I looked across the Void. My siblings stood beside me. We were Water, Air, Earth, and Fire. The empty void was filled with dust, so Air brought it together and sorted it. Fire used his great hammer and forge to give it shape, and Water cooled it. I looked upon the realm they granted me, and I was thankful. Air blew around the void again and found more. Water mixed the matter together, and I smashed two stones together to ignite it as a gift to Fire. We created the stars for Air, and selfless Water insisted that this was good, and made her realm a part of mine.
In time, Air and Fire joined us, and I gave each a home on my realm. My realm grew in beauty as each of us touched it, and its form changed. Dips and rises formed as Fire breathed. Water filed away at hard edges. Air gave us a wall between the World and the Void, and our sunsets and sunrises were spectacular to behold. My world– our world– was alive and beautiful.
During one of the times the sun was in the sky, Water came to us from her home and spoke. “Though my part of this world is beautiful, I feel it lacks in something. May I borrow from each of you to create something that will, in time, come to decorate all of our realms?” This was the first thing she asked for since we came together, and each of us agreed to her wishes eagerly and gave her a gift of our essence. She thanked us and combined them into a fine green dust, which she blew into the sea, and they disappeared. We were disappointed, but said nothing, for Water was pleased, and she had done much for us and asked little.
We humored her, and true to her word, the green began to grow! Ribbons of green appeared in her realm, and began to grow in mine. Dots of green and grey appeared near Fire’s realm, and fluffy things flew through the realm of Air. We marveled at Water’s quiet genius, and we thanked her for her beautiful gifts. She simply smiled and asked again for more, and with it, she created more dust, and blew it into the sea. We waited eagerly, but saw no changes. When we asked her, she assured us that something was happening, and she did not wish to rush it, for to rush it would doom it. Air and I believed her, while impatient Fire decided to play with some of the larger green things.
To his dismay, his mere touch wilted them and burned them. He stormed to the shore and begged to know why he could not touch Water’s gifts. His screams of anger rebounded across the World.
Water rose from her realm and embraced Fire with a sizzling touch that brought her pain. “Forgive me, brother Fire. Much as I tried, I could make few that could survive your touch. Even I suffer at our touch.”
Shamed, Fire pushed her into the water and bade her heal. “You are forgiven, so long as those wounds you have forced upon yourself heal!” He stormed away with pieces of her in his eyes, sizzling down his cheeks. We turned our faces from him to allow him privacy, and his sadness faded with the passage of many days. He returned to the shore and called out to Water.
Water came, and she was more beautiful, but looked tired. She held a cupped hand out to him. “A gift for you.” she said. “They will not survive without all four of us present.”
Again, Fire wept as he looked at the tiny, moving worms in Water’s hands. “Sister, this is a gift of beauty!” he cried.
As days passed, the worms took on other shapes and some walked onto land, but continued to sleep or drink water. When they became cold, they died. When they could not take in Air, they died. They truly needed each of us, and we loved them. They were beautiful, and far more complex than anything we created. Each of us went to Water and praised her for her craftsmanship, and we found her asleep.
Air wrapped her in a blanket that Fire gently warmed, and I gave her a bed at the bottom of her realm, to be protected by her creations. She slept for a long time, and we began to worry, for among us, she was the most loved by each of us.
Fire and Air could not visit her, for she was too deep, and begged me to see her safe. I eagerly dove deep and found her. She began to stir, and slowly woke. Together, we rose back to the surface, and she thanked each of us for our concern. She looked radiant, and suddenly, Fire said he made a gift for all of us. Air and I were concerned, but Water looked pleased. She said she would love to see it, and his gift appeared between us. He had used one of Water’s gifts to create something of his own that looked like we did, though far more simplified.
It stood on two feet, with long legs. Its arms were also long, and its head was long and narrow. It had a hunch to its back, and it was very slender. It opened its eyes, and I saw something dangerous within. Air saw it also, and after we thanked Fire for his gift, Air and I spoke in private. Air saw intellect behind those eyes, and I saw insanity. Water approached us, and she offered to fix Fire’s gift. We decided that for the time being, we would leave it as it was, for it had done nothing wrong, and Air was horribly curious.
As time wove on, we saw it destroy the gifts from Water to eat and make shelters. Water was distraught, and she fixed the being. It became more docile, and began to thank us for what it took. Water became content, and each year, she spent three months upset, and in those three months, frozen rain fell in beautiful designs. She spent three months in regret, and the rains were gentle. Fire warmed the world for three months, and Wind blew the final three months, nervous over Water’s emotions.
Years passed, and Fire’s gift multiplied. The gifts of Fire danced for us in hopes of bringing us peace, Water became amused until her mood swings began again.
Eventually, Fire allowed Air and I to make changes to his gift. Slowly, I molded them smaller and gave them strength and stability in form. Air gifted them with empathy, and Fire’s gift became something we were proud to call ours. We became tired, and we all went to our slumber and dreamed of strange dreams.