Listen closely dear children, and I’ll tell you a story. Let me tell you an old story today; no, the oldest story.
Aeons ago, before time or water or wonder, there was just the great bone-white; flat and cold and stretching out infinitely. A single woman stood and surveyed the horizon, this white unchanging strangeness, and she was disappointed. Everything was just so dull, you see, and this woman? She liked incredible things.
So at the centre of the great valley, she made her home, and created a village of people to spend the day with. Stretching across the horizon all around this little village remained the curved white infinity, for a while.
The village grew gently; an unassuming and quiet dot upon the white reaches. Our homes were built of the same white stone as our ground, and the horizon remained in bleak unchanging whiteness.
Then, one day, generations after the woman had passed and the village had changed completely, a forest fell from the sky. Great green pillars crashed down all around, and our world was forever changed.
What a monstrous day that was, the legends tell. That little village had grown into a sprawling network of connected towns, built from brilliant white stone, with towers reaching into the sky like opaline pillars. But then the trees came. Buildings and entire towns were crushed under the forests, and countless lives were lost. There is a tale that a gigantic, perfectly triangular tree crashed down upon a palace, ending the wedding of…oh but that’s for another time.
While the coming of the forests was awful, and the following years of recovery were hard, our people’s lives were much improved. We discovered food, and hunger, and taste. These great green shard-trees were edible, and delicious. Bitter chunks were hacked off and eaten by entire families. We were finally fed.
And we remained this way for generations. Babes were born, grew old, and died as part of our tree cities. Once again, our people grew complacent, and calm, and happy. It did not last long, as I’m sure you’re aware.
The coming of the great flood is not well documented; for so few survived. Our people were brought to the very cusp of extinction, and our grip that day was weak.
A great torrent of boiling rain fell from the sky. There was no warning, no onset to this storm; one moment, we saw our sky blackened by the flow, and the next we were drowning; every city wiped away like dust in an instant.
Many of us were burnt to nothing that day, just as our cities, as the boiling liquid crushed us. But some of us had grown strong, and hardy, from our opal diet. The few who did not disappear into the flood struggled desperately to the surface, weeping tears into the infinite ocean. There was no land around; just the water where land had once lived.
The few who did not burn or drown grasped upon floating trees and shards of our once-lives for support. We drifted, aimlessly, for decades. Upon the trees big enough entire families and small tribes developed, lives coming into being never knowing dry land or stables shores. We were never comfortable as sea-farers, but once again, briefly, we were safe. Not only safe, in fact, for we had discovered a new desire, and the resources to sate it. We learnt of thirst, and drank to our hearts content from the sea that swallowed our history.
But safety never lasts. After generations of living and dying aboard our ships of bitter wood, the tempest awoke. It started slow, a strange motion tugging us back and forth. The shake grew, and buildings began to shudder and crumble. We were flung into spinning madness, thrown hither and thither without reason. Once again, so many lives were lost as tree-homes were thrown beneath the waves, never to resurface.
Some legends speak of a great column of gleaming silver seen meeting with the waves, angering them and driving them to frenzy. These legends are, like many, oft ignored.
But, as with every great disaster, a boon was granted as well. The few tree-homes that survived the storm, and the fewer still that resurfaced with living inhabitants from the deep, discovered themselves thrown away from the heart of the great ocean, and towards dry land!
We finally had what our ancestors once had. We once again built great cities into the shining white rock. But we were richer than our fathers, for we had water to sate our thirst, and our ships once again served to feed us, rather than house us. Not only that, but we soon discovered the roil had torn the flavour and sustenance of our once-forests and imbued it into the water. Our ocean neighbour fed us, too, now.
And that’s where the tale ends. Here we’ve lived for aeons, growing stronger and greater every day. But we have grown comfortable, dear children, so be always aware of what next could come.
What funny little worlds you can find, living on the edge of your teacup.