wars. These new lives were to be weak in power but unlimited in number; and the skill of their creators would determine success or failure. But because this meant shattering the accord between Anā and Ūru (which in truth had already been breached by Bardan), the creation of the new beings, although undertaken by Bræa alone, was perforce accompanied by the Ban, which forbade the creation of any more beings of speech, and free will, and immortal spirit within Anuru.

And so Bræa laboured and brought forth the Eldest, the Brahiri, which name means “Children of Bræa”; and they were fair of face and unlike any beings yet seen within the confines of Anuru. Four peoples of the Brahiri were created. The First People were tall and very fair, with pale skin and dark hair and eyes; and they were patient and gentle, and on their brow was writ Wisdom. The Second People were short, broad and dark of hair and skin; and they were strong and enduring as the stones of world upon which they trod. The Third People were tall, fair-haired and blue-eyed, and these were fleet of foot and eager to know the secrets of Anuru; and the Fourth People were small, nimble and dark of skin and hair, and quick and clever. These were the People of the Spoken Word, created by Bræa, ever after called The Kindred; and in the instant of their waking, Anā closed the door of creation, and no more speaking creatures of free will and immortal spirit could ever after be called into being by the Powers upon Anuru, for good or for ill. And this sealing for all time of the door of creation was called the Ban of Anā.

But Ūru, learning of the Ban of Anā, was wroth, for he perceived that the Peoples forged by Bræa, though yet young and but in the dawning of their powers, would fight for the Bringers of the Light; and though they were frail in comparison to the Powers, Avatars and Minions of the Dark, yet they were fecund, and soon would people Anuru in great numbers. So he strove mightily against the Ban, but it fell upon Anuru before he could undertake to oppose it. Thus, although he brought forth creatures and monsters innumerable, none could share the gifts of the Kindred of the Spoken Word, of Free Will, and of the Immortal Spirit; and were but beasts. And Ūru was wroth, and he seized instead upon many of his Minions of the Dark, and warped them into terrible and fell monsters, and set them in eternal enmity against the Children of Bræa; and so were created the fell serpents, the great spiders, the wolves of terror, the dragons, the giants, and all of the other horrors of Anuru. Some were lesser in strength and short-lived; but others were wise, mighty and long in years. And in time, some – especially the dragons – grew fell and terrible, exceeding the Minions in their power, to rival even the Avatars as the mightiest of the servants of the Dark.

While Ūru was withdrawn into the darkness and engaged in his hideous creations, abetted by Bardan, Zaman, and Tvalt, Bræa gathered her new-born Children in one place upon the earth and instructed them in the Spoken Word. And there was no time in that place, for the Lantern had not yet risen, nor had the Lamps that were to come in latter days; and the Children lived in peace and ease by the light and strength that lay in the Anari alone. They learned quickly; and as they learned, they grew in wisdom and power and independence; and Bræa, after a time, understood the terrible price that came with the Ban of Anā. For the Children of Bræa were not slaves; they knew no subservience to either Light or Dark, but were free of will, and so, unlike the Servants, the Avatars, and the Minions, free to disobey; even to oppose the Light, and to bend to the will and whim of evil. And this perplexed Bræa, for the Servants, the Avatars and the Minions of the Powers had been brought forth in servitude and obedience; and they could struggle, and argue, and twist; but in the end they could not rebel against their masters.

But the Children of Bræa were wilful; and although, compared to the greater beings, they were ephemeral, and fragile, and could be killed, yet they could not be cowed. And this freedom woke a kernel of fear in the bosom of Bræa; for she foresaw that this independence of spirit could lead them to follow and serve the Dark as easily as the Light. And moreover, for the Kindred, this independence of spirit, it seemed, endured even after death, for unlike the Avatars, the Minions, and even the Monsters of Bardan, the Kindred, when their bodies were slain, did not disappear forever from Anuru, but rather passed into the Long Halls of the Dead, under the eyes of Tvalt; whence the powerful might someday return.

And when she perceived this, Bræa railed against the light; and such was her despair at having unleashed Free Will upon Anuru that she sought to unmake her children, and return them to the stuff of Heaven and Earth whence they had come, lest they fall prey to the blandishments of Ūru, and so tip the balance even further against the Light. But Anā stayed Bræa’s hand, saying, “That which I have permitted thee to create, thou mayest not uncreate. Wouldst thou then slay thy sons and thy daughters for being not slaves? Thine dismay and distrust are unbecoming of the Light, and therefore do I say that these are now no longer thy children. While thou mayest instruct and even walk among them, never again will they hew unto you. No more are they in thy charge.”

And so saying, Anā summoned the Brothers of Bræa: Hara, Esu, Nosa and Lagu, and gave unto each of them the care and instruction of one of the Peoples. To Hara she bequeathed the care of the First People, those who were tall, dark-haired and wise, and they became the Haradi. To Lagu was given care of the Second People, those who were short, strong and of indomitable will, and they became the Lagudi. Esu received the care of the Third People, the Fair-haired Wanderers, to be known ever after as the Esudi; and Nosa was granted care over the small, nimble folk of the Fourth People, and they became the Nosadi. And the four brothers separated, taking their new charges to different parts of Anuru to instruct them as each saw fit. And Bræa did weep at this parting, and repented of her attempt to slay her children; and she vowed that ever after she would strive to protect and nurture them. But Anā forbade even this, warning Bræa that while she might still impart knowledge to her former Children, and even allow her Servants and Avatars to assist them, yet she could never raise her hand again, either in their defence of, or against them. And Bræa bowed her head in submission to Anā, and in grief at her loss. But in time, she found a means to subvert even the will of Anā, and give unto her children a gift that would strengthen them against their foes.

But for the nonce, her grief was all-consuming; and in that grief, the Light that was in Bræa left her, and she became a lowly and silent spirit, incomparably mighty, and of beauty unsurpassed; but quiet and humble. And rather than see it vanish from Anuru, Anā took the light of Bræa, and fashioned it into an orb of exceeding puissance and beauty, and placed it in the Heavens near unto Anuru, so that the light of Bræa could yet be seen by her Children, and they might feel her warmth upon their faces. And the orb was ever after called Bræadan, which in the language of the Anari, meant “Lantern of Bræa”.

But the will of Ūru was not to be denied; and he was wroth that the light of Bræa should fall without hindrance across all of Anuru, and lay bare the schemes of the Uruqua, and expose the fell pits in which his monsters were bred, and the dark vales in which they prospered. And so with a word, he set the Earth into motion, and spun it like a ball, so that all of the lands would know darkness as well as light, with each defeating the other in turn, allowing the Master of Shadow sufficient darkness for his fell deeds

Thus were created the days. And as the march of days began, so began the count of time; and with the count of time, the Age of Making ended, and the Age of Wisdom began.