An Immortal Contest - Aetolia Online Help

16.5.1 An Immortal Contest

Many years ago, before sentience was granted to mortals and while they wandered
the world unclothed and purposeless, the Gods looked down on them with pity. 
Their creations hid in terror from the sun, and shivered from the fall rains,
and took shelter in shallow caves when the night arrived and the moon shone
brightly in the sky. It was then that Lleis spoke to each of the other Gods
and proposed a contest; for in those days, even the Gods could be called
'young', and they oft took to sport and games.

Her beautiful melodic voice sang out to the Immortals and it challenged them
each to take pity upon the mortals and build for them a place for them to live,
where they might hide from the sun or moon, their Celestial Demons, and keep
them warm from the howling winds that often ripped across the continent. Many
of the Gods and Goddesses, looking to stand higher in the Eyes of the Creator,
gladly took up the challenge.

In the North of the Continent, Iosyne took the clay that lined a fertile
seashore, and began to mold it into beautiful arches and brilliant
architecture. Streets took shape as Inspiration flowed from Her fingers, and
elaborate fountains and plazas began to create a beautiful pattern where
mortals might learn from the power of Art and Beauty, and thus protect their
hearts from the cold and harsh world that existed around them.

In the South of the Continent, Lanos grasped the sands and dug straight paths
and perfect angles to create a picture of geometric regularity. It was He who
was able to create beautiful monuments, each edge straight and true, to
symbolize the power of Truth to lead mortals forward into the coming years. 
His buildings, although not possessing the beauty of those of Iosyne, were
utilitarian and solid, able to survive even the worst hurricane that might
travel across the oceans. Even the stones that made them up were Perfect
carvings of Rough Ashlar found in Moghedu.

To the East of the Continent, Severn, always looking to improve His station,
took the challenge to heart as well. Though not possessing the Grace of Iosyne
or the ability to carve Perfectly like His Brother, He nonetheless took the
rocky soil and began to build. His streets wove back and forth, and those
buildings He constructed were lopsided and unstable. His paths were uneven and
His structures leaked during the worst of the Spring rains.

When it came time to judge the dwellings, Lleis and Varian looked upon each in
turn and discussed amongst Themselves Their opinions on the matter. The Gods
sat anxiously waiting for Their decision and even Haern came and joined them in
watching the deliberations. After many days, Varian and Lleis turned to the
gathered crowd of Divinities, and spoke to Them.

The Creator spoke first, His voice echoing across reality, "Each of the mortals
shall benefit from Your creations, for many years to come. For with this, You
have heralded in a new period of civilization for them. May they prosper in
the places You have built for them, and may they show Us the diversity of their
spirits."

Then the harmonic beauty of the voice of Lleis enraptured them as She spoke. "I
asked You each to take compassion on the creatures that roam the Creation, and
You each did. But a choice must be made, for this is still a contest and a
Winner must be declared."

And then it was declared, to the surprise of most assembled, that the victory
should go to Haern. For He had created the beautiful and elegant trees of the
forest, and given many creatures homes where they did not once have them, and
had provided for them with food and protection from harm. Though He had beaten
the others, most were not upset at Their loss; it was clear that the
competition was tight and that the uniqueness of Haern's creation was
unmatched.

But still, one was upset. Severn, angry over His loss, strode to His creation
and began to destroy it. He threw the stones about and destroyed the
marketplaces and roads that He had spent so much time building. Sulking for
many years to come, Severn would not forget His loss easily. It was a small
consolation to Him that the ruins would provide refuge to many creatures in the
years to come.