Piece of a Piece #2 - Hope is Born
This was a story starter I haven't pursued much, but which still remains very much on the backburner of my brain. One day, I will flesh this out into something substantial, because I find it so. Damn. Beautiful.
"In the spring, we planted and sowed.
In the summer, the plants did grow.
In the autumn, we reaped and ate.
And while we slept, the winter came."
--Before There Were Fae, unknown author
At the beginning, there existed only humans and the beasts of the earth. There were no angels, nor gods. No monsters, nor demons. There were no faeries. The world existed entirely without magic. It got on quite well without it, in fact. Humankind wanted for nothing, for the earth provided food, the sun provided warmth, and the air provided breath. But when the winter came, all changed.
Men were wholly unprepared when the chill of winter swept the land. It blanketed the world in snow and ice. It killed the crops and froze the water. It brought with it sickness and darkness and death. Creatures once tame bit the hands of their masters. Babes once lively died in their mother's arms.
The devastation borne by that first winter was the like of which humankind had never known. It brought a concept to man that they had never known: need. Men had never lacked, and so had never known the pain—the suffering—of need. It was from this need, however, amid the death and chaos of winter, that a pure and beautiful thing began to grow where nothing else had been able.
One human began to hope. Her hope didn't fight back the darkness or melt the snow or cure the sick. She couldn't eat it or wear it or use it for firewood, but it sustained her all the same. Her hopes so consumed her waking hours that they found their way into her sleep, and she became the very first human to dream.
She dreamed of a full stomach. Of a safe place to sleep. The warmth of a fire. The cries of a newborn.
Above all things, she dreamed of enough.
It was this, the strongest of her dreams, that she shared with her people. She taught them to hope, and her words travelled to the furthest reaches of man's domain. Hope permeated humankind, and their dreams strengthened and emboldened them against the harsh winter.
Some developed new dreams to share. They were simple, but they were powerful because of that. With all humans hoping—dreaming—for the same things all at the same time, those hopes could no longer be contained. Too tangible was their effect on the real world that they became drawn to it. They took on physical form and walked among the humans from whose dreams they had stepped. They were hope embodied, and they were beautiful.
Their number was four, and they represented the four primary hopes of humankind. The first to come through was called Enough, for that was the gift she brought with her—food and water and resources enough for survival. She was followed by Life, whose hands calmed fevers and stayed illness. Then was Rescue who saved the humans from the cold and from the beasts the winter had turned savage. Mother came last, and her arrival was accompanied by healthy pregnancies and sturdy babes.
Mankind celebrated their new companions and honored them as friends and protectors. Their hopes fulfilled, their spirits made brave, they fought back against the endless winter and turned it away. Spring returned to the world.