We're fading, you know.
It's partially your fault, Mother. You mortals no longer need us; it seems we have done our duties perfectly, as was Intended. The world is on its own now. We are no longer worshiped under a variety of names in the many pantheons. Only the Ever-Present, Time, still remains. But even He barely has a name anymore...
As for the rest of us, if we do not choose to walk amongst you, we will become nothing more than whispers in obscurity.
Such is the way of things. How it was decreed. How it must be.
We all came to accept it, a few with bitterness, most with relief. Immortality can be tiring, and far too complex. Ironic, that many of your kind wish for such a burden in one way or another. You are an amusing lot, at times.
Some of us crave the fading. Others rebel, but in the end, we must all bow to the whimsies of Time. He is the only one of us that will endure. Even Life and Death will fall, twining together their throes of final confusion.
Only Time is constant, and even He can be fickle. Oh, Mother, if only you knew what I will forget...
But maybe you do, in your own way.
We are forced to abandon our posts, but we can leave signs of what Once Was. The majesty and tragedy that is the stories of the Gods who once ruled the earth and the seas. Perhaps I glamorize the arrogance of the fading, or perhaps not. Decide for yourself, my mother, if you can even hear my whispers of influence.
Eons of life shaped the foundations of your world. The Greater Beings retired long ago, choosing their new existences among the many splendored stars. Heavenly bodies, if you will. We that were made for the Here, well...our monuments are everywhere, and will always survive in some shape or form, remembered if toppled, even if we ourselves are no longer ageless.
I was an observer, a storyteller, and a muse. My mark will be my stories, and this one I give it to you, my mortal mother. My last before following and becoming one with those I helped to live.
The sun is shining today, Mother, but it is also raining.
Have you every wondered, not how, but why?
This is the story of the sun shower, and how it came to be.
The God of the Sun was a bright and fiery deity. He had locks of spun gold that shone upon his head, and his star of patronage never tanned his pale immortal skin. His heart belonged only to the God of the Seas, and when their union was made, the pale gold of his gaze were mixed with blue reminiscent of the sparkling oceans that his mate tended. Similarly, the Sea God's blue eyes received gold, and had become a deep shade of green.
They were not fated, but chose one another, as most pairings between the immortals grew into being. Trust among such ancients was rare, and a blessing to be had.
The Sun God only ruled the orb of fire itself, however. The daylight belonged to his brother, the God of the Sunlight, also known as the Ruler of the Day, the Sky-eyed One. His skin was fair, a compliment to his illuminant nature. His eyes reflected the sky, a light crystalline blue that stared ever down on the earth and the waters as he directed his brother's rays upon them wisely. However, the Day God also held the potential for the absence of light in his form, his hair taking a dark appearance to signify the shadows that would one day fall in his domain.
In the beginning, when the water and the land were the ultimate and only, the Day God was pleasant, if intensely solitary. Never did he scorch the earth, nor did he freeze it. Life was simple. Bleak.
The scales tipped.
And then...the clouds came.
They invaded his domain of the sky.
This offended the God of the Sunlight...but with it came the gift of the Shadows. Two parts of the day created by the rays of the sun now belonged to the god, but he was still displeased with the incursion of his domain.
The God of the Seas apologized to the Day God, saying that it was necessary to give some of his bounty, his water, to the earth. The land was barren without moisture. The Goddess of the Land, the Sea God's sister, wanted to nourish and give life to vegetation and wild creatures, that which was to be ruled by fair goddesses who even then grew within the eddies of time. Rain needed to exist.
Time had decreed it so.
So the God of the Clouds and Rain emerged, the Storm-eyed One, lifting up bodily from the warmest waters of the tropical coasts. The god's eyes were purple, like the thunderheads he delighted in creating. His hair was long and flowing and dark, like the graceful fall of his much-loved rain.
So the Goddesses of the Flower and Fauna arose in turn, their natures complimenting and clashing even in the exchange of their breaths. The beasts ran wild and joyous. The plants became forests and spread over all. The humans appeared from the shared Father of All Things, Time himself.
In the highest skies, the Rain God danced along the wind paths, occupying the domain of the God of Sunlight and Shadows, interfering with the designs the Sky-eyed One had carefully arranged. Irritated, the Day God appealed to his brother, the Sun God. The Golden One only laughed, warm peels of luminance and merriment, and said that perhaps the sunlight had met its match in its opposite, the rain.
So the Day God decided to assert his dominance over the God of the Clouds, and concentrated the rays of sunlight, burning the moist towers of vapor into nothingness. He then continued the assault, holding his day in such heat that the Rain God could not raise his clouds.
Oh, the inadvertent agony an angry immortal can wreak.
The Goddess of the Land baked, her earthen curls shaking in fury and pain as she screamed for her dying soil. The plants withered and the creatures began to perish. Without water, their guardian goddesses could not keep them alive. So the Land Goddess appealed to her brother, the God of the Seas, who in turn called a council among the other gods. In their utter desire to keep their shared domain peaceful, they decided to attempt a compromise between the dueling Gods of the Clouds and the Sunlight.
And so the God of the Night and his mate, the Goddess of the Moon, were sent to speak with the Day God. They went when the goddess's guardian orb was resting from its monthly labors, hidden from view in the deepest darkness.
"Your personal fight is destroying all of our work. Relent, or the rains will be allowed to come at night in such ferocity that your heat will become completely useless," the Night God spoke, his ebony strands of hair reflecting the pale gloss of the moon, even in its absence. "You play a dangerous game."
"The sky is to be shared, Cousin," the Moon Goddess agreed, her night-black eyes flashing silver for a brief instance. "You must learn this. As my husband and I have found, it is better to share domain than to fight over it. I guide him, and he protects me in return. Perhaps you could come to a similar agreement with the Rain God?"
The God of the Day frowned, considering. He doubted such a relationship could be formed. He was far too different than his adversary. "It was my domain first. If he will agree, then I may relent."
It was well known that the God of the Clouds and Rain had many friends and allies. Despite the power the God of the Day held, he knew that his light could be completely obscured if he released his hold, and that is, if the Rain God wanted it so.
The God of Sunlight knew well the purpose of the gods: to set the entire sphere of the earth in motion for the creatures that Time had chosen, the mortals. In the infancy of the world, constant attention was needed to settle the routines of the sunlight. The Day God would rather die than fail in this duty, and he knew he could not continue to scorch the earth.
At the very least, the quarrel was unpleasant.
He decided, and went to the Rain God.
"Rain God, Ruler of the Clouds!" He beckoned, casting a glance along the paths of the winds, searching for the other god. "Speak with me now, if you dare!"
An echoing laugh reminiscent of thunder answered the Day God. "What do you want, Causer of Droughts?"
"Show yourself, especially if you plan to insult me," the God of Sunlight and Shadows returned, his voice heating with anger.
The words were barely spoken when the God of the Clouds and Rain descended from one of his highest crystal wisps. His hair caught and danced in the gusts, and his eyes sparkled with mischief and poorly repressed annoyance.
And so the two met, face to face, for the first time. The Day God felt a pang in his immortal breast at the sight of his adversary. "We must agree to share the skies, or the others of our kind will be displeased."
"Not to mention the mortals now starving because of your anger," the Rain God's eyes filled with lightning. "Your selfish desire has -- "
"They were always my skies! You invaded my territory, you should guide your clouds by my command, not your own whims!" The God of the Day retorted, his pride bruised. Shadows deepened as he directed his daylight to diminish slightly. The truth in the other god's words stung him, causing his reason to flee in favor of defending his power.
The Rain God growled pure electricity. "You have no idea how to command my rains, how dare you presume that you know better than I! It's not as easy as directing light from a source you can't even control!"
The Day God let his growing anger influence the fading light, blazing the sunset into many angry colors. The two gods were bathed in blood red luminance. "I never claimed such a thing. You think you can control the sunlight, I suppose?"
"Allow me to water the lands, that's all you really need do," the God of the Clouds replied. "My workings have never harmed yours, and yet you drive my clouds away. You are the one that needs to learn control, self-control. Causing droughts and killing those you are supposed to protect -- It wouldn't be hard to do that!"
"I was doing fine before you came along!" The Day God felt his energy fade as the source of his light dipped below the horizon. "We'll see how you handle a free reign over the still untamed day. I will remove my influence. The sunlight will do as it wants, and the shadows can have their dances. See how easy you cavort in my domain without my presence."
That said, the Day God turned and vanished from the Rain God's presence.
The God of the Clouds and Rain stayed still for a moment, balanced on a gust of wind. He frowned, his eyes darkening in frustration. How dare the Day God act so obstinately! The rain was necessary, as was the light.
A smile marked with the crackle of electricity grew on the longhaired god's face as he considered his actions. The night edged around him, but he avoided contact with his fellow gods, his mind in deep contemplation. He would prove to the Day God why compromise was necessary.
The sun rose the next morning, the Sun God observing the new day from his perch upon the fiery orb. He had seen the clashing of the Rain and the Day Gods the day before, and he was curious as to what the Rain God would do.
As the Sun God watched, the Rain God gathered his clouds, lifting piles of moisture from the ocean and using the rising heat that came from the lands cooked by the Day God's anger. Soon huge layers of thunderclouds blanketed the world, from horizon to curved horizon.
The bottoms of the clouds ripped open all at once, and fat drops of water fell to the land below, creating new rivers and cooling the world.
It was a sigh of relief that soon became a drowning gasp. The rain did not stop.
The God of the Clouds smiled grimly and continued his torrents. The sunlight could not dissipate his storms, not without the help of their guardian god. The God of the Sunlight must come and assist, must come and bring the balance. Surely he would see that, the Rain God reasoned.
The moon's reflected sunlight could do nothing for the soaked world. The God of Sunlight stayed away. So the rain continued.
The great flood.
The Rain God laughed bitterly as he drifted from soaked wind current to soaked wind current, letting the torture of his actions fill him. The God of Clouds became more and more confused at the God of Sunlight's lack of action as the days passed. From drought to flood, surely the Day God would see that the clouds needed their balance in the sunlight.
The Day God indeed saw this, but he felt too ill to emerge and take back his day. He had observed the beasts, plants, and mortals first wilt under his own assault, now drown under the Rain God's.
The Day God blamed himself, his guilt further weakening him. He fell ill.
Over one cycle of the moon's observance, and the Rain God was also losing his health. His incredible storms were raging beyond even his control now, fuelled by the heat stored in the oceans, which in turn came from deep below the Land Goddess's control. The five overseers of the dead, the subterranean dwellers, how they relished in the company of so many deceased mortals. They pushed the fire of the underworld to heat the seas, creating warm water for the storms.
The world was in great turmoil, utterly in danger of certain death, and stripped of the land's life. All because of two gods and their confusion.
It was then that Time came and spoke with the God of the Sun.
If balance could not be found, then the world would be destroyed and reborn anew.
All the gods, save the Ever-Present Himself, would perish.
...At least, that's what the God of the Sun said to the other immortals.
So a conference was held, the God of the Clouds and Rain and the God of the Sunlight and Shadows forced to attend with their brethren. The two Gods were so near death that they could no longer stand upright, not even in the realm created for the meeting. A pair of reclining couches had to be summoned into existence, and the two were propped upon them. The God of the Sunlight was so lacking energy that he could barely lift his head, but he glared heatedly at the Rain God, who merely returned the look with measured electricity.
The golden-haired God of the Sun spoke first. "Rain God, you must call off your storms. You have made your point. The world needs your rain, but not in these great volumes."
"Yes, you are drowning my soils!" The Goddess of the Land cried, her earth hair dripping with the physical manifestation of her territory's sodden state.
"But you misunderstand! That wasn't my point at all!" The Rain God protested, his eyes sparking even as his voice cracked weakly. He turned to the God of Sunlight. "You were supposed to keep fighting me. Why didn't you?"
"I told you that I would give you free reign of the skies. You claimed that you could hold domain better than I," the Day God replied, truly puzzled by the Rain God's query. "Did you not think I was a god of my word? That I would dishonor myself, and you, in such a way? I promised you that I would not interfere."
"I did not think you were serious. The skies have always been and always will be your domain. You mistook my words, then -- "
"Mistook your words!" The God of the Sunlight found strength enough to sit up. "Then what in the underworld did you mean when you greeted me as the 'Causer of Droughts' and proceeded to insult me even as I proposed compromise?"
A weak peel of thunder shook the air as the Storm-eyed One opened his mouth to reply.
At this, the God of the Seas stepped forward between the two. "Calm yourselves. Words will flow more easily and with more pure logic if you do not muddy them with anger."
That said, the God looked at them both in turn with a measuring green gaze, a gaze that had once been blue as the sea but had been tinted by the gold of his mate when they had joined. A minute smile appeared on his face. A single glance in the direction of the Sun God brought the other immortal forward as well.
"Shall I tell the others the situation will be taken care of?" The Sun God asked, his eyes alight with sparkling blue fire, flecks of fine gold simmering at the centers of his irises.
"I believe that would be prudent," his mate replied.
So it was done, and the most of other gods left, various shades of curious and disgruntled and dissatisfied. Some, like those of the underworld and the rulers of the negative aspects, were eager for the feuding gods to remain at odds, even if their own existence became nulled as a side effect of the dispute. Such is the nature of their tortured lives. Others, those that ruled the lands and the life, desperately wanted the two to come to peace, if only for selfish reasons. Very few of the gods in these early times cared for the welfare of their fellow immortals outside of entertainment purposes or necessary business arrangements.
Only the God of the Night and the Goddess of the Moon remained behind. They joined the others, the darkness shared in their eyes and hair gleaming with the splendor of their shared realm.
"What is it that required the others to leave? Are you to terminate us, then replace us with godlings of your own creation?" The God of the Sunlight asked, looking at his brother.
"Of course not," the Provider of the Light returned. "We are here to mediate, and to offer a suggestion or two if necessary."
A wisp of wind fluttered through the Rain God's hair. "Right."
"Have you learned to control that?" The Day God asked suddenly, his sky-eyes wary.
The God of the Clouds and Rain hesitated. "Yes."
"I -- still have trouble with them," the God of Sunlight and Shadows admitted, his eyes suddenly dragging downwards.
"It's a part of my nature," the Rain God said. "My storms use updrafts, and I must control those or I risk losing my rain and clouds."
The Day God chuckled weakly, his eyes drooping shut. "You've certainly had a lot of practice, haven't you?"
"It's your own damn fault. You had to throw a temper tantrum and cause droughts in the first place. It angered me. That's why I accosted you. I really did think you'd keep up your sunlight, that's why I sent such a volume of rain. I thought you'd see that we'd need balance. It was supposed to be a practical demonstration. I had no idea you were so obstinate," the Rain God's voice turned melancholy, dark, and wistful. He was weakening. "And now my own rain is starting to devour me."
The Day God took a deep, steadying breath. "Your clouds are stealing my nourishment. I live partially from using the sunlight. Despite what I said about not interfering and giving you free reign of the skies, I too was making a point, at least in the beginning. I was keeping my word, if nothing else. Combining those two factors, that is, my lack of nourishment and how trapped I felt about my inaction, I have been depleted to the point where I cannot properly wield the sunlight, no matter how much my brother sends to me," the Day God replied. "And he cannot send too much, for without my control, the world will surely burn."
"That's true," the Sun God agreed, utterly calm. "The intensity would be lethal to those that we would hope to save."
"So are we in agreement then? Compromise? No more of this arguing?" The God of the Clouds and Rain asked, his head falling back to rest against the pillows of the couch.
"Agreed," the God of Sunlight and Shadows replied, his eyes still closed. "But what now? We are both on the verge of death. Your flood is out of control, and I cannot use my light."
The Rain God sighed. "I don't know."
"I do," the Goddess of the Moon said in her silvery voice. "You may share your energy, as you will share your domain. The combined life force of your godhoods should give you both the power you need to break the current cycle."
"Share energy?" The Rain God turned his purple eyes towards the Day God. "I've never thought about him like that. A bond commitment is not something to take lightly, after all."
The God of the Sunlight returned the Rain God's intense look. "I hadn't considered it, but I would not be opposed to it. What is necessary is necessary."
"He's powerful, willful. Stubborn. Good qualities in a partner, at least it wouldn't become boring."
"I do not suppose I have a choice. A companion could be...beneficial."
The God of the Night raised an ebony eyebrow. "You do realize that the sharing of energy does not require a mating?"
The God of the Day glared. "Then why did you -- "
"It only requires a temporary bond. A mere kiss," the Sun God said, warmth and amusement entering his voice. "Unless He has other plans, of course."
The God of the Clouds frowned. "Are you sure this is the only way?"
"Quite," the God of the Sun smiled even more widely.
"If you are sure, brother, then I trust you," the God of the Sunlight attempted to nod, and failed. Trust among the gods was truly a rare thing.
The Rain God tried to stand, but was unable. He sighed. The Gods of the Sea and the Night each took one of his arms and helped him to settle beside the Day God. Then they propped the Day God up on a few summoned pillows.
The two stared at each other awkwardly.
"Would it be better if we left this realm? I don't think they're comfortable with this as it is, and an audience might make it worse," The Goddess of the Moon spoke quietly, her arm linking with her mate's.
"I think that would be a good idea," the God of the Sun whispered back.
But they were both wrong.
Just then the Gods of the Rain and the Sunlight came together, their lips touching weakly as they barely managed to dip their heads towards each other. A spark of golden warm suddenly flared up from behind the God of Sunlight, and a crackle of electricity came from below the God of Rain. As the four other gods watched, the wind began to gust and whip about the two kissing immortals, enveloping them in a swirl of atmosphere. The energy between the pair was almost tangible, and as their merging power grew, the four observers felt the common bond that all gods shared, that of the world, returning to the equilibrium that it needed to live and prosper. Things were becoming as they must be.
The flood could now end.
Sunlight and rain together in the same place, a paradox of nature. The birth of the sun shower.
The scales balanced.
The two gods broke apart, slowly drawing away from each other as though every inch was painful bliss. In unison, two sets of eyes opened, revealing colors very different from before the kiss. In the conception they had wrought, their destiny had been sealed. They were a fated pair, and the evidence of their new bond now showed in their changed irises.
The God of the Sunlight and Shadows, instead of having sky-colored eyes, now had eyes tinted darker shades than before, hints of rain marking them a deeper, more powerful blue. Similarly, the God of Rain's eyes had gained vast amounts of his mate's lighter hues, and now carried the color of the sky in them as well as their original deep purple of his storms. The intense melding of the two colors mixed together, crafting a wholly new shade of shifting purple and blue that sparkled with depth.
Together, they turned and looked at the other four gods.
"It seems as though we have reached an understanding," the God of the Rain smirked, a faint bit of borrowed sunlight dancing across his lips.
The God of the Day tightened their embrace. "Everything will be as it should," he nodded. A crackle of his partner's electricity lit his eyes.
And so it was, the God of the Rain and the God of the Sunlight were mates, one of the few destined by Time Himself. It had all been planned from the beginning, every action calculated and guided, including the meeting between Time and the Sun God where the Creator Deity had allowed his child knowledge of his brother's destiny. Everything that had happened had occurred as He had wished it so.
The God of Sunlight and the God of Rain had been made for one another, even before the Rain God had been brought into existence.
In addition to the great works they composed together: the artistry of the daylight, the contrast of shadows and rain, the raging of windstorms, and the marvels of the high clouds; the phenomenon of the sun shower became their fondest work, saved only for special occasions. They would bask in the falling rain and the streaming sunlight, knowing that it was theirs, and theirs alone. It was their personal testament, a creation that spoke of their eternal devotion to one another.
Many ages passed.
So, my dear mother, this brings us back to now. I, the last muse, soon to be your child, have given my final story to you. My monuments are in place, and it is my turn to fade.
I watch from your eyes these two former gods thriving in the glory of a world they helped create. Just mortals now, wandering along a beach. Thank you for watching them, letting me see through your eyes. If only you could remember their names for me, these boys you see in front of you now, walking amongst the sand and the waves.
I know their souls but not their current mortal names. No matter, their identities are clear.
The two always find each other in their incarnations, but in each lifetime it is only after great turmoil, as it was in their beginning. This time around was no different.
How painful war is. Technology changes nothing but the method. However, disorder is essential to life. As it must be, as it always has been. Time decrees it so.
Watch them for me, Mother, let me see them through your eyes a moment longer, before I descend into your mortal womb.
As it is with all who carry the soul of a former god, the two bear striking resemble to their former glory, manifested in their mortal shells. Long hair wisps in a sea breeze as the human bearing the Rain God's soul lifts his face up to the clouds, his purple-tinted-blue eyes closed against the warm sunlight and the gently falling rain. The former God of Sunlight and Shadows comes up behind him, wrapping able arms around the other's waist, shadow-tinted hair tossing in the wind he came to finally master in his old life, with help. His darkened-blue eyes focus only on his mate.
The former God of the Clouds and Rain says something, but the words are stolen away by the breeze. He sinks to his knees in the sand. The now-mortal Day God kneels upright, and they both stare out at the horizon, turned to where the ocean meets the sky. The rain continues, but the sun's light still envelopes the couple.
Two mortals basking in a creation of their love. A sun shower.
And they don't even realize the irony.
I'm sure He's smiling.
The scales are balanced.