The Glorious History of Aathenaar, Part Two: The Birth of All Things

The land was dark, a brown mass, devoid of life apart from Alatia. But she grew hungry, and as she had no other option, she tasted the dirt.

But the dirt’s flavor was painfully bright, and Alatia was forced to sneeze it out, and each piece flew into the heavens, forming the suns and moons and stars.

One of these stars grew dim, and it teetered and flickered in the sky before falling lifeless to Alatia’s breast. Alatia wept for the dead star, and she continued for a thousand days and nights, and when she finally stopped she discovered that the world was now possessed of rivers and lakes and streams and oceans.

Exhausted though she was from her tearful ordeal, Alatia felt she must do something for this fallen star still clinging to her bosom. And so she ran throughout the world, kicking dirt into mountains and valleys as she went, until she found a stream whose gentle burbling reminded her of all the songs yet to be written. It was here that she dug a shallow grave for the star, and buried it, and finally collapsed from exhaustion.

When Alatia woke, the world was covered in all of the plants of the world: tall grasses made the land bright, and tiny algae gave the oceans breath, and the flowering shrubs painted the world with joy, and trees–the mightiest of which grew from the spot where the star had been buried, provided it with strength.

Ravenous with hunger, Alatia feasted on the grains and fruits and vegetables and tubers and legumes until she was quite rotund with satisfaction. she rested against the star tree, pregnant with joy.

Within a few moments, her stomach began to rumble, and the contractions of labor began. She had turned one of the beans into a tiny lizard, which she delivered without pain. It coughed wisps of flame as it scurried toward a mountain to build its lair.

Alatia was still engorged with life, however. A sprig of garlic had grown into a fisherbird that sped out of her left earlobe. A pear became a baby rhinoceros that grew in her femur and charged out from between her toes. A lion roared out from her stomach, and a trout flopped out of her forehead, and a clam emerged from the small of her back. In this way, over the next several hours, were the animals of the world born–save one.

For in all of these deliveries, not once was Alatia delivered of a person.

She failed to weep at this sadness, which was more profound than tears could express. But the wise and true unicorn, the last of the animals she had born, understood. It trotted to Alatia, lowered its horn, and touched her stomach, and she was pregnant once again, this time with the twelve men and women who would found all of civilization.

Alatia smiled at the unicorn as it trotted into the forest, knowing she would not see this highest of creatures again, but also that its spirit would reside in all people forevermore.

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