IT WAS NOT THE NEWCOMERS that worried the Sitibin, but rather it was the culture the newcomers were bringing with them…
Many years ago the world was ruled by mystical, immortal gods and goddesses. Everything was subject to the whim of their will—man and beast alike. Of course, even the gods and goddesses of yore were not without some form of order and rule in way of a hierarchy. The highest ruling class of immortals was the Sitibin. Three goddesses, Morrigan, Ula, and Saraid, formed the great triad of power. They ruled over everyone from the isle of Ximira. Ximira was a beautiful place full of magical creatures, ancient castles, and mystical waterfalls. It floated high above the land of man known as Nalecia. The mortals were known as Nalecians and they worshiped the Ximiran pantheon.
No mortal or immortal living in the lands ruled by the Sitibin dared to cross the great goddesses; however, the triad was not without threat. Migrants from the Rakicia, the great civil war in Polnaliten, were moving and settling around Nalecia. These people were not afraid of the ruling immortals for they brought with them their own pantheon. As the migrants arrived in larger numbers and formed towns the Sitibin became aware of a problem.
Intermarriage of the Nalecians and Polnalitens led to a blending of beliefs. No longer were the Nalecians giving all of their worship to the Ximirian immortals. Some Nalecians even gave up believing in immortals at all. Without followers, the immortals of Nalecia would lose their powers and they would not be able to protect their lands. This angered the Sitibin. Nowhere in the history of their rule had followers forsaken them. Something had to be done, but they knew that destroying the newcomers was futile because more would come. They needed a more drastic plan, something with more finality. Morrigan, the leader of the Sitibin, formulated a plan to erase the lands of the opposing immortals—she would send her best immortal born warrior women to mate with the cold land immortals. The children from these unions would rise up and overthrow the Polnaliten immortals. Then there would only be the Ximiran immortals left to worship between the two human groups.
Morrigan sent her daughter Imurona and several other goddesses into the heart of Valhalla, the stronghold of the Polnaliten immortals. Their task was to intermarry with the gods in Valhalla and learn their immortal secrets. As Morrigan suspected the group of beautiful and talented goddesses easily won the trust of the Polnaliten people and their gods.
Many mixed bloodline children were born during the Seryeruth, or time of waiting. Morrigan, Ula, and Saraid even came in a second wave of goddesses to bring forth more mixed bloodline children. Imurona bore Andraste, a powerful sorceress. Morrigan bore Raelin, who had the powers of persuasion and sensuality. She also had another daughter, Morgance, a goddess of war and weapons. Ula bore Saela, who was born with the ability to feel other’s pain. Saraid bore Sabrina, who had the ability to endow weapons with magic.
These mixed blood children were being educated in the ways of both lands. The gods of Valhalla had hoped the children would strengthen their stronghold; however, the Ximiran goddesses had other plans for them. Unbeknownst to their fathers, the children were training to become ultimate weapons of destruction. Andraste was creating a new magic called Sh’cersay; it would combine the magical forces of both bloodlines. Sabrina was learning the art of weapon making from her father who had no knowledge of her special talents. Sabrina and Andraste were working to create weapons endowed with Sh’cersay. Their goal was for the weapons to give the wieldier the ability to kill the Polnaliten immortals. Morgance and Raelin trained to use the weapons. Saela was the only child left to her own devices. Her powers were felt to be less than useful in the quest.
During the Seryeruth, the children underwent intense training. Their mothers taught them to feel no love for their Polnaliten fathers and never to fall in love with any of the other Polnaliten gods. The Ximiran mothers raised their mixed blood children to hate the cold lands and to work towards a common goal of restoring the Nalecian lands. Once the opposition from the Polnaliten lands was abolished, the children would return to their true motherland and be hailed as heroes.
However, the plans did not go as the Sitibin had hoped. Saela’s unusual ability to feel other’s pain was one that no immortal had ever had before. Often the pain she felt was magnified a thousand times. Over time, her powers evolved and she began to feel the emotions of others. She preferred to be alone so that she would not be overwhelmed with emotions. Because of this, she had more freedom and was not subject to the same training as her sisters in arms. Saela’s father was Odin, the Polnaliten High Ruler, and she was highly revered by the Polnalitens. They knew of her plight and often allowed her to meander among their towns without bothering her. Many of them even tried to feel happiness when she passed so she too would feel happy because she always looked so tragically sad.
Of course, Saela was as beautiful as she was sad looking. She had long white hair and pale skin like her father. She had eyes like her mother, which were the deepest green. It was no wonder that both mortal and immortal men dreamt of Saela. Some thought it might be part of her power to bewitch them. However, since she never approached anyone and everyone was wary of approaching her, no one could be for sure.
There was only one soul brave enough to approach Saela, a god named Ikayu. Ikayu was a god of emotion. He was not a highly revered god because his powers were unimpressive for a male. He did not possess extreme strength like his brethren nor did he share their lust for war and glory. He had the power to make anyone feel whatever he desired and could take emotions away from others. Like Saela, Ikayu often ambled freely about the land. It was in these wanderings that he first learned of Saela. He had never heard of another immortal with powers like his and he knew immediately that it must be kismet. Not long after seeing Saela, Ikayu set about gaining her trust.
At first Saela was wary of Ikayu, but he was persistent. Every day he surprised her with gifts, but more importantly, he gave her the feeling of happiness. Eventually Saela fell in love with Ikayu. Whether it was by his magic or true love no one was sure, but the bond between them was strong and they were secretly wed. This would indeed prove a problem for the Sitibin’s plans.
A few years after Ikayu and Saela were wed Morrigan felt the children were ready to rebel. Morgance was fitted with a sword of great power. Andraste’s new magic coursed through the weapon forged by Sabrina. Raelin led the group into the heart of Valhalla where the great Polnaliten immortals were having a council. The children were ready to begin the slaughter of their elders if they failed to submit to their wishes.
“Father Odin,” Raelin began, “I do not wish to take much of your time and I apologize for this intrusion; however, it has come to our attention that your council has overstepped its bounds. We are here to correct those actions.” The heavy, marble doors slowly locked behind her as she spoke.
“Child!” Odin’s voice boomed throughout the council chambers. “What makes ye so bold as to come forth into this sacred council and accuse your elders of overstepping their bounds?”
Raelin replied, “Father, your war mongering ways have caused thousands of immigrants to spill over into Nalecia, a land to the west, looking for peace. Your escaped people brought with them cultures and trades that were offensive to the natural inhabitants of that land. These immigrants have even caused problems with the ruling immortals’ powers. Because of these immigrants, many loyal worshipers have even begun to believe that immortal gods do not exist. This has caused great distress for the ruling immortals of Ximira. I ask you today to make amends to these offended immortals.”
“For what reason should we care that some people to the west of us were displaced or that some unknown immortals are unhappy with our growing influence? If they have a problem, why should they not come here and speak for themselves? It seems these immortals are afraid of solving their actions with war and have sent children in to speak for them,” Daedus, Odin’s second in command sneered. At that moment, the group of children parted and Morrigan, Ula, and Saraid approached.
“But Daedus, you are mistaken; the immortals of Ximira are not afraid. They have been here for some time working on their vengeance. They have shared your bedchambers and spawned children with your strongest immortals. Or have you been too blind to see what was set before you?” Morrigan asked.
Daedus was shocked. He looked around the room trying to figure out what the red headed woman was insinuating. “What do ye speak of witch? How is coming here and bearing children with our kind solving the problem you have accused this council of creating? This seems to be the opposite of the effect you have wanted.”
“Father,” spoke Morgance as she stepped forward with her gleaming sword, “why don’t you come down here and taste the steel of my blade to see what mother is speaking about?”
Enraged Daedus grabbed his spear and rushed to face his daughter in battle. Daedus was very proud and taught his children to never question his authority. Unfortunately, Morgance did not heed that lesson.
“Impudent child! I created you! I can control whether or not you survive this fight. Throw down your weapon and take your silly ideas away from this council. I will give you this one chance to correct your ways, since you are my child. If you refuse, I shall best you in battle.”
“No, father, I think it is time you see the power of the Sitibin. Behold my sword, Naluos. See how she thirsts for your immortal blood. Come forth and let me prove my point.”
“You leave me no choice daughter.” Daedus moved to fight his own child.
Morgance’s blade zinged back and forth as she blocked each advance of her father’s spear effortlessly. If it had been another time and place he would have been proud of her fighting skills. Unfortunately, at this moment, he did not consider himself proud.
The mystical magic in the sword glowed and sparked with each strike until it finally bit down on Daedus’ right hand. He fell over in agony and looked into Morgance’s eyes as she swung her sword in preparation of beheading her own father. However, an overwhelming feeling of regret filled her right before the sword struck its mark.
No one had noticed Ikayu or Saela sitting in the corner acting as scribes of the council meeting. That is until Ikayu started to make Morgance regret her actions. Once Morgance had been frozen with emotion, Saela stood to speak.
“Mother, I am not sure what is going on here, but I sense great tension and fear within you. What have you done to make these children hate their family so?”
Ula had nothing to say and bowed her head in shame as Morrigan spoke. “I should have known you would be a weak link. I shall not let your folly infect all that I have tried to create here. Stand aside child and watch as the strongest immortals take over.”
Saela replied smoothly as ice, “You have poisoned the minds of your children for too long. Luckily, for me, I was of no use to you and cast aside. That allowed me to find my true powers and my true love. You should stand down and take your place beside your mate before you are obliterated.”
“I have no idea what you are talking about Saela. You have no powers strong enough to match the magical abilities of your sisters in arms. Come, you were never cast aside, join us now and take your place in the rightful class of ruling immortals,” Morrigan offered.
“No, I do not think it would be wise of me to join you or to allow you to keep upon this path of destruction. If you mean to kill all of the loyal Polnaliten immortals in this room it would also mean that you would have to kill me and my unborn child.”
“Child? You mean to say you have disobeyed me and fallen in love with one of these horrid immortals and even created a child?!” Ula screamed out in disbelief. She had given birth to a traitor. How could she ever live down this mistake?
“Yes, that is what I mean mother. Then again, how is that any different from what you did? Did you not have children with these “horrid immortals” as you call them? Am I not part Polnaliten? Ikayu and I wed some time ago and are expecting our daughter to arrive very shortly. Like me, Ikayu was judged to be worthless and cast aside by his family, but it seems that today his powers are invaluable. Ikayu, will you please make our guests feel less hostile.”
Ikayu stood up and turned to his wife with a sneer of vindication aimed at the other immortals in the room. “With pleasure my love.” Morgance and Raelin instantly felt guilt and confusion. Morrigan felt embarrassment. No one in the room was able to ignore their new feelings. They were powerless to brandish their weapons. The fighting quickly came to a halt and the council agreed to a treaty.
Instead of getting their ultimate revenge as they had planned for so long, the Ximiran immortals created a peace treaty between the two bloodlines. Odin called for an ancient island to rise up from the ocean floor so forming the mystical isle of Draosia. Here the word of the council was binding and both the Ximiran and Polnaliten immortals could sort their differences without shedding blood. It was no surprise when Saela became a member of the council along with Sabrina, Andraste, Imurona, Ikayu, and a once human girl from the cold lands name Eir. Eir was to be the balance of the council between both parties. She was a special girl that both loved and hated the cold lands equally. She also had an ability to see the future. Her ability, along with her feelings for the cold lands, would greatly help the council hand out wise and just commands that would be fair to all involved.
Morrigan and her followers returned to the isle of Ximira defeated. The war they tried to wage had indeed changed things for them back home in Nalecia. However, it was much different than they thought it would be. Instead of being forgotten goddesses, they returned with enhanced powers and were the mothers of new goddesses.
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