The Avatar looked around the gathered group of children with a warm smile. His time was nearing it's end, but that would not stop him for this, it was important to them, and therefore was important to him as well.
"Gather close, Children, for today I have a story that I am sure you reach down within you and rekindle the fires of wonder and mystery." The old wolf's grin grew and his grip tightened on the staff he now required to stabilize him when he went on these walks outside the Temple.
"It all started long ago, before even I was born. The great Night Goddess Awloo was looking down on our world and creating the creatures of the night, working with her brother Yaree, the Earth God to create a planet that would be hospitable to people and plants and animals. Awloo looked down upon the land, and seeing the wonderful work her brother god had done in creating life, she wanted to give a gift as well. So to the Nagual she gave the ability to see in the dark as they see in the day. To the Kapua, she gave the ability to blend with the shadows, to become one with them to aid in their tracking and hunting. To the Tikbalang she gave the courage to face the darkness knowing that the day would always be soon to follow, and to the Guaeko, she granted them the power to sing beautiful songs that would touch the true nature of the soul."
Gnarlpaw paused to sip water from a gourd at his side, and the children waited with bated breath for him to continue, some whining in impatience. But they of course were met with that warm, all knowiing smile that had endeared the great seer to his people. A silent notice that he would continue when he was ready, and not a moment sooner.
"The races of the new world lived happily, praising the deities that looked after them so, and so were always blessed with the favor of those who watched over them. But all was not smooth in the Temple of the High Gods, for Nai was jealous of the adulation Awloo and Yaree received, for as Goddess of Death, she was not praised, or worshipped, she was feared. So she began to speak softly at the ear of the Night Goddess, telling her that the people only loved her because she showed them such favor, protected them from the night's dangers. But if Awloo were to remove her protection and allow Nai to show her the true nature of the people, unleashing the forces of the Underlands, they would curse the great goddess, and all the other high gods."
The Avatar shifted and continued.
"Awloo could not, would not believe this, she removed and banished Nai from the Temple, forcing Nai to walk the earth aimlessly in search of a way back in, which of course, there was none. Nai's fury grew and festered like a poisonous sting, and soon she could take it no more. She would show Awloo the folly of her ways, and she knew just the way to do it.
That night, she crafted a letter to the Night's Maiden, asking that Awloo come to the planet to visit her followers to strengthen their resolve. Nai knew that Awloo would not be able to leave her palace in the night sky, but would send someone to speak on her behalf. That person, Awloo's Voice she was called, arrived upon the planet that very evening. She was beautiful, with alabaster skin, hair the color of the night sky at Winter Feast. She had eyes that burned with the power of the Tikbalang, a mind that spoke of understanding beyond that of the Guaeko, cunning and wisdom far surpassing even that of the Kapua, she was surely a messenger from Those who Govern."
Now even the teens and adults were crowding around. They tried to act calm about it, but they too now had the look of wonder in their eyes, and Gnarlpaw fed off it, getting into the story all the more.
"The King took notice of the traveller from the skies, and began to speak with her about the wishes of the people, and what the gods would require to see these needs answered. Awloo's Voice told him that the goddess of the night was well pleased with them, and would not require more sacrifice than they were already giving to her. That her heart was full of joy for the progression of her people towards their potential. With these words though, the King began to fall in love with the messenger, requesting that she not return to her Lady, that she remain with him in the palace. Awloo's Voice was hesitant, for she knew her duty to those who live amongst the heavens, but as the King showered her with gifts and promises of the life they would share, she began to devise plans of her own to stay with him. She would fake her death at the hands of the beasts of shadow, she decided. Awloo would mourn her loss for a great while, but would come to find a new handmaiden. And so all was set in motion for the demigoddess to remain on Kohana with her love."
Another pause to sip at the water, this time longer and more drawn out. All in attendance shifted anxiously, wanting to speak out against the old one's teasing of them, leaving them wanting for the resolution of the story, but again Gnarlpaw would hear none of it. Using his walking stick to support him, he made his way to his feet and inhaled slowly, looking around the dias on which he had been sitting.
"But the two of them were not the only ones to be hearing these plans, for the ever wily Nai had been listening outside of the window, and quickly ran to the gates of the High Place, telling the guards there that she had an urgent message for Awloo. When the Goddess of the Stars admitted the lesser deity, Nai retold all that she had seen. Awloo's sadness swelled within her chest, and she immediately rose to see if what Nai had said was true. Of course as she left the palace of the stars to see for herself what had been reported, Nai quickly followed, wicked grin upon her face. With barely a whisper of wind, Awloo arrived at the palace's throne room, finding her messenger in the arms of the king.
'What is this?' She asked of them, looking with hurt between one of her followers, and her very highest regarded steward. Neither could answer, Awloo's Voice fell at the feet of her mistress, sobbing and begging for forgiveness. The King stood and hid himself behind one of the curtains used to shroud him from unwanted eyes.
Awloo took hold of her messenger and looked up to the king wordlessly, and as the moonlight washed over them, the King was left alone in his throne room, but he knew, deep in his heart that the punishment for turning against the goddess would be swift and painful. He could never have predicted just how correct he was.
Awloo could not harm her people directly, nor could she ask her brothers or sisters to harm them. She would have to turn to her father, the Elder and All Seeing. She told the tale of how the people had turned their back on those who had for so long ensured their safety and well being. How they had turned upon those who never asked more of them than simple offerings. The Elder listened and acknowledged that something must be done. He told Awloo to call forth her pet, the Liik Sah Ba. At his mistress' call, the great beast came, slavering and foaming at the mouth to mete out the judgement of it's mistress. Awloo's fury was swift, if they would so callously turn their back on her, she would remove the gifts that she had given them. Not all though, for she would leave the Guaeko with their songs, but all others would be removed. The fear of the Night returned, the ability to blend and move in the shadows left the people, and the moons, the very representation of the great goddess' eyes, turned red with her crying.
The people knew that their goddess, and all of her family had left them, they could feel it in their hearts, and that is why, even now when the eyes of Awloo are fully upon us, the great Guaeko Monks can be heard singing to her, crying out for her mercy. They plead with her to give us, her children, a second chance..."
With great sadness in his eyes, the grey wolf tilted his head back and howled, the words touching all around and brought most to tears of sadness and emptiness, and then wild applause at the Great Storyteller's tale.
"Awlooooooo Awlooooooooo Awlooooooooo"