When the world was old but mankind was young, it came to pass that Naru, Lord of Winter, woke from his million-year sleep in the Naroqa, the glacier on top of Mount Qalau, the Mountain of ice. And he broke the Naroqa asunder and strode down from Mount Qalau onto Ta Rana, the continent at the bottom of the world, and he towered higher than Mount Qalau and the other mountains. White was his raiment and white his face, and his eyes glittered like shards of ice. Killing frost was in his breath and bitter winds in his cloak, and where he stepped, ice spread, and where his glance fell, all became cold and dark. And the winter brought by Naru lasted for two thousand years, and glaciers crawled over the Earth, and the oceans were frozen solid, and beast and bird and man starved and suffered.

Thus, the gods of the wpr;d gathered on Ta Rana to make war upon Naru. There were the eight Little Gods of the southern islands. There were gods of the sea and gods of the other lands and gods of fire, gods of field and forest, beast and bird. There was the Hidden God of the North who appeared as a pillar of flame. And the gods brought light and warmth with them. They came with fire to light their way, and their spears and swords shone in the firelight. And where the gods passed, ice melted, and warmth returned. Where the gods passed, beast and bird and man grew strong again and leaped for joy, and many followed in the gods' train.

But facing the army of the gods was the army of Naru, Lord of Winter. He came with snow to smother the fire and put out the light, and he bore a mace of hard, glistening ice. With a sweep of his hand, blizzards raged across the land and buried the army of the gods with snow. And the Tanoti fought for him, creatures of the glaciers who rode upon terror birds and fed upon living flesh.

All would have been lost that night, had it not been for the men. For the men were young and strong and fearless, the newest children of the gods, made in the gods' image, and they fought fiercely. Naru and his Tanoti slew great numbers of them, but there were always more of them. Men went to their deaths bravely, for they said, "Better to be slain in battle than to die of cold and want."

Thus, because of their numbers and their courage, men turned the tide of the battle in the gods' favor. And the gods were victorious, and the Tanoti and terror birds were slain, and the two-thousand-year winter ended, and the snow and ice melted. And the gods brought Naru back to Mount Qalau and thrust him back into the Naroqa, there to remain. But to the men, the gods gave a reward. The gods said, "Behold, the men are like to us in form and spirit and have aided us in vanquishing Naru. As a reward, we shall give them a part of our powers."

Thus, the men could use magic. And they increased and multiplied and became mighty, and the world was filled with them. They farmed and built cities and practiced magic on every continent, in both hemispheres. They worshiped the gods, and the gods repaid them with lives of bliss and abundance. And men and the gods had peace and would have peace for thousands of years.

Until Naru should wake again.