In the beginning, there was silence.
The melody of life and breath and heartbeats and change lay locked in a noiseless hush. No green shoots worked their way out of rocky soil. The parched earth was sterile, yearning for change.
The folk had long since shunned the scalding rays of the sun, instead choosing to burrow inside the mountain they called Mother.
And too far away to fathom, another world shattered and died, expelling two refugees who found their way to our shores. The arrival of the Lord and Lady pierced the quiet—their resonant Songs brought to life the hidden power of Earthsong. They were the Firsts.
They sang the grass and seeds and trees into being. They swelled shriveled streams into rivers, and stymied the will of the desert.
Curious, the folk came out of their caves, little by little, to bear witness to the rebirth of the land. Some were suspicious of the newcomers, but others, the young especially, were awestruck by a magic so different from their own.
And it came to pass that the Lady bore the Lord nine children, each as different from one to another as sea is to soil. Each with a Song rivaling the beauty and power of their parents. And they were the Seconds.
These children took wives and husbands from among the folk of the caves, now brought into the light. The fruit of these unions was plentiful, some bearing rich and varied Songs and some harmonizing the echoes of the caves. And they were the Thirds.
The Lord and the Lady ruled their brood with steady hands and hearts overflowing. And all was well.
For a time...
A young man beseeched the Mistress of Eagles, How may I best honor my ancestors?
Eagle replied, You could carve your history into the side of a mountain to hold the tale longer, but only those standing before it may read. Or you could write your history on the waves of the ocean so that it may carry your story to all the lands of the world.
Jasminda had wished for invisibility many times, perhaps today she'd finally achieved it. To the best of her knowledge, Earthsong could not be used for such a thing. But when she'd walked into the post station ten minutes ago, the postmistress had promptly disappeared behind the curtain. Now, the clock on the shelf ticked on. Jasminda's fingers drummed in time on the scarred wood of the countertop.
The bell above the door interrupted the duet. Jasminda's back was to the newcomer. A sharp intake of breath greeted her, and she didn't bother to turn around.
Not invisible, then.
The open door let in the sounds of horses and carts rumbling down the tightly packed dirt road, before closing, leaving the shop in silence once again.
With the arrival of the new customer, the proprietress reappeared, smiling warmly, while at the same time shoving an envelope and a large parcel wrapped in brown paper to Jasminda without even looking in her direction.
According to the postmark, the letter had traveled all the way from Elsira's capital city of Rosira on the western coast. The return address was a solicitor's office. Not the piece of mail she was expecting.
"This is it?" Jasminda's voice pitched higher with each word. She held up the envelope. "Everything since last month?"
"It's all that came in," the postmistress said brusquely. Jasminda sighed, her body deflating.