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Casum and Ortu – Sun Brothers (an Andalusian horse (white) with the moon on its back and an Andalusian horse (chestnut) with a mane of fire)
Guardians of the Animas. When something angers them, they darken the sky and take away the life-giving light.
Ovium thought it to be too dark when she received the task from Orbis to keep creating the world as well as life to inhabit it.
So, initially, she brought Ortu, the sun horse, into being. Henceforth, he galloped around the world to warm and brighten it with the light of the sun. Yet soon, Ovium noticed the plants beginning to wither, and the animals becoming scatter-brained because the continuous light would not allow them to find sleep.
Which is why she created a brother for Ortu and called him Casum, the night horse. He fancied himself to be better than his brother and challenged him to a race. Ortu agreed and said that whoever circled the Earth 358,304 times first would be the victor.
When Ortu overtakes his brother, a lunar eclipse takes place. When it is Casum who overtakes his brother, though, it elicits a solar eclipse. Them racing each other is what causes the alternation of day and night.
During the course of their race, a spark of Ortu’s hoofbeat birthed Leivo with his plumage of light, and the dust in Casum’s fur brought life to Luscinia with her night plumage.
Luscinia and Leivo – the Lovers (nightingale and lark)
Protecting those who carry kindness and love in their hearts. Patron saints of lovers.
Luscinia, the queen of the night born out of the dust in Casum’s fur, and Leivo, the herald of the day born out of a spark of Ortu’s hoofbeat, fell hopelessly in love with each other. But they could never stay with each other for long, since, when they tried, Luscinia’s feathers in which she carried the night sky would get scorched by the light of day in Leivo’s plumage. It burned holes into Luscinia’s night feathering, through which Leivo’s light would shine – this was how the stars came to be.
Leivo feared he might burn Luscinia entirely, and so he pushed her away with a heavy heart to save her life. It is said, however, that their yearning for one another is so strong that they find a brief moment with each other twice a day, their love dance being is what causes dawn and dusk.
Venandi – the Huntress (Eurasian lynx)
Patron saint of hunters. Guardian of the woods.
Some writings refer to Venandi as Furor’s daughter. She was the first being which Furor infused with fangs and a thirst for blood, to use against Ovium’s plant eaters.
But Furor gave her a kind heart just as well and forbade her to kill young and healthy animals.
She was a diligent and attentive student and eagerly lapped up everything Furor taught her. He loved Venandi dearly and often chose her over the other deities, which in turn made them hold a grudge against Venandi – especially Fabri and Cari. Time and time again they tried to best Venandi or to set her up. Yet Venandi, taught by Furor himself, saw right through their ruses and treachery and prevailed over them each time.
Still, she felt Furor being at odds with himself. He did not want his descendants to quarrel, but he did not know what to do about it. He simply could not treat Venandi like all the others. And so Venandi decided with sorrow in her heart to turn away from Furor. “I feel restricted by you, Father. I shall take my leave. It is about time.”
Deeply hurt by her words, Furor raged and tore off a piece of a mountain crest in the process. (Allegedly the very same crest where King’s Wall can be found today.) Furor called her an insolent child, chased her away, fuming mad, and jumped up onto the moon to watch the world from this vantage point.
From then on, Venandi wandered about. Guarded the woods and the wildlife inhabiting them. And sometimes, when she looked up at the moon at night, her eyes lit up to send salutations to her father. Because she could not be certain that he would see it with only one pair of eyes glowing in the dark, she gifted all animals such eyes.
Luctus – the Grieving Child (northern birch mouse)
Companion and guardian of the souls of the deceased. Prophet of doom. Chastiser of those Animas with impure hearts.
It is said that Luctus is the child of the earth. Born in soil, she saw nothing, heard nothing. Everything was silent and dark, warm and soft. But Luctus was a child, possessing the same curiosity all children have, and so she asked herself: “Say, what might it look like on the surface?” And so, she left the protective embrace of the earth.
It was at dusk and all the animals had fallen silent, paying their homage. Luctus marvelled at this world. Everywhere she looked, she saw wonders and beauty. Faster than any other animal could have, she climbed each tree she came across and tried every seed she could get her paws on. No path, however treacherous it might have been, was skipped. Until she knew every trail and shortcut.
And then, one day, she met a snake. “Hello!” Luctus called and tilted her head. The snake barely moved. Her eyes only stared as though she wanted to peer right into her soul. Luctus took another step forward. “What are you doing here?”
Suddenly, the snake’s tongue darted out and touched Luctus’ nose. The snake lifted her head slowly and with visible effort. “I am awaiting my end,” the snake hissed.
“What do you mean?” Luctus asked, her nose quivering with curiosity.
“I am waiting to die, little mouse.”
But she still did not understand. “What does that mean, die?”
The snake’s head came ever closer until she could see every last tiny scale. “It is the opposite of life, mouse.”
Luctus narrowed her eyes thoughtfully. “Can one die just like that?”
The snake hissed affirmatively. “Quite. I could devour you in one quick bite. Then you would die. But that would not do anything.”
Luctus’ little heart started hammering in her chest abruptly. Her whiskers shook, flustered. “Why would it not do anything?”
It was a long time before the snake finally spoke. At least, that was what it felt like. She simply stared into Luctus’ eyes. “Because there is nothing after dying. Nothing but waiting.”
“Waiting for what?” Luctus quickly asked. By now, she was standing on the tiptoes of her tiny hind paws. She could not entirely see it in the snake’s face, yet she thought she could find a certain kind of sadness in her features.
“Waiting to be found. There is a regnum for those who die, little mouse. It is called Aliterra. It is said to be beautiful, and all those who loved you and who died before you will wait there for you. And all the beloved, still living friends can be seen from there and protected.” That truly did sound beautiful, Luctus thought, but suddenly, the snake spoke quietly, barely audible. “But no one will ever find this regnum.”
Luctus sank back onto her paws. Her heart felt suddenly heavy. That was sad. Endlessly sad. “But why?”
The snake let her head sink a bit. “Because no one is showing them the way, little mouse. They wander about, seeking the way. Yet cannot find it.”
Lucuts wiped the tears off her tiny face. “This is so unspeakably sad, snake. If only I could help them. I could find the way. I am faster than any other animal in this world. But how can I show them where they have to go?”
There was a twinkle in the eyes of her counterpart. “You cannot do anything, little mouse. You would have to die first.”
Luctus lowered her gaze, thinking for a long while. When she looked back at the snake, her expression was resolute. “You said you could let me die with one bite. Please do that, dear snake.”
But the snake’s head swayed back and forth. “I cannot do that, mouse. I am old and have barely enough strength left to keep my head up. And you have so much time ahead of you. I am sorry.” And with that, the snake laid down her head again and let her tongue dart out one last time before she died.
Luctus cried bitter tears. For her friend. For all those who wandered and waited eternally to get to Alterra. And for herself and all the time that would have to pass before she could help them. Luctus cried and cried, until her eyes hurt. She curled in on herself, pained and grieving. Did not eat. Did not drink. And so she died and became Death.
Ever since, so it is said, Luctus guides the deceased with a little lantern attached to her tail, showing them the way to Alterra. Her eyes glowing a whitened blue due to her still shedding tears.
Deity of fate, holding and guiding the threads of life for every Animas. She punishes sinners.
Ars – the Artisan (brown bear)
Patron saint of artisans. Bearer and keeper of old craftsmanship.
After the Animas were created, Furor noticed that it was necessary to provide them with more than just nature. They needed houses, tools, and finally weapons as well. But because he was too busy continuing to create more life, he conjured Ars and taught him the art of crafts.
Ars gave it his all to fulfil their wishes and taught the Animas’ to craft as well. But the Animas’ multiplied rapidly and demanded more and more, so he forged two sons who were supposed to help him with his tasks.
He created the first out of clay and wood from an oak tree, the second out iron and ivy. Thus, Fabri and Cari were born.
It was soon evident that both possessed talents in vastly different areas. Fabri showed great skills in working with wood and stone, while Cari had a way with gold, silver, copper, and iron.
Fabri and Cari – the Smithery Children
Patron saints of diverse crafts. Fabri: potters and carpenters. Cari: blacksmiths and needleworkers.
Ars, the deity of crafts, created the brothers Fabri and Cari as his sons, for them to assist him with teaching the Animas’ the art of crafting. Fabri came to be from clay and wood, while his brother Cari had been made of iron and ivy.
Their talents were about as different as the components which had been put into their beings. Fabri learned every artisan craft with wood, clay, and stone with ardor and mastered every lesson of his father quickly.
Cari, on the other hand, grew bored of normal, everyday tasks and developed an interest in creating beautiful things. When he found an iridescent stone on the riverbank, he took it and worked it up, wearing it on a delicate necklace around his neck in the end. So he began producing jewellery and clothing and became a master at that.
His father was angry at him because he thought these trinkets to be pointless and impractical. Yet the Animas’ loved the things Cari made.
Invidia – the Begrudger (european catsnake)
Keeper of Orbis’ tree. Slaughterer of everyone who dares getting too close to it.
The Herbi Scriptures as well as the Carni Scriptures describe Invidia as a giant snake which felt a deep love for Orbis. Orbis loved every being and object in this world equally. Invidia, not understanding that this also included herself, begrudged everyone else the affection Orbis had for them.
When Orbis retreated into an enormous oak tree to watch Ovium and Furor’s goings-on from there, Invidia bit him in her jealousy, making him fall into a deep slumber. She coiled herself around that very tree, so that no one would ever come close to it and Orbis in it again.