Some of my favourite myths are the ones that tell tales of creation– the origins of the world around us and the beings that inhabit it. From cosmic eggs to rainbow serpents, every culture has its unique perspective on how life came to be and each story highlights what is important to those who embrace it.
The creations myths from Iyastera vary greatly, just as the ones in our world do. Here are some of the most common tales from the four kingdoms!
Long ago, when the ancient ones were molding the lands of Iyastera, they couldn’t decide where they wanted to place the first mortal beings. One wanted to let them live underground, where they would be safe from harm. Another felt that the forests would be best, where they would be surrounded by beauty. A third thought the mountains were the perfect place for them to grow strong and see the world in its entirety.
Unable to agree, these creators argued and argued, eventually becoming so enflamed that they fought over the right to choose where the new beings should live. Their battle sent a storm across the landscape, razing the mountain ranges until only hills remained. The thick forests that blanketed the land were swept away, and empty fields were left behind. The earth itself was torn asunder, creating crevices that eventually filled with seawater to create rivers. The blood these beings shed rained down upon the soil and seeped into the earth itself.
When their anger subsided, the creators realized that the world was completely changed. They saw that the people they created were emerging and finding the blood-soaked soil full of life– good crops were already starting to grow in the aftermath of their fight. The creators decided that the time had come to leave the earth and make room for the new beings.
Just like their ancestors, Moineirans continue to cultivate the fields around them and enjoy a peaceful life…but that ancient blood may still boil beneath the surface.
In the beginning, there was only the sea. Vast, fathomless, and every-changing. The only life was that which lived in its depths, seeking shelter from the storms above. Until one day, the Ilgrakka surfaced, curious to see the storm for themselves. The Ilgrakka was a titan with a long neck, strong limbs and a slick-shelled back. They rose from the depths with their children and were the first beings to breathe air, to see the stars. The storms that had churned the seas had calmed, and they tried to convince others to come to the surface with them, but none followed. So the Ilgrakka swam, followed by their children, in search of more life.
They swam for many cycles, until their shells began to harden and change colour. The first trees and grasses began to grow. As they swam, they began to attract more life: smaller, colourful fish and wide-winged seabirds seeking a place to land. Finally, when the stars looked completely different from when they began their journey, the Ilgrakka stopped. They were tired, the stars were singing, and the waters were calm. They and their children wanted to sleep for a while, so the fish and the birds promised to keep watch until they awoke. Their shells continued to grow as they slept, until they became islands that we call Ilha. The Ilgrakka and their children continue to sleep to this day, and the other creatures continue to keep watch over them. On a quiet night, it’s possible to feel a slight movement beneath your feet…but for now, no one knows when the Ilgrakka will awaken again.
Today’s Ilhans harbour a deep sense of stewardship for the islands, and still see them as living organisms. Mining is forbidden and anything harvested from the islands must be taken peacefully.
Have you ever woken up early in the morning, just as the sun was rising, and marvelled in the solitude of a quiet landscape? That’s how the god Kinu felt each day, looking out upon the new land in the light of creation. Everything was beautiful and full of possibility. After a while, though, the god felt that things were a little too quiet. She began to feel strangely lonely, and decided that it was time to bring new life into the world. So Kinu reached into the mountains, the sea, the sand, and collected the materials for new creatures. She crafted each one with care. Skin and scales, fur and feathers…each form was given unique details perfectly suited for life in this new world. These first beings were clumsy, but learned quickly how to traverse the landscape.
Proud of how clever her creations were, Kinu wanted to let them explore on their own…but a storm was beginning to brew. Kinu sent her children to seek refuge in the mountains until the storm passed. While they waited, they discovered precious treasures deep within the mountains. They fashioned beautiful gifts for their mother and, when Kinu returned, she was so pleased that she taught them how to create more creatures. Together, they used the materials from the mountain to sculpt the animals that would live alongside the children.
Although the knowledge of “constructing” new life has been lost, modern Tashkili still value fine craftsmanship. They take great pleasure in creating beautiful things as a celebration of life and to honor their ancestors.
The people of Jokull have always looked up at the sky with reverence, for that is where they would see the signs of Skaoi, god of the Northern Lights. The lights brought them from the darkness to the surface, led them to safety during times of danger, and taught them the secrets of the universe. In time, some of the wisest Jokullians learned how to tap into Skaoi’s power. They learned of ancient civilizations long past, and used this power to help build new cities, new technologies.
One day, these early sages overstepped their boundaries, and angered the god. They had become greedy for more. They cared less and less for the people they were leading and thought only of gaining more power. They went to the heighest peak and attempted to steal Skaoi’s essence, to try to attain godhood themselves. The people in the cities cried out in anger, and warned the sages that they were tempting fate, but their protests fell on deaf ears. As the sages’ ritual neared completion, everything went dark…the lights in the sky, the stars, even the lights within the cities they had built. This went on for minutes, hours, days…the passage of time was immeasurable as people panicked and froze below. The sages began to panick and argue, blaming eachother for the failure…when an explosion of radiant light erupted in the sky above. Skaoi had returned and, in a rage, stripped the sages of their power as punishment for their betrayal. They knew, in that moment, what had happened to those ancient peoples they had studied, but the knowledge was with them only for an instant before they disappeared. This blast radiated outward, wiping away any traces of life and leaving the icy landscape of Jokull clean and quiet once more.
This tale is passed on through the generations as a warning to those who would manipulate the magic and knowledge of the ages for selfish gain. Jokullians today learn from this lesson and are careful to respect the balance of magic, adhering to a strict code of harmony, lest they trigger the anger of Skaoi again.