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Old 05-24-2013, 02:38 PM
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Default [01.3] Quintism: Tales of The Gods

"The Lost Twins"
Set in Eglos, on the Isle of Ayron, is the tale of twins born from the Goddess Amelie to a mortal woman. Aoran and Anora have become names that mothers speak to their children in warning.

If they are naughty or rude, mothers tell their children that Anora will take them away, that they will never see their families again and will be forced to live alone in the forest.

Families typically pray to Aoran in the hopes that he will return lost loved ones to them. Young men who are lost in battle or children who had run from home.

"Enkil's Blessing"
Summary here

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Old 05-24-2013, 02:39 PM
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Default Tales of The Gods

There was once a young woman with an old, cold heart. Her iciness seemingly had no source; her parents were loving, her siblings kind. It was as if the freeze of the winter morning she was born on had seeped into her tiny body and never left. She never smiled, and it is said that no living ears ever heard her laugh. Solitary and quiet, a reputation formed around her; although she never spoke an unkind word people thought her to be cruel, and although she never lifted a finger to harm another she became feared.

When she was old enough, she left her home and retreated into the wilderness, where she lived alone and relied on no one. From the door of her small stone house she could see the ocean through the trees, and she spent her days tending her garden and caring for the animals she kept. The only words she ever spoke were in prayer to the gods, and to Amelie most especially.

She had always felt a connection to the dark goddess. Always spoken of in whispers, feared and yet largely unknown, Amelie was the closest the woman ever got to feeling like she belonged to someone. To the other gods her prayers were simple, an offering of thanks for her animals and crops and continued peace. To Amelie her prayers were like a diary, an outpouring of her soul, every emotion she ever had but was unable to show manifesting themselves in those moments when she felt closest to the goddess.

And Amelie listened.

The thing that the young woman wanted more than anything, deep within her heart, was children of her own. She longed for the completeness of motherhood, to finally have someone who would not judge her as the others did. She did not desire a husband, nor did she long for the more temporary company of a man, for all who lived on the island feared her, but in her heart she wished for nothing more fervently than to become with child.

One night, as she finished her prayers and stood to tend the fire once more before bed, the young woman heard a knock on her front door. She was instantly alarmed, but also curious; her reputation alone was enough to keep thieves away, and nobody knew her enough to visit. Upon opening the door, she saw a figure cloaked all in black, who said nothing but stepped past her into the room that contained the young woman’s entire life. The young woman watched as the figure dropped the dark hood and looked at her with eyes that could see straight through her to her very soul, and she knew that she was in the presence of the goddess she loved above all others. Falling to her knees, she lay her forehead against the earthen floor, not daring to look at the figure that stood before her.

“You do not fear me,” spoke the dark goddess, her voice like the echoes of time itself. The young woman only shook her head, still not lifting her eyes beyond the floor. “Then look upon me, and hear my words.”

The young woman stood and looked the goddess in the face, taking in her features as Amelie, in turn, examined the woman. “I have heard you speaking to me, night after night. I have heard your wishes and your hopes, your fears and your hatreds. I have seen how those surrounding you have treated you, and I have heard the stories that surround you. You need no other, yet you long for a heart to beat with your own. You want no man, yet you desire the consequence of intimacy.” The woman could only look on, for any commentary was useless. “I can give you that which you desire,” Amelie said, “but a prize given must be repaid.”

The young woman looked at Amelie, her mind working furiously before she responded. While she wanted nothing more than to have a child, she also knew that the gods did not give favors lightly. “What is the cost?”

Amelie chuckled, although it was not necessarily a kind sound. “I always knew I liked know the right questions to be asked.” The goddess shifted, and her cloak parted; beneath she wore nothing, her skin pale as moonlight. “I have the power to give you that which you long for most, but in return, when your children are old enough, they will enter in to service to me.”

The young woman cocked her head to the side, brows furrowed in question. “They?”

Amelie smiled. “Perceptive, as well. I am pleased. Yes, they, for if you accept I shall grant you twins. They shall be yours for the rearing, but when they reach the age of sixteen, I shall come to claim you. From then on they will be neither human nor god, and they shall go among the people and do as I bid. That is your offer, and I shall make no other.”

The young woman thought on this. Sixteen years hence she would be nowhere near the normal age of death...but at the same time, it meant she was promised those sixteen years, which is a gift no other person could boast. She would be taken from her children, but she would have had the chance to share her life with someone at last. Amelie looked on her as she thought, a smile playing on her lips. Finally the young woman decided, and she met the goddess’s eyes with conviction. “I shall accept your offer, with gratitude.”

Amelie’s smile broadened, and she placed her hands on the woman’s shoulders. “I knew you would not fail me, my child. But now I have one other question for you, and I promise it comes with no tricks: I can take the form of a man, one to match your keenest fantasies, and thus place my seed within you; or, if you prefer, the process may be achieved with nothing more than a touch from my hand. The choice is yours to make.”

This question, too, gave the young woman pause. She had long ago learned that she needed no man to satisfy her physical needs, but the idea was enough to make her blood run hotter. But at the same time, if she knew a man once, would she not long for one again? Surely it would be safer to simply forgo the whole process and never know something which could then be missed in its absence. And yet her whole life had been lived conservatively; could she really turn down the opportunity offered her by one of the very gods?

The blush on her cheeks as she met Amelie’s eyes once more gave her answer before she spoke the words, and Amelie lifted a finger to the woman’s lips, silencing her. In the same moment, her figure wavered, becoming like smoke and changing before the young woman’s eyes. What stood before her now was still clothed only in a black cloak, skin still as pale and perfect as moonlight, but where once was a small and beautiful woman, now stood a tall and powerful man. He was just as the young woman had always pictured, and no words were spoken as he took her in his arms and lay her down.

The goddess was true to her word, and nine months later had another visitor coming to the young woman’s door. Very heavily pregnant, she had not yet stood from her chair before the door was opened, and a young looking girl entered, carrying a large basket. “I am of Akna,” she said, “and Amelie has asked that I be sent to see you to your children.”

The children of Amelie were born in the same way as every other child, with pain and hard work and blood. But they were born strong and healthy, and the Child of Akna stayed with the young woman until she was recovered enough to take care of her children on her own. Then the young mother was left to rear her children, one boy and one girl, alone.

The years passed, and although they lived in isolation, the children wanted for nothing. They were never spared from the truth of their parentage or their mother’s fate, but as it was not presented with any sort of fear or negativity, they accepted it readily. As they grew, the children’s personalities differed greatly; the boy, Aoran, was kind, merciful, and caring; the girl, Anora, was colder, her moods far more volatile and wicked. Both had the look of the goddess who came to their mother; their features were beautiful, their skin pale and cool, their hair dark. But they were loved and cherished, and their mother was never regretful of her decision.

It seemed the sixteen years passed within the span of one, but Amelie was as good as her word; shortly after the twins’ birthday she visited the cottage once more, and this time she took the mother with her. Although she was sad for having to leave her children, she was not fearful, and after kissing them one last time she lay her hand in Amelie’s and walked with her out the door.

When the woman was gone, the villagers were drawn to her small cottage. It had only been fear that had kept them away, and they were curious to know how she had lived, and if she had indeed somehow had children. The mothers of the town reasoned that if there were children there, they would have been living in horrible conditions, and now that their mother was gone they could be taken and given proper attention. However, when the twins heard them come, they fled into the forest, their bodies turning to nothing but shadows as they watched the people fall upon their home.

Fear still ruled the people, and although there was nothing at all wrong with what they found, they were determined to find evil there. They saw her collection of herbs, the three beds instead of just one, the drawings the children had made when they were small, and to all of these things they assigned dire intent. Surely she had been cursing the village! Their crops were not growing as well, it must have been her fault! She had been sending foxes into their hen houses to get back at them!

It did not take much for the fear to turn to anger to turn to hate. The villagers, to insure that the woman’s evil would not be able to touch them any longer, set fire to the hut. The men tore down her walls, and the women ripped up her garden and released her animals. When they were finished, there was nothing left of the small home but rubble and ashes, only the chimney rising above to show that there had once been order and purpose to the place.

And the twins watched it all.

They watched in horror, unable to stop the destruction, their wails and screams falling only on the ears of the gods. Anora seethed for vengeance, and nothing her brother could say would dissuade her. The people wanted to believe that her mother had been doing these things? She would prove that it was not her mother. She would bring such sorrow onto them that they would wail to their gods to deliver them, but it would not work. She vowed to take from them what they loved the most, just as they had done to her.

Aoran saw things differently. He looked upon the people with pity, that their minds and hearts were so small and closed that they could not see the truth of it. His heart was so broken by the actions of the people that he knew not what to do, and while Anora went off to exact her revenge, he sat, alone and despondent, atop the rubble of his home.

Anora was as good as her word. She used the powers that her goddess mother had passed on to her to torment the people. Sickness spread, crops failed, children were taken from their beds. No one knew what to do, and blame was being thrown on every doorstep. The town was tearing itself apart, and Anora simply watched it all and laughed.

One night, one of the children Anora had taken and left in the forest happened upon the place where the hut had been. The child, too young to be too much afraid, heard weeping but saw no person. She called out, her voice small but kind. Aoran looked up from where he sat and watched the child as she wandered, her brow furrowed in worry not for her own situation, but for whoever was around her that was sad. Slowly, he shimmered into being, expecting the girl to run in terror. Instead, she looked at him curiously, and asked “Are you the one who is sad?”

“Yes,” he said, his voice gentle. “I am sad. Are you not afraid of me, small one?” The little girl shook her head, standing a little taller. “Why are you sad? Are you sick?” Aoran smiled sadly, standing and moving toward the child. “I am not sick, no. You see, this used to be my home. But people from the nearby village were afraid, and knocked it all down.”

The little girl cocked her head to the side, looking at the rocks that the forest had already started to reclaim. “You used to live here? Mummy always said that there had been an evil woman here, and that she was who had made everyone sick. But you’re not a woman...and I don’t think you’d make anyone sick.”

“No, indeed I am not a woman. My mother lived here, with my sister and I. She was gentle and kind, but very quiet. She was no more evil than you.” The little girl scowled. “But I’m not evil at all!” Aoran smiled and nodded. “Exactly. But little girl, what are you doing out here alone at night? Shouldn’t you be home with your mother?”

The little girl looked scared for the first time, but only a little. “I was, but then I fell asleep and when I woke up I was in the middle of the forest. I don’t know where home is anymore.”

Aoran recognized his sister’s work. She had promised to destroy lives, but it was obvious that this little girl did not deserve to be punished. Her heart was free of the hate that Anora was so bent on punishing. Bending down, Aoran opened his arms. “Come with me, little one, and I shall take you home.”

He carried the girl home in his arms, where she slept as peacefully as if it were her own father carrying her. Dawn was not yet breaking as he knocked on the door to her home, and the woman who answered the door wore a face lined with terror and mourning. Her jaw dropped in awe as Aoran silently handed the girl over, and he disappeared before she could say anything.

Things went in the same way for some time. Anora was still wreaking havoc, but Aoran did what he could to lead those who were lost home again. Over time the villagers began to pray to him when someone was lost, that he may help them find their way home again. Others prayed to both twins, hoping that perhaps if they left Anora offerings that she would spare them. The story the little girl told of being saved by the son of the woman who had lived in the woods was repeated by others who were rescued, and soon the villagers believed. They went down to the place where the house had stood, now turning green as the forest reclaimed it, and with the stones that had once been the walls, they built two small shrines. One was dedicated to Anora, the other to Aoran. Offerings were laid to each, and some families even left small offerings at the hearth, as an apology to the twins’ mother, in hopes of pleasing them more.

Placated by this tribute, Anora scaled back her reign of terror. She left the small island, and wandered the world, spreading discord in villages which were ruled by fear and hate. Aoran followed, and led those he could home. And so their legend spread, and people began traveling from all corners of the world to the small island that had been the twins’ home, leaving offerings for them. Other shrines for them sprang up, but none were said to be as potent as the one built from the stones of their home.

To this day, children are told the story of the mother who bore the children of Amelie. The tale serves as a warning that if their hearts are bent toward evil, Anora will find some way to lead them away, and then they must hope that Aoran shall hear them and lead them back home.
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Old 08-23-2013, 03:39 PM
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Default Tales of The Gods

Once, as the old ones tell, there was a beautiful young girl who lived in a small village on the shores of a lake. This young girl lived in a house that was very close to the water, and at night, when she lay in her bed, she could see the moon reflecting off of the still, dark waters. While others complained that the light kept them awake, this young girl, whose name was Chasca, never did. “The moon keeps me company at night,” she once told her father, “and so I never feel alone.”

And so it happened that one night, as Chasca lay in her bed, she could not sleep. She felt alone and scared as she lay in the dark, and, looking out her window, she saw why: the moon was not there! Rising from her bed, she hurried outside into the darkness, looking up into the sky and desperately trying to find the moon. “Oh, glorious moon!” she cried to the heavens. “Oh, please tell me you aren’t gone forever!”

A soft voice replied to her. “Sweet girl, do not weep. The moon is fine, and will be back tomorrow night.” Frightened, Chasca looked around; she had been alone just a moment before. There, walking out of the shadows of the forest, was a man with a kind face. He stopped before her and smiled, shaking his head at her fear. “You do not have need to fear me, Chasca. For I have lain with you in your bed nearly ever night.”

Chasca was confused, and even more afraid. “But sir, the only thing I have ever shared my bed with is the moonlight.” And the man nodded. “I know. My name is Enkil, and I am the god of the moon.” Chasca stared at him in disbelief, but he simply held out his hand. “One touch of my hand and you will know the truth.” Hesitantly, Chasca put her hand in his, and she knew: this strange man was indeed Enkil, the god of the moon.

“But Enkil, if you are the god of the moon, why are you not in the sky? Who will keep me from being alone at night if you are not there?” Enkil smiled down at the girl. “You need not fear,” he said. “I am allowed one night a month where I may walk the earth and be close to those I look over every night. And tonight I chose to come visit you.”

Chasca was honored and humbled, unaware that she would have caught the attention of one of the gods. “Thank you,” she said, bowing to him. He simply smiled and shook his head, placing his hands on her shoulders to make her stand straight again. “It is I who must thank you, for your devotion is a pleasure. I shall visit you again, Chasca, but now I must go.” And as she stood and watched, Enkil walked back into the shadows of the forest.

Time passed, and every few months Enkil visited Chasca. They would sit on the beach, and Enkil would listen to the girl speak of her life. It pleased him to hear of how the humans were living, and she loved having an attentive audience. He would stay for only a few hours, and then he would be gone, but Chasca knew he was not gone for long; the next night, when moonlight would hit her bed, she knew he was there.

The years passed quickly for Chasca, as she was always anticipating when Enkil would come visit. The years saw her grow into a young woman, and her beauty soon blossomed. Many in the village admired her, and she got many requests for suitors. Chasca, however, did not see any of them. Her heart, she realized, had always belonged to Enkil.

One night when the moon god came down to visit, he asked Chasca about her suitors. He had seen many men come to her family’s door in the evenings as he was first rising, but all were turned away. Why, he wondered, when she had grown into such a beautiful woman? Were the men of her village really so bad?

Chasca shook her head. “No, they aren’t all bad. It is just that my heart belongs to someone already, and I feel it is important to remain faithful.” Enkil cocked his head to the side. He hadn’t seen any man come and go from her house. Was she wooed only during the day? Again, Chasca shook her head. “ heart belongs to you, Enkil.”

A smile rose to Enkil’s face. “And you have seen no other, for you say your heart is mine?” Chasca shook her head. Enkil was honored by her demonstration, and wanted to reward her somehow. “For your devotion, I wish to give you a gift. For as long as you stay faithful to me, pure from the touch of any man, you shall remain youthful. Your beauty will not fade like that of other women, and you will not grow old.” Chasca was honored, and she professed her thanks over and over. And then, as always, Enkil had to leave.

Years wore on. Chasca remained faithful to Enkil, and the moon god visited her regularly. She remained pure, even from his touch, and as such she remained beautiful and young while all those around her aged. She moved from town to town, never staying long in one place. The world was one large adventure, and Chasca relished the opportunity to see much of it.

So it happened that Chasca found herself in a town very far from where she was born. While she was out one night, waiting for Enkil to arrive, she was happened upon by a handsome young man. “Why do you sit out alone in the night?” he asked her. Chasca had never been caught waiting for Enkil before, and she was not sure if others would understand or believe her. “I enjoy the night time,” came her simple reply. Undeterred, the young man sat beside her and struck up a conversation. Chasca, finding him to be very charming, lost herself in his friendly smile. The night wore on, and she forgot completely that she was supposed to meet Enkil.

The god, however, had not forgotten. He had heard Chasca’s voice, speaking with another, and rather than interrupt, he had simply waited to make sure Chasca wasn’t in danger before moving on. “If Chasca wishes to speak to another man on the night I visit, I shall not stop her,” he thought to himself as he drifted off like a shadow through the sky. He did resolve to watch her, though, to make sure she was keeping good on her promise.

The sun began to rise, and Chasca remembered herself. “Oh! I have done a horrible thing!” she cried, standing up and rushing toward the west, where the shadows were still deep as night. “What have you done?” the young man asked, concerned and worried that he had done something wrong. “I...I was to meet someone here tonight, and our voices must have scared him off!” Realizing that perhaps she meant a lover, the young man apologized. “I’m sorry if I have ruined anything...but your beauty in the light of the lantern you held was so captivating, I could not resist. Please, accept my apologies. I shall not intrude again.”

Over the weeks, however, Chasca saw much of the handsome young man. She found she enjoyed his company so much she could hardly get enough of seeing him. He was on her mind as she fell asleep, and it was her thoughts of him that kept her company in the darkness now. Enkil kept a keen eye, but never saw any man come to Chasca at night, and she never visited anyone else.

The next time they were to meet, however, Chasca was not as carefree as normal. Enkil, sensing something was wrong, kissed her forehead as he often did to comfort her. “Oh, Enkil,” she said, tears springing to her eyes, “Enkil, I don’t know what to do!” Wrapping Chasca in his arms, Enkil asked what was wrong.

“I...I do not know,” she said, “but I feel terrible guilt. There’s a man in the town, and I very much like him. But it is almost time for me to move on, and I...I cannot imagine leaving him behind! But I also cannot tell him my secret...who would believe me?”

Enkil, who knew what was truly bothering Chasca, smiled kindly. “I believe you have a little more time before you must move on. Think about this man, Chasca, and the true nature of your feelings for him. The next time I visit, we shall speak more of him.” And with that, he took his leave again.

Chasca did as Enkil had asked. She spent time with the man, and when she was away from him she thought long and hard about how she felt about him. When Enkil visited again, she had an answer for him, although she was afraid to give it to him. She accepted his kiss, but could not meet his eyes. “My Chasca, what bothers you so?”

“I have done as you asked, Enkil,” she said. “I have thought about how I truly feel for young man I met. I...I love him, Enkil. I am so sorry, but...I cannot imagine living without him, but I also cannot imagine watching him age while I stay young.” Enkil smiled kindly at her, and cupped her face in his hands to lift her eyes to his.

“I have been waiting for you to find the man who was made for you,” he said. “I will release you, Chasca, and I will bless your union with him, but you must do me one thing in return.” Chasca, who was so relieved and full of thanks for this most benevolent of gods, nodded. “I will do anything for you.”

Enkil smiled. “You must promise to keep yourself pure for a little longer, my Chasca. Keep your purity until you are married to him. Show your piety and honor me with your restraint. The night before the marriage, come out into the moonlight and I shall bathe you in my blessing. If you do these things, you will have a happy marriage.”

Chasca did as her god asked of her. She agreed to marry the handsome young man, and kept herself pure. The night before the ceremony, she stepped out into the full moonlight, and knelt before the moon. “Oh, great Enkil,” she whispered, “I have done exactly as you asked. I honor you with my actions, and I go to my marriage bed with your blessing.” Although she did not get an answer, she knew that she was heard.

Enkil never visited Chasca again, although he did look down on her from time to time. She married her handsome young man, and their marriage was without strife. Chasca grew old with her husband, and she taught her children to do as she had done, and Enkil, in turn, blessed them when they got married. And so it spread, and so it is today.
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