Here's Part 3 of a series I'm posting weekly this month pertaining to the Kai'us creation myths.
Introduction is found here.
Part 1 can be read here.
And Part 2 is here.
This section of the creation myth introduces a major mainstay of Kai'us culture: The Moon Path.
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The Kai'us Creation Myth: Part 3
All the animals of the world had now been spit into male and female and new animals were created from their joinings. The God of Death removed the souls of those whose forms were too weak to live on or those who were eaten by other animals. The Goddess of Children would then guide the waiting souls to new forms to live again; or, if there were not enough waiting souls of a particular animal, she would call a new soul from The Void. Thus the population of the world steadily increased.
Over time however as there became even more animals, it was harder and harder for the God of Death to collect the souls of the dead. Souls started to get lost, trapped on the ground to fester and cause illness among the living.
It also became harder for the Goddess of Children to keep soul-pairs together. The souls of the first animals were once a genderless whole after all, and it was only fair that those split pairs find each other again in their next life. Offspring made from mismatched pairs were often weaker than those who had once been the same soul. She also sometimes had difficulty pairing up the right souls to the right forms. If a soul ended up in the body of an animal it had never been before it would cause an ill-fit and deformities.
Another problem arose from the fact that every soul held all the memories of their past experiences. If a previous death had not been pleasant, those bad memories would linger; this became another reason that deformities arose.
Drawing on all their past memories, older souls felt they were superior to the newer ones as they had known what it was like to live as whole beings, before there was male and female. They lorded over the newer souls and treated them as inferior, causing jealousy and anger despite the fact the new souls had not chosen to be called from The Void.
Great misery arose as the world itself became scarred and poisons from all this suffering. The ground itself heaved and waterways changed their courses to get away from painful places. The great mountains burst forth with fire and ash, choking the very air. Plants and animals withered and died for no apparent reason. Something needed to be done.
All the gods gathered together to discuss a remedy. There needed to be a place for souls to gather when they left their bodies as there were now far too many for the God of Death to personally handle. Souls needed to be purged of the pains and anguishes of their previous existence. Though the gods felt it was important that, say a deer-soul always be born as a deer, there also needed to be a way for it to be safely born into a different animal form if there was more need for another animal. Soul-pairs could also not always be born near enough to each other to become mates; but offspring shouldn't have to suffer from mismatched soul-pairs.
To answer these quandaries, the God of Creation formed three discs which he placed in the sky. The Goddess of Life touched each disc to give them light and life. The first disc was a beautiful, rich green. This disc would serve as a beacon for souls newly departed from their bodies. It was lush with good foods that would draw the soul and give it a safe place to linger until the God of Death could help it along its way. This disc became known as "Pako", or "Green Moon"
The second disc was filled with a special water which would make a soul who drank from it forget all their past pains and experiences. This disc was "Nuko": "Blue Moon".
The third disc was the largest and red. Fires burned across its surface. On this disc, a soul could be reforged to undo any damage it may have accumulated in its past existence, or prepare it to live within a new animal form. Soul-bonds between those who had originally existed as one being weren't necessarily destroyed, but they were weakened enough so new, healthy matches could take place.
Because the gods found the third disc to be the most beautiful, for the fires could be clearly seen even during the light of day, they chose this one to live on. It was named "Shuko", or "Red Moon".
Once a soul was ready to be reborn into a new form, the Goddess of Children could lead it back to Nuko where it could drink more of the waters that would help it sleep while its new body formed. She would then lead it to Pako where it could eat its fill once more. This time the food would sustain the soul until it was born in its next body and able to eat physical food again. Lastly she would lead it to its new body still forming in a stone or inside the body of its next mother.
In this way the Moon Path was established to guide souls from death to rebirth.
A problem quickly arose though as the light of the moons was blocked when souls gathered on each of the moons. With a moon's light obscured, newly released souls could not find their next step along the Moon Path. Also during the day the bright light of the sun would easily drown out the light of the green and blue moons, also making them hard to find.
The God of Death and Goddess of Children had to be careful that a soul did not linger on any of the moons longer than a few days to keep the cycles of light and dark balanced.
To help souls whose bodies died during the day, the God of Death took a little water from Nuko and mixed it with the rain brought by the God of Water. The moon-water would release any souls that got lost or were trapped on the ground. The mist the rises after a rain is the souls of trapped animals lifting up into the sky.
The God of Death and the Goddess of Children worked together to create rainbows that would guide souls newly-released by a rain into the sky. A rainbow could also be used by souls waiting to be reborn to find the ground again and their new existence.
Through these measures tortured souls could now find healing and peace, and as a result the world itself could heal and settle again. Mountains went back to sleep, the rivers stayed within their banks and the ground stopped its roiling and churning. And so the First Cataclysm ended.
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Side note on Kai'us culture: it's considered bad luck to die when the Green Moon, Pako is New. Even a tiny crescent is preferable since it's believed the soul will more easily get lost and/or trapped when the moon isn't visible at all.
Same holds true with births. Kai'us women though have a bit more control than human moms as to when their child is born, so it's easier for them to speed up or delay the birth until the moon is in a more auspicious phase.
Dying or being born during a rainstorm though is the most auspicious (no matter the moon phase; but the more Full the better!). Of course that's also incredibly rare.
Next week will be Part 4: The Second Cataclysm.