The aurora watched flames engulfing tree trunks, how they turned into black ash and disappeared into the dusk of the sky. Somewhere far away, the cracking earth rumbled as if something was trying to pass through its crust, ripping it apart, as if gasping for air.
To think that air is invisible, thought the aurora to itself. That something so vital is invisible. The aurora turned to its side, straight across a stream of water, shooting up to the sky with.
Small twig was not certain of its surroundings. It knew little more than its own presence in this place – where it had fallen as a seed. Twig felt the warmth of fire, coming from far away. It shook with the wind, forcefully. Had its leaves not been a part of it, they would have fallen down. Suddenly, the warmth was gone. Frost arrived.
Frost descended on the twig. Soon, it was covered with a glistening dew. The frost made its way deeper, freezing everything it touched. When there was nothing more to freeze, it moved on. The aurora danced in the sky, water pelted boulders into the cliff, the earth screamed as it broke apart. Then, the twig broke. Soon came fire and turned it into ash.
But did it make sense, fire suddenly thought. It was only fire, a senseless phenomenon. Fire is meant to burn, what else would it do? It was all it could do. And it would carry on for as long as there was something to burn. But did it make sense? Fire stopped. It blazed as the sun, in the middle of eternal destruction. It did not remember why it was there in the first place.
Forest was the first to notice the fire’s halt. It was, after all, the forest the fire had been ravaging. The fire swallowed everything the fire had grown. Once there was nothing to extinguish, did water notice. Quiet, water stopped flowing and the waves calmed down. Serenity – something the water had never been. On the surface, the aurora saw itself – mischievous, unruly, spinning wildly. And last, frost. Frost was not surprised or appalled. It simply stood still. This feels right, frost thought to itself. Everything around it, coming to a halt.
The world was so silent, it was at its loudest.
For the first time, five forces of nature stood still. Destructive forces together with powers of creation. The silence was a mute agreement. No one wanted to break it, not knowing of the consequences of the reason behind it.
If someone was watching from afar, they would have seen a moment of peace. But peace was far away, stretching its wings.
When all was still, the flow of time was hard to feel. Sun and moon took turns but to no avail – no season dared to enter the world of stillness. Soon, aurora could no longer pretend. It shot across the sky, painting it purple, like stretching its limbs that were numb for a millenia. Top of a tree swooshed, barely visible to the eye.
Among the stillness, something was moving. Something was coming out, tentatively touching the soil, hidden by silence. The true nature of forces of nature, an instinctive battle, emerged. As fire began to blaze, forest closed its eyes, preparing to burn. But there was no flame. There were, however, unexpected words. Even their speaker was surprised it had said them. Could we just be like this? I am so tired. Thus, forest opened itself. Water became silent and serene. Aurora stood still while frost was glittering under the sun.
Let us make a pact.
Harmony, it was called.
An agreement that no force of nature should be more powerful or weaker than another. If water was unwell, other would help to keep Harmony in place. if Harmony was broken, its shards would breed evil. To remind of the days before Harmony.
How can we trust that all uphold the pact? Water shrieked, measuring fire with doubt.
We create Guardians. Fire began to grow, frost backing away from it. Its flames reached the edges of clouds and the sounds stifled all noise. Fire soon overshone the sun – and in a split second shrunk into an ember. Among the embers lay a tiny creature, barely visible.
The fire elf came first of the primal elves – made of pure raw energy, fire, just like the fire itself. Finally, the fire could see. It stared at its reflection, smaller than ever before, barely the size of a candle flame.
The water nodded, mainly to itself, and began gushing and foaming until it was as vast as an ocean, turning into a massive boulder and washing away the sky. Like hitting a cliff, the water turned into millions of small droplets that became even tinier droplets. For a while, a thick fog covered the world. The fog condensed and hit the earth in what seemed like the blink of an eye. And there it was, a small creature wrapped in a delicate haze, churning yet smooth as glass, all at once.
The water, the roaring stream of life – now just a pale cloud next to the aurora – looked at fire defiantly. Yet another elf, the water elf, had been created.
The aurora chuckled, shooting across the horizon. It began twisting and turning and exploding, flipping the sky, painting it in all the colours. The tree trunks, hills and sandy beaches turned emerald green as if the world was a large gemstone until its brightness turned on its head. It floated in the middle of the sky, resembling all the auroras of the world in one. The aurora, now a faint gleam, stared at the elf of the aurora borealis, northern lights, with pride. The elf looked like he had danced for millennia, containing the energy of the sun.
Suddenly, it was freezing again. The frost had spread all over.
The humidity turned into a curtain of ice, wrapping all there was inside of it. The frost showed no mercy, freezing everything that let itself be frozen. From a distance, the world looked like a fragile sphere of ice that would shatter into a billion shards if handled too roughly. The frost pulled back just as quickly as it had appeared. It wasn’t melting, only withdrawing. What had been frozen was frozen no longer. The frost retreated toward a large ice crystal, perfectly symmetrical with millions of tiny points. Right there, in the middle of the ice, stood the frost elf, almost as if made of glass.
Only the forest kept quiet, the wind gently caressing the treetops.
The aurora fell on a branch, pressing against the rough bark.
Oh, forest. You have always had your endless reasons.
The forest breathed. It breathed for the whole world, just like it had always done.
The earth started shaking.
Strong twigs, lush shrubs and millennia-old giant tree trunks bent as their roots pushed the dirt aside. The roots were dense and thick, spread out everywhere, like an underground universe that had risen to the surface for all to see – the sun and the moon alike – for the first time. There they were, the roots of the Earth.
And then they were gone.
On the soft tussock grass stood a tiny creature shaking, like the oxygen and light or vitality itself. The guardians of the Harmony were now in place.
Then everything turned red.
No one knows what happened or how long it took. But everyone remembers how it felt. It felt warm. Warm on the inside and very soft. As if the world had ended and transitioned into a state of absolute peace, surrounded by a light bright enough to reach everywhere.
And then it was all over.
The water saw it first, the little red creature. It sat on a branch of a dried-up pine tree, with its tiny legs swinging back and forth, head tilted, eyes sparkling with curiosity, observing its surroundings. The aurora saw it, too, and joined the little creature.
Where did you come from, little one?
”I came from peace and love”, the elf replied, stretching its arm toward the trembling aurora. “I came to serve as a reminder. To show gratitude, to spread awareness,” the creature said, gently stroking the aurora. The creature looked around. It observed the elves and elements of nature, all worn out yet powerful. “I came to tell you to have a rest. With enough of nature’s strength, roundness of the Earth and softness of the wood, we will create more brave little ones with good hearts and a mission of peace. They will serve as guardians to ensure everything remains the way nature intended.
We will know it as a fresh start. To them this will be a new beginning. It is where everyone and everything can begin. And this is what the world will look like, round. And that will never end.”
The elf fell silent, and the world started over.