When the land was new. When our skins were green. Before we knew the servitude of humility, we existed as kings and queens of Nsa-El. We built towering aeries, ate great feasts, celebrated our triumph, and basked in the blood of our enemies.
We had always been a people enthralled by height. The shape and perspective of the world changed completely when you were a thousand mendela above it. But don’t venture too high, our elders told us, the Sun God, Rathu, the Creatrix, Maker of the Sea and Sky will devour you, pluck your wings for your vanity and send you crashing through the sky, helpless.
There came a prodigy. A childe born with no known father and no known mother. His name was Srorqi. He was raised by land-farmers that had found him in their fields one plow. They took Srorqi in, and cared for him as their own, and no one knew the difference.
Srorqi excelled in all things he attempted. Soon, he was doing the full family’s plow himself, with time to spare to study, or explore the skies. But the more he explored the skies, the less he wanted to work. He’d finish the work–in less time each day than it took him the day before–but hurry off, leaping into the air the second he was done. Higher, higher, always he wanted to go higher. The height gave him perspective. The height told him the secrets of the world. He imagined that if he traveled high enough, he’d be able to see the entire landscape of Nsa-El unfold in front of him like a book.
“But son,” his foster-father pleaded, “Srorqi, if you fly too high, Rathu will be sure to eat you. You mustn’t fly any higher. You must stay on the ground and tend to the fields.”
“Father,” Srorqi replied, “the fields bore me. In the sky, I find peace in the thin air, meditation within the air spirits. I am afraid of no god. I will do what I will! My destiny is in the air!”
His father, grudgingly, let Srorqi go, and watched him soar up, up and up. He flew out of frustration and anger at his father who was not his father, at tradition, at everything. He spat in the face of Rathu.
He flew until the wind burned his face and the air became so thin that two gulpfulls became only one. He flew until the sky changed from blue to black. He flew directly at the Sun God. Srorqi wanted to meet this Rathu, suddenly sure of himself, and sure that he could defeat this god. He was the Prodigy, after all, sent from the heavens, as if from divine prophecy. Surely the gods could not harm him.
He flew and flew until his wings burned from the beating. Then he noticed that they didn’t burn from overuse, but rather because they were actually on fire! Srorqi’s propulsion suddenly stopped, and he started falling back towards the land. Faster and faster he fell, until his entire body felt like it was on fire.
Srorqi could see the ground rushing toward him through the tendrils of flame around him. And then, he hit the ground, but even the ground could not stop him. He kept falling, creating a huge chasm in the ground. Finally, he stopped falling. But in the process of falling though the planet, his body became disfigured. The tendrils of flame hardened into place, covered by soot and loose dirt, and became tentacles that covered his body. His beautiful wings were completely gone, and he was blind from the encounter with Rathu. He had fallen from grace, and was condemned forever to live blindly in dirt and filth.