He travelled a long time. It seemed like a long time anyway. In the world, to a god, with so little life aside from the odd plant and fly or the odd python worming its way between plants trying to find some shelter from the merciless sun, time had little meaning. With the Tempora, odd things that only he seemed to be able to see of all the creature's of the world, time had even less meaning, slowing down or speeding up whenever one came near to him.
Eventually, however... he arrived. He didn't know what this spot had that was special. It was another bit of wasteland in an entire continent of nothing but bits of wasteland. But he could FEEL that it was different. The earth told him so. The earth sang to him, and told him that this would be where the first seed, the heart of all seeds, would be planted. Or placed, rather.
He sunk down onto the ground, content for a moment to let the music of the world wash over him. But She was impatient... he needed to get to work. Grabbing a nearby python, he cracked the protesting creature's neck, before wringing it like a cloth, letting every ounce of blood he could find drip down onto the bare earth. Tossing the snake to the side, he collected the blood much and shaped it with his hands, moulding it. He new the shape it needed... and he also knew that he needed to pick some of the nearby seaweed like plans and mixed them in too, shaping the thing with both his hands and his divine gift.
And there it was... looking down at the object in his hands, he nodded in satisfaction. This would do... for in his hand was a simple looking heart made of blood wetted earth. And yet, it was so much more... it seemed to flow with power. Containing the very essence of the seditary earth, the very primal force of blood and dirt. It... it WAS strength, and growth given physical form. And even as he came to realize the fact, the object began to beat in his hand. Acting like the heart it was. No not the heart, The Heart. It would always be known as that... The Heart of The Wood.
The Wood... the words came to his mind unbidden, but... they felt RIGHT. Like they had always been there... and had just needed the proper time to come forth. It was a place, and a concept, and... a home. It was all those and more. And with this Heart to set in it's center, and the power of the world and the young god... it would also be a reality.
Getting back to his feet, he held forth the Heart before him... letting the World itself work Her work through his power. And so it did... the ground shook, and cracked, and out from the cracks came forth... TREES! True trees, thick with white bark. Trees which seemed to dwarf the world, that would take ten of him holding hands to even circle the smaller ones. Trees with lush, green leaves that sheltered them from the harshness of the sun, protecting their vital roots from ultraviolet radiation.
Trees... nodding, he walked to the largest tree in the center of The Wood, and set The Heart into a small hallow that seemed to have been made with it in mind. The Heart beat contently, pumping The Wood with new strangth and power.
And so, The Wood was born, and for the first time the World began to truly live.
3PP Forge Greater - Althas forges The Heart of The Forest, a beating heart made of damp blooded earth entwined in plant life. When placed in the center of any kind of ecosystem, it provides 1 Nourish PP to that ecosystem per reset. This PP will always go towards making the system grow outwards and spreading when possible, though it also goes towards making the ecosystem more lush and livable.
2PP Nourish (Mold?) - Althas creates The Wood, a large forest made of larger trees that provides a lush ecosystem more or less free of the sun's wrath due to the thick canopy.
The characteristic red robes of the servant folded out of the air. His steps may have always been there, lurking at the edge of hearing, awaiting the whim of his master. They say a servant is always in step with him master.
"Shall I record it here, Master?" he asked calmly, "Record that pact? Yes, I think I shall."
He produced a quill from his robes, which hovered in the air before him, scratch-scratching away at a piece of bark. Already the square of pale brown glowed with golden, arcane sigils. He added a line.
"Still doesn't seem right," he sighed and stowed the implements away, "But to our next manner of business. It seems you have a request of me?"
"I met a very... strange being not long ago, Eago."
Altair described the horror that was Kyoaag N'gaas: the spiraled arms, the glowing lights, the thousand thousand eyes, the voice that grated across your heart and left you gasping for air.
"It terrified me, Eago. Me, the Sightblinder!"
Altair watched Eago's face.
"But you knew all that already, didn't you? I won't ask how. I trust you as much as I trust anything, after all. Regardless, the crux of the matter is this: At one point, that Distant Watcher... well, he threatened violence to all sorts of things, including you, including Vega, and then spoke strangely of my children. I must protect them. I wish you to write up a Pact that those of like mind can become signatories of and declare that they will protect one another from any agression from the edges of reality."
Altair then turned to look at Sericea below, smiling at the Wood and knowing that his grandson was behind it. He hated this entire world, each portion of it, but he still felt a paternal joy at seeing the handiwork of his children and grandchildren.
The same could not be said of his own handiwork.
"We should do something about that," he muttered, waving towards the blasted mountain below. "Destroy it or something. Its an eyesore, all alone like that."
While the Twins might appear to be older, they still weren't proper adults, not like Altair. Their bodies needed filling out and their minds were still mastered by a maddening sense of curiosity. With their relatives otherwise preoccupied, the Twins found themselves once again by the shores.
Vasa had found a stick and was unceremoniously prodding a dire toad. The creature in question was not particularly alive, but it didn't seem injured either. She understood that things tended to eat other things in order to survive. That seemed to be a hold-over from when she and Vion had played with their toys as children: each created a "creature" and had them attack the others. Back in the time between the ticks and the tocks, a creature died either by injury or by the twins no longer paying attention to it. Here in Time, life was able to endure without their direct attention, but this? This seemed to be something else.
"What do you think caused it to not-live?" Vasa asked her brother.
"I am not entirely sure. Shall we take a look inside?" he responded.
Vasa nodded her head and the twins began to dissect the creature. The skin seemed fine, and the muscles, although perhaps a little lack luster, also seemed decent. The bones had a number of breaks, but those had seemed to heal. Through the organs and goo the gods sorted and evaluated, but at the end found no good reason that the creature had stopped living. It was just a bunch of minor issues. The heart was a little weak, the brain was a little slow, the liver was a little fatty. In seemed to have just sort of...
"Worn out?" Vion offered as an explanation.
"I... think so," Vasa replied, trying to comprehend the strange concept.
"Maybe we just didn't make life well enough?"
"Perhaps. Shall we try something else?"
"Well... it seems like it this had problems with becoming too weak. Maybe we should try to make something stronger?"
The twins nodded in agreement and set to work. They took a lizard and began to cause it to grow stronger and larger.
The Wood was made. The Wood that would stand for eternity, and which would be the original for every wood, and forest, and jungle to follow. It would always be The Wood, always be worth of being a proper known. For a time, Althas simply cherished the moment, laughing as he spun around looking up at the leaf canopy and scrambled up and down trees. But after a while... he knew he had more work to do. Not for The World. She was content for now, sighing happily at having her leafy crown completed. No, this was for himself...
His parents had told him to become strong, as had his Grandfather. He wanted to do them proud. But it was more than that... instinctively, he knew they were right. He could FEEL that he needed to be strong. No, Strong. The child seemed to have a penchant for making names for things, but... Strong in this case was right. He would not just be strong, or powerful, or possess strength, he would be THE Strong. The one from which all other strength would be derived, just as how The Wood would be the source and original for all the trees to follow.
Nodding, he took out his bow. It was time to use the practice bow his Grandfather had made for him, and his Mother given him. He felt a momentary surge of loneliness... he was but a child after all, and yet all his family had left him to pursue his own course when he could barely speak. But he had a task to do. Loneliness could wait.
He tried to nock an arrow, and pull the string, but... it was too much. He was still a child, and though he was strong, this was a divine bow, not something made of simple wood and string. In frustration, he grew older, growing into the weapon until he could finally pull back the string and let loose at a nearby Tree. The arrow didn't land true... instead, swaying well off course. Grunting in frustration, he tried again, but again he missed. And again. And again. There could not be this many arrows in the quiver. It was far too small, and only had a few arrows to begin with. Yet every time he reached back, there was another arrow to shoot, until his arms ached and his fingers bled.
A brief interuption... some sort of low growl? Frowning in puzzlement, he looked around and saw... a python! No, a toad... no a... he frowned. Was this what happened when a toad and a python loved eachother VERY much? No, he could...
"Crocodile..." he realized suddenly, looking into the odd looking creature's eyes. Kneeling down, he leant in, peering at it curiously. "You're a swimming thing aren't you? You're a LONG way from water Mr Crocodile."
The crocodile did not seem to really care, instead lashing out to bite the youth. The god simply raised his arm and let the crocodile latch on. It didn't even break the skin. Though he still needed to become Strong, he still had the strength to make any mortal creature a mere play thing.
"You need to get stronger too..." he realized suddenly. The crocodile was a strong creature, and very good at latching onto things in the water, but... it had so little hunger. So little passion. And it was so little! It was useless away from water... no, this wouldn't do. It needed to be stronger. There needed to be some sort of land crocodile so water wasn't the only place where the strong could struggle. There needed to be...
Stroking the crocodile gently, it let go of his arm in shock, before twisting and growing into an odd creature with spines down it's back. FAR larger than it's former form, it seemed to have evolved to eat both plants and animals, though... judging from the look in it's eyes, it would like animals better! At least, this particular one would.
"Go and hunt... bloodspike," he told the thing. That seemed a good name. A behemoth, a bloodspike behemoth named after the red spikes down its back.
But wait... if there were bloodspike behemoths... there needed to be other types of behemoths too, otherwise the name wouldn't make sense! Finding another crocodile, he grew it into a more sturdy looking complement. Rather than hunting with spikes and teeth, this one would have a hard shell and a... a... "Macetail," he decided with a nod. That worked. One could hunt with speed and viciousness, the other could be a fearsome tank to take down any prey.
This had been fun, and necessary, but... he needed to return to his target tree. He still needed to get Strong.
Eago sighed once more, the wind seeming to leave him in a gust, rippling his robes about him. As the real stuff of his being, his crimson folds seemed to sag upon his godly frame.
"Yes, I did know that, but I wish I did not," he gazed at Altair, and somehow managed to convey a sense of pained resignation and sadness with just those two blank pits, "The future is like a library, a library filled with books not written till they're read. Possibility doesn't even begin to describe the future. Fortune-telling is not future-telling. It is a read of the possibilities, and an assessment of the most likely." His eyes suddenly shone like a smile, "So if I am an odds-maker, your new friend is like the ultimate gambler."
"Oh, but here I go mixing my metaphors and carrying on. Something to do with the mountain you say? Yes, I think that is something that can be done. Certainly a pleasing possibility."
"Perhaps we should give it some friends?"
Eago passed Altair an influx of power. But he pulled a bit of the power for himself and began absently pulling and prodding at it.
"So... the two of you should get along splendidly... if you make the odds and he gambles on them. Or am I not understanding you properly?"
He looked down at the ground far below.
"Yes. Friends. I like that idea." He said, reaching out with his hand and making pinching gestures. Below, the earth near the Shattered Mountain rose up in time with his motion, rock and stone pushing out of dirt and forming a number of mountains that stretched across the continent, blocking off the northeastern portion behind a loose barrier of mountains with wide broad passes dotted here and there amongst the peaks. Still, the Shattered Mountain stood higher than the rest, but at least now it was a bit less conspicuous.
Unconciously, he pulled out the three egg-shaped rocks that Eago had given him, rolling them around his hand as he looked down on Sericea below. He glanced over to see Eago watching.
"Its my one remaining connection to her, Eago. It makes her feel... closer, somehow." He said quietly and a little sheepishly, rolling the stones around one another.
A crocodile waddled away from the water. It turned its head as best it could to look behind it. The twins tried to hide behind trees, but while the creature might not have been smart, it wasn't as dense as a rock either. One tree had a blinding halo from Vasa's presence, the other was nearly invisible from the dark shroud of Vion. The creature let out an annoyed "yrrruugggg" and continued to waddle away from the two gods that were watching it.
"Do you think it will not stop-living?"
"I hope so... although, stop-living doesn't really roll off the tongue."
"... True. But should we come up with a name for it? That fells like it would be admitting failure."
"Perhaps you are ri-"
A behemoth came trampling through the area and accidentally killed the crocodile in the process.
"Well," the twin said, rethinking the statement, "it seems that things do like to not-live in general."
The other twin nodded, "Most unfortunate. So, a name for it, then?"
"That appears to be best. Any suggestions?"
"Hmm... 'that crocodile has susaned'... no, sorry, I don't think that is it. What about 'death'?"
"'The python has died.' Yes, I think that will do."
Satisfied with the term, at least, the twins meandered over to the corpse. Lacking a stick, Vion nudged it a few times with his foot. "Well, it isn't much of a mystery why this one died. Still, it was supposed to be strong enough not to have that problem."
Vasa nodded and replied, "True, but maybe that is a flawed avenue of investigation? I mean, what if there are two creatures who are so strong that they don't die, but they get into a fight? Do you remember when we tried that before?"
Vion thought back to the memories he had (which, he vaguely recalled, weren't real memories, since Eago had created him with them) of playing with Vasa in the place between the Ticks and the Tocks. Yes, he remembered when he had made an unstoppable creature and his sister had made an unmoveable one. The rest was, well, a headache. "So what do you suggest?"
"Have you noticed how the creatures are a bit sluggish? When the sun isn't shining, they seem slower, because they get a lot of energy from it. What if we made something that didn't need that sun as much?"
"Hmm, I think I see where you are going with that. I think it would need to eat more often, then."
Vasa nodded in agreement, "We might want to give it something to help it keep its heat in, so it didn't waste so much energy making it."
"I think I know what would do the trick. Shall we get started?"
The White Lady grabbed a small lizard and brought it over to the Dark Lord. She burned away the parts that were unnecessary and his shadows brought new things in its place. They put fire in its blood and then opened up its skull. This was a small creature, but being small it needed to be clever to survive. The dead crocodile taught them that much. The brain was burned and brought back from ashes a dozen times until the two felt they had it right. They closed it up, moved the eyes, and covered it in shadows. The end result was a small critter, hardly a hand-span in length, but with a fine coat of fur. It had a curious look in its eyes and, as soon as it was set down, it scurried into the wild, seeking its fortunes in the world.
Vion held his sister back from pursuing the thing. "I think we need to seek out Eago."
The anger in Vasa's eyes was apparent. Her feelings for the god had not improved. "Why?"
"That large creature, that was Althas' work. He's our son, he knows how to make life. But as we've seen, that knowledge isn't innate to everyone. Someday, others will create life as well. We need to make sure that they'll know how or, at the least, ensure that they don't muddle things."
Vasa wasn't particularly convinced, but her brother seemed earnest in his purpose so she nodded. "Very well, lets go."
She had the idea that he could go alone, but as soon as she thought it the concept repulsed her. Be apart from her brother? That was ridiculous.
"Thank you, father," Vion said to Altair. His sister remained behind him and didn't spare Red Robe a glance.
"I had a question for Eago," he continued. "I hope you both will enjoy our... labors below. But I wanted to... well..."
Vion thought hard. There wasn't a good word in existence, really, for what he wanted to do, so he crafted one out of reality. "I wanted to patent life. Is that something you can help me with, Mr. Eago, sir?"