.:The Goddess:.

 

The Shaman of Nuka clambered up the steep path, panting with exertion. She was close to ninety five cycles now. Mahria, daughter of Uta, was her name. Like all of the village of Nuka, her skin was as pale as fresh fallen snow. Her once black hair was now streaked with white, hanging in a braid down her back. Two crow feathers were braided into the side of her hair. They fluttered in the wind, like they still possessed the spirit of the bird, anxious to fly away. On the other side of Mahria’s head, she had braided a string of multicolor beads that sparkled like precious gems amongst her dull black and white hair.

Mahria wore a dress composed entirely of crow feathers, giving the illusion that she was a very old and very wise bird that no longer flew.

The Shaman finally reached the crest of the hill. Gasping for breath, Mahria leaned on her gnarled wooden staff, her legs quivering beneath her from the exertion of climbing the hill.

She sighed as a sudden warm breeze took the chill from her bones. Mahria was curious about the source of the heat. It was close to winter, the leaves having left the trees. All warmth had left Nuka a quarter of a cycle ago. Mahria planted her staff in the ground and peered into the smoky valley below.

She often came to the holy site and looked into the depths of the swirling grey fog. Never before had she gone into the valley though until that fateful day.

Mahria reached for her staff. The ground gave way beneath her suddenly and the staff slipped from her grasp, tumbling down the slope with her. Feathers drifted away from her dress, fluttering above the smoke like tiny black birds. Mahria screamed as the grey wisps of smoke enveloped her, swallowing her whole.

She lost all sense of direction. Up was down, down was up in the strange valley. When she finally came to a stop, lying facedown in the moist earth, she could hardly see through the dense fog.

Coughing, the Shaman picked herself up and trembled violently. The crow feathers rustled. She looked like a bird preening her wings.

A sudden gleam through the darkness caught her eye. She cocked her head to one side, eyeing the twinkle through the fog. It glistened like a star on the horizon. Stumbling forward, Mahria squinted, trying to make out what the tiny pinprick of light was.

An object came up out of the gloom before her, impossibly huge. Mahria screeched, falling back onto her backside.

She shielded her face with her arms, half convinced that the monstrous thing would attack her. It did not.

Instead, Mahria could sense a hum in the air that was almost musical. It was a comforting sound not unlike wind chimes. Mahria lowered her arm cautiously, staring at the strange object that was lodged nose first into the ground. She crawled towards it on all fours, her fragile body shaking from the exertion.

Upon the side of the object was the word, ‘Lumia’. The Shaman pressed her nose to the dirt, murmuring prayers to the foreign object. Mariah could feel the intense heat and power emanating from the object. It pulsed in waves. The Shaman convinced herself the pulses were words whispering to her holy things.

“Forgive me for intruding upon your home o’ Goddess.” The pulses responded comfortingly.

 

In the days that followed after Mahria’s return to her village, the people began to visit the ‘Goddess’. At first they would leave trinkets at the site of the missile crash. Then they left food, and finally raw meat and animal carcasses. The Shamans of the surrounding villages met to discuss the ‘Goddess’ and what Her intent was for the land. Some argued that it could be a demon, as opposed to a ‘Goddess’. Others said that it was a ‘God’ not a ‘Goddess’. Mahria interrupted the argument, banging her staff on the ground. She stood in front of the fire, facing the rows of Shamans that sat on logs on the opposite side of the room.

“I have heard the voice of Lumia and what I have heard is truth.” The council in the primitive hut fell silent. All that could be heard was the crackle of the red, hot fire. The smoke drifted towards the ceiling, out the exhaust hole, and blotted out the stars.

Mahria reached up to her hair and with trembling hands undid the braids that held a string of beads in her hair. She held the black, white and grey baubles in her hand.

“This is the miracle that Lumia has performed! These beads were once colored, blue, red, gold and green. Now they are devoid of color. Color is a sinful blemish to our world and it must be destroyed.”

Mahria’s eyes, once a vivid green, were now a luminous white. Her eyes seemed to pierce your very soul when she looked at you. So intense was her gaze that men crumpled like paper before her.

 

The eldest of the Shamans cleared his throat, “Then let it be known that Lumia is the one and only Queen of our land,” The others murmured amongst themselves, not convinced that Lumia was indeed a Goddess.

Mahria closed her eyes and smiled, clenching the hand that held the beads into a fist. She held them close to her heart and murmured her thanks to Lumia.

 

Over a period of one hundred years, the people of the lands of Aether and Nox came together to construct the Spire on top of the physical embodiment of Lumia. They removed the missile casing from its spot in the center of Nox and carried it to the location that would one day become the city of Lumious. The chamber that hid the missile casing was deep in the crypt beneath the Spire, hidden from the public eye. Only the High Sister had access to the chamber, and she only went to it when the land was in grave danger. For many years after the construction of the Spire, the people of both Nox and Aether lived in peace.

This reign of peace would only last for a few more years. After that, all hell broke loose.

The End

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