The Origin of the Imps and Pixies - Aetolia Online Help
16.5.3 The Origin of the Imps and Pixies
As told by Orechnai: Once, long ago, there was a castle at the heart of a small kingdom called Sehal, within which lived the wise Queen Beye with her twin daughters. Sehal was prosperous and known as a place of warmth and comfort, so deeply did her people revere Laughter as holy and cleansing. Then, in one stroke, it seemed their fortune had deserted them. Famine and drought plagued their bountiful fields and many fled Sehal, fearing starvation. Laughter languished, forgotten. The Queen gave of her own food to the people, that they could survive another day. Beye's generosity and selflessness is known to us even now, for her name is synonymous with kindness. In the winter of that year Queen Beye, weakened with hunger, succumbed to disease and perished. The princesses thus became royal orphans at the age of ten. Yet spring seemed to remember Beye's gentle ways, for the rains were plenty and the harvest certain to be plentiful in the fall. With renewed hope, the people of Sehal worked the fields, forgetting the troubles in the castle. The princesses, Kipa and Sazi, were intelligent girls but children nonetheless. It is said that loneliness is the maker of much grief, eating at the soul like caterpillar at leaf. Slowly but surely, all is devoured and no remnant of wisdom remains. After many adventures in the castle of mischief and play, which shall not be recounted here, Kipa and Sazi knew that they were lonely. The castle was a mess, and they had no friends. "O, sacred Laughter," the girls said together, "Please, send someone to care for us. We do not know how to wash our hair, and our cooking has killed the maid!" "Then show me your prayer, daughters of Beye," said their Goddess. And they laughed. They laughed together for a night and a day. Kipa giggled in delight, her voice sweet with girlish charm. Her giggles broke into ten thousand parts and from these shards came tiny winged folk, lovely to the eye and delicate in frame. Sazi cackled in good humor, her voice loud with devotion. The cackle melted and dripped into small, squat people, more cunning and full of mischief than any that ever were. Laughter spoke once more, "I give to you servants and caretakers. Treat them well." Household affairs started out well enough in the castle of Sehal. Kipa's servants were adept at scrubbing the ceilings and Sazi's servants devised elaborate schemes whereby the dishes would wash themselves. And in the evening, they would play great games both academic and athletic, laughing all the while. To them, it seemed but a short interval before they came of age. Young women were they, and tradition demanded that only one of them could rule the kingdom as Queen of Sehal. "You are kind," whispered Kipa's companions to her, "your mother would have wanted you to take her place. Your sister knows nothing of compassion." "Your mind is bright and quick," whispered Sazi's servants to her, "The people deserve your leadership. Your sister will never have your wisdom." Each came to believe that she deserved to rule and even came to loathe the other. The castle became divided. In one wing sat the discontented Kipa, anxious to please her mother's memory. Though her companions flitted about her, laughing on stained-glass wings, she could not know happiness while Sehal was not hers. In the other wing brooded Sazi, worried over how best to benefit the whole of the kingdom. Her little friends, too, tumbled and bounced at her feet with their little horns, but she could barely smile for her tension. Finally, Laughter intervened. She came and proclaimed, "Whichever of you should pray the strongest shall have the kingdom." They should have heard the tremor of humor in Her voice. They should have suspected. The princesses and their servants complied. From one end of the castle came giggling bright as stars, and from the other came cackling to raise mountains. And in the center, the ground split open and the rift ran all the way across the kingdom of Sehal, dividing it in two. The girls were possessed by bitterness and revulsion for one another, believing the other responsible for destroying the work of their mother. "It is done!" snickered Laughter, and disappeared. Thus was the nation of Kipa, meaning "pixie" in the Old Tongue, and the nation of Sazi, meaning "imp", given to us. Ever have they been at war, though their laughter can still be heard in twilight amidst their games.