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Rated: E · Sample · Fantasy · #1755499
This is a short writing experiment telling the creation myth of Aevar.
         Andra was daydreaming again. He knew, in some small part of his mind, that he should sit still and listen to the Wayfinder's lesson. However, the lesson was one that he had heard a hundred times in his sixteen years and it was not nearly so interesting as what he was drawing in the dirt with a stick. Andra did not know exactly what he was drawing, it was mostly a jumble of lines and shapes, nothing recognizable, but he found it oddly relaxing and quite interesting.

         The Wandering People were camped in the shadow of The Mountain and that shadow lay heavy on the land in the late morning. It was starting to get brighter though, that meant it was nearly time for lunch. Andra had to admit that a good lunch would not go amiss at the moment, though he could not get too terribly excited for the mushrooms that seemed to be all the foragers ever found in this land of shadows where the sun only showed itself for a few hours every day.

         Tapping the stick in the dirt, Andra looked up at The Mountain. It was massive. Huge beyond any comparison, jutting up into the sky several miles and leaning out over the highlands like a tree that spreads its branches over a river, roots firmly entrenched in the bank but reaching so far out that its a wonder is hasn't fallen over.  It would not fall over. Andra was almost sure of that. It had stood like that since the cataclysm, so the Wayfinders said anyways. Still, everyone besides the Wandering People avoided the Shadow of The Mountain and there were no cities for weeks in any direction from where they now camped.

         "Andra?"

         Andra added another line, oblivious to the Wayfinder's call. Now a beetle had crawled out of the nearby grass and was making it's way across his impromptu canvas. Andra had never been to a city. He had seen one from a distance when his caravan stopped to trade, but the city hadn't allowed any of the People to enter. His father said that city folk had too little trust for the wanderers. Andra didn't really understand that. His people were honest and friendly and would never refuse a stranger entrance to the camp if he came looking for trade.

         "Andra Volar." This time the Wayfinder's voice was firm and liberally laced with disapproval. Andra's head shot up, finally pulled away from his thoughts and back to the lesson. His cheeks reddened as he saw that the whole class was staring at him, some twenty other youths near his age sitting on the ground is a rough semi-circle at the feet of the Wayfinder. Wayfinder Danov was an older man with hair more gray than the dark brown it once had been, though no thinner for his years. He was slim and fit for his age and wore the dark green and brown woodsman's tunic and trousers emblazoned with a deep blue circle on the right breast that marked his profession.

         "Yes, Wayfinder?" Andra replied shakily, unsure exactly what to say.

         "Do I have your attention, young Volar? I do hope I wasn't boring you."

         "I was paying attention, Wayfinder." He knew the lie was a mistake even as it escaped his lips.

         "I see. Then perhaps you would care to demonstrate your grasp on the subject by reiterating what we've been discussing."

         Andra gulped. What had he been saying? Something about the Wandering God... but then with the Wayfinders the Wandering God was always a safe bet. "You were telling us about the Wandering God, Wayfinder. About how he found Aevar?" The last came out as a question against his will. It was a shot in the dark and he couldn't hide it.

         "Lucky guess, young Volar." Wayfinder Danov said bemusedly. "How did  the Wandering God find Aevar?"

         "By chance, Wayfinder. In his travels the Wandering God came across many worlds among the stars."

         "Correct, but incomplete. He also found it barren. An endless lifeless ocean." The Wayfinder looked ready to resume his lecture and Andra relaxed a bit, resolving to focus and pay attention this time. "The world of Aevar was a majestic blue sphere hanging in the the black, cold and lifeless for all it's beauty. The Wandering God was saddened that such a beautiful world could be untouched by life so he reached out his hand and turned some of the world's clouds to stone. Upon these stone clouds, the Wandering God created the human race along with all the plants and animals. He also filled the oceans far below with life, though that life was far different from the life above."

         "The Wandering God stayed with his creations for a time, teaching them and guiding them as they found their place upon Aevar. In time the Wandering God felt the urge to return to his travels amongst the stars, so he created seven children to care for his creations. As the years passed and it became clear the Wandering God would not return, his immortal children built great cities and proclaimed themselves kings and queens and gathered up humanity, dividing it amongst themselves. When their empires reach the limits of peaceful growth, they made war upon each other. The Seven Gods of The Seven Cities fought for dominance , but it was humanity that paid the cost. The Gods did not have the power of creation like their father, but they had the power to alter creation and they used that power on cities, subjects, allies, and enemies. The war lasted centuries and millions died for the pride of the Seven Gods." Wayfinder Danov's voice was hard as he moved into the final stretch of the story.

         "Then came the day when The Wandering God returned to Aevar. He was enraged by what he saw and he struck down his children, casting the cloudstones into the sea. Even as they fell, the Wandering God saw that a seed of humanity remained. A small fraction uncorrupted by the power of the Seven. They kept to the old faith and they prayed to the Wandering God even as they fell and the Wandering God was moved by their prayers and had mercy on them. He sheltered them from the fall and ensured they had what they needed to recover and rebuild before leaving again to wander the stars." The Wayfinder finished his lecture with a more hopeful tone. "Thus were the Wandering People born. How do we honor our God for his mercy?"

         Andra had been caught up in the story. He had heard it before, but he always got lost in the telling when he actually managed to pay attention to it. He raised his hand, and with a gesture from Wayfinder Danov, he said "By traveling and never settling in cities or going to war." Andra paused, then continued "But... Wayfinder, if the Wandering People were the only ones who the Wandering God had mercy on, why are there so many people in the cities? And why do they go to war so often?"          

         The Wayfinder smiled, he liked it when his students asked questions. His smile turned sad when he answered, though. "Because it has been thousands of years and the wandering life is not always an easy one. Over the centuries, many people have left the caravans and given up Wandering." With that, Wayfinder Danov bent and picked up a weathered walking staff he had propped against a nearby tree trunk and said "That is all for today, tomorrow we will be discussing basic herbalism, There is a certain mushroom, common in these parts that can be eaten to help dull mild pain and cool fevers. Consult your texts and bring a sample tomorrow morning." The Wayfinder then said as an afterthought "Andra, please stay a moment, I need to speak with you privately."

         Andra's stomach jumped into his chest, was he in trouble? His mind had wandered off, but he didn't think he had done anything that wrong. For a moment, he contemplated bolting for the woods. The trees were sparse, but he might be able to find a place to hide. Instead, he meekly said "Yes, Wayfinder." and stood waiting for the clearing to clear of students.

         When everyone had gone, Wayfinder Danov looked Andra in the eyes and said, "Andra Volar, you will be seventeen tomorrow. It is time for your pilgrimage."

         Andra was caught completely off guard. He had known he would have to go on his pilgrimage soon, but he hadn't really realized how soon it would come. He had not wanted to think about it.

         "Tomorrow? So soon? I... I'm not ready." Andra stammered.

         "You knew this was coming, Andra. You have had plenty of time to prepare. This is our way, you know it as well as any." Wayfinder Danov replied patiently.

         Resignation thick in his voice, Andra said, "Yes, Wayfinder. I will go pack."

         "See that you do, but remember to pack light. You know how to live off these lands and any unnecessary items will just make the journey harder. Whatever you leave behind will be waiting for you upon your return."

         With that, Andra gave a sullen bow, then turned to walk toward his family's wagon.
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