Tales From a Thousand Worlds

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Wolf and the Stars

Wolf and the Stars

A Myth from the Cahuac Cycle

Hearken to me, O Children, and hear of the days when the world was still new, and the dew lay wet upon the ground, of a time when the shadows crept from the dark places to haunt the People.

In those days, the earliest of which we know, in the past so distant that the numbers of the days since are beyond those of the stars of the night, the People dwelt as one. They feared neither the shadows nor the dark places from which they crept, for they were mighty hunters.

Mightiest of all was great Cahuac, he of the People, yet not born of the People. Child of the fairest maid of the Sky-Plains, She of the Silver Moon, he was gifted to the People in the hour of their darkest need.

As a child he was gifted, and like all young he grew, yet he was unlike any other child of the People. Tall and strong he became, mighty and fair to behold, the splendour of the shimmering moon resting upon his brow and his voice like unto soft music that drifts ephemeral through the night should he wish, or unto the rolling thunder that crashes its majesty across the plains. In all things he was the most skilled, yet he turned not to pride at the works of his hands or tongue, giving freely, for all he did was done for the People.

Upon the day of his coming of age he journeyed far at the behest of his mother, She of the Silver Moon, questing in the dark places and daring even to wrest from the grip of the shadows weapons of power. Many were his deeds and long were his journeys, yet they remain deeds to be sung another day.

* * * * *

In those days, the earliest that we know, the stars were not yet scattered across the skies and only She Who Graces The Night shed her light upon the lands once burning-eyed Sun rested from his days of hunting across the Sky-Plains, atop the Pillar of the Sky. Yet there were nights where Lady Moon hid her face from the lands and darkness closed in all around. On those nights the People huddled around their fires for the shadows came forth from the dark places to stalk the lands.

Now Wolf was the most cunning of all the hunters on the plains and even the shadows from the dark places had learnt to fear him. It came to pass that the She-Wolf, the mate of Wolf, had born cubs and Wolf went out into the night to hunt for She-Wolf, a night in which She Who Graces The Night was hiding her face.

Far he travelled beneath the dark, yet the plains were devoid of any game and only a lonely wind blew, cold and mournful. Wolf was not one to give up easily though and his ways took him far from the den of his mate until at last he caught the scent of prey.

This was no ordinary prey, for in the darkest of dark that night there rested He Who Paints The Sky, waiting for the coming dawn to spread his colours to brighten the day.

Now Wolf knew not who he was, yet still fearless he sprung forward, for here was prey when there was no other to be found. And away sprang He Who Paints The Sky, out into the darkest night for such was the sound of the descent of Wolf that it was like unto the ending of all things. Such was his haste that He Who Paints The Sky did leave behind his paints and his stones with which he brought colour to world.

Wolf was curious as to these things that were left behind and he did snatch up in his mouth the paints and stone to carry off with him, and then in pursuit of his prey he sprung, for the hunt was on. Like the cold wind from the south that wails all unstoppable he raced through that dark night.

Through out that long night in which She of the Silvery Moon hid her face they raced, Wolf and his prey, locked in the chase that never could end, for both were matched in speed and endurance, and tireless was their step.

He Who Paints The Sky laughed to himself as he danced through the long dark, for fear of Wolf was no longer with him, and so he led him along distant ways, from the high places to they very depths of the earth. The sound of their feet and the laughs of He Who Paints The Sky and the howls of Wolf shook the night, and even the shadows fled in terror at their approach.

The sounds of that pursuit came even to the People where they huddled around their fires, waiting for the long dark of night to pass. And mighty Cahuac, hearing the howls and the laughs, was curious as to what manner of beast caused it, so he took up fire and went out into the dark of night to see who it was that so disturbed the stillness of the dark.

Long he did travel, and far his stride took him until at last he came upon the pair across the distant plains, the hunter and his prey in ceaseless chase.

Upon the coming of Cahuac, He Who Paints The Sky breathed upon the fire that the mighty hunter held and, lo, sparks billowed out into the dark of night and it was dark no more, for the first stars had taken aflame in brilliant array. And the shadows did tremble at the coming of this new light to the darkest night.

Wolf halted his hunt and gazed up in wonder at this new thing that lit the Sky-Plains, for there was beauty there where before there had been none.

Yet not forever would the stars stay lit, for they were but sparks of the fire, and slowly they began to dim and fade out, and not for forever would Wolf be fascinated by them.

“Noble Cahuac,” spake He Who Paints The Sky, “We can not allow this new thing, that causes the shadows in their dark places to quiver with fear, to fade out and die. Take up that fire that you carry and cast it aloft into the Sky-Plains for it to burn for all time and scatter it sparks across the night’s sky.”

And thus Cahuac did as requested, and with a mighty throw he cast it aloft, far out into the dark of night, and stars trailed in its wake.

Now Wolf, the most cunning of hunters, dropped the paints and stones of He Who Paints The Sky and leapt after the fire that blazed a trail aloft, and he caught it in his jaws from which none could escape. And there he remains to this day, running across the Sky-Plains with the fire in his jaws, streaming stars in his wake.

Once in a life time he returns, when the stars are growing dim, and then you can see him blaze his trail, to rekindle them with his fury, and in those days he burns brightly for all to see.

And the She-Wolf in her den mourns still for her mate lost amongst the stars, and each night she and her children call to him, their long howls lingering in the darkness, and thus they will do until the day Wolf returns from the Sky-Plains.

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