Why the Sun and Moon Chase Each Other
Why the Sun and Moon Chase Each Other is the first installment in Tribal Fables.
In the days following the end of the world and its beginning, when tribes of people fled their ancestral lands under the cover of darkness, it seemed that there was little hope for the inhabitants of the Overworld.
Striking from the perpetual night, the armies of the Nether King struck blow after blow, raiding villages, slaughtering cattle, and taking men, women and children alike.
There was no force that could stand against them, for the bodies of Flameheads' soldiers knew no death, nor pain, nor fear, and whenever they were struck down, would simply rise once again.
Therefore, it came to be reasoned that the remaining clans of Overworld must find a way to halt their endless march and put a check on their grip on the Natural Realm.
A great convention was assembled, with many a tribe and band and kindom in attendance, and all were invited to speak their counsel on this matter.
The first to be heard was a grand spirit of the raging ocean storms and shifting tides and ruthless waves, Maelstrom.
“It is naught but the cowardice of our minds and withering of our souls that is taking this toll upon us, and not the might of our foe!” it bellowed in a thunderous boom, seeking to whip the others into action,
“We must gather all at once, and strike the enemy with all of our strength, and they will easily fall before us!”
Many spirits cheered to this, howling as winds, crackling as lightning, undulating like the waves. And many men gathered there also rose to show assent. But others shook their heads, and the ranks of the timid villagers were quiet.
One of them then stepped forth, voicing the concerns of its people: “If we could win this war by strength of brawn, we would already have accomplished so,” its hummed in its nasal voice,
“but we need not suffer more. Let us offer to make peace with the demons, and present gifts of emeralds to sate their ire!”
The villagefolk nodded in agreeance, and approving murmurs arose. There were, as well, amongst man and spirit those whose patience with the war had waned, and who wished but to reconcile and live a life of serenity.
Still, mighty warriors protested from their seats, “And if we give them the gifts of our earth, what next? Our homes? Our freedom? No! We must fight and push them back, for if we give, never shall they stop taking!”
And thus the people argued, back and forth, warrior against craftsman, father against son. Suddenly, a voice quieted them. “Oh, kind folk, why are you doing the villains work for them?” implored an elder that rose from the ranks of men.
“Throw aside your disagreement, for we are all of the same: people of Earth, like mine, and people of Water, and those that have come to us from the Winds and Flame to help. I have a plan to win us this war.”
And so the old man revealed to the congregation his scheme. It was a plan of cunning, and strategy, and cleverness.
For he said: “It is worrying to see this bickering among us, but assuring to me as well. It means that the devils of Fire must stand even more divided. And this is where we shall strike, how we shall sunder them and cleave their ranks.”
“Surely all of you have heard of the general of Flameheads’ armies. Sun is his name, and he stands proud and bright and invincible at the head of the legions. But his pride shall be their downfall.
We will have to make him an offer he cannot resist, a conundrum he cannot unravel, a challenge he cannot beat. If we succeed in that, the spirits of death are bereft of their commander’s power.”
The spirits and villagers and men discussed, and nodded to each other. Those were wise words, and the plan was shrewd, the way right. Thus it was determined, that the old man would set out to deliver to the igneous general their message, and to lure him from course.
For three days and nights and twilights did the old man voyage, until, exhausted, he came to Sun’s throne. He had naught but a ragged cloth around him, a flimsy hat on his head, and his trusty walking stick to hold him up.
He was but an insignificant speck next to the bright fury of the spirit prince, and yet he spoke without fear, calmly, perhaps even mocking: “Oh Great Prince, hear me out, I am a messenger from my people. I have come to accept your surrender.”
“My surrender? How dare you! Why would I surrender to a people of wretches like you?” the flame-wreathed spirit demanded in rage; light, heat and smoke rising from him.
The old man replied: “Please, calm your wroth, Great One, for I speak only the obvious. It is merely a question of time before your forces shall be defeated, as our warriors and officers and generals are superior to yours, as is plain to sight.”
“What foolery are you spouting, worm?” roared the demon lord, “bring to me any one of your leaders, and I will show in a duel, one to one, that I am stronger and bolder than any other!”
“No, that won’t do,” retorted the old man, “for in a duel, it might be your weapons and armour that decide the result, and not your prowess in combat.”
“Fine!” snapped the haughty general “bring to me any one of your leaders, and I will show in a building match, that I am more intelligent and resourceful than any other!”
“No, that won’t do” answered the old man once again, “for in a contest of building, it might come down to the blocks the sides have available, not their true ability to create.”
“What would you have me do then, to prove that I am above any of your ilk?” Sun demanded.
With a smile, the old man said, as had been agreed upon, discussed and determined:
“I will bring to you one of our leaders, who you will have to race. They start ahead, and if you catch them, we will surrender and accept your superiority.
But as long as you haven’t caught them, you cannot fight against us, and must smite down any of your ranks attempting to defy this oath.”
“Haha”, Sun let out a resounding laughter, “very well, I agree. It was foolish of you to come to me to ask this, for there are none as fast as me. I am faster than a surging flood, faster than a gale of wind, faster than even the fastest of your arrows!”
So it had been agreed, and the old man left. The day of the challenge approached, and the people set to work and labour and preparation.
The villagers collected wheat, and brewed it to a beverage as potent as had ever been seen. The men mined deep, unearthing the largest diamond known to this world.
The spirits joined their powers, weaving of the Winds an impossibly light rope, that had the smoothness of calm water, the strength of the earth and the tightness of fire.
Then, the set date came, the time was upon them and Sun appeared into their camp. The village-folk presented gifts to the mighty lord: a drink created specially in his honour. He tasted it, and at once grew drowsy, so strong were the fumes of this potion.
Then, the spirits snuck up to him, and tied around him the rope, which he did not notice, for his head was spinning, and the rope weighed no more than a feather, and his eyes were set on his rival.
His “rival” was no other than the gemstone the miners had procured, shimmering bright in reflection to Sun’s glory. Sun stepped back in doubt, for he thought it to be a spirit like himself, clouded in flame, light and brilliance.
However, the challenge had been agreed on, and he had to proceed. He took his place, and the judge yelled: “Ready! Set! Go!”.
A shooting star, Sun took off at full speed, hurtling faster than any person could run, faster than any wind could blow, faster than anyone had thought possible. Doubt grew in the minds of men and villager and spirit: how could one outrun this?
Yet, as Sun sped forwards, the rope snapped taut, and the huge gemstone matched his speed, pulled ahead by the length of the rope, tied around it,
then brought underneath the world and around, with the other end attached to Sun, so the spirit itself pulled his competitor further ahead.
And if one looks to the sky, they can still see the two racing:
Sun runs onto the sky, bringing dawn, then dashes over the horizon, burning any undead who dare violate his challenge, then disappears to laboriously trudge under the world as the Moon he is pulling stays ever ahead of him.