I know most of you out there celebrate Christmas, Chanukah, or Kwanza, and I wish you the most wonderful holiday experience you can have this year and even better holidays in each coming year. As for me, Christmas is the holiday, but for my specific sect, it is a day of quiet reflection rather than a joyous celebration. I think i would like to share the details and small story behind a winter holiday from the culture of Titania, for those who haven't read my work, the culture of my gryphon species.
The story goes:
It all started so long ago in a time that was ancient even to Agrok and Tensaih's people when they were young. Arsiel, the great cougar goddess of balance and the forests walked amongst her domain alone, every now and then she would catch a glimpse of a magnificent bird in his domain amongst the clouds. That bird was the great and bold eagle god of the skies, Skardesh. she admired the beautiful and graceful flight of that majestic bird as he surveyed the lands below his domain. Little did she know that those sharp blue eyes had glimpsed her proud and powerful form from on high. both had admired one another from afar, but never did they speak, for the gods of Eldarohnd and all other worlds kept to themselves save for a meeting of the gods. Until one day smoke invaded the realm of Skardesh when there was no natural source for any fires to have started. The great eagle left his domain to investigate the fire, finding dark children of the evil gods fo this world trying to use the fire as a distraction for Arsiel while they attacked her children of the forests. Powerful and brave, Skardesh could not allow such a terrible thing happen to break the heart of the lovely goddess he had admired for so long. he attacked and easily defeated the darklings to protect Arsiel's children of the forests. She was so shocked and pleased to find that another had stepped in to aide her without her asking, and she was even more amazed to find it had been that same eagle she had been admiring for so very long. for the first time, they met directly, and something warm was shared int heir hearts. Surely it could not have been love, for that was a mortal emotion, but it was so wonderful and powerful, how could love not be for such beings as the gods themselves? So it was that they came to be mates, consorts to one another, and in time a nest was built on the grounds that had been cleared and burned away by that fire. From the fires, the great plains of Titania were born, showing much of the life of the forest that was once there, without the trees that blocked the god and goddess from seeing one another. Arsiel was happily heavy in her womb with the resulting offspring of the mating of the gods. While this was a beautiful event to the Consorts, other gods were jealous of their joy and achievement in their union. Tremelek, the goddess of the winds, felt if the skylord was to have a mate, it should have been her. Their domains were so entertwined, it only seemed right. In her jealousy, she tried to kill the children of the consorts once they were born. The jealous goddess sent cold wints and snow to freeze the first gryphlets and try to rob the great cougar of her young. She did not, however, count on the strength and power of a mother's love. Aresiel, knowing the winds were of divine origin and dangerous even to herself, shielded her young with her own body, risking her own eternal life to protect her children from the bitter unnatural cold. Skardesh acted quickly to protect his young and his mate, seeking the treacherous goddess and overpowering her with a father's rage. Tremelek stopped the wind under threat of her own life, but she spat back out of spite once she was free, declaring that a cold wind would chill the plains of Titania in the months surrounding the day of the gryphons birth. This proved only to serve as a reminder to the gryphons of the brave gift of love given to the very first litter by the Great mother, Arsiel, as she bestowed the gift of life upon the gryphon race, both in birthing and in protecting the first young. It is why the gryphons of Titania celebrate their troubled birth and give gifts to one another to represent that greatest gift given by the Greatmother on that fateful beginning. And so the story is never forgotten, it was told by every chief, and by every ruling Asreigh king and queen ever since. In place of a tree or a menorah, the central focus is a nest, woven of the living branches of the native shrubs of the plains, and lined with the feathers of the patriarch of the household, from their autumn molt.