(WP) The Lovers
Gather around the fire, children, and let your Auntie tell you the stories of our people.
They say that the greatest lovers of all time were also the greatest warriors.
They were the first of our people, and the rest of our legacy was born from them. They traveled across every landscape, through bitter snow, sheets of sleet, blinding rain, scorching deserts, thick, dense forests, until they came to the coasts and saw the ocean for the first time. Weather-beaten, tired, and hungry, Calandra and Zamir were forced to build a raft from the trees of the forest, only big enough for themselves until they could cross the seas and settle somewhere permanently.
The journey across the sea took many days and nights, and Calandra’s stomach grew larger, more distended. She told her husband that she was expecting a child, and Zamir’s joy was so boundless that he roared his thanks to the gods of the sun and sky, happy that his lineage was to continue. But underneath his happiness, shadows of doubt and fear lurked; he feared for his wife and unborn child; they had to get across the sea and settle as soon as possible.
As if summoned by Zamir’s voiceless worries, the sea began to churn and boil, and shadows began to circle their raft, the clouds moving in so quickly that even the great Sun was blotted out; the sky was soon as black as the skirts of the Night’s dresses, and the raft soon became lost in the tumult of the salty water.
Zamir tried his best to take the raft to safety, but he could barely see the horizon through the cold, driving rain. A tall, dark shadow rose through the waves, revealing a large, pointed snout and huge, glowing red eyes, with the hard green scales of a crocodile; the head bent down on a long, scaly neck, and a cool breeze brushed over Zamir.
“Who dares to seek passage through my ocean without a summons?” A deep, male voice boomed; it crashed over the couple like a violent rockslide. “I am Necalli, guardian of these waters, and I demand tribute! Otherwise, you and the female will die, your bodies food for my children!”
Zamir was so struck with terror that he just stared up at the sea god, his face paper white and his hands trembling. He hadn’t known that anything but fish swam in these waters, and the fear that struck his noble heart had stolen his voice. So it was that Calandra stepped forward, tipping her face up to look at the god.
“Our greatest apologies, Great and Merciful One!” She called, shouting to be heard above the insistent voice of the storm. “We did not mean to trespass, and we mean you no harm! We only ask that we pass through your home without incident. You see,” She said, putting her hands on her stomach, “We are expecting a child soon, and I wish to give birth on land! Is there anything we might offer you to lessen our slight against your greatness?”
At those words, the storm vanished as quickly as it had begun; the clouds parted, and the sun shone on the god’s long, sleek body, which fully rose out of the water, as much to sun itself as to threaten. But Calandra stood her ground, trembling but otherwise not showing her fear
.“What could you two puny humans have to offer me that I do not already have?” He crowed, leaning down to fix one beady eye on the warrior. Zamir stood beside his beloved, shame rendering him still speechless. How could he be so useless at defending his wife’s honor?
“We will serve you for the rest of our days, O Great Necalli,” replied Calandra smoothly, bowing her head. “We promise that once we are settled fully on land, there will be a temple built in your honor, and all will know of your generosity and kindness, if you’d let us go.”
“How do I know that you and your spineless husband will keep up your end of the bargain?” The being rejoined, showing off a mouthful of sharp, bloody fangs. Calandra opened her mouth to answer, but before she could, Zamir stepped forward, struck with an idea.
“We will name our firstborn child after you! A robust, strapping boy who will know just how powerful and mighty the guardian of the sea is!”“So the man speaks at last! I was beginning to worry that you’d been struck dumb by my size and stature. Very well, human warriors. I will accompany you to land, and once you are settled and the child is born, I will return to make sure you made good on your promise.”
So the god of the ocean guided our people to this cluster of islands, where they made our home. The temple still stands today, and the son of The Lovers became the first priest of the god Necalli. In exchange, he was given mighty powers: visions, strength beyond measure, the gift of controlling storms, and the ability to read the waves as well as any scroll. The Lovers became the first chief and rulers of our tribe, and our line continued to grow after them, as more people came across the oceans and settled. Their stories are still told through our shamans, priests and priestesses, and magic workers, but that is the first story to ever be told of our people.