In the age before Man, when the Earth was weightless and empty, nothing lived at all. There were no birds, no trees, nor even ants to build their burrows in the ground. In fact, our world was nothing but water; a single drop which hung, suspended, upon a blanket of cold, dark space. The world was all but empty then, as wild and angry as a raging sea; each planet wandered blindly and there were no stars. It may have existed in this way for over a thousand years. Or perhaps, only for a fraction of a moment. It has been so long since then that we can never hope to know; yet, there are things which we indeed know for certain, as clear and true as the heart which beats steadily within your chest. On the day when time first began, it was light which filled the sky.
The Sun, the first Great Light, had grown vexed that the world could not witness Her divine beauty and so, in opening a single eye, the heavens with Her brilliance.
As the farthest reaches of the void came into view, Sun’s heart sank in bitter disappointment; as far as Her eye could see, She was surrounded by nothing but hardened spheres of rock. The planets were lifeless balls, scattered like frozen marbles across a weightless stretch of blackened night. Yet even they, unfeeling things that they were, grew enchanted by Sun’s radiant beauty and so pursued her. Weaving wide arcs across the sky, they set themselves to dancing, each desperate to gain Her attention, even if only for a moment.
Sun was unimpressed by their hardened visages, nor did their ceaseless circling interest Her. She continued in vain to search the farthest reaches of the world for some small glimmer of beauty. Soon, She fell victim to despair, as She believed Her efforts were fruitless. So for the first since opening Her eye, Sun regretted revealing Herself to our world; Her anguish only growing when She learned that the eye could do naught but remain open, forever, until the day that her immortal life came to a close. Remember well, my child, that this is the first lesson of Ancient Wisdom:
The eyes, once opened, can never truly be closed again.
It was the first Spirit, the Great Light, the divine Sun, who paid the hefty price to teach us this lesson. It is one you must remember well, as its cost is far too great for a child such as yourself to be forced bear. Sun bears the consequences of Her decision even now, as She stands above our heads. Even as the darkness draws nearer. She will rise again tomorrow, a prisoner in a hardened land, forced to watch over a world which has wrapped itself around Her. Do not forget this Lesson and all it has to teach you.
Even still, Sun was not one who gave easily into sorrow. Taking but a moment to allow Herself to grieve, She gazed steadily at the horizon, determined to find something which could offer a reprieve to Her suffering soul. As light stretched itself to the furthest reaches of the horizon, a small something caught her eye which She had failed to notice before. As it fell within the beam of Her gaze, it glittered magnificently, nearly blinding Her. Sun’s heart fluttered as She focused further and so our world came into Her view.
This was the First world, the one filled only with water. For the first moment since the dawn of time, Sun caught a glimpse of Her own beauty through its reflection; and so, for the first time since Her eye was opened, She felt pleasure at having done so. I cannot describe the way the sky glowed at Her joy: not even a blot of darkness remained. So thankful was She to have found our world that Sun praised it for gracing Her with its beauty. Her eye, from that point onward, did not stray from it even as her suitors continued to perform their celestial affections. The vast ocean boiled under Her penetrating stare, it’s liquid-earth core hardened beneath the surface of bubbling waves. Determined to catch another glimpse of Herself in the water’s shifting surface, Sun looked nowhere else.
It was Moon, the meek and humblest of Sun’s suitors, who first took notice of where Her interests lay. The smallest of them, and the most easily forgotten, he made his way to Earth and claimed it as his home. Unlike the other planets, Moon was cunning. Patient. And due to his small stature, Moon was also the nimblest of foot; the second he stepped upon the surface of the water and began to dance, the ocean’s surface smoothed. It shined like polished steel. He danced around the Earth, again and again, never ceasing in his movements even as he caught Sun’s eye. He was careful not to stop, lest the water turn choppy again, and did not look up as he felt Sun’s gaze intensify. He smiled slyly as he felt the heat of Her attentions fall upon his white head. For nearly one year, he continued in this way before the searing heat of curiosity seized him.
When he found his place directly beneath Her, he steeled himself with reckless courage. Sun’s gaze sharpened as She watched Moon’s dance come to a halt; for a moment, She saw nothing but him. The water raged as Moon stopped to turn his gaze upward. You must know, my child, that after years of watching him, Sun had grown quite fond of Moon in a way far different from how She grew to love our world. She was enraptured by his movements, intrigued by his intense concentration; before long, She found that She desired him and wanted nothing more than for Her affections to be returned. On the day when Moon stopped his betrothal dance, Sun’s passion for him burned so intensely that the planets surrounding her were turned to dust.
When at last She felt She could not bear another moment without seeing the face of the one She had grown to love, Moon looked up: their eyes met.
It is said, from that one, small moment, the two fell madly and deeply in love. When Moon began to dance again, he wound circles across the sea more fervently than before. The sea beneath his feet boiled from the heat of his passion. Foam, thick and white as pearl, formed like a brilliant crust to gild the edge of every wave. When Sun saw this, so great was Her delight to find the Earth so beautiful that Her love for it only grew.
From this foam came Yon, the first of all the Spirits, and the only daughter born of the celestial love between Moon and Sun. Like water, Yon’s form was fluid and shapeless, glimmering like a pane of glass which floated just beneath the waves. Her teeth were white coral and her eyes a liquid blue, two tear-shaped sapphires which glinted in the light. Her hair stretched behind her for miles and miles, thick as straw and white as sand; forests of sea plants, all varied and beautiful, sprang up from wherever its tips touched down in the water’s dark mud. From her clam-shell lips, schools of fish poured out like jewels whenever Yon parted them. Her voice, when raised in song, caused Moon to quicken his pace and, although She could not hear it, Sun felt Her heart swell at the sight of her daughter’s joy. Heated by Moon’s passion, tempered by Sun’s love, Yon grew vast in strength and spirit.
So great did her powers become that she could even breathe life into stone.
To the delight of each of her parents, Yon filled the ocean world with marvelous things and, for a time, the three were very happy. Yon’s happiness waned like the tide; like her Mother, Yon soon found herself floating atop the tides of despair. What was the point in living, she asked herself, in a world so beautiful if she must exist in it all alone? Unpartnered, without equal, Yon grew cold and sad. She created nothing and refused to sing, only opening her mouth to lament on her harsh and lonely fate. Her eyes turned upward in sorrow, she cried streams of snails and mollusks which fell to the ocean floor and multiplied by the thousands with every passing day.
Bearing witness to Her daughter’s misery, Sun lamented. Being so far, Her voice could not reach Yon where she lay, weeping in the waters which Sun drew and heated with love. Her words of comfort meant next to nothing as Yon could not hear Her. Nor did Sun dare move to embrace her, for fear that the Earth, and Her daughter with it, would boil up and become lifeless once more. Renewed in Her understanding of what the first Lesson now cost Her, Sun fell deeply into despair. Her daughter’s pain, however distant, felt as strongly as if it were Her own; from Her eye, Sun wept a thousand tears that fell to wet the blanket of the sky. They hang above us now as stars, still reflecting the light poured out as a testament to Sun’s sadness.
In the end, it was Moon who took it upon himself to find a cure for what afflicted his daughter. Moved by Sun’s passion, he stepped nimbly across the water to where Yon wept. In his determination to help her, Moon’s careful movements slowed nearly to a crawl.
“Dearest daughter,” he whispered, still dancing atop the water, “please tell me, why do you weep?”
“Oh father,” she cried out to the sky, “I am lonely here. Will you not create another like me who I might call my own?”
“My only daughter, remain my child forever and be happy. Smile, for your Mother is watching! Please,” he crooned, “will you not dance with me?”
But Yon would not be satisfied with such an answer; in her anguish, anger soon consumed her soul. She wept once more, bitterly cursing both of her parents for bringing her into a wide and empty world. Even as she bathed in Earth’s tepid waters, Yon plotted in secret on how to achieve her goal. She did not move or sing, and took refuge from her Mother’s constant watch by swimming only in those places Sun could no see. After years of watching her father’s rhythmic movements, Yon figured out what she had to do.
Every eighteen years, Moon’s step would begin to slow. Every being, even celestial ones, grow tired as time marches on. Moon, too, felt the pangs of fatigue that came with the endless dance; so on that day, he would sweep across the world toward the Earth’s dark shadow to stand in the place where Sun’s light couldn’t reach. It was a place he rarely visited. He did not know that Yon had made it her home. When he stole away to that place in secret, the nature of his dealings there were finally revealed: no one, most of all his beloved Sun, knew of Moon’s shameful secret. But his daughter, who hid herself deep beneath the water’s dark surface, spied on him in her eagerness to achieve her goal.
For the first time since her creation, Yon saw her father standing still. His face, once white and shining, was red and flushed. Unaware of his private audience, Moon perched low over the water. He buried his feet deep beneath its surface to wriggle his toes in cold mud. Cupping the water in his hands, he raised it to his face and washed it clean: a deluge of dark drops rained down like blood, staining the place where Moon sat. When he’d finished and straightened himself out again, Moon lifted his feet above the water’s surface to wash them clean upon the waves: mud slopped off them, mixing with the sea until it turned black. It’s rough surface calmed once more as Moon began to dance again. Yon watched as her father disappeared, smiling brightly, back into Sun’s warm gaze.
At the moment of their reunion, Yon swam to Moon’s resting place with a scheme in her heart. She dove to where the water was cold and deep, where the current was still stained with the mud from Moon’s feet. Weaving her hair around her like a net, she gathered the liquid earth and formed it into a pillar of solid rock. Setting herself to work, she carved a face and mouth into its frozen surface. Looking upon her creation, Yon smiled as she raised it up to shore. Then, leaning forward, Yon planted her lips on its and breathed the stone to life.
And so Wei, the second Spirit, came into our world. A product of Moon’s private shame, his skin shone dark as black obsidian, both smooth yet scorching to the touch. Thick rubies filled the hollows of his eyes; they glowed like coals above his mouth, a crude, sharp gash. At his navel, and where his stomach should have been, stood nothing but an empty hole. It stretched through him, from one side to the other. Its size could be changed at will, made large enough to encompass anything.
All which passed through this space was swallowed up. Turned to ash.
Despite his unsightly appearance, Yon took Wei as her husband and her happiness was soon restored. The sea swelled once again with Yon’s creation, and the sky rang sweetly with the ballad of her joy. New and wondrous things erupted steadily from her mouth; ferocious creatures, like the mighty Leviathan, poured out like ink to blot the water. Yon presented each as a gift to her husband, who roamed the oceans with a trident in hand, hunting and consuming all which might sate his ravenous hunger. In turn, Wei traveled to the places Yon would not go: from the deepest depths of dangerous waters, he brought up peridotite and pearls for Yon to weave, in long garlands, within her hair. Their love soon bore them children, as vast and numerous as drops of water in the sea. Each girl was born with the powers of her mother and each boy with his father’s formidable strength.
From above, Sun and Moon rejoiced in Yon’s happiness and their growing family—they constructed a magnificent palace beneath the ocean, made entirely of white stones, as a gift for the pair to raise their children in.
But as is a theme in their story, happiness was short-lived. Despite all which his wife created to satisfy his appetites, Wei’s hunger could not be sated. It tormented him endlessly, weighing heavily on his soul. His heart grew hard, his touch cold, against the faces of his wife and children. Unable to bring an end to his suffering, and now cursed with the immortality of the Spirits, Wei soon drowned within the depths of despair. With her heart filled with love for him, Yon took Wei into her arms and spoke softly to him:
“Dearest husband,” she whispered, her hair wrapped around them like a cage, “our bed grows cold like the depths of the darkened sea. Please tell me, my love, why do you weep?”
“I cannot, sweet wife, for if you knew the reason, your heart would soon grow cold as well. Then, from my suffering, I would find no respite.”
“Please,” she replied, kissing him, “tell me so that we might share this burden. For I do bear its weight, even if I do not know what it is.”
“For your sake,” he insisted, “I beg you to forget it and not to ask again.”
Wei tried in vain to continue on as he had before, presenting Yon with many gifts in an effort to make her forget about his sorrow. But in her stubbornness, Yon would not heed his words; she pestered him endlessly, calling her children to her aid. Day and night, night and day, Wei was bombarded with the same question. From his sorrow sprouted anger till, one day, worn down by her ceaseless efforts, Wei called his wife to him once more.
“Through silence, I had hoped to spare you pain. But in doing so, mine has only doubled. So I ask you, wife, do you truly wish to know why?”
Ignorant of what the truth would soon cost her, Yon smiled at having gotten her way.
“Please tell me,” she said, nodding, “why do you weep?”
“I weep because of you,” Wei said miserably, turning away from her, “for the wife who created me to end her own suffering. It was on that day which mine began. My life is only pain, and to live each day is to suffer. I starve to death each morning yet my body does not diminish. I gorge on feasts every night yet I am never satisfied.”
Now, much like the Spirits, words too are immortal; they carry a power in them more ancient and damaging that a blade ever could. It was the power in them which caused Yon to truly understand her husband; in heeding them, the words wound themselves in thick coils and squeezed around her heart. It trembled as she thought of all he had endured for her sake—then shattered as she realized the truth of his words. She had caused his suffering and, bound by the laws which once ruled the world then, Yon was helpless to free him of it. From this horrifying truth came the second lesson of Ancient Wisdom:
Our words, once spoken, cannot be erased.
“Husband,” Yon cried, falling to her knees, “forgive me! For every way in which I have added to your suffering, from now to when I first breathed you into life! How you must hate me, and curse my name, for all that I have done to you!”
“What is done is done,” Wei replied sorrowfully, “so do not weep. I do not hate you for the choice you made, only for making me speak the truth behind my sorrows.”
“Sorrow! For your love of a miserable, wretched woman, you tried to shield her from the truth. If only she would have listened! Now that I know who has caused it, my suffering shall be like yours now, as infinite and bottomless as the hunger you are forever cursed to feel!”
“Rejoice,” he crooned, pulling her closer, “and find happiness in our children, who grow in power each day as Moon sets and Sun rises. Allow their love to fill those places where your pain takes hold.”
“I cannot, as our anguish is shared. If I could but take it back, I would free you from this world to suffer in it alone once more.”
Wei’s heart grew weak with pain as he watched Yon’s spirit soon diminish. Refusing to leave their room within the White Palace, Yon wasted away and her beauty, once great, left her. Through his wife’s suffering, Wei’s own had doubled—bound by immortality, his desperation grew. He roved the seas with his children, intent on finding a way to help her. For many years he searched in vain. While Yon wept within her chambers, even Moon and Sun grew dim at the prospect of her unending sorrow; however, after some time, Wei soon returned with a plan.
“Come to me, my wife and hold me once more. The path which I have found requires courage to speak aloud.”
Once she held him, her white hair floating around them like a cloak, Wei took a breath and spoke.
“If our pain must be shared, then ours is a cursed and miserable existence. But if you wish to end it, you must pass through me—” his hand trembled as he motioned to his navel, where the hole was—”in this way, you will be free from your suffering. Then I, in part, will be freed of the knowledge that it was my words which have caused it.”
Hearing the sincerity in his voice, Yon was moved by Wei’s tender-hearted compassion. So she agreed, happy to sacrifice her life if it would alleviate some of the weight now pressing on her husband’s heart. Together, they called their countless children to them so that each might say goodbye. Only four took heed and produced themselves in their mother’s chamber: the two daughters, Gini and Qua, followed by the sons, Aer and Etra. Tearfully, each embraced her before Yon reached out to her husband. With a sad smile, they shared one final kiss.
Then Yon passed through his navel: first her legs. Then her body. Then her arms. With every inch that went in one side, ash emerged from the other. Her eyes were closed, mouth curved in a peaceful smile. Just before her head passed through, Yon leaned up to kiss Wei’s chest; the next moment her hair, cut off at the root, drifted down to join the pile of ash which now stood at Wei’s feet. It was all that was left of the First Spirit. As he whispered goodbye to his wife, and declared his undying love for her, Wei felt something change. For one moment, he felt brilliantly, incredibly full—as a smile stretched across his face, his children watched in horror as their father turned to mud, drifting along the current to join the ash upon the floor.
And so, to their end, came the two Spirits, leaving nothing behind but ash and mud and hair.
You must remember, now, the second lesson of Ancient Wisdom—words, once spoken, cannot be erased. At the moment when Wei forgave Yon, and each expressed their eternal love for the other, a spell was cast. Then, when they each sacrificed their own happiness for the sake of the other, a great change occurred, one which would shape the world around us into what we have today. Yon’s hair, once fine and white as sand, turned brown as mud and coarse as ash—it absorbed the strength of their Spirits, to persist long after their bodies perished.
So the third Spirit, and the greatest of all who have ever lived, was born of that sacrifice. It was he who created the land; with a single motion, he reached deep into the Earth’s core to pull up our island’s shore. With a finger, he created our mountain. He breathed upon the land a thousand different trees, shed a tear of purest water which sprung the river to sprout the grass. From his hair flew the birds, and from his head he shook the countless wild beasts which have made this land their home. Blessed with the gifts of both Yon and Wei, the Great Spirit could both create and destroy merely by thinking it. The Earth blossomed beneath his care, the new land flourishing as it remained untouched by the pangs of war or disease or famine.
The spirits below, Yon and Wei’s children, soon wished to rise above the water’s edge to marvel on the wonders the spirit YonWei had created. But he had not forgotten their indiscretions, when they had refused to answer their mother’s call. To punish them for their negligence, he refused their requests.
“Only those,” he boomed in a terrible voice, “who came to her when Yon called them may witness the beauty of her land. Only those who watched Wei melt back into mud may step foot upon his soil. And of those four, among their countless children, who bore witness to these events, hear me: only by giving up your immortality, as your parents did, may you claim what I offer you and rise up to join me. This is my price.”
Without hesitation, the four rose to the surface to meet him. The two sons and two daughters relinquished their Spiritual bodies and became the first mortals to walk the Earth, emerging from the sea to claim the Earth as their home.
The first son, Aer, found his in the North: great cities soon sprung from the forests there, set on sticks which touched the clouds in the sky. Gini, the first daughter, traveled West, erecting immense libraries from the desert sands where scholars flocked, determined to unlock the mysteries of our world. Then Qua, the second daughter, chose the shore as her home. Deeply connected with the place of her birth, she remained in the South, erecting mighty temples to honor the spirits at the place where she and her siblings emerged from the sea. Then Etra, the one who had been the last to arrive, was granted the mountain, which he gave his namesake: from the East, countless minerals and precious stones were raised from beneath the land.
And so each lived in harmony for a time, each finding meaning in their own mortality. YonWei remained with them, traveling between the four places as he taught them all he could. As the first mortals aged, their knowledge and wealth grew as well; YonWei sat upon the mountain watching them, increasingly pleased as the land flourished beneath the rule of his successors. All the spirits who had remained below the water found peace in Qua’s devotions, contenting themselves to live in the White Palace beneath the sea. As the first of the mortals began to die, their souls returned, happily, to join them; the family beneath the water grew.
So YonWei slept as Moon danced while Sun watched over.
But the mortal soul grows restless. In times of peace, it grows complacent and revels in wealth. Soon, the four siblings began to covet that which the others had fostered. Their jealousy grew stronger by the day until, forgetting their kinship, the siblings turned against each other at the foot of YonWei’s mountain to squabble openly. None fought so hard as Etra, whose heart was still embitter at having been chosen last. Drawing his blade, he turned it on the other’s and declared open war.
Before long, the sound of fighting reached the top of the mountain where YonWei was sleeping. He flew to where they all stood, each fighting at the foot of Mount Etra; in horror, he froze at the sight that met his eyes. In a flash of steel, Aer fell dead atop his two sisters, whose throats gleamed beneath streaks of dark, red blood. It flowed like water from them, pooling at the base of the mountain, where it stained the white stone. YonWei stood over them, staring at the place where Etra loomed, arms held out in victory over the bodies of the others.
When YonWei spoke, the very mountain shook from the thunder of his rage.
“What evil possesses you so, to shed your siblings’ blood at the foot of my mountain? Have I not created enough on land, that you each might share in the wealth which I have so willingly offered?”
Now Etra believed himself clever and cunning. They will tell you he used silken words to soothe YonWei’s anger, convinced him that as the strongest, he had proven the land was his alone to inherit. They will say that the others had proven themselves incapable of ruling it by falling at Etra’s sword. They will say that YonWei was moved to admire him, that he bestowed this land unto Etra and crowned him to rule over all. But there is another lesson here, albeit not an ancient one, which I must impart upon you before the time comes when I must die and my body be turned to ash:
What’s said, my child, is not always what is—only those who are wise can determine the difference.
Because you are young, and you are not yet, I will be the one to tell you. When you repeat this story tomorrow, and in all the days to follow after, remember what I say to you now. There is what is said, then there is what is. So I will ask you a question, and its answer is a simple one, so simple even a baby cradled in his mother’s arms would know it, if he could only find the words.
How could a father rejoice in a son’s victory if it comes at the cost of his daughter’s failure? Indeed, how could YonWei, in seeing three of his beloved children slain, find favor with the fourth, who had raised his sword against them? It should not take long, as you search your childish heart, to find the answer. But the light grows dim, and night is quickly approaching; we no longer have the time to speak, so now you must listen.
When YonWei came to that spot, he felt no joy in seeing his son Etra. Anguish plagued his heart, as painful and burning as Sun’s, as deep and lonely as Yon’s, as empty and bottomless as Wei’s. As he stood among the bodies of his children, slain at the foot of his mountain, YonWei felt such an anger that even Sun averted Her eye. It boiled in him as he faced Etra, the only living mortal left from the first four; yet Etra stood boldly before him, his blade, still bloody, was drawn.
“Do not weep,” he mocked, “for your children were weak, just as you have grown in your old age. I will replace you, and stand atop this mountain to claim the world for my own. Your power is nothing when compared to mine!”
“You think me weak?” YonWei thundered. “Then from your seat, bear witness to my power.”
With a single hand, YonWei reached deep into the sea and stirred its depths. A great wave, taller than Mount Etra, rose up to crash upon the island’s Southern shore—Qua’s temples were washed away, like stones skipped upon the water to be lost. To the North, YonWei released a single, steady breath: the forests were laid bare, trees ripped from the ground, as Aer’s city disappeared behind the bowl of the sky. To the West, he turned his awful gaze, setting Gini’s libraries ablaze until the desert was filled with nothing but sand and ash. When he turned to face Etra once more, YonWei saw the man tremble.
“What say you now of my power, oh prideful one? Make haste, for I grow impatient.”
“I am no dog,” Etra sneered, raising his sword higher, “I will not bow before you, nor beg on my knees for your mercy.”
“What, then, shall you do?”
“I will lead my people to greatness. I, the First Man, shall rule over them as king. I will raise up an army of warriors, loyal only to me, who will destroy any and all of my enemies.”
“Is that so?”
“It is,” Etra scoffed, “I will strengthen their will so that even they would not bend before you. For every woman you destroy, two more shall take her place. For each man that you kill, two will be born.”
“To what end,” YonWei asked, as clouds of birds flew from the island and out to sea, “do you seek to raise up such a nation?”
“We will come to own everything which this world has left to offer. Nothing that I wish for will be out of my reach. And all who oppose me will bend to my will or suffer.”
“And what will you do, should the world refuse to yield itself to you?”
“Then it will all be destroyed. Those who refuse to bow shall die and all whom they love will perish. That which they own will be burned away, their homes scattered like ash to the winds. Not even their bodies will remain if they refuse to yield themselves to me.”
“As you say it, so it will be done. Now tremble, my son,” YonWei said, raising his terrible hand, “for your time in this world has ended. Be silent and reflect on your fate.”
With a single motion, YonWei waved his hand before Etra and turned him to stone. So, too, did the others, which he placed atop the peak of Mount Etra so that the four siblings might look down upon the world. He stood among them, bearing witness to the destruction of the land he’d built. Planting his feet into the mountain, YonWei cried out from the top of the world—the very air swelled with his sorrow. His heart ached as he realized the error of his ways, at his erasure of the legacy which the dead had committed their lives to building. It was here, at this moment, when the age of Spirits came to its end; and from it, we glean the third and final lesson of Ancient Wisdom:
An action, once taken, can never be undone.
Faced with this truth, surrounded by the stony bodies of his children, YonWei despaired at having created the land. Wishing he had never laid eyes on it, the Great Spirit buried himself deep within the heart of Mount Etra and fell into a slumber. He sleeps there still, plagued for eternity by nightmares of finding his beloved children slain at his feet, their bodies cold and lifeless as the stone which now encases him. It is not understood, even now, why the village to the East was not destroyed by YonWei’s wrath. Perhaps it was his grief that stopped him from erasing us completely, or his pity for the strongest, but most foolish, of his children.
We were given another chance at things, so to speak, to prove ourselves better than the ones who came before us. We may never know in this lifetime what YonWei’s reasons were. All we have is this tale, and the Lessons it can teach us. Though the story is long, and the lessons only three, you must remember them: take them within you, allow them to become as familiar to you as your own name and your own story. This is our culture and history; the words which have written themselves into our bodies and our people since long before the Great Destruction, before the spirits became mortal. Even before the Great Light, when Sun first opened Her eye. Remember, my child, so that one day you can tell your own children and our story might live on.
But the night approaches, and our time has run out; there is much to do still, and words alone cannot protect you.
When you remember this day, do not weep: instead, think of Etra’s lesson. Never dare to raise your sword against your brother, lest you wish to incur the wrath of the infernal Spirit. He alone has the strength to destroy you, so when destruction comes, you must run. Do not look back to see the walls of your childhood home. Do not stop to listen to the ones who attempt to stop you. Think not of what will come tomorrow or what has passed yesterday: think only of now, and of what you must do. Do not forget the man you have called your father, nor the men that your brothers were. Tomorrow, the day will rise and bring despair along with it. It will tempt you to forget.
But you must remember always, my child, from now until your dying day the three lessons the Ancient Ones taught us:
Look, but do not see.
Hear, but do not speak.
Think, but do not act.