This theme conjoured up all kinds of imagery in my mind, it made for a fun one to write about.
Another word I have learnt new for this challenge, it’s something I love to just sit and listen too.
The Ancients had existed from the very beginning. Longer than anyone or anything could remember. They watched over all that walked the land. They provided and they punished equally. Everything that happened, did so with their involvement. Over the aeons, they came to be revered as Gods. Many were personified as deities of worship, humanised them, turned them into figures to be respected, revered and worshipped. They were moulded and manipulated into tools, used to subjugate the people, and give power and wealth to the few.
But that wasn’t true. It wasn’t them. The oldest tribes, the very earliest to walk on two feet knew different. They weren’t spiritual or all-powerful. They were more eldritch, ethereal, elemental. More akin to the elements. Though there were many more than just the four elements – earth, air, fire and water. A great many more. Everything living was guided, watched over. Spirits walked the land, swam the waters and glided through the air, ensuring the balance of all things. They did not directly involve themselves in the cycle of nature, they watched, they ensured all things lived as they should. Amongst them all, they understood the balance, the need for all things to live in harmony, they understood the need for all things to be kept in check to ensure stability.
But there was one. She was the oldest of them all. She had been around far longer than the others. She walked the world long before the first signs of life ever materialised. But she knew they would come. She waited for them. She went by a simple name. Fjǫr. Life. Fjǫr saw everything. Rarely did she interfere unless she had no other choice. But all other Ancients bowed to her. All living creatures knew her presence and heard her voice.
She was the fear that coursed through the brain as the deer fled through the forest, the stench of desperation filled its nostrils as it sought to escape its predator. The indescribable urge for the trout to swim upstream to spawn. The determination that helps the sparrow migrate in winter. She was the rapidly beating heart of the shrew, cowering in the grass from the circling threat above. She was the calm, persistence in the mind of the circling hawk.
The world existed in balance for many centuries. Creatures evolved, others became extinct and the world turned. The Ancients maintained balance. One creature came along. Man. They evolved faster than the Ancients could contain. They became dominant, powerful, controlling, destructive. If it served them no benefit, they overlooked it, neglected it. The Ancients tried to balance them. Tried to communicate with them. Too often, they were blind. Too preoccupied to see beyond their narrow views.
Fjǫr spent centuries trying to guide them, show them the way. Their destructiveness turned against nature. She had lost. She could not turn them. Fjǫr was old. Older than even she could remember. She had grown weary. She laid down, she had to rest. In the middle of the forest, where she could find peace. And there she remained. A decades long slumber amongst the trees and creatures of all sizes.
She was awoken one damp autumn day. The sounds of pure joy, young children playing in the forest, flustered parents trying to keep up. Out of breath, they collapsed to the ground, looking up into the trees towering above. They listened to the rustling of little creatures in the brush, the twittering of birds hidden up high, the nervous sounds of animals all around. Fjǫr took notice. She stirred, talking gently to the children, her voice the wind in the trees. She spoke louder, stronger, with renewed vigour. She whispered through the entire forest and those children listened. Though her words were nothing more than sound, they heard her. They understood. Not all was lost, these souls could be shown the way. And so, invigorated and encouraged, Fjǫr spoke so loudly all around heard her. Her voice, the wind rustling through the leaves, filling the forest with hushed whispers.