An Age of Azuria Short Story
As retold by Persephonie Arelle, in the saudad tradition of the whispers of Cassandra, the goddess of fate.
Like most worlds, the legends of Azuria hold countless origin stories. One of the oldest surviving tales comes from the saudad, Azuria’s interplanar travelers, said to have come from the lips of the goddess of fate herself.
Cassandra told her people of the origin of the three planes of life and explained the division—and necessary mixing—of both the light and the dark. Both are ever-present, and it is Nature that binds them both together.
The Sacrifice of Verdigris
The worlds originated in darkness, and from this darkness, a spark of light. From the first division, two sisters emerged—Pandora and Llewellyn, separate and together. “You take the light,” Pandora said to her shimmering sister, “and I will be infinite.”
Llewellyn consented, not then understanding the breadth or implications of the words her sister spoke. Though she kept her later wonderings secret, she did question—what if, from the beginning, they had chosen togetherness and not division?
But such a path was not to be.
The Light divided herself into aspects, separating out fire and nature, water from earth, light from air. The Darkness made fewer concessions. She wove together the bindings of darkness and space, sending her ebbing waves ever further out along the horizons of existence.
As these elements appeared, the sisters’ power deepened. They wove together the worlds, creating the titans and the first deities from the energetic contrast of their opposite natures. As the light grew taller, she grew brighter. Pandora’s darkness plunged ever further into the depths.
Llewellyn hid away inside twisted feelings of her sister’s expanding power. She did not name them, and she did not look. The lock clicked into place, and the prime goddess turned back to the care and sparks of life that enveloped her days.
The prime goddess of darkness knew better.
Pandora made no secret of her expansive ambitions. She bid her creations to grow in their own power, to spread their influence, their abilities, and to craft new corners of the worlds.
But at Pandora’s heart, the love for her sister took root. Each evening, she remembered their time spent together, just the two, hand in hand, in moments that, at the time, had compromised the entirety of the universe.
It was Pandora’s discerning eye that saw the rotting corruption inside her sister, the root of jealousy grown deep. She smirked and called to Llewellyn. Her dark violet hand wrapped around her sister’s golden arm, and she pulled her nearer. “Inner darkness grows more powerful away from the light,” she said softly. “I made a deliberate choice, those many years ago. The answer to why will always be multiple.” Her brows contracted as she squeezed her sister’s hand. “You would do well to accept the same.”
Llewellyn heard her sister’s words, but it was already too late. The shadows inside her had grown long. Their tendrils wrapped around the corners of her eyes. This blindness made her miss the spark of light within Pandora—the opposing sign of unison between the two, as they’d had in the first days of the worlds.
Over time, their separation grew, and the division of the first goddesses multiplied across their created realms.
All would have been lost were it not for Izadra and Verdigris.
Verdigris perceived the rising smoke between the two powers, the tempers that receded but seemed, nonetheless, only to gather strength for their retreat.
For though Llewellyn couldn’t assimilate the darkness inside herself, the titan of nature found the way—she fell in love with Izadra, the titan of space.
They spent hours together on the Plane of Nature, Verdigris’s peridot arms wrapped around the nighttime splendor of Izadra’s skin. Clear waters trickled by, enlivened by the babbling brook of the two titans’ joy in one another. This, the air around them seemed to whisper, this is what togetherness means. This is how the world ought to be.
The tension between the two prime goddesses grew. They clashed at their meeting places between the planes, their enmity giving rise to fiends and angels and dividing the fae. The titans, perceiving what their creators could not, created the guardians to stand in the balance, to stem the tide of forces raging between the light and the dark.
As tempers rose, it became harder for Verdigris and Izadra to spend time together. Division sparked between the first creations of the prime goddesses, Ilona and Nyx, the titans of light and darkness cast in the picture of the primes.
“We must do something,” Izadra said. Her gaze burned as she stared into Verdigris’s eyes—she and Nyx alone among the titans knew the breadth of Pandora’s power. However noble Llewellyn thought her own cause, it could not withstand the might of the forces of darkness.
Many years had passed since Verdigris had first seen the flare of light inside the deepest space of Izadra. Her own love of darkness allowed her to perceive its snaring thorns in Llewellyn’s core. “You are right,” Verdigris said. She pulled Izadra’s amethyst lips to hers, savoring the final kiss in their nymph forms. “We will have to show them, my love.” She placed her fingers against Izadra’s mouth, stemming the tide of her protest. “You and I have learned to reconcile the two.” A salty tear carved an emerald path down her cheek. “We will have to do it together. I am not strong enough on my own.”
As the forces of the prime goddess gathered for a battle that would have destroyed the vast stretches of the universe, Izadra took Verdigris into her arms for the last time. She buried her face in her lover’s neck, and the two transformed back into their bodies that contained entire worlds.
The vastness of space divided nature into three—three lands, three expressions, separated from one another, but held in the close grasp of the black starry sea.
Izadra’s cry pierced the front lines of the gathered forces, driving both sides back and away. Llewellyn cried out for Verdigris…but she received no answer.
Pandora bowed her head. Slowly, she parted the sea of her servants. She placed a kiss upon Izadra’s forehead. And then the prime goddess of darkness walked away.
These divisions are what make our world so beautiful, why Nature herself is more complex than we can ever express. The heart of a titan burns inside of her, a titan desperately in love with the intricacies of space…a space that has fully surrounded her in her tight embrace.
What at first seemed like division turned out to be love. In her separation into multiple expressions of herself, Verdigris showed us the way. She saw the brightness and the shadow, and she found the meeting ground between them.
Izadra held her together as she accepted these three separate parts of herself and bound them to one another. The starry planes capture our souls when we pass on, they guide us on our way between Brightlands and Shadow, between the Prime Plane and her two borders.
Like Verdigris, from whose sacrifice we came to life, each of us are three in nature, we who walk the plane of life. We are mind and soul, light and shadow, with our body between, joining the two.
There is always more and always multiple, as the prime goddess Pandora would say. Nurture that which grows within—we are creatures of the Light and the Dark, of Nature and of the Stars.
Hadvarian Heist Tie-In
You may recognize parts of this story from Hadvarian Heist, book two in the Age of Azuria high fantasy series. Persephonie starts to tell this story in Andel-ce Hevra before the city guards interrupt her.
Experience the Legend
And speaking of Hadvarian Heist tie-ins, you’ll find this story and other lore from Azuria in Story Magic, the newest novella in the series!
Story Magic parallels Persephonie’s narrative in Hadvarian Heist and provides more insight into characters like Apollo and Yvayne. It also recounts much of the lore of Azuria from Buried Heroes and Hadvarian Heist. You’ll also learn the full backstory of a certain character’s transformation… (insert wink here!)
New to the world of Azuria? The adventure begins with Buried Heroes, book one in the Age of Azuria series!