Some of you may have read my brainstorming thread on putting a god-king into a setting that is actually a god. In that thread we came up with the idea of having all the gods walking around on the planet, and someone said that if I want to try something so radical I ought to think about how the world would actually be if that was the case. This is my first step toward that - a creation myth that makes the gods very physical and somewhat mundane.
Comments and criticisms are very welcome, especially any sort of speculation on what a creation story like that will mean to the world as a whole.
At first, the earth was bound in ice. Ice is as old as anything, and before ice there was nothing at all. There were valleys of ice, mountains of ice, and long flat seas of ice that shone beneath the starry night skies. In those days there was no sun, and the earth and moon circled each other alone.
Amidst the mountains of ice only the titans lived. The titans were vast, shaggy beasts as big as castles. They wandered the wastes without rest because they never slept and could not lie down, so great was their size. The titans were solitary wanderers, and each one knew countless secrets of the universe. As they walked, they slowly consumed these secrets as a camel drinks the water in its hump.
For reasons no mortal knows, two titans dueled each other and one was crushed and slain in the sunken country now called the Baletta Sea. This act, the first murder, was at the same time a sacred act of creation. Where the titans’ blood was spilled, the heat of it burned away the ice. The steam rose into the sky and made the clouds, and where the blood soaked into the frozen earth, the basest form of life blossomed – plants and insects. And, as the rotting meat of lesser creatures turns to worms when it decays, the rotting meat of the fallen titan became the gods.
Ignorant but ravenous, the gods consumed the titan’s flesh. When it was gone, they pried open the shattered skull of the dead titan with their bloody hands and feasted on its huge brain, and in the brain they found its trove of secrets. As they ate, the gods came more and more to understand the universe and even in those first days their lore outstripped that which any mortal since has learned. When they finished, the gods fashioned tools from the bones of the titan and the wood of the newborn trees. Though the garden created by the titan’s blood was verdant and peaceful, the gods knew that each day the titans were drinking up the secrets of the world and those secrets were lost forever. So, they scaled the icy walls and set out with their cruel weapons to hunt the titans, mightiest monsters that have ever been.
Many of the gods were slain in those days. The titans were far wiser and greater than any god, and they reaped a terrible harvest from the young hunters. Still, the gods were many and powerful, and one by one they felled the old masters of the world. Each titan poured its blood onto the ice and the ice fell back, leaving behind it a world of trees and jungles and grasslands. The gods ate only the brains of the titans in those days, breaking open their strong skulls with their tools and leaving the meat to decay. The meat bore creatures of a thousand descriptions, and foremost among them were the humans, who were like the gods except for never having tasted of the titans’ brains.
With each titan slain the gods grew more powerful, and more proud, and fewer. In the end they could not endure the company of one another and split apart into small bands to hunt the titans in far-flung corners of the earth. These bands were too small to tackle the titans alone, and so the gods took unto themselves some of the races of the earth and forged them into nomadic hunting nations. They gifted the thinking races with lores of fire, tools, language, magic, government and every form of craft and art they know.
Finally the last titan fell. Some gods, satisfied, went off to think alone. Some crossed the seas that had formed when the ice retreated, or sought tirelessly in the frozen North for another titan that would not appear. A few remained with their people, and sought meaning there, and our god-king was one of those. How he and we forged our empire, and how our city came to stand here at the gates of the Polso is another story.
they slowly consumed these secrets as a camel drinks the water in its hump.
[nitpick]Camels store fat in their hump, not water. They were simply designed with a very efficient system for storing and conserving water.[/nitpick]
I'll add more when I actually read the rest of the post. Hrm, an excellent speech for the "old mentor" NPC in any campaign or the prep speech before being sent on a mission for the tools made from the great bones of the first slain titan.
This creation myth reminds me of one of my own. Its very similar, but mine is a bit more....
Modern, I suppose you might say? It deals with a number of issues that older myths might not touch on, and has more of a modern feel to it.
Anyways, enough about my myth-
You leave me wondering what "icy walls" you are talking about. It could be my lack of sleep, it could be poor word choice, it could be something you left out.
But when you say the gods scale icy walls, I picture something like a fortress.
__________________ It is a joyful thing indeed to hold intimate converse with a man after one’s own heart, chatting without reserve about things of interest or the fleeting topics of the world; but such, alas, are few and far between.
– Yoshida Kenko (1283-1350), Tsurezure-Gusa (1340)