In the beginning, the earth was as dry as a stone. No water trickled over its surface, no living thing grew in its soil. Then, out of the need of the earth, the gods appeared. The first one was the Shining One, the Lord of the Sun. His queen was the Lady of the Moon, the Silver One, goddess of women and all that is secret. The final god was the Lord of the Underworld, the very embodiment of death, the Black One. Together, they flew to the dry, scorched pebble in the universe that was the earth. Their tears mingled and formed the Great River, and out of the mud on its banks they shaped man and woman. The Shining One gave them joy, the Silver One gave them sorrow, and the Black One gave them peace.
The man and woman loved one another, and gave birth to three children, who ruled over all the earth. The eldest daughter ruled the earth, the only son the seas, and the youngest, another girl, the air. Fish, birds, and animals were created in every shape and form by these three, and their parents did as the gods did and fashioned humans out of clay and mud. When the earth had been populated by these, they faded back into the mud from whence they came.
The Shining One and the Silver One gave the creatures life and sleep, and when they wearied of the world, the Black One welcomed them into his gentle arms. For it was the true nature of Death to be kind, and give old creatures eternal rest.
The people of the earth separated into three tribes: earth, water, and air. The ones of the earth lived on grassy plains that rippled in the wind, the ones of water lived in lakes on gently floating platforms, and the ones of air lived high in the treetops, some of their feet never touching the ground as long as they lived. Today, only the tribe of the land remains. What happened to the others?
Even today, mountains rumble and spew fire into the heavens. They are the result of the tremendous anger of the Shining One at the humans on earth. Loathing their irreverent ways, the Lord of the Sun drove his flaming horses down to earth and lit the world on fire. The Black One, who could not bear to see innocent life destroyed, hollowed out the largest mountains in the world and filled them with the liquid fire that raged over earth. He walked over the world, touching those that had been harmed and giving them eternal rest.
The people of the air had been killed when their trees burned, falling to their deaths from enormous heights. The people of the sea had drowned in the boiling waters of their lakes and oceans. The people of the land had only survived by hiding in the deepest caves they could find, where it is eternally dark and damp and evil things whisper from the shadows. When the terrible heat faded, they went again to the top of the earth and grieved to see their brothers and sisters broken and drowned. They knew this was a sign from the Shining One, and immediately fell on their knees and praised him. Now, whenever the sun beat down and the rain did not fall, the people knew they had angered the Shining One, and would cover their eyes and beg with the Lord of the Sun to forgive their mistake.
The Lady of the Moon partnered with the Shining One, and they had many children. The sons were the clouds, who floated by their father in the daytime, and the daughters were the stars, who wheeled around their mother in the blackest nights. Once in an eternity, a star would fall in love with a man on earth, and streak toward him in a shower of light. She would never stay past midnight, and if she bore him a child, a pure white dove would fly to earth with the baby and present it to its father. To this day, the old women in mountain villages know when a child does not have an earthly mother, and whisper to each other, “He is a star-child…. she is a star-child….” The wise old women would always know, but few would believe them.
One star-child was a girl named Lunae, which in an old language means “moonlight.” Her father was a common woodsman, but one of the most handsome men in the village. He had often told her about the star-woman that had shot from the sky into a forest clearing one moonlit night. She wore jewels of moonlight, and a dress of purest linen. The woodsman had never seen her again, but the image of her was enough to sustain him until he passed into the realm of the Black One.
Lunae took after her mother in looks, and her father in wildness. She ran the woods at night, racing as swiftly as the wind. She always brought with her a silver bow, and any of her arrows was a compass, staying dead on its course until it met its target. Often, the people of the hills and mountains would awake and look out the window to see a beautiful starlit maiden dancing in their fields. Then she would be gone, as soon as they blinked.
One moonlit night, the Lord of the Underworld saw her dancing among the hills and trees and rivers. He stepped out softly in front of her, so as not to startle her; then he gifted her with the power to make anyone fall in love, simply by touching them, ever so lightly, with one of her silver arrows. She lived on the earth for all eternity, shooting swift arrows of love at anyone, man or woman, king or slave, noble or knave. The world was made a happier place for her presence.