Tuesday, March 13, 2007


It’s Snot True! - by Nafisa Crishna
Section I

Chapter 1

A Sniffle.

The irritation persisted. Mildly irritated now, It sniffled again. The tickling only got worse. Here was Nothingness. Darkness in Its entirety. The Greatest of All. The King of all that was Known. It’s not much of an accomplishment, really, since Nothing else existed, but we’ll ignore that bit of information for now. (One should never discuss such irrelevant trivia when one is narrating the feats of One Who Is So Great.) For It encompassed all there is, was, or ever shall be. Time was but a humble servant in Its court. A jester, to be quite frank. Quite pathetic at His job, I would think, as the Diamond In The Rough wouldn’t call for his presence unless Its boredom had reached an overwhelming high. It was at these choicest of moments that Time would grimace horribly, but would make a huge show of grovelling and snivelling all over the Great One’s Even Greater Toes.

If you ask me, of course, I don’t consider it too great on the part of His Highness to be so, well, unreasonable (…to be polite. One must always remember one’s manners). Especially since only the Two existed; but then I’ve always been quite the cynic. My mother always told me that it was one of my biggest banes. To be born with a “brutally honest” tongue. But, here I digress.

The Sniffle.

Nothingness wiggled Its mighty Nose. The tickle danced up and down, running through Its Glorious Nostrils. In a particularly nasty mood (thanks to the tickle), Nothingness yelled out to Time. And the vacuum shook, for, one must keep in mind that there is not even a fragment of noise in Nothingness. Time, trying to catch His fifth hour of forty winks, jumped up in fright and crawled up to His Lordship. These were bad periods, as His High-And-Mightiness would take endless pleasure in making Time freeze, in a trance, leaving the poor sod quite disillusioned. The Sniffle had had gotten out of hand. To take Its mind off the pest, It turned to Time and lifted Its Hands to set a trance, when suddenly It started feeling a little lightheaded. Time, cringing under His cloak, peeped out to see why everything hadn’t gone cold yet, only to be greeted with the sight of the Greatest-of-Greatests’ Face contort, and shrink, Its eyes glazing over. Time wondered if the spell had been reversed, and took a step closer to investigate, when it Happened. The Explosion. His Holiness’ head was thrown back only to ricochet forward almost instantly, emitting a strange, loud (even louder than His Glorifullness’ yell) crack of a sound. It looked up slowly, wiggling Its Nose, Eyes full of Tears, smacking Its Lips in a child-like manner.

Time looked as though he had been shot. His cloak had been blown off with the sheer force of the blow, exposing what used to be a translucent, thin, fragile looking Body. But something had changed. There were little bits of goo floating around in the jelly-like translucency. Time stood still, staring at His middle. The goo seemed to have a life of its own – fragmenting into smaller parts, colliding, moving around, finding grooves to settle down. His body seemed to be fusing with the globules forming swirling patterns. Dumbfounded, Nothingness stared, Its mouth slightly open. Regaining composure, It bleated, dismissing Time. Trying to swallow Its awe, His Sno(o)tiness, the Cause of Everything, turned a deaf ear to the Lowly One’s plaintive cries. Slightly nervous, and feeling quite sick Himself, Time went back to try and grab some sleep.

After what seemed like 20 winks (approximately two and a half hours, in present count), Time awoke to a brilliance He’d never experienced before. You can imagine His surprise when He realized that it was He who was emitting that sheer radiance. He ran as fast as his skinny limbs could carry Him, and fell prostrate on the floor in front of Nothingness. Miffed at the Little Twitch’s presence, without being asked, Nothingness raised his head, but had to shut Its eyes. The brilliance was too much to take for One who sought the comforts of Darkness. The inky blackness being the sole source of sustenance for the Greatest Of All, the effects of its absence had never been anticipated before. Being quite a simple creature, Nothingness ceased to exist with the emergence of this phenomenon. Having nowhere to go, and knowing nothing else (since nothing else existed) Time sought sanctuary in His own Space. Staring at the emissions for a while, His eyes got accustomed to the glare. Some globs grew brighter, and bigger, than others, forming beautiful patterns and Time found His comfort, in a world that was His own. He called it the Universe.

Chapter Two

Never talk to strangers.

Hasn’t anyone ever told you that before? There is a reason, you know, behind the statement. It wasn’t just invented to keep you from being a social being, and thus adding to the world's conspiracy against you. It was stated to keep you away from Trouble.

And Trouble was born, a mere babe in arms, at the Time.. (haha! Sometimes, I really crack myself up!)

Other than His world of beautiful patterns, Time found He wasn’t alone anymore. His first companion was Lonliness. He was quite the bore – always grouching in a corner; indulging in Self-Pity. She was quite a beaut, that Self-Pity. And quite the flirt. She was always sauntering around, with that pretty pout of hers, batting her long eyelashes. No wonder Lonliness spent so much indulging in her. Time, to avoid Lonliness and his constant bellyaching, started talking to His pretty illuminations. He gave them names, predicted their characters, grouped and ungrouped them, as He pleased. The rest thought He was mad. After all, who do YOU know who pets and talks to his own body?!

Anyway, Trouble. He was a bit odd. Sure, like all normal babies, he gurgled and cooed (especially at Self-Pity), but he screeched and squaw/rked considerably more. The problem was, everytime Time started His little conversations, the little pest would start off. Even if Time was nowhere in his vicinity. Time couldn’t understand the cause for such screeching. It didn’t occur to Him, of course, that there could be some sort of relation between the two phenomenae. So, He spent most of His time trying to catch His sessions of forty winks. Which was constantly disrupted by all the noise, which was another thing Time wasn’t used to.

One such session, when silence actually prevailed, Time woke up feeling extremely uncomfortable. As though someone had back-combed His hair. Ruffled, He decided. That’s what He felt like. Extremely ruffled. But the silence was loud. It wasn’t anyone else’s doing. He looked down at Himself to find some unusual activities taking place. The little orbs were moving around on their own, coming together to form large colonies. Some of the brighter ones burnt at touch. It wasn’t a pleasant feeling at all. The smaller ones seemed to share a large attraction to these burning spots, moving closer and closer. Since sleep wasn’t an option anymore, Time decided to spend a while studying these strange blobs. He discovered, that if He concentrated hard enough, He could see all the minute details, carved on each surface, making them completely unique from the next. For example, one had maze-like patterns. Another, was completely furry, a paler shade of white. A third, not too sure where it preferred to be, near Fuzz, or a boisterous, extremely fat pink ball, thus richocheting between the two. Time grew quite fond of Fatty, envying its obvious confidence. There were others too. Some that sneezed, eliminating themselves completely, or else reducing to pinhead sized black dots, which seemed to be more attractive than the brighter orbs swallowing all that rushed at them.

There was one orb, though. It didn’t seem to rush to the Black Dots at all. It drifted around, till it found a particular colony it liked and settled down. It was a funny bicoloured thing. All green and blue. Time stared. This little one seemed to know where it wanted to go, and how to snuggle hard enough to create a comfortable groove for itself. It seemed to make friends with its new neighbours quite fast.

Time liked it.

He saw Himself in the little one. And Empathy appeared. She was beautiful. With deep grey eyes, and long black hair, She smiled at Time, an expression of wisdom. It wasn’t the same as Self -Pity. There was an air of grace wrapped around Her. A quiet dignity. They both looked down at the tiny one who was yawning away at the moment (or so thought Time. He liked anthropomorphising the blobs). The ruffled feeling long forgotten, Time indulged in the feeling of creation. A part of Him. Made from Him. He called it Earth.

Chapter Three

The screeching was incessant.

Ever since Time had proudly introduced Earth to the Others, Trouble had refused to stay quiet. Afraid of upsetting both Earth and Empathy, Time (not hiding his disapproval at all) turned and walked away. Self -Pity pouted in a corner feeling dejected - none of her charms had worked on either Time or Trouble. Lonliness was close behind, pouring out his stories of woe, to find some sort of common ground with Self Pity. Jealousy raised Its ugly head. It scampered after her. She was a bit apprehensive at first, but It just seemed to make so much sense. Afterall, Empathy had come into her turf. And Time should rightfully be hers. Her pretty pout had been replaced with a very strange expression. It even struck Lonliness dumb. A mad glint appeared in her eye. She was going to take back what was rightfully hers. Jealousy hooted in pleasure. Her reactions made it stronger. It blinded her sense of logic. It started to thrive on her.

Trouble was inconsolable. Nothing Lonliness did seemed to help.

Meanwhile, Time and Empathy talked about Earth, and what They would like to do with her. (yes, yes.. it was decided that Earth was a girl). They seemed to have a lot of common ideas. A bond grew between the two. They started to fall in love with each other. Their union would be on Earth, They decided. They planned to send down a part of Themselves to join as one symbolising Their commitment to each other. They discussed the form They would take, and how They could make Earth a symbol of Their love. Earth seemed to thrive in this feeling. Everytime They touched, a pair of creatures would appear. And mirror the love that was shared between them. Empathy helped Time draw out of His body, so it could be laid out flat in front of Them. This way, Time could join Empathy on Earth. But it was discovered that this could be done for only a little while. When Time drew out, a bubble would dissolve, the illuminations reducing in number. Time really didn’t care, except for the fear that Earth could be one of the next to disintegrate. Empathy on the other hand, could go down to Earth as and when She pleased. She’d return and tell Time of all that She saw, and of the beauty They had created. Time longed to see it himself. The risk was far too great.

They decided to fashion two more creatures, but like themseves. One male, one female. The love between them. The only difference between the creator and the creation was mortality. That was not a choice. It was a compulsion. For it was seen that all that existed in Time, was mortal. To counter this, Time and Empathy gave the creatures the ability of creation. Like their creators, the creatures would become one to create something new. The love between them would be the binding force for the creation. They called them Man and Woman.

Self Pity, along with Jealousy, got wind of Their plan. She started to devise a way of destroying it. Jealousy grew stronger with her thirst for destruction. She thought and thought. Nothing seemed to be able to penetrate the love that was shared. She started to lose hope, and with that, take out all her frustration on Lonliness. He took it, at first, grateful for any kind of attention thrown his way. But he started getting tired of listening about her love for Time, and how they deserved to be together. He realised the sad truth that he would always be alone. That made him even more grouchy than before. Things were going horribly, horribly wrong. In the midst of her ranting, he struck upon an idea. They had been created with the emergence of the phenomenon. That means, they had an equal share in the changes being made, otherwise it couldn’t exist. He told Self Pity this, and she let out a maniacal laugh. Finally, she would get what she wanted – a share in Time’s creation. No longer would it be a symbol of love only between the Two.
The union was complete. The Happy Couple looked on feeling the pleasure their mortal representatives created. They turned around and came face to face with Lonliness, Trouble, and Self Pity, with Jealousy coiled around her. Time gasped. She was completely unrecognisable. Her childish beauty had been replaced with a dark shadow. No more did she smile and pout. She looked ugly in her illogical state. She smiled strangely and congratulated the Couple on Their union. Then proceeded to shatter the happiest moment of Their lives, by narrating what Lonliness had told her, and informing them that she would be a part of their creation too. Time and Empathy knew not what to say. As Self Pity stepped forward to send a part of herself down to Earth, Lonliness intervened. She looked at him, amazed. No longer worshipping the ground she walked on, but bitter after the whole experience, he informed them that all of them hade a share in this creation. That is the only way the creation would last. He looked on sadly at the Couple; as Self Pity howled in disbelief. She couldn't believe her ears – what was a perfect way of being included in Time’s creation was now being further divided. But she had no say. Empathy closed her eyes as the various parts were sent down to Earth, and fused with the Creation. Shame was born. Humanity was perfect no more. They were deemed to be lonely, self pitiful, troublesome creatures, filled with jealousy, anger, hurt, and shame. But Love helped counter that, and empathy became an inherent part of their nature. Two sides were thus born. Weakness and strength. Good and evil. One could not exist without the other. Their fate had been determined.


Section II

Things have changed since the last time we met.

Families have grown, decisions have been taken, choices have been made. The two sides are as strong as ever, the rift only getting deeper, and deeper. We have a lot of catching up to do, you know. A lot has happened… a lot has happened…

On a more political note, the creators were now known by those on Earth as the Companions. Those on Earth were now known by the creators, as the People. The People had been given the gift of Free Choice (Trouble practically yodelled through that one!).

On an economical note, or anthropological note (depends on which way you look at it), the numbers have been increasing. Time and Empathy bore triplets – Joy, Innocence and, Hope. Self Pity too bore a set of twins – Anger and Lust. Her childish beauty had dissolved forever - The shadow replacing it. Jealousy still spends its time wrapped around her. Lonliness had given up all ambitions of being part of the family planning circle, and lived the solitary life of a cynic. Shame and Trouble had become as close as brothers.

On Earth, Man and Woman – now known as Ouranos and Gaia – had started a family of their own. They bore two sons – Neppu, the older, and Prithibi, the younger. The newer additions to the Companions also seem to have a share in the creation, the People showing facets of the Younger Lot.

There were others. The Naiads. The Baamons. The Zephyros. The Dryads. These were Creatures of Nature. They were born when the Earth was, and lived and evolved adapting to their surroundings, ever since. The Naiads were the water nymphs - the caretakers of the oceans, rivers, seas, and lakes. The Baamons were the tillers of the Earth, living on each heartbeat of the land. The Zephyros were the masters of the wind, cousins of the Naiads. And lastly, the Dryads were the gardeners of the Earth, taking care of each plant, thriving in its green glory. Man and Nature had struck their balance. They seemed to live in peace and harmony. There were rules, of course. But no one broke them. Boundaries were understood, and respected. The Naiads would appear only at night. They were a shy sort of People, taking their job very seriously. To disturb them was not considered a good omen at all! Their cousins, the Zephyros, were more outgoing in nature. They interacted with Ouranos and Gaia, and their family. They were the closest to human beings amongst all those of nature. The Baamons were the only non-magical ones of the lot.

Empathy would visit the People as often as she could. The Earth was still the one place in which she felt closest to Time. After all, it was, in a way, her creator; and subsequently, how they had met. Time had been growing quite aloof in the recent past. Almost forgetful. The sharing of the creation had been a strain on Him. Quite a strain. She would see facets of Them in the People, facets of Their children, and Her happiness would know no bounds. Self Pity couldn’t stand it! But she knew her hands were tied when it came to Gaia and Ouranos. Their bond with Empathy was too strong. She was just going to have to turn to the next generation. The urge to bring Empathy down was too strong to resist.


Chapter 1

Neppu and Prithibi were very close to one another. After all, there was only a year between the two. Neppu was the more introspective one, taking time to think of his actions. He marveled at all that was around him. He absorbed the knowledge from the trees, the air, the waters and the earth. He found solace in the songs of the birds. Prithibi was more the impulsive one, spontaneous in his outlook. He spent his time running from a tree to a rock looking, searching, and learning through scrapes and bruises. Sitting in one spot for over a few moments was unheard of by him.

Empathy shared a close bond with the two boys. She saw them as her own. They, in turn, were close to her. She had been a feature in their lives since they were very little. She had narrated the stories of the Beginning to them as children, and had introduced all the Companions. There was no concept of hierarchy.

Theirs was a happy family.

As they grew older, the boys retained their closeness, but their differences became more apparent too. Their individuality stood out. That’s what strengthened their unity. They were inseparable. The land was their playground - They knew every inch. They knew of the Naiads, and respected their privacy, avoiding the river banks at nightfall. They were the link between the Dryads, and the Baamons, ensuring peace in exchange for the usage of a little wood, for their fires, and caves for shelter. The Zephyros were the only Creatures of Nature they interacted with on a more personal ground. They had grown up together, played and hunted together.

Neppu was in love with one such Zephyros named Haawa. She was the daughter of the Highest Warrior. They had been friends since they were children. Haawa, like Prithibi, was a spontaneous sort of girl. She was a fierce hunter, but a tender soul. Being a Child of Nature, she could read the signs around her, and understood the needs of the Earth. Neppu and Haawa would talk for hours about the ways of the world they lived in. She learnt of Empathy and the Beginning from him, and in turn taught him how to talk to the wind. Their Union was treated with great pomp and ceremony. It was a joyous occasion for all who lived on Earth. Empathy came down for it, and brought the Triplets with her and the couple was blessed.

She was forgetting, you know - the dread existence of Self Pity. Empathy was slowly forgetting. Whatever trouble had been caused during Her union was slowly slipping away into the background. There were more important things taking place. Her children. Her creations. Their lives that were so intrinsically entwined with each other. She had dismissed the problem as one of Self-Pity’s childish tantrums. After all, there was so much happiness around. And this had been consistent from Her union to Time. She figured if it hadn’t happened yet, it was going to.

Mistake. Big mistake.


Chapter 2

Self-Pity stomped around, absolutely livid. What was going on? Had she no control over these pesky creations? Matters were going drastically out of hand. These… THINGS… were happy! And worst of all, so was Empathy! Everything was going wrong! Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! Her only solace was her babies. Oh the little ones! So precious! They’d cry, demanding her attention and she would fawn all over them. They were taking after their mama, what with the demand for instant gratification. She’d laugh at their impatience, swelling with pride as each would take his turn to reveal his true nature. Her sole companion had become Jealousy. It was her pet. It was the only one who knew what she felt. True, it was a pain at times, and she would be compelled to show it who held the reins, but it was a remorseful kind of creature, constantly begging for her forgiveness. And a quick learner. It would never make the same mistake twice. A definite step up from Lonliness. He was too much of a sop, she thought.

Jealousy, on the other hand, had other plans. It would egg her on to greater heights. Yes, it was irritating the way she shoved it around, but sweet in a way. She was so naive! She actually thought she owned it! The very thought made it laugh. But it was too easy! This gave it more power than it had ever experienced before! So, you had to lose some to win some. No big deal. Not when the larger picture was so much more promising. It had a plan…

Chapter 3

Prithibi was happy for his brother. And why should he have not been? He knew how much this had meant to him, and how much he loved Haawa. But there was something. A pinch, of sorts. He couldn’t place the feeling exactly. Yes, he smiled at those around him during the celebrations. Took part in the activities. But those who knew him, could see that he was a little more quiet than usual. Gaia was concerned. She took him aside, but he brushed it off, saying he didn’t want to steal the show. She knew there was something more, but left it at that. She knew he needed time, and he would probably talk about it when he needed to. She spoke to Ouranos and Empathy, all the same. They voiced her thoughts. He just needed some time.

Much later, when the excitement had died down, Prithibi sat down to think. He knew what had been nagging him all day long. He just hadn’t wanted to admit to it. He felt guilty even thinking about it. But the truth was the truth. He was a bit, just a tad bit, envious. Come to think of it, he always had been. The happiness, the love, was something he too had always wanted to feel. But it was almost as though no one took him seriously enough. He was capable of love, wasn’t he? He deserved it too, didn’t he? He started feeling sorry for himself… just a little bit. And that’s when she felt it. The tug inside her. More powerful than her own children had been. The creation was calling to her. Self-Pity had her moment at last! she picked up the Twins, and with Jealousy wrapped around her, descended to Earth.

She found him on a rock, a little way away from the rest of the crowd. She crooned into his ear. She spelt out his dissonance, his pain. She understood! He was apprehensive of her at first, for he knew the stories of the Beginning and the role she had played. But this feeling was now stronger in him than it had been before. Jealousy started to coil around him. it wasn’t fair. He wasn’t understood by anyone. Not his parents, not even his brother. There was more to him than his lighter side – Why didn’t they see that?

Their tête-à-tête was interrupted by the sound of a hollow horn, followed by the tinkling of bells. It was time for the Naiads to walk the earth! Prithibi knew he had to go indoors. There were some lines you just didn’t cross. But self-pity got the better of him. He knew he’d have to face his brother and the rest of his family if he went in. So, he decided to hide behind a rock. They would never know. Self-Pity melted into the background while Prithibi hid. The Naiads appeared in a procession. They emitted a radiance, lighting up the path they followed. If you ever saw one, you’d know the feeling. You can’t move. They had a quiet sort of power that took over all that was around them. They’d chant softly, collectively sounding like wind through a hollow bamboo shoot. It was considered a sin to talk to (never mind touch), one of the Naiads. Only the Head had spoken to Gaia. But that too was a seldom done activity. If any communication was required, it was carried out through the Zephyros. That was how it had always been.

Prithibi gave into temptation and dared to take a peek.

She was the most beautiful creature he had ever seen. Her pale blue skin had shone in the moonlight, her silver hair blowing slightly in the cool night’s breeze. She had been chanting, like the rest, but had fallen behind. That had been her third Walk. Each night, the Earth had seemed more beautiful to her than the previous. It was all so different from the aqueous world she belonged to. She knew of the creatures that lived above water, but had never seen them, as rules went. She yearned to, though. But her father had forbidden it. Mixing with those outside their own community had been forbidden. And she couldn’t break the rules. She was, after all, Vaari - the Queen of the Naiads.
Prithibi stared. He was transfixed to the spot. When he did come through, he bent down to return to his hiding place, but it was too late. She had seen him. She had seen him looking at her! That was not a good thing at all! The primary rule had been broken. She turned and fled.
They’d meet at night. He couldn’t resist it. That was the power of the Naiads. Once seen, they were like an opiate. She would linger at the back of the procession. But no words were ever shared. They would venture closer and closer to each other as the nights passed. But no words were ever shared. No one knew. Not even Neppu. Prithibi would survive the day like a ghost, and disappear into the night as soon as he could.

One fateful night – a full moon night, as it were – it happened. Prithibi gave into the lust he had been feeling after Self-Pity had entered his life. He grabbed hold of Vaari, and kissed her. Their Union was quick, and she looked at him in horror. She would be ostracized by her people! She would have nowhere to go! Prithibi didn’t understand. He couldn’t see why they couldn’t be together. He was in love with her. She looked at him with sadness in her eyes, and told him of the fact that she was immortal. The only Creatures of Nature that were. And therefore, were not allowed to mix with the rest of the world. He would know age, and death, yet she would live on to know only pain, becoming a mere shadow. It was self preservation. He had refused to see it. He told her that he knew the Companions, the creators of it all! He could beg for immortality. He would plead.

And Empathy knew.

She wept in anguish for this foolish child of the Earth. But there was nothing that could be done. The deed had been done, and couldn’t be taken back. It was over. Self-Pity looked on in pure joy. Finally, revenge!

He was banished.

And he learnt that, at the end of time, you are alone.


Chapter 4

Trouble was brewing.

And he let out quite the stink while doing so. He knew things were going horribly wrong. Shame lurked behind him. The time had come for them to descend upon the Earth.

Empathy was distraught. The incident on Earth had caused much pain to Her and those She held dear. Her first born, Innocence, had been burnt badly by the whole affair. After all, on Earth, Vaari had lost her innocence. Time seemed to be losing Himself in all that was happening. He would stare at Empathy with a vacant expression in His eyes, as She’d try to get Him to intervene. Nothing seemed to console Her children either. On the terrestrial front, mankind (Ouranos and Gaia’s family) were stunned. Of the lot, Neppu was broken. He tried to fight for his brother’s cause, but when the Head of the Naiads appeared, he knew all hope was lost. The sentence was softened a little. This was Gaia’s son, and Gaia was respected by all. The verdict – banishment. Prithibi was to be banished forever. No contact was allowed to be made with him at all. As for Vaari – he was never to see her again. She was to stay confined to her aqueous world for the rest of eternity.

Prithibi was like a zombie. The only part of his sentence that provoked any sort of reaction in him was the fact that he was never to see Vaari again. He howled in anguish. He begged. He pleaded. Then he returned to silence.

Empathy was beginning to break. The pain She felt was unbearable.

Anger began to seep into him.

The last thing he ever said was to his parents and his brother.

He told them he hated them.

Self Pity could feel her beauty being restored to her. The devastation she had caused returned her strength. Even her babies were looking all pink and healthy, their tantrums getting louder, and more demanding. It was truly a day of celebration for them all!
Chapter 5

Prithibi wandered on aimlessly, in a trance. The only thing he knew was his grief. He yearned to be with Vaari. He was not aware of all that was around him, all that he passed, all that he destroyed in his passing. Finally he fell in a faint. He thrashed about, reaching out for help, but hearing no soothing words of comfort, or feeling a familiar touch. He lay there in his madness. No one coming to his aid. He yearned for water, he yearned for comfort, he yearned for a cool touch to his fevered brow. His dreams tormented him He thought he saw people – Vaari, his mother. Yet, he couldn’t reach them. They smiled at him, then laughed at him, then walked away. He struggled and fought, and finally there was peace. An inky blackness overtook him as he fell deeper into unconsciousness.

When he came through, all around him was green. It wasn’t familiar to him at all. He was on a bed of sorts, cool green leaves surrounding him. There was something on his forehead. Soporific music was playing softly in the background. He tried getting up and found it was an extremely laborious task. There was some movement and then a sound. Prithibi tried looking around but it was too much of an effort. Shortly after that, a host of People walked in to where he was. They were strange looking creatures. Brown skinned, with deep lines marking their faces. But they had soft eyes, which were filled with concerned relief. They narrated to him how they had found him on the outskirts of their home, on a patch of barren land. In fact, that was what had drawn them there in the first place. No land for miles around was barren. It was he who had caused that barrenness. They had brought him in afraid at first that he might suck away the home they had taken such care to build. But they realized it was just his sickness that had made him like this. That was 4 score days ago. He had been asleep for a very long while. They hadn’t thought he’d make it. He didn’t remember much. In fact, he had very little recollection of what was before. He only knew of his decision to remain silent. And this he did. He looked at them questioningly, and they laughed self-consciously. They had soft musical lilting voices. They had forgotten to introduce themselves. They were the constant gardeners of the Earth – the Dryads.

* * * * *
Prithibi lived with them. He learnt of their way of life. He learned about the trees, and how to feel their heart beat. How to cure a sick tree, and what leaves to pick for certain occasions. He sat for hours amongst the cool branches of a weeping willow, thinking, dreaming. It was peaceful with the Dryads. They looked up to him, he taught them a lot of things too, just by his behaviour. They didn’t press him to talk, which was a relief for him. He helped them till the land, grow new plants, take care of the sick ones, and make sure for every tree that died, a new one was planted. They lived together well.

Yet there was something bothering him. Something that would creep into his head at night, and torment his dreams. Flashes of words, of faces, of unknown beauty. He would wake up in a cold sweat every time. He was slowly becoming an insomniac. In the perfection he had come to know and respect, there was something missing. One such night, he decided to walk. He walked through the shades of green, the thick grass below his feet not making a sound. Everything was wet with dew, so the forest sparkled like a million jewels. The odd cicada would start to sing. And he walked on by. He tried to remember what was before. He wracked his memory, but could find nothing. There were just the flashes – shadows of his dreams. He walked on.

There was a clearing ahead of him. Something was sparkling. The breeze picked up. Prithibi walked on. There in front of him, reflecting the sad face of the moon was a lake. The surface shimmered, catching the light in places. A twig snapped somewhere, and an owl began to hoot. Prithibi’s head started to hurt. There was something familiar about this, a deja vu. He had been in this space before. The familiarity of it was jarring. He sat down at the water’s edge. Let the cool liquid trickle through his fingers. Then he heard it. A soft chant, that sounded like the wind through a hollow bamboo shoot. Instinctively, he hid, so as to not be seen. The chant became louder, as panic rose in Prithibi’s throat. Then it died out, into a watery sound. He came out of his hiding place only to see the surface of the lake broken, ripples dancing towards the edge of it. He looked into the water and he saw. He saw what had been, what had happened, the shadows becoming real. His nightmare unfolding before his eyes. And then there was Vaari, and the pain doubled inside him. He howled. The first sound he had uttered in what we would call five years. He dug his fists into the soft loamy soil of the banks, and cried for the injustice of it all. The earth around his fingers began to blacken, the plants wither and die. Hatred poured out of him, blackening the water. It had begun.
The Baamons sensed a disturbance in their Earth. It had happened once before, some five years ago. Of course, when they reached the spot, the cause could not be found. All they saw was burnt dead earth. The wound was terrible. It was about six feet deep. It had taken them a long time to soothe it, and restore it. Though, it must be noted, the land was still weak. Some cracks were still visible on the surface. And it was happening again. They knew the Dryads were involved somehow.

Let me explain, the Dryads and the Baamons worked hand in hand to keep the land healthy. But the Baamons were suspicious characters. They didn’t trust anyone. They truly believed they were the best at the job, and involvement from anyone else was just a pain. They believed they’d actually have to redo the work that the others did, because EVERYONE else did such a shoddy job. Very rarely would you catch a Baamon actually complimenting someone else’s work. They were grumpy sort of people, but very hard workers, completely dedicated to the land. And they were soft on the inside, despite anything they said!

But the rift between the Dryads and the Baamons had started five years ago, when they found that the cause of the Burning was residing with the Dryads. They were furious. They ruled out the Dryads as being completely incompetent, totally self-centered creatures. They had not seen eye to eye from then. They believed the cause should be terminated. But that was too harsh a treatment for the Dryads, who were gentle folk. They empathized with Prithibi. He was sick, they had said. It was the sickness. They asked for compassion, after all he was Gaia’s son. And the Baamons had had nothing to do with them ever since.

Now here, the burning had begun again. This time, it was much worse than before. Even the Dryads had felt it. They rushed to the spot, and the sight that greeted their eyes was like a slap. Prithibi, doubled over, his fists full of mud, howling into the night sky, all the earth around him was black, the plants shriveled and dead. There was no other sound except for his agony. The blackness was growing, the circumference of the circle stretching outwards by the minute. They couldn’t get to him. If the poison needed to be stopped, it could only be done so by him. One Dryad who was quite close to Prithibi ran around the lake to the water’s edge. He knew what might be able to stop the madness from consuming Prithibi forever. He beckoned the Naiads. He begged for Vaari. They refused. He showed them the poison and they turned their heads. The Dryad was getting desperate. He called upon the Sacred Rule of the Keepers. This rule applied to the keepers of the land – the Baamons, the Dryads, the Naiads, and the Zephyros -

“When the land is in desperate need, when the hour of the Damned befalls the Earth, we shall rise as one, and work as one. Protection is our foremost duty. Any one Keeper in time of need will be responded to by the rest of Us with equal fervor, or else may we be banished from the Sacred Knot of the Keepers.”

This was an oath that bound each of the Keepers to one another. The Naiads could not refuse.

And Vaari was summoned.

Prithibi looked up from his stupor to see a vision. A dream walking towards him, on the surface of the lake. It was her! His Vaari! She had returned!

She smiled at him, but her smile was that of pure sadness. He held out his arms to her, and she came to him. They held each other for the longest time possible. He cradled her, kissing every inch of her pale blue skin. Then she spoke. She told him of the last five years. Of the torment she had faced. Of how much she had missed him, and how much she loved him. She told him of his brother, and how he was with son, a boy named Bhoomi, after his uncle. She told him of how she knew of his every step, his sickness, and how she had felt his pain. She kissed his tears away. He swore to never let go of her again. To never let her out of his sight. But she told him she had to leave. Theirs was a story that would never be one. She reminded him of the night of their Union, and how she had told him that her immortality made her bound to the waters forever, and thus they could never be. But she swore to love him forever. The poison was lessening. The circle around them began to shrink. He spent eternity in that moment, knowing what she said was the truth, and finally beginning to resign himself to it. They made a Promise. Their love would be forever. He would meet her through his keeping of the Earth with the Dryads. That’s when he would be closest to her. She promised him a gift, telling him when the time was right it would appear to him, and he would know. She started to fade. He wanted to hold on. One tear, shining like a pearl, slipped down her face, and fell to the earth. Life started to grow again. A weeping willow. He sat there long after she was gone. For once, even the Baamons were struck dumb. Sadness was to prevail in that area forever.

Prithibi swore his life to the Dryads to be in their service forever.

And then he also swore revenge.
Empathy’s heart went out to this poor child of her creation. She begged Self Pity to release him from the pain he was in, knowing that Anger dwelt in him and fed off his pain. She begged Time to intervene. He was in a world of His own. She knew She was losing Him.

Self Pity laughed hysterically. And tightened her hold over her power on Earth. Trouble and Shame descended upon Earth, and Empathy knew the only way to end this was to fight. The war had already begun. She felt a strange sense of calm overtake Her. With a renewed strength, She went over to Time and kissed Him goodbye. For all She knew, this would be the last… well.. time, She saw Him. He was babbling about creation. And petting another blob, completely oblivious of Empathy’s presence.

She turned and left.

The blob He had been petting ceased to exist after he tried giving it a little… umm.. “hug”.

And once again, Time found himself in the company of Lonliness.


Section III

Let’s spell out the facts so far –

The Companions, except for Time and Loneliness, have descended upon the Earth.

Prithibi has been pretty much consumed by Anger and Self - Pity, and seeks for revenge against the injustice he feels has been done to him.

Vaari has a gift for Prithibi which hasn’t been revealed yet.

The world is being divided slowly, as the two opposing armies begin to form.

What we haven’t mentioned so far are the Serpentines. But there is a lot that will be revealed. All in good time. All in good time. But we must hurry, for there is much to tell.. The story’s almost over…

Once there was a little boy. Let’s keep him nameless for the moment. Otherwise it gets complicated. Besides, I love suspense! What? No! We are not giving him any substitute name. This is the ONLY boy in the story so there is absolutely no chance of you getting confused unless you are extremely slow!

Now, where were we? Ah yes!

Once there was a little boy. He loved the great outdoors. He’d jump and laugh and play under the big blue sky for as long as he could. His parents let him be. They knew of the calling of the outside. They had felt it too, when they were children. But this little boy was a curious sort. He’d turn every stone upside down to see what was underneath; climb every tree to see what the view was from the top; question every being that ever crossed his path. He’d venture out as far as he could go, walking, running for miles in a day. His parents didn’t worry. This was their land.

Then one such day they said no. He wasn’t to go out at all. As you can imagine, that didn’t go down very well with the boy. He questioned. And for once, all his parents said was that it was dangerous. Like any boy of his age, that was not a satisfactory answer. He pestered, and prodded, and poked, and got no reply. It angered him. And at that time, anger wasn’t the best of friends to have… at all! To indulge in anger, meant adopting Anger’s ways. And the boy couldn’t shake that feeling of anger for a long, long time.

He ran away, ran as far and as fast as his feet could carry him. He ran and ran, and fell upon the banks of a lake in the middle of a forest. But there was something strange about this forest, and this lake. It wasn’t cheerful, or happy like the others. It didn’t exude warmth through its inviting foliage. In fact, there wasn’t any foliage at all. The ground around the lake was black. The grass was burnt. The trees were but mere skeletons, shadows of what they had been before. The edges of the lake had black water. But the boy didn’t see any of this. He was exhausted. And hungry. And too egoistic to turn back. When he finally caught his breath, he looked up and started taking this oddity in. A tree in the far corner bore fruit. It was strange, for it had no leaves - Just these red fruit. The boy ran up to it. He hesitated to pluck one. Something wasn’t right. He stared at the ground, which was black. On looking up, he found himself staring into a pair of thin yellow slit-like eyes. The serpent uncoiled itself from the branch and brought its head lower in level with that of the child’s. Its forked tongue darted in and out of its mouth, as it tasted the boy. He was not afraid. There was something else in him. A very pleasing something, the serpent thought happily. The child looked defiant. The serpent tempted him with the fruit. But the boy didn’t give in. Not at first, in any case. But the serpent had a way with words, as all serpents do. It slithered, and coiled itself around the boy. It played with his emotions till the anger in him was too much to bear. The child snatched the fruit and bit into it. Pure venom of loathing filled him. He caught the serpent by its neck and shook it around. The serpent was delighted! It had finally found a human for its kind! A leader to help achieve their goal! This idea appealed to the child’s mind. To be a leader… his own master… no one to dictate what he was to do… He demanded to meet the others. And the serpent led the boy deeper into the forest’s murky depths. Serpents from all over came to meet this new found leader. There were so many of them in different colours, shapes, and sizes. Serpents with four legs, serpents with no legs, long noses, sharp teeth, scales, slime, you name it and it was there. The one thing they all had in common were their yellow vertical slit-like eyes. They were all in on the plan. They knew the boy was a decoy. Everyone, except the boy himself. This way, they could conquer the land and not have to live in the shadows any more. An initiation took place. There was fire and slime, and a couple of tasks. The boy was marked on his body by the blood of their latest kill. They bowed to him. These were creatures of the dark. They lived on anger and lust that had become so strong on the Earth all of a sudden. Their allegiance was to their masters, the sons of Self Pity. They called themselves the Serpentines. As for their boy-head, his name was Bhoomi - son of Neppu and Haawa.

Section IV

Haawa was devastated. Her son was gone. She was inconsolable. Gaia understood her plight and mourned with her for the loss of her grandson. The days were very grave indeed. Empathy had announced the call of war two days earlier. And their son had disappeared after that. Neppu looked at what was left of his family. The only thing they could do now was fight.

Empathy called on Her forces. On Earth, she had Gaia, Ouranos, Neppu, Haawa and the Zephyros. Gaia’s family contributed all those who supported them, all those who had been helped by their family. The Zephyros, being warriors, gave Empathy strength on Her side. She also had the powers of her children – Joy, Innocence, Hope. They were her saving grace. She knew the risk of including them in the war, but it was inevitable if she wanted to win. The Zephyros started training the others in basic warfare. Neppu was quick with the sword, and Haawa with the bow. They helped with the training. They appealed to the head of the herd of elephants, Pach-e-Derm. He was a noble creature, peaceful, and wise. He knew of the danger, he had sensed it in the air. They came into alliance with Empathy. They were posted on the look out for Self-Pity, and in turn would notify the Zephyros. They also agreed to march in battle if the need arose. Empathy spoke to the leader of the Naiads. But before She had completed what She had to say, She knew he wouldn’t agree. They stuck to themselves, and refused to have anything to do with the war. This infuriated Haawa. Why could they not see that they were part of this too? The Earth was in critical danger, but the Naiads flatly refused. She tried telling them they’d be affected to, and he coldly reminded them of Vaari, and how that had taught them not to get involved with the surface ever again. He did, however, fail to mention the incident by the lake. THAT was his mistake.

On their descent, Self-Pity and her rather motley crew met with the serpent. This was the very one that had tempted Bhoomi into being their leader. He bowed his head and kissed Self-Pity’s Toes. He then led the way into the forest. The hatred was strong here, Self-Pity could feel it. It made her stronger. She wondered what could have had such a strong hold on this one area. Jealousy flexed its spine making all the spikes stand tall. It too felt the strength from the area. The forest was still. No noise seemed to penetrate the darkness. They passed the lake that was also still, and headed to the Heart of the forest. There, the ambience was much louder. There was a flurry of activity as all the serpents came out of their holes to meet their Lord and Master. They coiled around her feet, darting their forked tongues at her in welcome. She felt the power she knew she always deserved. She sat down amongst the protruding roots of a particularly gnarled tree, and the boy-head was brought forward to her. He bowed low. The markings were still predominant on his body. Scales had been painted on to his skin, and he had a molted snakeskin of Eunectes Murinus, the oldest and largest serpent known to them, wrapped around his waist. She surveyed him with mild interest. She turned to the serpent and asked it what he was doing there. And its plan unfolded like a jewel in front of her eyes. He was their ticket to victory, to total power over the Earth! And then it produced the trump card. The one fact Self-Pity didn’t see coming, even by a long shot. It told her he was the son of Neppu and Haawa, grandson of Gaia. She went mad with delight. Victory was theirs for sure! They had their ticket into Empathy’s side, and subsequently, her ruin! The serpents had done well, and therefore they would be given control over the Earth once the war had been won.

Her next move was to meet another one of her… “creations”, so to speak. All who had been touched by her – were to be on her side, whether they wanted to, or not. So her next stop was obvious – Prithibi. Her hold on him was already quite strong. Right from the beginning when he gave into lust, she had her hold on him. But now, when there was so much anger, this would be a piece of cake.

Prithibi had earned the respect of the Dryads. He had been elected as their head for the Art of Combat. He had been training them for a while. They all knew something was about to happen, so better to be prepared than not. He was strong, and was a good teacher. His friend had been his best student, eager to learn, and had proved himself very well with the bow. After practice, they would spend time sitting on the ground, absorbing the energy from the trees around them. It helped calm them, and be one with nature. During this period, Prithibi felt her pull. He was snapped out of the tranquility in an instant, and as though, in a trance, he walked to the lakeside that he had blackened. And there she was. Standing tall. She was more beautiful than he remembered. But that was the darkness that she had absorbed. It was more rampant on Earth, than where she lived. Jealousy was still coiled around her. She held out her hand to him, he took it and bowed. She was, after all, a Companion. He could feel the anger rise in him again. And she offered him revenge. She offered him victory. She offered him eternal life in a free world. She offered him control over the Naiads. It was an offer he couldn’t refuse. Besides, it was either this, or to side with the people who had destroyed his life and taken away the only thing that had mattered. He agreed. And promised the strength of the Dryads as well. It was too easy!

The third party she approached were the Baamons. This would be a tougher piece to chew and she knew that. But then again, she was Self Pity, and she knew what each one felt deep down inside, thus, she knew their weaknesses. Besides, her side had more to offer. What could she say?! She was evil, and she loved it!

The head of the Baamons was a stubborn creature. That’s not saying much, since they all were pretty stubborn, but he was especially pig-headed (if you would excuse me saying so). She sent for him. But he would not enter the grounds that had been blackened by the Cause of the Burning. They had not stepped here ever since the incident. So, Self Pity was made to venture out of the forest, to a healthier patch of land. He refused before she had even asked. Yet she cooed, and whispered, and pleaded. It even made the stubborn exteriors of a Baamon quiver. But he still refused. She was getting impatient now. She kept silent for a while, and it struck her. Of course! The one way to get to the Baamons was by using Prithibi and the Dryads. She pointed out the forest and the blackened Earth. She told him how the rest of the Earth would result in the same fate, as the Dryads had already agreed to be on her side. And how, after they won, the land would be handed over to the Dryads as a reward for their allegiance. But, of course, if the Baamons did decide to side with her, then the fate of the Dryads post their victory lay in the Baamon's hands. He thought for a while. He said he needed some time. She swallowed her impatience, and agreed.

The following day a serpent, out hunting, was caught by the Chief Baamon and a message was sent back. They had agreed.

Section V

Chapter 1

And so the war began.

At first, it was more of a cold war. One side building up against the other. Training, building protection, spying on the opposite side; it was all being done. One would taunt the other. The smallest of the group being caught and killed. Here a Zephyros child, there a young serpent fresh in the field. They would egg each other on to greater heights. Empathy knew, to give into anger, would mean surrender. But it was difficult to keep calm. Especially when the mangled body of the young Zephyros child was brought to them, her parents distraught. How could one not be angry? She’d send her children to those in need. Faith, Innocence and Hope. They would spread whatever bit of happiness they could, and they would succeed, for no matter how young they were, their powers were very strong. This was a major blow for Self-Pity. It would be ideal if she could just penetrate through that wall of Empathy’s. Just one chink in the chain, and the whole lot of them would come crumbling down. She tried as hard as she could. She destroyed their land, she ordered for their young to be killed, she polluted the air, but Empathy would come back at her, stronger every time. No one would give into Self-Pity or her minions.

This carried on for a number of years, and Empathy’s people were getting tired. They were, after all, just human. Everything they knew and loved was being slowly destroyed. Giving into Anger seemed so much of an easier option now that they had fought so long. Hope did all she could, but even she was pushed out of people’s lives as they faced this never- ending war. Self-Pity grew stronger in this opportunity and struck out even harder. Her children snaked their way into people’s minds and hearts. Empathy looked on in despair. Her creations were being consumed by themselves! Hope was starting to lose her power. So was Faith. Innocence still had a little hold in pockets, but only with the little ones. The outcome seemed obvious to them. Empathy called on all Her powers. And there was a knock on the door. Hoping for a miracle, She found three cloaked and hooded figures. They asked for sanctuary. Even in Her darkest hour, She let them in. All the others were apprehensive. But She took them in. They introduced themselves as Naeeda, Tuli, and Nair. They were nomadic creatures, they had said. Not come from any particular place. They had been wandering all their lives. They knew not of their beginnings. Empathy looked at them – creations of Her creation. New creatures She didn’t know of. The Earth was multiplying and creating all on its own. And then She thought of its destruction, which at the moment seemed inevitable. Something inside Her started to break. It seemed like such a long while back now. The origin of Earth, and subsequently, the origin of this day. She snapped back to reality. There was no time to reminisce now. She looked at the Three. They still had their hoods on. And they refused to remove them even when being asked. The others didn’t trust them. Spies! They had said. But Empathy knew there was something more. She let them be. And the Zephyros started to doubt her abilities. In times like these, to welcome a stranger, and that too one you couldn’t see was not a good idea at all. So many had died because of this. They appealed to Haawa, who was beginning to mirror what they thought. She turned to Neppu, who brushed aside what she said, but the seed had already been planted. The three swore their allegiance to Empathy and Her people once they were fed and sheltered. It was difficult to come across compassion in those days. They started to train with the others. Their cloaks made them slow with reflexes, and they were sloppy with the bow. But they tried, and Neppu acknowledged them for it. But warriors, they were not. And as the day of open war loomed closer he felt himself get a little angry at Empathy for taking on those who would only slow them down. Doubt had his mind wrapped up completely soon. It was difficult to think clearly. He tried to push away the anger. It would not help, and it served only as a key in Self-Pity’s hands. As he felt his anger slip away, Shame crept up to him and filled him. It was the most awful feeling. He confided in his mother. And she, in Empathy. And Empathy knew. If Shame was around, Trouble was not too far behind.
Chapter 2

Self-Pity had been getting edgy. This was taking way too long. Victory should have been hers already! She called her troops and declared open war. The plan was to sneak into Empathy’s grounds during nightfall, and kill all that were there. This was the only way they could ensure their victory. Gaia and Ouranos had to be killed. Empathy would have nothing left if they were. So the troops started preparing for their attack. The Serpentines, under Bhoomi had been itching to attack from the first day itself. This would be their moment of glory. The Dryads followed Prithibi loyally, but he knew they were upset about all this unease. He asked them to back out before it got worse. This was his battle, not theirs. But they had already come such a long way. There would be no sense in turning back now. They would be killed irrespective of whether they gave up now or not. Their position had already been determined years ago when they agreed to follow Prithibi. The only ones who seemed hesitant with the idea were the Baamons. They had no issues with killing, but over the years, the Earth was slowly being destroyed. That was one thing they couldn’t bear. But Self-Pity would hear none of it. She insisted that they destroy. It was the only way to get to Empathy.

Night came quickly. They crept forward. They were to create pollution in the air, so as to hurt the wind and slow down the Zephyros. The Serpentines were in charge of that. They breathed their venom and their toxic fumes into the cool night air. The land was turning black with every step Prithibi took. The trees and grass began to wilt. The night air thickened. With a cry, they attacked. And Empathy was caught unawares.

The Zephyros fought nobly. But the poison in the air blinded them. The wind that was theirs started to choke them. They were falling back. Haawa fought for her people, but the venom was getting to her too. Through the haze she saw a familiar figure. Bhoomi stood there with his serpents attacking all around him. She cried out to him, with an outstretched hand. He stared at her and killed a Zephyros who was fighting nearby. She screamed, this was not her son! He turned and continued to kill. Self-Pity grew stronger with that. It was like an opiate, this sense of fear and loathing that was around her. The Zephyros continued to fight but they wouldn’t touch Bhoomi, for he was one of their own. This only lead to their demise. He plundered all that was around him, killing his own, not seeing them as his own. Haawa had been struck down. He stood over her, with his sword ready to kill for Self-Pity, when an arrow flew through the air and killed him. Haawa turned to see Neppu standing with his bow staring at what he had just done. She broke down. All hope was lost for her.

Self-Pity stood at a height over broken rubble, and surveyed all around her. The Earth was burning; she could feel the anger flowing through it. Victory seemed to be within her reach. But something was happening. The Baamons were ceasing to fight. She stared at them in horror. She screamed out orders. But they wouldn’t listen. Killing others was not an issue, but destroying the Earth they would not do. It had not been part of their deal. They started to see where they had gone wrong. Where they had succumbed to temptation. But no more. They were returning to their homes. She belted out orders, cursing them after her victory. But no threat worked. Shame was filling them too. Prithibi was still fighting. The dryads too were backing out. Their world was more precious to them than this war. Prithibi kept fighting. So did the serpents. Pach-e-Derm arrived at the break of dawn with his troops. They were the one set of animals that the serpents feared. They crushed the serpents underfoot. Whoever could began to flee. Prithibi urged everyone forward. Revenge was all that was there in his mind. He had reached the home in which Gaia and Ouranos were. Neppu looked up in terror. If his parents were destroyed, Self-Pity would have won! He was too far, and the Zephyros were too weak. The only others who were there with his parents were the nomads. And they had no skill with their weapons. Prithibi broke the door down and the three cloaked figures stood in front of Gaia and Ouranos. Neppu began to run towards them fighting off the serpents in his way. Prithibi pulled out his sword. He told the figures to get out of his way, and that this did not concern them. But they had sworn their loyalty to Empathy and Her people. They would not back down. The warned him against trying to strike them. But he would not listen. This was the revenge he had been yearning for! Neppu reached the door as he struck one of the figures. She crumbled and fell. The other two took her place. He struck them down too, one by one. He was about to cross over their bodies when they began to stir, and then rise. This was something he had not witnessed before. The three rose and removed their hoods. There standing before him were three women, of pale blue skin and long silver hair. Their blood ran down the floor. They looked down at their wounds, and back at him. They stretched out their bloody palms and reminded him of their warning. This was his biggest mistake. All he had to do was repent before, but now it was too late. They called him Father, and looking to the sky they called on their powers. Prithibi realized what he had done. These were his own! Vaari’s gift! His daughters! It could not be! He fell to the ground and begged for forgiveness from his parents, and his brother. Anger drained away from him, only to be replaced with Shame. He called out to his brother, and to his mother. Their prodigal son had returned! Finally!
Outside, the only ones left standing were Empathy and Self-Pity. The latter screamed at the injustice. The only way left now was to kill Empathy herself. All for what? Time? For the Earth? Empathy tried reason. Self-Pity would not listen. All she knew was injustice had been served to her that day. But Empathy questioned. How? Why? What? And that got her to question. Jealousy was losing its grip on her. She questioned, and screamed, and cried. The madness had gotten to her. There was nothing left. As Jealousy uncoiled itself from around her, she began to scream more and more. She could not live without it. It had become her source of life, her drive to go forward. It started to slip away. This body was useless to it now. She fell to the floor. Empathy knew she was gone, and chased Jealousy. Keeping at a safe distance she picked up a sword and threw it. It caught Jealousy by the tail and had it pinned to one spot. It screamed in anger, and Empathy killed it with one blow, not wanting to prolong its misery. She turned as the rain clouds broke washing away all the filth and the anguish of the battle. She walked towards the last house standing, the one where Ouranos and Gaia had finally gotten to meet the youngest born, and the powers of the three had been unfolded.

They called on all the powers on the Earth and summoned the spirits from within. This war had been devastating, and having one land for all would never work, the fight would only continue. The earth began to shift, as the rain beat down harder. It was divided into huge bodies of water. The Naiads were moved to the Southernmost tip, which was covered only in water, and became its minions. They called it Antarctica. The Dryads were given the forests, and they called it South America. The Zephyros were put on an island to recover from the venom that had filled their lives. It was called Australia. The Baamons went underground, and decided to heal the Earth from there. They were given the battlefield for they promised to cure it. But the burn was deep, and the ground remained hot. No grass would grow there. They covered it with sand. They called it the Sahara, and the attached land Africa. The Serpentines were banished to North America. The war to conquer the world is still being carried out by them. The children of Vaari took refuge in a place called the IreLand. But they move around from place to place. They call their territory, Europe. And finally, Man was given Asia, a large landform in the middle of it all. This was so that they could always look around, see the Creatures of Nature in their various landforms and be reminded of the Day the Earth was Nearly Destroyed. The Companions dissolved into the Earth. Each creature now had a part of each Companion in him or her. The battles would be internal, not external. The Earth was too precious to lose. This was decided by Empathy. If the People could fear their own lives being lost over the internal battle, they would not harm the Earth. And the Freedom of Choice was given to them.

Time never saw Empathy again. He sat and talked to his blobs, forgetting what had happened, looking for familiarity. His sole Companion was Loneliness. He was the only one who knew. Who remembered…


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