The Tale of Maya and Tsunami

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'As told by Nalani the Scribe, Follower of Arion' After Arion passed away and Sanguine mourned, the new universe they had created began to take shape. Matter and energy swirled about like milk in a churn, forming the sun, moon, and stars.

From this primal brew also arose Maya, the Earth goddess. Earth was fresh and lovely, but lonesome, as nothing lived upon her yet. Her gaze fell upon Tsunami, the young god of the Sea, water streaming from his hair, and she exclaimed, “Ah! What a handsome youth!” To which he replied, “Ah! What a beautiful maiden!” And so Sea embraced Earth, and all life springs from their ecstatic union.

Soon fish of all sizes swam in the waters, and animals walked, crept, and flew over the earth. Maya wrapped herself in garments of green, and Tsunami caused rains to adorn his beloved with silver rivers an d lakes. So me of the animals learned to walk upright, make tools for themselves, and to worship their Mother and Father. And so the two lived happily together for many years.

But there came a day when Maya told her husband, “I must travel Below for three days, deep into the heart of the world. Do not pursue me; I will return. But before I go, tell me: do you love me?”

“I love you dearly,” replied Tsunami.

“Would you love me no matter what?” asked his wife.

“I would,” said the Lord of Waters.

Mother Earth asked, “Would you ever leave me?”

And Father Sea replied, “I will never leave you.”

Then Maya went below into the Underworld.

All creatures missed their Mother, and Father Sea was lonely and impatient. He made great waves, caused rainstorms, threw back the gifts that mortals offered him. On the third day, Tsunami could bear his wife's absence no longer, and followed her path inside the earth.

He travelled down, down, down, through the black caverns. At last he thought he heard his lady's voice raised in song. Walking toward the sound, he found a doorway covered by a curtain made of cobwebs, through which he saw the silhouette of his mate.

He swept the veil aside.

Instead of the shapely form and gentle face of the Summer Queen, the Storm King beheld a fearsome hag. The crone's skin had shrunken onto her bones, giving her the look of a living skeleton. Serpents twined themselves through her tangled white hair, and spiders scuttled across her torso, mending holes in her dress. She had long, ragged nails and sharp teeth like those of a beast.

But most terrible were her eyes: they blazed into his soul, as though they knew his every secret and his very fate.

“Eeyaaaaaah!” spake the Lord of Waters, and he fled out of the Underworld, across the land, down to his den at the bottom of the sea.

Days and more days passed. The land grew cold; plants began to die. When the world's first snows began to fall, and the Folk shivered in their homes and cried out to the gods for help, Tsunami knew he must face the death-crone again and retrieve his beloved.

So Tsunami girded on his fish-scale armour, hefted his trident and set out to travel under ground -- only to discover that he could no longer find the passage. He jumped up and down and cursed for some moments, then, tired from this exercise, sat upon a stone to think. It was then that he noticed a serpent crawl past him and wriggle through a crevice in the rocks. The Sea Lord changed into a snake and slithered after.

Following the snake, Tsunami wound his way through twisting passages, deep into the belly of the earth. At last he reached a chamber wherein the sk letal woman sat upon a throne of ivory and held court.

Her burning eyes met his. “What do you in my realm, living god?” she asked.

He trembled under the crone's gaze, but held his ground. “I come to find my queen, Lady Maya, whom I love above all else. And I would know: who are you?”

The hag replied him thus: “I am called Zillah, She Who Waits below the earth . All creatures, when they fall to the Divider's sword, come to me. My lands are the lands of the dead; I am the Guardian of Ghosts, who teaches the dead to live backwards until they can be reborn. I am the mistress of secrets, who knows the fate of every being. This is who I am.”

“Where then,” asked the Storm King, “is my wife?”

“She is here with me,” Zillah told him.

So Tsunami searched among the shades that were gathered in that realm, but he did not find his mate. He returned then to their Queen.

“You have one question left to ask me, God of Many Tempers,” said Zillah. “Choose it well.”

In despair, Tsunami cried out: “What have you, skeletal hag, to do with Lady Maya, who is beautiful and generous and loved by all things?”

And the death-crone replied: “I am her sister, and her self. You have broken your word, Sea Lord.”

Then Tsunami knew the mistake he had made, and he wept with remorse. He begged his mate's forgiveness, and vowed that he would love her no matter what form she took. So saying, he gathered Zillah in his arms and kissed her withered mouth.

As he did so, her lips under his became full and moist, and her bony body changed back to the lush, youthful form of Lady Earth.

Goddess and God made love there, in the centre of the world; while above, forests and hillsides burst into bloom, and beasts and folk alike came out to rejoice in the spring rains.

Since this time, Mother Earth has also been the Queen of the Underworld. Father Sea learned wisdom from this, and became also the Lord of Visions. And so it has been to this day.


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