Transcribed from oral tradition by scholar Liten DignitasEdit
Before the existence of our world, there was only the Void. For what could have been millennia, or just as easily mere moments, the hollow blackness flowed aimlessly with no sense of direction, until from the pure, unyielding desire of the universe to contain anything besides emptiness, Ortus was created. A vast presence of emotion and thought rushed in to fill the Void. It churned and seethed with love, hatred, happiness, and sorrow all at once, yet had neither a focus, nor reason. Though the being possessed power the likes the void had never contained, it could not use it in all of its confusion. The Void and Ortus within it gave a tremendous shudder as it first cast out all of its anger, which manifested into fleshy crimson stone, boiling lakes of fire, and terrible beasts whose very words caused the earth to tremble and shatter. Next He purged himself of both passion and suffering, which left him to form the world and nature in all its splendor. Now devoid of these more vigorous feelings, His being calmed itself, and He began to direct himself and His thought toward what He had made. The endless cycles of death and life, and the careful balance His spirit composed in this tangible form intrigued Him. However, Ortus found Himself yet unsatisfied. His creations adhered to their cycles with no change, no surprise. He began to grow bored and restless for a while until all of a sudden, a thought came to Him.
Ortus whispered through a grove of birch trees, stirring up a brisk gale. They began to sway, shaking free from their roots and becoming animated. They began danced among the other trees in the forest, as their god slowly refined their form, carving their hands, and limbs fit for proper movement. He gifted these new creatures the power to think and feel, and they began to murmur to one another in a language that sounded like rustling leaves and the whistling of the wind. Ortus, curious what other emotional beings thought of his creation, asked them, “Are you content to live in this realm, as I have made it?” Many of them, who would later become known as the Avasuun, answered swiftly, “Yes.” and He was pleased. They became clothed in flesh of gold, and hair the color of oak bark. They were also given Ortus’ vast curiosity, and an unmatched connection with nature, that they may never tire of the lessons the forest had to teach. As this happened, those few who had remained silent began to look about them, gaining a tinge of envy in their hearts. “What of us?” they asked. “We want to make our part of the realm our own.” To them he gave skin of silver, and hair like the rays of sunlight that once helped them grow, bestowing upon them arcane power to shape their world to their liking. The Avasuun later named them in the ancient tongue, “Avasonus” or “burdened ancestors” for they thought them weighed down by greed after they had already been offered so much by their Creator.
Ortus was delighted with the people He had created, finding himself flooded with an eagerness to fill the land with more like them. He noticed that both the Avasuun and Avasonus awoke and rested with the sun, and decided to also make people who lived by moonlight. He asked His newest creations to stand shoulder-to-shoulder in the waning light of sunset. From their shadows He gathered up the darkness itself and formed it into a race with skin dark as the night sky, and eyes the same fiery colors of the sunset. As the sun’s rays ebbed away, Ortus began to weave their hair from moonlight as it clung to strands of spider silk. To these beings he gave the gift of stealth under cover of the darkness from which they were born, and greater strength than their lithe, nimble brethren. They hissed back and forth like serpents, immediately wanting to find a name to separate them from their sun-loving kin, ultimately deciding on the term “Varena.”
As the Avasuun, Varena, and Avasonus set about developing their lands, mostly at peace with one another, aside from the occasional territory squabble, Ortus looked for other places for his people to inhabit. Finally, he settled on the frozen mountains. He brought forth a harsh blizzard, and gathered the mountain fauna together at the highest peak, deciding that whatever weathered the storm would be rewarded with the gift of thought. The wind and snow raged on for three days and three nights before calming abruptly at the break of dawn. All that remained atop the mountain were a few massive bears, gnarled pine trees, and stout, heavy boulders, all having been too resilient or stubborn to be scared or knocked down the mountainside. Each was rewarded with a new form, reminiscent of what they had once been, but modeled after the two-legged shape that had come so naturally to the children of the birch grove. The bears kept their strong, rounded features and resistance to the cold, trading their thick blonde and brown fur for long hair of the same light color. The largest and oldest of the boulders became similarly burly creatures, though stouter than the bears, and the smaller boulders were formed into a more slender, quick witted breed. Both of them, having spent all of their existence trapped in place, immediately wanted to learn, and fight, and be free to create beautiful things. Lastly, the pines began to take shape, becoming something like a tall, hardy, green-skinned Avasuun, but with the rough, sharp features of their old form. Their kin, which had been the saplings clinging close to their brothers’ trunks to protect them from the harsh winds, were smaller and more refined, with broad noses and pointed ears. The former bears, who would later come to be called “Aquil” soon befriended their neighbors, and they too began to develop their lands. The Aquil built their homes on the mountainsides where the harsh weather had already cleared most vegetation for them. Those born of stone, the Vystra and Lentra, built their homes underground so that they could remain in harmony with the earth. Often they lived beneath the Aquil’s settlements, providing them with various forgework, inventions and even entertainment in exchange for food, ale, and animal pelts. Lower down the mountainsides, the Ensik and Telum built their villages in sprawling pine forests, keeping away from the other races. This separation greatly slowed their advancement in comparison, and caused them to become very distrustful of outsiders, though no outright conflicts broke out right away.
Lastly, Ortus set out to bring life to the coasts of his land, calling out to the beasts of the sea, summoning their king to come forth from the water’s depths. A large family of orcas answered the request, coming to the surface just offshore, but not daring to come too close to the beach for fear of becoming stuck on the sand. Ortus beckoned for them once more, knowing well what dangers they feared. They cried out to him in whalesong, voicing their reluctance, which was met with yet more insistence from their Creator. Some of them gave up, thinking it not worth their lives to receive whatever reward Ortus might be offering. A few of them were brave enough to take the risk, however, and took a charging start at the sands, hauling themselves as far onto land as they could, ignoring their instincts of self-preservation. As they lay beached, the heat of the sun quickly taking its toll on them, they hardly had the energy to notice their bodies becoming smaller, trading tails for legs and fins for arms and hands. It was not until the cool of the evening set in that they found themselves with renewed vigor, and began to stand shakily on their new legs to explore the land. The breeze drifting from the sea as they changed had gleaned some of the life energy from Ortus’ power, and wherever it touched the land, the dust on the wind would swirl and toss until it too solidified into nimble, tan-fleshed beings. Their tribes were soon spread all across the plains, left to wander the paths of the air currents, mingling with the other races and searching for one another throughout every region.