Assured that no further malice lurked in the concealing dark, the Aspects returned their attentions to their work. The Five were pleased with the creation of their new warden of earth, and decreed that more such servants should be crafted, to see to the proper formation of the world and the oversight of life as it was made. They called up water from the depths below, flame from the stars afar, and wind from the air above, and gave them form and purpose. Satisfied with their work, the Aspects turned to the more daunting task of populating the world.
It was, at first, a simple task. Their four wardens provided the raw materials in varying amounts, and the Aspects shaped them into whatever they felt suited the purpose for which they had been made. Soon the world was rife with creatures of all sorts, flora, fauna, and all things beyond and between. But something was lacking. These creations were, in some way, incomplete.
Arete was the first to suggest the missing link: these creatures, impressive in many ways as they may be, and wonderful creations each in their own way, were naught but beasts and foliage, life and breath but no thought, instinct without will, purpose without conscience. They lacked the spark of mind to be anything more. They could craft from stone and sea, sky and star, but these things were energy and matter without thought themselves, and from them nothing could be made that had will. Even their wardens were mere automatons, acting by command of their makers; they possessed no thoughts of their own.
To form will, Arete suggested they must give of something with will. This proved satisfactory to her brothers and sisters, and all five provided a lock of their own hair for the purpose of the experiment. Zshagothotha, watching from above, offered its own assistance, and the locks were given to it, and from the formless a new life - the first Soul - was given form, bound together by the eldritch energy of the Seeker. Thus was forged the first true Child of the Aspects, the first Soul, the first Avatar - Ireshkigal, First-Holder and Last-Taker.
Pleased with the work, the Aspects immediately set Ireshkigal to the duty of creating souls to fill new life, and managing the flow thereof. Though proud of their creations, the Aspects were not so foolish as to believe their world would hold them all forever; thus to Ireshkigal was also given the task of culling those whose time had expired, and returning the seized souls to the proper place in the cycle. A Soul would be incarnated, born, live its life, age, die, and be returned to the beginning of the process, born anew.
Now that there were Souls, there could be proper Life. The Aspects’ first action was to have Ireshkigal give Souls to their four wardens, so that they could better fulfill their roles. Thus did Chthon, Aegir, Kenna, and Venta come to be, next of the Avatars to take their place under their creators. And with the aid of these new Five and the watching Zshagothotha from the darkened skies, the Aspects began the work of crafting intelligent life.
Their work was art, creation in a thousand, a million, a billion brilliant forms, life without limitations, without restrictions, unlimited potential given form. And, in time, leaders arose among these, prominent powers who united those beneath them through inspiration, charisma, force, or enthusiasm. The disparate life forms began to gravitate towards leaders who espoused their likeness or their ideologies, and in time distinct affiliations or “Courts” were formed.
Miranda, giver of life, healer and maker, mother of many.
Cernunnos, hunter of beasts, leader of warriors, master of monsters.
Danu, speaker of great words, whose songs could mend wounds and break the hearts of Avatars.
Ophelia, weigher of lives, wise judge of all she saw, sparer of innocents and executioner of the guilty.
And Balor, warlord and conqueror, fearless and fearsome, he of the burning eye.
The Aspects were so impressed by their leadership and capabilities that each gave a gift to one of these leaders, lengthening their lives so they could continue to lead their people without fear of death or decay.
Arete gave to Miranda her Mercy, that life would be born and raised with kindness.
Braghain gave to Ophelia her Practicality, that judgement would be passed without sway by emotion or lie.
Ahriman gave to Balor his Malice, that his prowess in battle would not be blunted by sorrow or fear.
Xaos gave to Cernunnos his Cunning, to be unpredictable and ever-changing, an untraceable predator.
And Mazuda gave to Danu her Inspiration, the word of the muse, that her talents would never flee.
The five were then instructed to each select one of their children, who would share their gift and serve as their heir; for these kings and queens would not reign forever, but in time their successor would claim their place. And in time they too would be succeeded by offspring of their choice. And so the cycle would continue.
Miranda chose Titania. Cernunnos chose Echidna. Danu chose Amaerellae. Ophelia chose Maedhbh. And Balor chose Feada.