Now onto Part 2 of the Kai'us creation myth.
Head over here for Part 1 if you haven't read it yet.
And here for a not-so-brief explanation of what this is all about.
I should probably note that these myths don't reflect my personal views on things. They're just the fictional tales of a fictional culture.
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The Kai'us Creation Myth: Part 2
The God of Creation and the Goddess of Life had created the world; and their oldest children, the Goddess of Fire and God of Water had created the means of keeping the world alive.
Now the First Pair wanted their four youngest children to have tasks as well, so they set about creating numerous plants and animals. Tall, tall trees all the way down to tiny, scraggly shrubs. Some with beautiful blossoms and scents, others with no flowers at all. Some flowers bloomed all by themselves between rocks or straight out of otherwise barren soil. Every color imaginable was crafted into leaves and petals for the enjoyment of all.
The God of Creation particularly liked to make animals though. He formed so many in every conceivable shape and purpose. The Goddess of Life would then breathe a soul into each animal, calling it straight from The Void.
They placed small, scurrying animals among the trees and shrubs; birds they gave to the air; lizards, insects and snakes to the ground; fish to the waterways; deer and antelope to the plains; as well as many other living, breathing creatures.
The four youngest children were indeed enthralled by these multitudes of creation. They spent a great deal of time among all the plants and animals, teaching those who were interested the wisdom of their great parents.
Now it came to pass that the geegaw (a type of large, saber-toothed feline) felt that it was not getting its fair share of attention from the four god-children. Because the gods particularly liked to spend time with the birds and other flighted creatures, they must possess some quality the geegaw lacked. It concluded that if it ate a bird, then it would take on the bird's qualities and then surely the gods would like it more.
Carefully the geegaw selected and stalked its prey: a particularly beautiful bird; just the right size to fit in its mouth. When the time was right, the geegaw sprang upon it and took it into its mouth, crushing its delicate body with its teeth.
The bird cried out in surprise and pain so loudly that it was heard throughout the whole world and the gods as well as every creature stopped to listen to the wretched cry, not knowing at first what it could be.
Alarmed, and instantly ashamed, the geegaw spat out the bird. It flopped about on the ground, unable now to fly, continuing to cry out in unspeakable pain.
The Second Son could not bear to hear the poor bird's suffering and he touched the bird in a way that separated its soul--which was not in pain--from the mangled body that was. In this act he became the God of Death.
The other gods gathered around the cringing geegaw asking, "What have you done?"
"I felt you loved the bird more than me," the geegaw replied miserably. "I thought if I ate it, you would love me as much."
"How can you ever know how much we love any of our creation? But if you feel that you are unloved then leave us and know what it is to truly be without love."
And so the geegaw left in great shame, the other animals drawing away from it, appalled by it's selfish act.
The gods then turned their attention to the bird-soul, still being protectively held by the God of Death.
"And what are we to do with you?"
"I would like my body back," the bird replied. "For I miss my friends and being able to soar through the sky with them."
"Unfortunately your body was destroyed by an act not of our doing. We do not have the power to heal it."
"May I have a new body then please?"
The God of Creation and Goddess of Life conferred with each other, but it was concluded a new body could not be made by them, for a new soul from The Void would fill the fresh form instead of the existing bird-soul.
The Second Daughter offered a suggestion: if another bird were split into male and female as the gods themselves were, they could call to the lost bird's soul when they joined together as her parents had done and since they weren't uniting within The Void, a new soul would not dwell in the body created from their joining.
The First Pair agreed that would likely work, but the gods had come into being straight from The Void as male and female and were therefore immortal in both body and soul. The souls of the animals came from The Void and were immortal as well, but their bodies had been formed outside of The Void. If a bird were split into two genders, its soul would have to be split as well thus weakening the form and the two would eventually die.
Still, the bird-soul yearned for the companionship of its friends and the other birds as well missed its presence; so a bird volunteered to be split into male and female so it could create a new body for the bird-soul to inhabit.
The Second Daughter therefore touched the bird in a way that separated its form into male and female. She then taught to two new birds how to join their bodies back together again as her parents had done. In doing so she became the Goddess of Children.
The birds were disappointed though when all that was produced from their joining was a stone.
The Goddess of Children explained that a new body was forming within the stone that would reflect the soul that was to inhabit it. They had to call to their friend through the stone and treat the stone as though their friend was already among them; this way the soul could join with the new body. So the bird-parents sat with the stone and spoke with the stone as though it were their friend. The bird-soul settled into the stone, listening to its friends and dreamed of its new body.
At last the stone burst open and the bird was reborn into a newly-formed body.
The birds and all the other animals rejoiced.
The bird parents asked what would happen to them when their gendered-bodies became too weak to hold their own souls. Who would create stones for them to grow new bodies inside?
The reborn bird instantly volunteered to take on the task. Then the question was raised as to what would happen if a stone were produced if their wasn't a soul waiting to fill it.
The Goddess of Children explained that she would watch all stones made from joinings and she would personally make sure a new soul was called from The Void.
At this, many other birds asked to be split into male and female. Despite the fact that they knew they would eventually die, to have the opportunity to join as the First Pair had done and produce new life from nothing was far too compelling. And so the Goddess of Children split all who asked.
Alas the bodies of the newly split birds weakened far sooner than they had expected. They could produce only one stone before they were too weak for anything else.
Though they had accepted this choice, they still asked if there was anyway they could stay with their bodies a little longer before going with the God of Death to await a new body.
The plants, who had observed all that had transpired and had great compassion for their plight, took pity on the birds and offered their own bodies to give the birds strength.
The Third Daughter was greatly moved by the plants' sacrifice and offered an alternative rather than giving their whole bodies. "What if you gave only a part of yourself?" she asked. "A part you grew solely for the purpose of sustaining others. That way your own existence wouldn't end."
The plants were delighted by this compromise and the Third Daughter touched all the plants who offered themselves as food and they produced seeds and fruits for the birds to eat. In doing this she became the Goddess of Plants. Now the gendered birds could enjoy existence far longer before weakening. When it was time to surrender their bodies and go with the God of Death, they did so willingly.
Eventually other animals became curious and asked if they could be split as well. All requested were granted.
Many of the smaller creatures produced stones as the birds did when they joined together, but the bigger animals were large enough to grow a new body within their own. This allowed them to continue to move around and do things without putting all their focus on the new life being created.
As larger and larger animals requested to be split into male and female though, it was found that their larger bodies could not be as easily sustained by the seeds and fruits offered by the plants. They worried that their lives would be unduly shortened for lack of food.
Some of the smaller animals wondered if they should offer their bodies as the plants had done, but what could they grow that others could eat without bringing harm to themselves?
The Third Son greatly respected the choice of the smaller animals and said, "No, you can not grow a part of yourself that can be easily sacrificed; if you offer yourselves, it will have to be your whole body. But worry not, for I will make you swift and strong. I will teach you how to hide from those who would eat you. I will make your young able to run from birth or I will ensure you produce multiple young so that some may live even when others are eaten. I will give you defenses to remind those who would eat you that your sacrifice is a gift and a choice on your part. I will make sure the fastest and cleverest of you will survive."
In taking on this duty he became the God of Animals and he taught both predator and prey how to live with honor and respect for all so that all may live.
On and on, more animals became split into pairs. Even the villainous geegaw--one of the last--eventually came forward, begging forgiveness and asking to be split into male and female as well.
And so through one act of selfishness, death and rebirth came to the World and all the gods were given names and tasks to perform.
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Side note on Kai'us culture: all races hold birds in high esteem. Because they believe birds were the first to suffer the pain of death, it's forbidden to hunt or kill birds. Because birds were the first to experience the joys of creating new life, it's also forbidden to eat or harm eggs or nests. Birds are believed to be beloved of the gods so their presence in a village is considered a good omen.
Next week will be Part 3: The First Cataclysm.