Crafting a Trickster
This myth is the life's work of Archivist Beatrice Mathille. The original tale was lost when the Haakon Republic was in its infancy. Pieces survived as what was remembered was told and retold. Beatrice scoured every Library in the land for these scraps of lore. She compiled her findings into a book of forgotten myths. It is not only the story of many gods' creation, but also the story that would become the Trickster's Hand game.
When the universe was young, the gods of Chaos lived separately from those of Order. Being intensely curious, Ontaakh often wondered who these rigid, unimaginative beings were on the other side of creation, and why they were so hated. He had been rebuffed by Order before, when Ahmetz the Just was created to stop him. But Ontaakh could not leave a mystery unsolved. He snuck across the divide, to learn all he could about these enemies.
Ontaakh took in all he encountered and wrote his observations on scrolls he kept in a large knapsack. He discovered a stretch of solid ground covered in all manner of plants, animals, and mortals, but there were no gods in sight. He came upon a volcano spewing great plumes of smoke into the air. He followed a river of burning lava up to the crater at the very summit. He took a fall halfway up and cursed as his little finger became one with the red flow. He used his godly power to grow a replacement of iron and continued on his journey. Near the top, his footing slipped and he lost several toes to the lava. Again he cried out, and again a replacement grew forth -- this time of gold.
When the god of knowledge reached the top, he was surprised to be greeted by a statuesque goddess. Her skin was the color of clay, and green vines were interwoven in her hair. Her flowing dress was a pastiche of flowers, grasses, and leaves, with slate ornaments.
Ontaakh kept his distance.
"Are you a daughter of Order?"
The goddess nodded.
"I am Eyso. And you, little god?"
"Ontaakh. You are not as Chaos described."
Eyso smiled warmly. She ignored the comment, and gestured to the landscape.
"Have you enjoyed your wanderings?"
"I have learned much. Truly, these are fascinating lands you maintain. It surprised me that one of Grandfather's written children could stand such varied beauty."
"But of course. I am life embodied."
Ontaakh paused a moment before coming to realize the weight of the goddess's words. She was the land he had been traveling.
Just then, two small figures emerged from the volcano. The taller child was Ro'ag the Harbinger. He dragged a massive sword behind him that was as iron gray as his armored skin. The shorter child was Zia-novalla the Bright. She was a thin wisp of a girl who glowed a warm gold and whose eyes were small pools of fire.
The young gods strode up to their elders and addressed them as mother and father.
Ontaakh was horrified. How had such a thing occurred?
Eyso pointed to the lava flows where he had lost his finger and toes.
"You gave your flesh to me. I could do little else but create. It is my way."
Ontaakh begged the goddess to forgive his terrible intrusion. She insisted all was forgiven, but warned that Chaos and Order would never allow the children to live if discovered. The god of knowledge then thought of a way to hide the young deities from both sides.
On his way back to Chaos, he took a scroll from his knapsack and unfurled it between two sides of the universe. Eyso sprinkled some of her life-giving earth onto the scroll, creating a new vibrant world for the two young gods.
Back in the ever-changing land of Chaos, Ontaakh met with his brother. D'alor was fascinated by the description of the goddess and her land of plants and animals. Before long, the god of the sky soared across the border to meet Eyso.
D'alor flew above Eyso's land, bringing the sun and rain in his wake. At first, Eyso was frustrated by his presence, but then realized how the god's gifts enhanced her creations. She saw in him a wondrous brightness and he saw in her imagination and tenderness beyond measure. A more natural pairing had never been seen, nor ever might again.
The two were bound together in a great storm. Born of this tumultuous coupling were Yaim'allelo of the Deep and Alillia the Tranquil. Sky and Land loved one another dearly, and wished to keep their children close, but feared Chaos and Order's wrath as Ontaakh had.
The new deities were sent to live in the between world with their half-siblings War and Fire until Eyso and D'alor could find a way that all could live together in safety if not harmony.
The four children lived happily for a time, but quickly became bored, as children do. They were playing in the dirt when Alillia appealed to her brother-sister for help.
"Yaim'alello, use your powers to make clay, that we may create more friends to play with."
The Shifting One agreed, and formed a pool that would turn the dirt into sculpting clay. The young deities used the gift of life they received from their mother to craft small animals to befriend. Zia-novalla molded a winged serpent and placed within it a portion of her very own fire. Ro'ag made a wolf with iron teeth that would hunt with him. Alillia sculpted many small birds to sing with. Yaim'alello crafted a turtle with a shimmering rainbow shell to ride upon. Then the Bright One used her powers to warm and set the forms of the clay animals, bringing them to life.
The children loved their pets dearly, but soon grew bored again. A beast cannot play in the same way a god can. So the children worked together to sculpt a friend in their image. War gave the clay god strength, Peace gave playfulness, and Fire gave cleverness. Water was worried that if this new playmate were to ally himself with Chaos or Order, he would no longer wish to play with the young deities, so he-she put a shifting nature into the clay.
When this new god was baked into life, he was indeed strong, playful, clever, with no allegiance. He danced in a mad circle, much to the delight of all. The new god finished by jumping up in the air and hanging upside down from a tree. He bowed up toward his dangling legs with a wry grin.
"Greetings, small creators. I am Ananya!"
The young deities gleefully shouted for Ananya to join them in play. But they could not agree on what they would do.
Ananya flew down from the tree to stop their arguing.
"We should go exploring. There are two fine worlds out there beyond the borders."Zia-novalla protested. "And how would we do that? We cannot leave, lest Grandmother and Grandfather find us." "A riddle for me? Aha, and I know just how to solve it!" In the blink of an eye, he gathered the young deities into his hand which became a magic satchel. Then, he cut his arm and bled on the dirt. Ananya turned himself into a beetle whose shell shimmered in all colors. When great Eyso peered through the barrier, she saw the blood on the ground. Thinking her children had come to great harm, she screamed so loud it could be heard in the farthest corners of the universe.
The elder gods pierced the borders of chaos and order. Grandfather Q'ua charged toward Eyso's cry, ready to defend his daughter. His magic pen lengthened into a formidable spear. At the same moment, Grandmother Rau-cilla rushed in with her golden sword, recognizing the cry of a mother. Before either saw Eyso, Ananya took her into his satchel as well, for it would not do to spoil the trick too early. Q'ua and Rau-cilla met on the blood-soaked clearing, each accusing the other of terrible things.
Ananya cleared his tiny, beetle throat.
"Grandfather and Grandmother of the universe, why do you quarrel so?"
Rau-cilla looked down, but she could not see the small trickster. So Ananya grabbed the satchel and flew up to rest on her shoulder. When Grandmother spied him, she pursed her lips. Her golden sword hovered just above his carapace.
"What magic is this? What manner of god are you? What have you done with Eyso?"
"Oh no, Grandmother! I am a mere animal. I would do nothing to harm Eyso. She is alive and well."
"How is it that you speak, then, beetle?"
"All of us animals can do so, when we are so inclined. But here, I did not call you to discuss speaking."
Rau-cilla narrowed her gaze.
"You called us?"
"With Eyso's help, yes. I have gifts in this satchel to honor each of you, Great Ones."
Q'ua thrust the butt of his spear to the ground.
"I accept your gifts, so long as my gifts are greater, as Order is more valuable than Chaos."
Rau-cilla glowered and the air grew thunderous around her.
"Without Chaos there would be nothing but empty space. I am deserving of more than this fool."
Ananya lifted his forelegs in a placating gesture.
"Before you divvy your gifts, allow me to first give you a small taste."
He reached into the satchel to retrieve four bright baubles. He lifted them for Q'ua to inspect. The green one was the calm and steadfastness of Alilia. The blue one was the rhythmic ebb and flow of Yaim'allelo's waters. The red one was the strict tactics of battle. The yellow one was the inevitability of fire. Q'ua was indeed pleased, but before he could take his gifts, Ananya returned them to the satchel.
It was then Rau-cilla's turn to see what she might receive. She was shown the unpredictability of love in green, tumultuous waters in blue, the passion of red, and the dancing light of yellow. Her smile warmed the space between realms. But again, Ananya hid the prizes back within the satchel.
The trickster presented the satchel to the first gods.
"Since you gods know far more than a mere animal, I shall give the entire satchel to the both of you. Divide it how you deem fair."
They attempted to open the satchel, but were denied. They grew furious.
Ananya bowed so low, his carapace nestled into the dirt.
"I do apologize, great ones. I forgot, the bag is mine and tied to me. You will need to cut it in two. Each gets the contents of a half."
The gods did not hesitate. They attacked the satchel, hoping for the prizes within. Ananya was in a blinding pain, for despite the magics he used to create the satchel out of his hand, he still felt every hit. Such is the power of the first gods and a power the trickster planned for. But, the first gods could never have planned for Ananya.
The trickster moved quickly to protect Eyso and the young deities from unintended harm. He also moved the gods to separate areas of the bag, so he alone knew which would end up where. When the satchel was severed, it once again turned into Ananya's hand and in the same instant he returned to his natural form. The five fingers of his left hand had all been cut off. Standing in Q'ua's portion were Alillia and Eyso. Rau-cilla received Yaim'allelo, Ro'an, and Zia-novalla.
Furious and confused, Q'ua grabbed Ananya by the neck.
"What is this? You give me my own creation? And what are these others? They are gods! As are you!"
"Your gift is indeed greater, as you requested. And Grandmother's is more plentiful."
The first gods began to argue once more. They demanded answers from anyone who would dare speak. While they raged and threatened one and all, Ananya used his trickster magic to craft new fingers out of the rainbow carapace of his beetle form. When he was done, he addressed Q'ua and Rau-cilla.
"You both wish to have everything. I know a way you can have it just so." He paused, grinning. "Join your realms together."
Q'ua huffed and Rau-cilla raged, but they responded the same.
Ananya laughed at them.
"You are two sides of one universe. Parts of each of you lie in all of creation, written by Q'ua or spoken by Rau-cilla. If you were so distant, why would you possibly want all of these young gods for your own?"
The first gods looked at one another and knew the trickster's words to be true. In their great mercy, they spared the lived of the young gods and Ananya. The feud of the first gods ended that very day and the barrier between Chaos and Order was torn down.