As the three gods talked amongst themselves, slowly but surely more dust fell from above, settling in a spherical shape to the side (North? East? South? West? ) of them. A large cracking sound was heard as a small white line appeared in front of the sphere. Mortals later might describe this akin to the cracking and shattering of glass, as more sounds echoed through the nothingness as the white line stretched upwards and downwards, and more of these cracks grow out from the original in all directions. The lines, now in their thousands, seemed to meet again on the opposite side of the sphere, encasing it in what appeared to be the shape of a cocoon. The dust began to spiral around itself, creating a blizzard inside its shell. The walls of nothingness that the cracks grow upon seemed to shake as a intense, white haze filled the cocoon, creating a thick layer of white-blue frost, making it all but impossible to see inside now. The shell shook violently for a while, then suddenly stopped all movement, ominously remaining still for what could have been seconds, what could have been an eternity.
Finally, one last foreboding crack echoed through the universe of nothingness, as a fraction of a fraction of a second later the icy shell burst open, hurling trillions of icy shards in all directions. The shards that reached Zebus and Leaf bounced off harmlessly. No shards ever reached Agni, they seemed to melt away long before touching him. As the white haze in the shell's original position began to fade away, The white-blue figure of a woman peered out from the mist. Her skin resembled that of her own cocoon: Icy and glassy. Yet it was perfect, no cracks, no rough patches, no flaws. Her hair made awkward stiff movements, trying to flow behind her but partially frozen. She appeared to be shaking violently, as her arms wrapped around herself, craddling herself. She lifted her head up slowly, her eyes pulsing a light blue as she scanned her surroundings. With a chattering of teeth, she spoke. "W-W-Who are you?" White haze escaped her mouth as she spoke. "W-Who am I?" Her voice was soft and calm, although it also sounded a little stern. After asking, she remembered. She remembered a conversation she had never witnessed, never been a part of. Her recollection of it was similar to having read a story, she never saw it, but knew it happened down to the finest detail.
She spoke again, her voice less soft but no less kind. "Well, I s-suppose i am this c-cold you speak of. I best get used to it." her arms dropped as she ceased from hugging herself. Upon embracing the cold, she found it no longer bothersome. It did not disappear, she was still very, very cold. But it felt natural. As natural as it was for zebus to be made of that fleshy stuff. As natural as for agni to have that red ooze flowing from his mouth. As natural as it was for leaf to be...well, a leaf.
she thought to herself a second. She remembered the other gods entered the world fully aware, yet she did not. She found this curious, and the tiniest part worrying. Was she of less importance then these other creatures. No, no, that couldn't be it. To assume her position amongst them, she needed a title. "If you are the deathlord and the flamelord then i must be The Cold Mother...." What was her name? The title made perfect sense, she birthed cold into the universe, but her moniker? That seemed to escape her. Using the first sound that came to mind, the word rolled off her tongue. "...Pruinus" Not fully understanding her own intention, she gestured by outstretching her hand with the palm facing up. "Pleasant to meet you."
At the sound of Agni's voice, the tiny one lept. The jump covered a mountain's distance, and the mote landed on Angi's knee. Its pointed weapon smote him there, and a new blade grew. It lept again, and again, until it reached the god's shoulders, and there a tiny green thing stood. It was a sheet of green, like a blade of grass but broader, with armored veins, though bent and twisted so that it had arms and legs. From behind, however, its shape could be seen as hollow: and impression of form, but not form itself.
In its hands was a long object, round at its base, where the god held it, and it tappered to a cruel point, which it thrust under Angi's neck. "I said, yield!"
Though smoke rose from around the god's leaf-feet, he did not burn. Truly, he did not singe, for the smoke, as it curled up and around into the air, solidified into blades of grass.
"You will find I am a kind master," the little one continued. "To you, who spoke first, I will honor greatly. Yield, submit to your master, and I will put your symbol in all my work."
The tiny god reached out and a blade of grass uprooted itself and flew to his hands. On that, the first day, grass did not burn: why should it? There was no natural law as of yet to make it so. But in this one instance, as a promise for the future, the god placed the symbol of Angi within its being, and the blade of grass burst into flame, though was not consumed.
"Truly, I will honor you so greatly that fire will be in all my work, to be brought forth by those who know how. But only if you submit. And even after fire passes, life will grow."
The god's head turned to the other two. It seemed perfectly right that a new god would have appeared. As far as the universe knew, that was a regular occurance. Indeed, if the current trend continued, there might soon be a small horde of them. "And to each of you, also, I will honor and give a boon, if you submit and acknowledge Leaf is lord!"
"To you," he said to Pruinus,"I will give you the honor of the glory of primacy. Before you life will hold and bow, and, if you will it, stop growing. For a time, of course, for after your cold passes, new life will grow."
"And to you," he said to Zebus,"I will give you the honor of the glory of commanding life to cease. For a time, of course, for after death passes, new life will grow."
Agni was silent for a moment, staring at the little thing that poked and threatened him, then a booming laugh rolled over the gathered Gods.
Very Well, little Leaflord. I yield to you. What care I if Life exists after I have come and gone? But this will not do. A gust of air rippled the grass. All things must be, at some temperature, flammable.
More would have been said, but Agni then felt something strange and wrong nearby, and watched with curiousity and a small amount of fear as a new God appeared... one that was very, very different from himself.
You. I did not know what Cold was until you came. You are Cold itself, ColdMother. Stay far back from me, for I will consume you if threatened.
Pruinus reflected for a moment over Leaf's offer and Agni's... charming welcome. She turned and spoke to both of them. "Leaf, i will accept your offer but i shall add my own terms. Yourself and Zebus represent opposite extremes, as do myself and... our hotheaded friend here. Yet we entwine. Fire can nourish and sustain life, and take it away in a blaze. As can the cold challenge life and push it to death. We four are connected. I will recognize you as an equal, but a superior?....Never. For life to sustain itself, it must improve. to improve, it must be challenged. I will be that challenge. Lives may be lost, but life itself will remain strong."
Again, she held her hand towards the creature. "Do we have a... promise?"
At around the same time she turned her head towards Agni and gave him a smile both sweet and mocking. "Don't worry dear, I have no need to hurt you... But are we clear this works both ways? Do me no harm, unless you wish to witness hell freeze over."
"I accept your fealty,"Leaf said to Agni. He lowered his weapon. "You shall be the Lord Flamberlain, and you have my trust. When we part, I shall call the direction you go East, and all the life of the world will look to their for your warmth.
Leaf closed his eyes for a moment, and then the grass burst into flame.
"But why should all things be flammable? Do you hold command over that which is not yours, to dictate how it will behave? Will you say that cold is flammable as well? Should I act likewise, and say that all things, at some temperature, must be turned into life? And not just life, but life as I will it? But you have my boon, and all life will submit to being flammable. If more than life will be flammable, that is a matter between you and those things. Though ask, and you will have my support."
Leaf hopped down from the Lord Flamberlain and landed among the still-burning plants. As a show of his good will, he let the fires creep along his own form, but this body remained green and vibrant. He swung his spear to point at Pruinus. "And you, yield as well. You say you are the challenge that will make life strong. Fine words, fine thoughts. But, if you are the challenge to be overcome, then by your own words you admit that life will conquer you! One cannot be equals to a defeated foe! But," Leaf's tone became soft, "one can be friends, and respect might be shared. Come, Pruinus. I shall give you the title of Prime Winister. A lord does not only take. You will have my boon, my protection, ask of me and it will be given. Let us work together, and let order be established. And when we part, I will call the direction you go North, and all the life of the world will be drawn to it but fear it, and will grow stronger because of it."
My name is Agni, the God rumbled dangerously, And you should not forget it, Master Leaf. You have extracted this... the God smirked, and his eyes glowed bright. ...Promise from me, but all promises, even small ones, may be burnt to cinders under the right circumstances.
Agni breathed out a breath of superheated air, and Leaf felt the wave of nearly unbearable heat wash over him, but as the God looked up, Agni was smiling again.
But for now, let it be as you say, and let us bring order to this... The stone mask cracked as the God frowned ...chaos. Where is there to even go?
As for you, ColdMother. We do understand each other, and I respect your directness. Perhaps we could find some common ground. From afar, of course.
The tip of pruinus icy fingers moved towards the spear and batted it away. "You do not seem to understand, leaf. i present life with challenge, and some of these challenges will be defeated, others will end lives. The children of the fallen will raise up against these new challenges and be able to claim victory thanks to the effort of their ancestors. The cycle will go on and on. When all challenges are defeated, when there is no more place for improvement in all of creation, that is the day i yield to you!" Her face seemed tense and defiant as she spoke these words. The three of them were born before her, who knows how long they existed together. She recalled her "memory" of events but did their conversations last minutes or centuries? How much had they begun to trust each other. She was born last, she needed to stand firm if she wished to be considered equal amongst them. But she also needed them to trust ther and be her friend. She softened her glance at Leaf. "But in the meantime i look forward to be your rival, your ally and your friend."
turning her gaze to agni, pruinus smiled again, more sweetness this time but also still a hint of patronizing. "Glad we are agreed. the world is still young, and mostly empty. we can create this common ground to stand on. How far do you think we need to stand from each other?"
Agni's first interaction with her was to taunt and threaten her. Come what may, she would not forget that fact.
Leaf nodded respectfully in reply to Pruinus' bow, for he was so small that, just to reach his spear, the others had to bend. His eyes were lowered and he did not see the other god attempt to flick his spear away. As the weapon fell from his hand he spun it around and, though there was no ground to support it, he leaned on it.
"You admit it is a forgone conclusion," Leaf smiled. "Good. Then arise, Lady Pruinus, Prime Winister, with my blessing. With order set, let us think no longer on this matter and be fast friends. Here, allow me to give you a token of our affection!"
Leaf bent down and plucked a flaming blade of grass. He blew on it and separated the life from fire. His hands worked quickly transforming the blade into a pointed leaf, vaguely like himself, but as harsh and sharp as a winter wind. And from its stem three bright red berries grew. From his own fibers her twined a string until a necklace was complete. He laid this at Pruinus' feet, and as he did so a layer of white-blue frost covered it. "Of all my work, those will be in particular dedicated to you."
"As for you, Flamberlain Agni, have you already secured the favor of whatever one controls promises, that you are given leave to burn them?"
What summer-softness there was in the god, however, vanished as he turned on Zebus. He grabbed his spear again and stalked like a tumbling leaf towards the god of death. "And you! Silent watcher! What say you? Will you yield, or does my spear need to find your tongue? Join your brethren, three strong already, and let the law be here lain! A boon I have offered, and now a title as well! Come, Reaping Clerk, and when we part, I will call the direction you go South, and all life will know that that is the road before them. You will find no kinder words than these."
It occurs to me that we can really mess with the Compass here... if we go in opposite directions... then East and North are opposite one another :D
Agni couldn't help but admit to himself that he liked this Goddess of Cold. She spoke with a passion that, had it not been anathama to her very being, Agni would have descriebed as 'fiery.'
How far? Hard to say. I can certainly feel your Cold from here. I shall travel in this direction. And to guide my journey, I shall follow the line of thisOrb.
Agni concentrated, and in the far distance, far above and to the east, a massive ball of fire appeared, providing warmth even where the Gods now met. As they watched, the orb moved slowly towards them, plowing through residual dust and carving a path through the heavens. As it grew nearer, it grew warmer, and as it passed overhead, it was quite hot. Soon, in the west, it dipped beneath the roiling orb below them.
Behold, the line of Fire.Agni intoned.
3 AP: Command Universe: A massive ball of flame (the Sun) appears and traces a line in the heavens along the East-West axis.
Although Pruinus was technically the youngest of the gods, she realized that in spirit Agni and Leaf were much more childlike. Leaf saw himself as a leader and dictator of laws. Pruinus knew it would be easier to simply allow Leaf to think he was in charge rather then argue.
"Yes, for life is the strongest of all things, life shall overcome all obstacles."Because that is my design, not because i am incapable of defeating you she added mentally.
"Cold and warmth are nought but sensations, without living things to experience them, they couldn't even exist."
Well, at least the fiery one is capable of some interesting designs, Pruinus thought as the blazing sphere traveled overhead. She felt water run down her skin as her temperature rose, she panicked for a second before realizing her body was perfectly fine. She was not melting, but instead water ran over her body as she became hot. her icy hair become more free and flowing under the hot sun. She thought that she may create a similar design to this sun, but not now. She had bigger concerns.
As Leaf had pointed out, Zebus was silent. But was he silent in curiosity, enjoyment... or rage?
She had sworn herself as an ally to Life, right in front of him. Pruinus almost felt scared, and she thought to herself she had best watch her words in front of the physical manifestation of death itself.