The youngest sister fell from the sky,
as if her wings had been broken.
Into the unforgiving wasteland that stole her kindness,
and shattered her soul.
It is the history of six bird sisters who hatched from soulstone geodes at a time referred to as the world’s second beginning, and how the sisters evolved to become each of the feathered Sentients. The world’s second beginning is believed to be related to both the religious tale Darkness of Demrefor and the Great Darkness from the Eala Origin.
The Rendi Origin
At the start of the second beginning of the world, a nurlak known as Rendi stole six stars from the sky. The stars, plucked from their place in the night, darkened into lifeless stone geodes. The geodes looked like ones taken from the planet and nobody could have known where they had truly come from, but still Rendi hid them away.
They were his great treasures from before the war of sky and dirt. Before the green lightning rained from the sky and blue fire spewed from the planet. He protected them from the vicious forces that collided as the world was reborn. From the destruction above that threatened all life and the death below that wished to swallow them whole.
One night, when the sky lit up so bright that it was like the daytime sky turned green, Rendi came home to find the geodes scattered across the floor; humming gently with the life of the stars, as if beckoning the sky to come and take them back.
To silence them, Rendi placed a feather atop each geode, each from a different bird, and used his own blood to bind them together. The stars fell silent once again, under his command. The only sound they made was the gentle whisper of their names.
Rendi tried to hear their words, but their voices were sky-speak, and he did not understand. No matter how hard he tried; he knew he could not learn their words. So instead, he tried to paint each of the geode’s names upon them, translated from their mother tongue into his own.
Sor Na’rai Lekt
He hid the geodes away for another seven years, until his death. He was struck by the green lightning and fell upwards; disappearing into the sky’s hungry glow.
The moment he was struck, a crack appeared on the surface of the largest geode, and they began to hatch into strange, not-quite-nurlak girls with birdlike features.
Borne from the first star was Cia’Aln. She had sensed the death of Rendi and become restless. Distraught and alone, she cracked the second star and brought Maltako into the world. Hatched early, Maltako’s wings were too small to fly. She could not lift herself from the ground and instead would have to be carried by her sister.
Maltako calmed her sister, and together they waited six weeks for the third star to hatch; only pulling away the remnants of the geode when Tres let out a cry for their help. She was not strong, but they soon discovered that she had a natural intelligence, and a strong will to learn.
After a month, Du Doria and Sor Na’rai Lekt were born. They looked almost identical, but after a year their differences grew and they were surprised that anyone would think them similar.
That year was a long one. The sisters had waited for the final star to crack, but there was nothing from her but whispers of fear. Finally, they grew impatient and tried to force her out; only to find she had hardened her geode so none could break her free.
After the sisters’ attempt to hatch her she fell quiet, and was soon forgotten.
Three years passed before the Night of Great Silence; the night when the sky gave up the war and the blue flames won.
A huge, green moon fell from the sky. It hovered so close to the planet that the sisters thought it would crush them. But instead, a ring of silver rippled out from its centre like a stone dropped into an upside-down pond. Then another ripple pulsed out. And another. Rumbling loudly, the silver lights forced their way through the green lightning.
As the silver touched the green the thunder died down and the clouds turned to stone. They fell from the sky, showering the planet in hard blows that cracked the ground and toppled mountains.
The green moon disappeared as the silver rings faded, and the world fell into silence.
One of the rocks had landed on the sisters’ home, forcing them to flee as the moon retreated. But in the silence of the storm’s end, when all they could hear was the ringing of their own ears, they dared return.
At first, they thought all had been lost; the unnatural sky-fire had burnt what hadn’t been crushed by the falling clouds. But then there was a cry, and the sisters rushed to the centre of their destroyed home to find Zen’efay’s geode had finally been broken.
Cia’Aln was the one to approach the youngest sister; bringing her close and promising to protect her from the world she feared. Zen’efay hid in her arms as the sisters discussed what to do.
The world was destroyed, that much was clear. … But they were alive. And they needed to find a new home.
But now, without the light of the ever-lasting battle, the world was dark, and the way was not clear.
The sisters did not know how long they spent in the darkness. Months, maybe? Perhaps years? Time had become irrelevant. All they knew was they had to keep moving. Keep hopeful.
But they were circling in the darkness. The way was not clear. Everything looked the same wherever they went; it was all dead, rocky wasteland.
They reached what had once been the horizon and were forced to stop at the edge of a deep, black ocean. They stared across the water with heavy hearts; they could not continue.
Then, as they turned to return the way they’d come, a great fiery light appeared in the sky and the world lit up blue. The bright lively blue of the sky that was before green with death, and the beautiful rich blue of the once-black ocean in front of them; merging into one in the distance. It was, to them, proof of the planet’s victory in the war. Hope flowed through the sisters as they watched the light ascend to the sky in a flash of rainbow beauty that filled the world with life.
The sun had been born.
The sisters agreed to travel the ocean; towards where the new sun had come from.
It would not be easy. The sisters were tired, and Maltako would have to be carried; being born too early had made her wings small and weak. She could not fly. But they were determined to follow the sun to its birthplace; surely there would be life there. Something more the sisters could hope for.
So they went; gliding over the still, dark water for hours on end. Ignoring their exhaustion and flying towards the rising sun.
The smallest of the sisters, Du Doria, was the first to tire. She rested on Tres’ back and the two flew low to the water.
Too close; as they flew low the great beast Vale Nor, a huge creature with the strength to move islands, leapt from the water and closed its jaws around the sisters.
Enraged, Zen’efay was the first to react. She pulled away from her sisters and clawed at the giant creature’s face; sinking her talons into its eye.
Vale Nor screeched in pain, releasing the sisters, and fled back into the ocean, now red with his blood.
The sisters were amazed by Zen’efay’s strength and bravery. Even more so when a voice from nowhere spoke her name.
It was the soul of the planet: Goddess Scara.
Awakened by the harsh torment of the war that had plunged the world into chaos, she had been watching the sisters. Impressed by Zen’efay’s bravery, the Goddess told them of a sacred land in which they could settle; safe. Untouched by the green lightning or falling stars that had destroyed the rest of the world.
With no other options, the sisters agreed to follow the Goddess to her holy land.
Follow the Blue Moon.
That was Scara’s instruction. And they had done so; instead of following the sun’s rise East, they changed direction so they were headed North.
Soon they came upon a new land. It was not the promised land; it was a wasteland, with huge mountains of rock and clay that were nearly invisible through the filthy air.
The wasteland had suffered greatly during the war. The entire continent had been burnt to its roots and blown away until all that was left was stone and ashy air. The ground was dry and cracked.
Zen’efay felt they had been lied to. She warned they should not go through the wasteland, that it was too dangerous, but the other sisters disagreed. It was too far to go around; they would fly above the dust clouds.
This was a mistake.
The higher they flew, the stronger the winds became, and the more ash and dirt buffeted the sisters. Before long, they decided to fly back down.
But then a sudden, vicious gust of wind blasted the sisters and they were scattered in the air. They quickly reformed their group and held each other tightly as another gust followed; so strong it pulled feathers from the sisters’ wings and ripped boulders from the ground, sending them flying through the air as if they were pebbles.
Another gust— And Zen’efay was ripped away from the sisters. There was nothing they could do as their sister fell; carried by the strong wind that choked out her screams. They watched as she was thrown against the flying stones and went limp. Then she disappeared into the ash.
The sisters desperately searched for her, but by the time the storm had ended, she was gone.
The sisters had to move on.
They mourned their lost sister, but could not let her loss lead them to their own deaths; so they continued past the wasteland, guilt taking them the way Zen’efay had begged to use before.
After what felt like a lifetime, the sisters found the land they had been promised. A lush, overgrown land full of promise and life, green and giving.
They named the land Rendi, after the wizard who had helped create them, and began to explore their new home.
Still hurt by the loss of Zen’efay Cia’Aln decided to dedicate her life to her remaining sisters. She settled in the centre of Rendi so that she could watch them.
Plucking the teeth from her own mouth, she created shimmering white eggs that hatched into the avio. Who created huge rainforest cities with friendly communities and loyal friends.
Impressed by Cia’Aln’s children, the rest of her sisters followed suit.
Sor Na’rai Lekt found it hard to settle, and for a while skirted the edges of the ocean, finally settling on the beaches where she collected shells.
She turned the shells into beautiful, multicoloured eggs that birthed the gural.
The gural became close friends with the seces, and from them learnt how to live off the ocean’s bounty.
Tres discovered the caves under the planet’s surface, and for a long while she was missing.
Eventually, she returned to her sisters with soulstone and magic; her own children being borne from simple clay eggs she’d made to pass the time underground.
These children, the kogarg, used their magic to raise cities of stone from the otherwise flat land.
Maltako left for the half-dead islands under Rendi where she could be alone and live simply. She took seeds from her sisters’ lands and planted them, and through patience and care, she helped the damaged land heal.
After she was satisfied with her islands, she pulled the remaining feathers from her wings and transformed them. Unlike her sisters, she did not create eggs. Instead, she turned the feathers into young children, the alk, who divided the islands equally among themselves and lived in small, tight-knit groups.
Du Doria could never bring herself to settle with just one of her sisters and instead wandered through their lands freely, visiting them and their children and sharing news.
She took small, sweet berries from shrubs and bushes as she travelled. These she turned into the eggs of the anvora; a nomadic race that followed Du Doria and explored the farthest reaches of the Rendi and beyond.
Following Maltako and the alk, they planted seeds as they passed through dead lands, hoping to start the world’s rebirth.
Though the sisters had their own lives, they never grew apart. They met up often; especially so to mourn the loss of Zen’efay.
Every year during the five-day eclipse the sisters would travel to the edge of the wasteland and search for the youngest sister, leaving food scattered throughout the land. They hoped that she was alive and would find their gifts.
Some of the sisters’ children followed them to the wasteland and began to settle on its edges. They soon spread across the continent, claiming all but the wasteland’s edges and sandy desert at the continent’s centre.
A long time passed, and the Rendi sisters continued to leave gifts for their lost sibling. They never knew if it was Zen’efay or animals taking the food, but they continued to leave it, praying that their sister was still alive and would return to them.
Then one day, almost four thousand years after her disappearance, Zen’efay was found again. She appeared to her sisters on the last night of the eclipse, and was met with open arms. Exhausted, she followed her sisters to the Rendi and slept for a year. She awoke with stories of her survival, and of amazing creatures and battles that awed her sisters into silence.
But it was not as happy a time as the sisters had hoped; Zen’efay was changed by her time in the wasteland. She’d grown strong, but rude and calloused. Anger crept into every word she spoke and she was followed by a loneliness that she couldn’t shake even after returning to her sisters.
She loved them, but her temper had grown short, and one day she wounded Cia’Aln. She was, of course, forgiven. But she couldn’t bear the thought of hurting her sisters again and returned to the wasteland, only meeting her sisters during the yearly eclipse to share news of their growing homelands.