Children of Song
For centuries, we have believed that the tales and legends of the Goddess Althena were merely that - imaginative stories from a more primitive time in the history of our world. But recent discoveries (my grandson's, not my own, I must admit) have revealed that much of what I once wrote off as mere folklore was the long-forgotten true history of our world.
Since then, I have devoted what remains of my lifetime to tracking down any old scrolls, books, and chronicles that talk about the origins of our world and Althena, so that I may translate them and preserve them for future generations. I want to do my part to make sure that this once-forgotten history will be remembered. I had hoped that my grandson would continue my work, but he follows his own path now. So now it's up to me to contribute as much as I can while I am able to do so, and hope that someone else will be able to continue from wherever I leave off.
Few of these ancient accounts have survived, sad to say, and it is difficult to tell the difference between true history and mere historiography or outright fiction. As a scholar, I can't make the mistake of thinking that all the stories of the old world are true just because some of them turned out to be. And as I'm too old for fieldwork, I'll leave those questions for someone else to answer.
This particular tale describes the founding of an ancient village known as Lyton, a community of singers and musicians who worshipped The Blue Dragon of Althena, or something like that. The manuscript is almost eighteen hundred years old, remarkably well preserved, and written in a language I must admit I'm not completely familiar with. I attempted as literal a translation as I could manage, so hopefully I'm better at translating than I give myself credit for.
As for whether this is a true account of events as they happened or a pure work of fiction, I haven't been able to figure that one out yet. If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say this tale is based on true events with some dramatic license thrown in to spice it up.
Personally, unprofessional as it may sound, I'd like to think that it is indeed a true story.
CHILDREN OF SONG
At a time when Lunar was young but the Days Of Shaping were old, the Dragons of Althena were sent forth by The Goddess to select homes and sanctuaries for themselves among Man, for Althena deemed it unseemly that humanity's guardians should live apart from them. And so the Dragons searched and scoured the world for their chosen dwellings. Laban The White favored the icy mountains of what would one day known as Caldor Isle. Eisha The Red chose the heart of a volcano for her home, drawn by the warmth of the planet itself. Granit The Black was revered by the men of the Prairie, and he chose to dwell among them.
But Miyam The Blue Dragon could find no home for herself. She delighted in the waters and oceans, of which there were many, but all were too far removed from the dwellings of the humans, who she loved. Yet in each village of humans, there was an absence she could not describe, and it vexed her that she could find no waters she could call home.
The Goddess Althena was saddened by this, and she said unto Miyam, "Daughter, is there no place on our world to your liking?"
And Miyam bowed before Althena and said, "Mother Songstress, I would choose a lake or river near the humans. I could not bear to spend my many years with them beyond my reach and beyond my gaze. I would see them live their lives and continue the cycle of life with my own eyes, rather than be separated by the depths of the oceans."
"There are humans aplenty who live by the waters of the world," Althena said to Miyam. "Surely there is one to your liking?"
"Nay," Miyam said. "There is a emptiness I cannot describe. There is something missing from these villages and dwellings of Men that I cannot abide. And I am sorely vexed, for I long to find a home amongst the humans and find what I am missing."
And Althena smiled upon her Daughter and said, "Fear not, Child. It is destined that every prayer of the pure heart shall be answered, and every true wish shall be granted. One day, yours shall be as well. Until that day, you are welcome to stay with me in my Tower."
So Miyam remained in the Goddess Tower, waiting for fate to guide her to a home.
As time went on, Man began to spread further across the world Althena blessed them with, and they used the gifts of the Goddess to enrich their lives and give praise to Her for all her kindness to them.
Among this new generation, in the small village of Rahne, was a girl named Aria, who had been blessed by The Goddess in all ways. Red was her hair and dark were her eyes, and her smile was gentle and kind. Yet her physical beauty paled compared to the sweetness of her song. The elders of Rahne and visiting clerics swore she sang like the Mother Songstress herself. She sang of love lost and found, heroes of times gone by, and the joys of simple life. She sang to the birds in the air and the beasts of the field, and the children and elders of Rahne to ease their sorrows and lighten their spirits. It was often her custom to visit the lake near her village and sing in solitude.
Many sought her hand, but it was said that Aria would have no man who did not share her gift of song. One such lad was Soren, who possessed a voice that was coarse and dull, although he was well-made and well-mannered in all other regards. He longed to woo fair Aria, to hold her under the shade of the trees or the light of the moon, their voices joined together in melodic song. But his voice was harsh like a raven's, and he feared Aria's scorn, should he dare seek to court her and gain her friendship and affection.
And yet, his love for her could not fade with time or the reality of its futility. Every night he mourned his curse and damned the hideousness of his voice that kept him from the lady of his heart.
In desperation, Soren left his village, traveling across Lunar's untamed wildernesses, wastelands, and plains. On and on he pushed himself, hoping to leave behind all memory of Rahne and his beloved Aria. Yet her face and her voice haunted his dreams every night, until he felt he would go mad.
After days of wandering, he came to Althena's Shrine, weary of body and spirit, and collapsed before its gates.
The priests and priestesses of the Shrine took pity on Soren, and cared for him that he might recover. When Soren's strength returned to him, the High Priestess said unto him, "Stranger, you are welcome in the Shrine of The Goddess. What is your name, and where do you come from?"
And Soren said unto the High Priestess, "I am Soren of Rahne. I left my home because one lives there whom I love and who cannot love me in return, and thus my heart is sore. I thought only of escape, yet even now I see her face and hear her voice."
And the High Priestess took pity on the lad and said unto Soren, "For what reason can this maiden not return your love?"
And Soren said unto the High Priestess, "I lack the gift of song. My voice is foul to the ear, and cannot please any maiden, let alone one who loves song above all else. So I am beyond all hope."
"Say not so," The High Priestess said. "The Goddess Althena hears all prayers, and she too loves song and music. Pray to the Goddess, and it will not be in vain."
The High Priestess led Soren to the Shrine's Altar. Soren knelt as he gazed upon the figure of The Goddess, and shut his eyes as he began his prayer. "Goddess Althena, Mother Songstress above us, hear my cry. Grant me the gift of a voice that is pleasing for music and song. I love the fair Aria, but my love is a foolish dream as long as I am cursed with a foul voice. I will give you anything in return, perform any task that will make me worthy of this gift, if you will but heed my prayer."
That night as Soren slept, he dreamed that he beheld The Mother Songstress in all her glory. The Goddess smiled upon the youth and said unto him, "Child, I can grant you the gift of your heart, if you will but undertake a simple task and trust in me."
"Any command I will obey," Soren declared to the Goddess.
And Althena said unto Soren, "North of your village is a lake, where your lady goes to sing in solitude. Return to your home and drink from the waters of this lake, and your prayer shall be granted."
Soren awoke, but he recalled the words of Althena. Doubtful at first, he remembered Althena's request that he trust in her. And thus did he return to the village of Rahne as quickly as possible.
The day of his return, Soren went to the lake Althena had directed him to, and drank of its water. When he had finished, he beheld the maiden Aria and heard her song. The song was one that Soren knew full well, and he too began to sing. And lo! his voice was smooth and melodious, as musical as a bell.
Aria heard his voice, and continued the song, smiling as she did so. Not a word was spoken between them, but they continued to sing together, their voices united in rapturous melody. As the two voices intertwined in song, so too did their hearts become one, and they fell in love. The love in their hearts strengthened the song so that it reached to the Heavens themselves, and the ear of Miyam The Blue, who dwelled within The Goddess Tower. Upon hearing the song, Miyam declared, "Now have I found that which I seek!"
With all her speed, Miyam descended from the Goddess Tower to the lake where Aria and Soren were joined in song. The lovers were struck with fear as they beheld the Dragon, wondering if they had committed a wrong of some sort and had displeased the Goddess.
But Miyam The Blue said unto them, "Please, if I have found favor in your eyes, sing to me your song. For I have ne'er heard its like sung by mortal man."
And Aria and Soren sang to Miyam The Blue, and it filled the Dragon's heart with joy and gladness. It became their custom to go to the lake and sing to the Dragon every day. The villagers of Rahne who were gifted in music would join them, and make music for Miyam The Blue. And Miyam vowed that she and her descendants would remain in the waters of Rahne, and protect the village from all harm. Aria and Soren likewise vowed that their descendants would continue to offer gifts of music to the Blue Dragons as thanks for their gift of protection.
The Goddess Althena, pleased that Miyam had found a home, built for her a beautiful palace under the waters of the lake. The palace would rise to the surface when two who were in love were joined in song. The village of Rahne was re-named Lyton ["Children of song" - Gwyn], and became known throughout the world for its music and song.
May it be the will of Althena, The Mother Songstress, that the music of Lyton endure for all time!
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