Ever-Night

Prologue

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            In the beginning, there was nothing, nothing but the thoughts and dreams of something that never should have come to be. Everything that ever happened, all that ever was—the offspring of a fluke, a mistake…an accident.

            And what, then, when those dreams could no longer be contained by the nothing that would swirl without limit, without end? What, then? The thoughts and dreams took for themselves eyes, a brain, a heart. Slowly, oh so slowly, the thoughts and dreams assembled themselves into what they thought was a proper form. So slowly, the thoughts and dreams smoothed out this vessel, this body, settling themselves into this malleable form.

            They called themselves One Who Woke. They called themselves Gityu. And from then on, they were not 'they' but 'he,' but 'me.' He was Gityu, and here in the darkness and endlessness, he was King.

            But he could not stop thinking and dreaming now that he was physical! No, on the contrary, he had to keep thinking and dreaming, or he would descend into madness and waste away. And he thought, what could he call forth from the nothingness, the absolute nothingness from which he had come? Had he anything left to call?

            And how surprised he was when he did, when he called out not one but three ideas and gave them form—his waterer, Fawerui, with eyes and skin and hair of soothing blue; his planter, Sehegdui, with hair and skin of deep red but eyes of fire; and his nurturing one, Brahaui, eyes and skin and hair dark green; nearly black in the utter darkness.

            But this was not good. They were not alone but there was nothing—nothing at all. Fawerui had poured out her essence, her water, onto a patch of the shifting, swirling nothing and watched as it responded to the care, became fertile. Sehegdui took all she had, all she would ever have—one seed—and took great care to plant it and make it grow in Fawerui's soil. And finally, Brahaui, the one who only knew compassion and care, whispered eternal secrets to the little seed. They watched it grow, grow, grow, but there was no time where they were. And the seed bore not fruit but nuts; and the bearings within rustled and whispered to themselves.

            The tree bore the final eight children of nothing.

            The first to come out seemed to instinctively shun the four she saw before, shrinking back out of fear and cold and perhaps hate. The Lonely One, they called her, R'naya.

            The next one came out laughing, staring at his fingers earnestly as small bursts of flame came out from them. He was the Fire, Askler, providing the ones now out with a light and warmth they had never before known, or known they'd needed. And all the others would be somewhat different, knowing the light for all their existence. Gityu, the Three Sisters, and R'naya would always be different, less susceptible to faults and weaknesses, having known the darkness.

            The next came out, a stunning vision of cold and rain and softer light. Askler drew to her instinctively; where he had been laughing, she cried silently. They completed each other, and she was Asanla, the Cool; Asanla who knew darkness but not the same impenetrable, unknowable darkness that the others before had known.

            The next to rip his way from the shell came quickly, violently. When he spoke, cried out in pain to the others, his voice was accompanied by millions of cries and screams, screams of creatures that had no place in the nothing and so had taken refuge within him. The One Who Snarled, Osdeghiyu.

            The next who came was somehow quieter, though he was in as much pain as Osdeghiyu. Within him, he explained, were the ones like them who had not yet come to be, who could not yet be, just as the creatures within The One Who Snarled could not yet come to be. And he was The One Who Lived, he was Somaryu.

            And then there was a quiet, a peace as the next one stepped out. Her eyes were soft; her voice was mesmerizing. When she spoke, at first, both Somaryu and Osdeghiyu seemed to no longer be in pain; Askler stopped his maniac laughter; even R'naya seemed to draw closer. And she was the one who would sing for the rest; the one who had nothing to give but peace; the Singer; Nesijik.

            The next one to step out was immediately thought of as flawed—superfluous. He, as did The One Who Lived, held that which could not be released yet. But Somaryu carried what they were—their mannerisms, philosophies, loves and hates. The Life Bringer held each and every one of these that would spill out eventually; and he was called Iktomarni.

            And the last to step out stepped out slowly, the fear in his eyes so great that it moved Gityu. This one seemed to know he was last; he knew he should be hated and feared and scorned. But Iktomarni went to him, for, as Askler had gone to Asanla, these two completed each other—brothers. Iktomarni would bring life, later. But this last one—he would take it. The One Who Holds Death, was he, Domaryu.

            And when the tree would give up no more, the Three Sisters conferred. What good were these Nothing Children if they had just that—nothing? And so Fawerui acted again. She watered another spot of the fluid nothing until it, too, was fertile. Sehegdui coaxed a single seed—not her's but that of the Life Tree—from the tree, and planted it. Brahaui gave the seed life and care, and the roots of the tree did something strange. The grew, and continued, and took shape.

            A world formed from those roots, the world of New Life, Astar. And when the tree was finished spreading its roots, Askler set out to create what he was meant to create: the sun, and fire within the world itself. And Asanla, likewise, made her twin moons and rain and mist. Osdeghiyu tore at his chest until his burden was relieved, and animals took their place. Now Somaryu and Iktomarni must act.

            But what first came out was not what they had expected. These beings were immensely powerful, though nowhere near the reaches of the Children of Nothing. There were exactly twenty of them, ten male and ten female. The males were born first to the world, and when the women came, the men dominated them completely. The souls that Iktomarni brought them were harsh and cruel, but the souls of the women tolerated it almost lovingly.

            And over time, for now there was time, more beings came. The dragons, next; not beasts and not humans or anything like it. The first twenty were far more powerful than the dragons, who proved to be fearsome in their own right. And eventually, the humans came.

            But at that time, the first ten women, now called enchantresses, could bear no more of their masters, of the enchanters who treated them as they did any animal. The enchantresses gathered the human women to them and waged war on the enchanters.

            The Children of Nothing were furious that the enchantresses could bring such horrors not only to the first brood of the world, but on the shorter-spanned, precious humans as well. But the Children of Nothing did not intervene, even as four enchanters fell. The remaining six enchanters, with deliberate care and malice, killed off the enchantresses one by one, until only one was left.

            She had been the first of the enchantresses; now she was the last. Evelea, was her name, but not for much longer. She stood alone, her human allies having long since abandoned her so they would live. She stood, facing the enchanters, ready to die and ready to bring them all down with her. But it was not meant to be; the Children of Nothing did not want the last woman of their first offspring to be destroyed. And so they stripped her of her name and called her Aidara-Sydess, the Nameless Enchantress. And she was exiled to a land near where the roots of the World Tree had first spread; a place where it was night for half the year and the sun did not seem to rise. And she was called Aidara-Sydess, the Nameless Enchantress of the Ever-Night.

            And with the enchanters withdrawn into their own hidden domains and the final enchantress banished to where no one would go to find her, it was that the Children of Nothing became gods.

            Each of the gods watched the war and its supsequent consequences on humanity with varying and unique opinions. Gityu and the Three Sisters were saddened; Nesijik and Asanla had cried; Askler, Iktomarni, and Osdeghiyu laughed at the foolishness of humans. Somaryu shook his head in pity, and Domaryu said nothing.

            It was only R'naya who was angered. She watched, furious and scornful, her eyes so full of contempt that it nearly drove away the murderous fear lurking there. She watched from a distance, angry at the beings that they could be so weak and corruptible. But then her rage shifted. She looked upon the destruction and was angry at the others for not stopping this.

            And finally, she realized she was angry because she had not been part of it. She visited the temple that the humans had built to her, in a small city called Medni, and told the priests there that to worship her, there must be death. But the other gods would not stand for sacrifices…

            R'naya told her priests to send out members of their own to do the hot, angry, murderous work of the people. Her acolytes were to kill.

            But as time went forward, the gods did what they had done from the beginning—watch. The gods were content to do their minimal jobs and merely watch as their people evolved. Only R'naya came into contact with the people at that time, congratulating her bloodiest warrior-priests on jobs well done. Eventually, the people claimed the gods had abandoned them, for there was no sign that they were still there.

            The gods allowed it to stay that way. Even R'naya withdrew somewhat to the Life Tree. The people down below functioned without the gods quite well; as the temples of the other gods became abandoned and bowed before time, R'naya's remained not only functioning but thriving, although the service in her way was superficial. And all of that was probably what turned R'naya so; the fact that the world could and would move on without their superiors, their gods, their Children of Nothing. But the worst was that, while the others were forgotten, her name was still carried on. She did not know what made her so different—she did not know that the darkness before Askler so marred her and changed her from her fellows.

            Left alone to mindless nothings, each god took this newfound freedom in a different way. Gityu often took to visiting the mortal world, disguised as a mortal himself and living out bits and pieces of a life.

            Gityu disguised himself as an old man, one time, and called himself the Distant King, Oberon. It was then that the trouble really began. As he delightedly found himself on the 'wrong' side of the law in a village of pickpockets, the King of the kingdom of Azon was silently murdering and stealing from his people. It would not stand, and Gityu sent R'naya to deal with the king—only the king.

            R'naya took the law into her own hands, and Azon was destroyed in a cataclysm that no one—not the enchanters and the lone enchantress, nor the dragons, nor the Children of Nothing themselves—could match, in memory and legend.

            And the others did nothing.

            R'naya had meant to wipe out all hope for Azon then, an example to the rest. She did not count upon the young Princess Sayna Rian Avagdor, who not only escaped the cataclysm but triumphed over it. She only further angered R'naya as she joined the R'nayan Hunters, the hunters in R'naya's order, and defeated everything R'naya put in her path. And when Sayna Rian Avagdor publicly decried R'naya and returned to Azon, that was The Lonely One's breaking point.

            R'naya left the shadow of the Life Tree, then. None of the gods could stop her, but they all knew her purpose: She would be known in the world—not as R'naya, the Lonely One, but as R'naya their Queen.

            She would rule all, and if all the world had to crumble as had Azon—then so be it.

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a/n: And so it begins…

Welcome to Ever-Night, the sequel to my dearly beluffed The Lonely One. History of…um…everything, sort of specifically 2 people, but I'll get back to that. I left off The Lonely One in italics, so I figured this one could start in italics. Italics to me mean "GODS SEQUENCE!" (except in TCEIS, where it meant only Bastet…but the gods sequences there were…um…different…) I wanted to explain a tad about R'naya, and we'll keep discovering more and more about The Lonely One as this sequel goes on.

Also, I've exposed Aidara-Sydess, Nameless Enchantress of the Ever-Night…as having once had a name that did *not* mean Nameless Enchantress! Why did I bother with that? Why did I name this sequel as I did? Stay tuned and ye shall see! *wanders away*
Lil' Blue Muse: *peeks out from behind a corner* Meeeep? Oh…she's gone…hehehe…Well, in thaaaaaaat case…There are more questions you should know about, and I wasn't going to tell you, but, I have muffins and am in a good mood.

1) What was the shtick wif the ghosty?

2) Why did said ghosty have a temple in Nealon, which, incidentally, means Sacred Forest?

3) What in bloody hell can R'naya do this time?

4) Where is that dragon? I like him where I can see him…I'm scared…