Piers Dusan held the sword low. It was bathed in the blood of those who had tried to stop him. Men and Elves, Daemon and Fae had been cut down. And now, finally, he stood before Kronus.
Back in those days they called him Father, for that is what he is. The father of Gods. The Lifefather
Kronus was a hulking man. Taller than most thought possible. Broad of chest with arms as thick as tree trunks. At his feet was what remained of the Naiyrr. That is what some called the golden bow. It has other names, more than I could ever know.
‘That’s the bow what shoots thunder!’
The interruption was jarring. Meylinn took a moment to untangle herself from the story before realising what was said.
‘Shoots thunder? Havid Richards, you should be ashamed,’ she shot her most furious glare at the boy.
‘The Naiyrr is so much more than that. With it Kronus hunted down the World Eaters and tamed the Fae. He used it to hold off the Daemon kings and adjudge the innocent from the guilty.’ Meylinn stood, stretched her back and let out a deep sigh. ‘The Naiyrr is so much more.’
She settled herself back on the floor, secretly pleased that the interruption allowed her the luxury to to stretch her aching back. ‘You should know this, Havid. See me afterwards.’
Meylinn sipped her tea and let the children chatter amongst themselves. Once more, she dwelt on whether or not to continue the story. Once more, she forged ahead.
‘Now, where was I? Right, Kronus.’
Kronus stood with the Naiyrr at his feet. The sight of such a treasure would have been unbearable for any man to see, but for Dusan it was a morsel to a starving man. He saw the God’s weapon broken and he longed for more destruction.
The weapons of the Gods are not so easily nullified, as any dullard can attest. Kronus called for the Naiyrr and she answered. Half of the broken bow turned into a battle axe. With a heavy, half-moon blade on one side and a curved spike on the other.
Kronus swung at Dusan with the fury of a father than has seen his children murdered. The God put all of his power into one swing aimed at Dusan’s head. It was a killing blow, but it was easily avoided.
Historians know little of the battle. We have little to go on other than Dusan moving with the grace of a viper. We have been told of Kronus and his blind rage.
The God’s fighting became undisciplined. He swung wildly. And Dusan managed to avoid every swing.
Kronus did not tire, nor did his onslaught slow. We know they fought for a tenday, one whole week, before Dusan drew blood from the God. They fought another tenday before Kronus managed to cut Dusan.
On they battled, the sound of sword and axe clashing dominated the landscape. Neither God nor man spoke.
By the third tenday, Dusan and Kronus had inflicted countless wounds to each other but neither had managed a fatal wound. Each time the God’s blood was spilled, a new life winked into being. A cut on the chest yielded a vibrant red flower. We call it the Heartsblood Rose. From the sweat and blood from his brow came the tireless Vahnyr. The very horse that pulls this wagon.
On and on this went. Plants that moved, a snake that looked more wood than flesh, cats as big as horses, gnarled and bent creatures that moved on spindly legs and destroyed minds. That is what it means to be the Lifefather.
By the fourth tenday the God’s blood had brought forth all manner of life.
Dusan was furious. He had spent an age removing life from the world only to see it flit back into existence faster than his eyes could see.
On the last day of the fourth tenday, Dusan’s blade found a home. He rammed it deep into the God’s chest. To say it sounded like steel rending flesh would be wrong. It would be missing the point. It would be just like saying the Naiyrr shot thunder. It was so much more than that.
Remember breaking a stick in your hands. Not a thin twig, but a stick that is too stubborn to break easily.
Recall that sound.
The snapping that you hear is not immediate. It comes after a quieter and slower cracking sound. Think on that ominous, slow cracking noise that creeps along the wood. It moves within the very being of the wood. A herald of it’s destruction.
Think how a living being might feel if that slow death was moving throughout it’s body. Imagine what it is to know the inevitability of what that deep, cracking noise means. The horror that Kronus must have felt as his end reverberated throughout his very soul must have been beyond gruesome.
Slowly, but surely, like a child snapping a stick, there was one deafening snap.
With that, the God’s life was no more.
His blood left his body and birthed much and more of what we know now. All manner of Fae and Daemons and women and men surrounded Piers Dusan.
They say that in that instant, the Aether itself was formed. For the time it takes a fly to beat its wings, the Aether could think and feel. The marrow that allows magic into the world could see what Dusan had done.
In that glorious and terrifying instant all manner of lifeforms that could manipulate Aether concentrated their efforts on Dusan.
They pushed past his enchanted armour and his corporeal form and they attacked his soul. Some might say consumed it. Others would tell you it was shattered. Either way, they tore his soul from his physical body.
To further punish him, his soul was put in a place where it could see his body but never intertwine with it.
That was the moment the Veil was brought into our world. The same moment that the Father of All was take from us.
And still it stands as a barrier for all those who manipulate Aether. Ask too much of it, be not ready to face the consequences and you might just find yourself on the other side of the Veil. Sitting with Piers Dusan himself.
CW SY 2013