The Origin of the Rajamala - Aetolia Online Help
16.3.8 The Origin of the Rajamala
As told by Klaana: It was the time of the great unknowing when all was without intellect but guided by instinct and blood and hunger. The Itzatl was but an empty plain, home only to scuttling beetles and the birds that hunted them out of desperation. Some say it was a dark time, when we came to be. We looked to the other creatures to understand how to eat and behave. We looked to the creatures best suited to our interests. We looked to the lion and the panther and the lynx. The Pantheon looked upon our ignorance and our beastly ways, and most were displeased. Yet there was One that smiled and delighted. In the rhythm our blood, spoke the Divine, urging us towards hunt and flight, chase and kill, camouflage and survival. And we began to change. Shorter our fingers became, and between them grew curved claws for ripping and tearing. Powerful became our legs, and sharp our senses. The hiding became easier, as did the leaping and the devouring. With tail and eyes and paws granted by the Divine, we were every bit as much as cats as the lion, and we were greater! More cunning still were we, and less merciful. Our fur was the color of hunger, and from it did mortals learn the color orange. There were no stripes, nor other interruption in its glory; that tragedy would come later. From our pelts came the hues of the sunset and the summer blossoms, for our cunning inspired all the world. "You shall be called Tiger," said the Divine pulsing of our blood. So did we live for many years, in a pure state beyond happiness and knowledge. Then came the Other, whose roar was one of intellect. "These were once mortals and now prowl the lands as beasts? What are these misshapen creatures, and to what purposes do You pretend? They were to have wit, and clarity of mind! This was not how it was meant to be!" said this Other, and it has been forgotten if there was a reply in words, for the agony that followed swallowed all sound and sense. We were ripped apart, from the inside out. Divided in half, as surely as a blade through the stomach, were we cut, and the cut was jagged. We looked at our selves, and saw that we had become two. One retained the shape of Tiger and one had regained two legs and stood upright. The pure sunset orange that had blanketed us was haphazardly ripped, shared between our two bodies, the rest streaked with the black of loss. We have never found a way to reunite our divided halves. One half we still call tiger, though most forget to call them brother. The other half, retaining tail and fur yet lacking so much of what we were, endowed eventually instead with capacity for thought and speech, came to be called the people of the Curved Claw, or the Raja Mala in the Oldest Tongue. No longer do we approach the Divine with claws sheathed. Perhaps one day we may again discover our purity of color and purpose, and perhaps even repay the Other for Their tearing us in two. Until then, in roar and tooth, in stripe and stalk, we are Rajamala and we are proud.