The applause quieted and the singer bowed, removing herself from the stage. The audience sighed in appreciation and each turned to his drink or companion, a low murmur of chatter filling the warm inn. One voice called out, slightly drunken, ‘What have you next for us, Catriona?’
Catriona surveyed the audience speculatively then smiles strangely. ‘I have a tale for you myself,’ she said and, taking up a glass of wine, her seated herself at a table before the fire in full view of her patrons. She paused in thought for a moment before her voice took up the familiar cadence of an experienced storyteller.
'Once, the world existed purely in the spiritual. There was no physical plane, no gods. Three elements composed the spiritual plane, th Wyld, the Wyrm, and the Weaver. Do not think of them as gods or spirits or beings with consciousness such as we, or even the gods possess. The Wyld embodied frantic, frenetic creation, spawning from its midst that which inhabited the void. Rhian herself was so created most purely from the Wyld. The Weaver took the creations of the Wyld and molded them, gave them purpose, direction, meaning. It was the influence of the Weaver that prodded Rhian into creating her first Son, Tyrin. The Wyrm is the spirit of destruction, of death. And naturally, you can guess that it was this spirit most influential in the creation of the second Son, Syrin.
‘But it is most important for you to understand is that each god is not the embodiment of one of these elements. The gods, like the mortals, like the other immortal spirits of the spiritual and physical planes, are equal parts of all the elemental spirits.
‘It is said that the Weaver glimpsed some part of consciousness and went mad from seeing the pointlessness of what was woven out of creation. From consciousness it developed anger, furious that all that it built was destroyed by the Wyrm. And so the Weaver wove a trap for the Wyrm, ensnaring it. As a result, the creations of the Wyld became more and more unchecked. Populations swell enormously as time passes. And, so too has the Weaver gone unchecked. Civilization, technology, and order have begun to overtake the physical and the spiritual planes.’
Catriona looks up at those around her, her audience stunned into silence, and she hissed softly, 'And the Wyrm grows angry at its imprisonment. It seeks to break its cage and wreak its destruction upon what the Weaver has done.
‘And so it falls into the hearts of men and of gods alike. They say that Tyrin is the god of life, that Syrin is the god of death, but both sides seek to create something great, and both sides seek to destroy. Each of us is moved by the mad desires of the Wyrm and the Weaver.'
Perceiving the disbelief in those around, Catriona added, 'And so as to how I know of this...'
'Rhian did perceive the existence of the elemental spirits. And so she reached into Wyld and made another creation. She melded the wild, instictual form of the beast with the progressive, woven form of man. And touched it with the Wyrm's desire for violence. The werebeasts were created not to restore the balance, for perhaps nothing can, but to keep it in check.
‘Werebeasts are reviled on by those who stand on either for throughout history they have fought against every side. As the undead did rise to power, so the werebeasts stood against them. As the Covenance rose, so did the werebeasts stand with the vampires.
‘So this I know, from my own history, passed through my tribe for centuries. So this I know, from walking the spirit world, where the elementals are more pure, their designs more knowable. And so do I know this, simply from observing the truth in it in the way mortals and gods alike act in these very present times.'
Catriona stood, smiling bitterly, and raised her glass, taking a sip. Without another word, she retired to her office, leaving her audience to erupt in frenzied questioning without her.
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