vásh'estár was the Titan born for
the wind, and Efér'estár was born for fire, and they hated each other as all the
Titans hated, because they had been taught by Etherus the Treacherous that only
one could be strongest. All the four Titans fought, and wished to fight with
every breath, but whenever Avásh'estár and Efér'estár met, they could barely
touch each other. Built of air and flame, things insubstantial as they were
fierce, they could not be struck as earth or water or flesh is struck, could not
be burnt or blown away, and their struggles to best each other seemed only to
stoke their anger.
The two Titans, in their wrath, made weapons to attack each other with.
Efér'estár, the fire Titan, hurled handfuls of fire. But Avásh'estár, the wind
Titan, cooled them with his breath as they flew, and they passed through his
body and did him no harm. Avásh'estár then made daggers of icy wind, and threw
them at his foe. But Efér'estár made shields of unbearable heat, which drank up
the cold in unending fires. Efér'estár fashioned lances of wrought flame that
flew screaming and trailing clouds of ash. But Avásh'estár turned away all steam
and smoke and rains of ash with his gales, and sent them to wear down at
Efér'estár. It was no use, for Efér'estár laughed, and flickered wildly,
revelling in the turmoil of stormy winds. So they fought on, too evenly matched
to win or lose, too furious to rest or admit defeat.
Their fighting scarred the world and set everything shaking. The gods were
forced to interfere, and ordered Efér'estár and Avásh'estár to keep peace.
Dutiful, the two Titans agreed. But though they ceased their fighting, each
continued to yearn to best the other, craving to finally, decisively prove that
he was the strongest.
They looked to the world and all the living things that crept over it. Each in
turn, watching with cold, stormcloud eyes and with burning, dragonfire eyes,
hatched a plan. They decided to make soldiers who would fight for them, filled
with the rage and power of their masters. But the thinking creatures who called
themselves People were all under the care of the gods, and the Titans didn’t
dare steal from under their noses. So they looked to smaller creatures, which
crept unnoticed but in multitudes.
Efér'estár gathered up the tiny creeping things that lurked wherever larger
creatures warmed the air, and fed on hot blood, because he reasoned that they
would be the strongest and fiercest, despite their size. He whispered to them
all and told them secrets about control over larger things, taught them to hate
the cold and open air as he did, and he painted them in his own colour, so they
would glow like bloody fires when they bit. And he put a little piece of that
knowledge into every bloodsucking creature, saying “Drink together and you will
fit together, and be more than the sum of your parts, and be Losthane, my
warriors of red armour.”
So it came that the small suckers of blood learned to drink together and become
one single being, great and cunning and fearsome. They were like mortal
warriors, speaking in voices stolen from the thinking creatures, but thinking
with a thousand tiny, burning minds, and thirsting for blood.
Avásh'estár collected together the flying things, and spoke to all their tiny
glimmering souls, and taught them to dance. He taught them how to hate what
burns and taints all it touches, and steals the very blood that heats the hearts
of living things. And he put a little piece of that knowledge into every flying
thing, saying “Swarm together and you will fit together, and be more than the
sum of your parts, and be Dronomin, my warriors of endless voice.”
So it came that the flying things learned to swarm together and become one
single being, great and wise and fearsome. They were like mortal warriors,
speaking in thunderous hissing voices, moving like the wind and never still,
The losthane of Efér'estár crept into the homes of the thinking creatures; the
elves and men and dwarves and every other being that gave itself names. They
took one here and one there, from treetop hammocks and stone halls and clay huts
and hide tents. And they bit, with subtle tiny jaws, and stole away blood to
fuel their anger. They massed, turning red as their master’s heart, coating men
in scaly armour and making them into terrible soldiers, an army, which marched
out one by one from their homes, meeting as they went and forming rank on rank
and row on row, a horde, a plague, seeking the battlefield where Efér'estár
The dronomin of Avásh'estár formed from malise and myrddin, corbies and corpse
flies, flittermice and flittertwitch and everything that flies. They swarmed
together in wild places, gathering as hives emptied in the shadowy forests, or
pulled from cliff top nests in gale-torn mountains, and drifted like breezes,
joining ranks until the murmur of wings was a roaring, endless battle cry and
they fell like a shadow on the world as they flew, seeking the battlefield where
The losthane stood fearless, glittering too brightly to look upon, against the
dronomin, who were tall as giants, and danced as endlessly as life, sang a
roaring fearsome song as terrible as death. They waited, still and forever
moving, as their masters drew breath.
The battle cry came, and it fell like thunder, rose like air set alight, like
fire given wings. One cry from two voices, at the same instant, inseparable. A
whole greater than the sum of the parts.
They fought, with all the rage and power of the Titans who commanded them. Beak
and claw and spiny jaw clattered against armoured limbs leant strength by fury,
and the noise was like burning worlds. Creatures made from thousands of tiny
lives boiled like smoke and cloud and storm. The ground glittered with crushed
feathers and blood and the wings of flies and the bright carapaces of lice.
For thousands and thousands of years they fought, and all the small creatures of
the world became soldiers in the Titans’ war. The gods saw this, and were
displeased. They decided to punish Efér'estár and Avásh'estár, and dragged them
away to opposite ends of the world, where they bound them fast, so they could
never meet or make war again. But even though their masters were gone from the
world, the dronomin and the losthane kept fighting, and every one that was
killed was replaced, gathered from swarms of malise or from a thinking creature
stolen by hundreds of lice. The gods saw that they were destroying each other,
and they tried to quell their fury by carrying away handfuls of the creatures,
breaking them apart and making them forget what they had learnt. It is said that
some of the boundless fury that burnt in the losthane and stormed in the
dronomin fell to the gods, and that this fury multiplied in their divine souls
quicker than they could quench it. This, some say, is part of why the gods
became so quarrelsome.
The dronomin and the losthane were driven mad and weak and confused, and forgot
why they hated and why they fought. Yet still they fought, and dreamed of
fighting when they could not. They lost their voices and their reason, so they
could not ask questions of other creatures, or try to regain what they had lost.
So they wander like ghosts and fearful spirits, carrying wonder and beauty and
madness and rage to the corners of the world where they still search for their
voices and their masters.