The tall silvery dome that used to bathe in a warm light was turning dark and there was nothing to do about it. She observed it, witnessing what she foresaw such a long time ago. She knew already when they created and loved the world and its people. But she could not tell anyone. She might have considered it irony, had she not known the importance of their limitation. The faithful called her a goddess, a Queen even, but her powers were limited, she was limited, as any being they created. And she had been forbidden to reveal this day for so it was that she could not influence events that would change the face of the world with her knowledge.
In that moment she felt like crying; she had known all along but the time was here and it seemed so unfair and revolting. She had always known this day would come, had even prepared her priestesses, within the limits Chaos allowed. In the oracles of the elements she had shown some of what would happen. Yet she could not accept that she was about to leave those who believed in her, in them in the darkness. She had to… because most people had turned away from their wisdom to follow the path offered by the Nixes, these creatures born of their own weaknesses. Why had they not accepted their mistakes, their own dark side? No. They were too proud and refused to live by Chaos’ rule that all was both dark and light; and now they had little choice, none in fact. And it was her fault because even though she knew she had taken part in the mistakes. They now only could go into exile to avoid a war that was inevitable and that would cause their destruction. They had to leave so that hope remained. It was a small spark, the chance that one day enough people would believe they could stand together again and fight. Would it even be allowed? That she could not know for only Chaos would be able to authorize it; so had Fate decreed.
She whispered sadly; she was going to miss the world with all its faults, a reflection of their own limits. She knew it would tear her apart to be separated from it. And yet mankind’s gullibility hurt her; why had they listened to the Nixes instead of the priestesses she gave them? The Nixes’ faithful had grown in numbers and she could not understand why. Trying hurt too much because she knew it was the reason they had to go.
Tender gathering arms interrupted her trail of thoughts as a much-loved voice whispered softly.
“It is time.”
Her heart skipped a beat; she had to admit that of the losses to come, this would be the heaviest. It would be her greatest pain. Whatever the shape or nature of their exile, his absence would be the greatest suffering to endure. Not knowing what was to come was both painful and relieving. Nonetheless, in that moment, the centuries spent with him seemed too short. Why did they not have more time? She knew the question was unfair and irrelevant but she suffered. She knew she had to say farewell and she could not tell him just yet. He could not know before the others. She felt him tense in worry; he knew her better than anyone else.
“I know,” she finally murmured. He had to believe she worried about the imminent battle.
She turned in his arms and looked up into his eyes, these eyes that had inspired her creation of the stars to accompany their mothers Night and Moon in their travel over the world that they may not be alone in the skies. These eyes that ever looked at her in love. She would have to say good-bye. When he kissed her, she lost herself in his lips, this moment lasting for a second, for eternity. And she had a vision; she found herself wishing neither the kiss nor the vision ever stopped. But they did. She saw in his eyes that he knew; but he smiled as he took her hand and led her to the purple dais at the end of the room. Darkness continued to spread and when it reached the two wells of light, war would start. Well not this time, not if she could prevent it. Since another way was offered it was time to share it. She clasped his hand as two dozens of armed figures came into the hall. In their eyes shone the sad knowledge that war was the only possible outcome even though they had hoped until the last minute that it could be avoided. They had all thought that men’s faith would not waver nor would their power. How would she feel? Would the feelings of betrayal and pain be different if she had not Seen this? One thing she would never know.
“Highness, why are not in arms?” The god of war had organized the last stand against the Nixes with his usual efficiency and his strategy was as good as it could be. In any other circumstances it would have allowed them to win the battle, maybe even the war. But not on this day, not in this world and not in this time. He worried on her behalf too but he could not know she had her reasons. None of them could imagine she had known since the beginning that this day would come, unable to reveal it for it was forbidden under Chaos’ rules, he who had fathered their parents. She knew the limits of their powers were meant to protect men’s free will. Even if it hurt, it was necessary. She looked upon her brother with love. She sighed.
“Erfas… and you all so dear to my heart, it is not the time for us to fight. If we did we would not only lose the war but also this sacred place. We would abandon mankind to its fate.” Someone spoke softly but she raised her hand. “I know we feel that maybe they deserve it. Maybe. But we cannot leave this place to the Nixes. Their power would become uncontrollable and limitless; even Chaos’ rules would not apply. And we would be destroyed without even a glimpse of hope to return.”
Her husband’s gaze was filled with sadness, as he listened intently to her every word. He agreed to wear the crown before this world came to exist and he had ruled wisely for wisdom was his realm. Never had he allowed the gods to abuse their powers; beyond the limits imposed by Chaos he also had set some rules that men be free. But he also had believed that nothing could weaken men’s faith for he thought himself just and generous. And he was so, as she knew very well. For millennia, ever since they met and loved each other, ever since they forged an alliance to contain Chaos’ destructive power with Marteal the Scholar and Elanis the Just, he had shown perfect generosity and fairness. Unfortunately, in this time men had chosen the easy path, or at least most of them, which meant that their own powers were diminished. They created men and granted them powers of their own. Soon the Faithful would probably be hunted and massacred unless they heeded the words of her priestesses and went into hiding, leaving behind them only a distant memory except amongst those who believed.
“What should we do?” Her brother’s voice was filled with worry even though he was not prone to it when it came to battle.
“There is not much that we can do. But there is enough power left in this room to hide it and prevent the Nixes from accessing its secrets.” She explained then the dream she had and what she hoped it would achieve. Silence followed her words; there was no blame, no resentment although it was late to be told. But they all knew the Queen’s limits as well their own. They knew she did and would always do all she could to help them through these days, months or centuries of darkness.
The goddess removed the silver circlet maintaining her golden hair at the centre of which shone a sapphire and gave it to her husband. In exchange he gave her his royal sceptre, in which a diamond was set; blowing on it she called to the power of her element. The light of the two wells seemed to pulse as she blew on the stone. The king repeated her gesture; again the light in the wells pulsed. When the queen brought the sceptre to the sapphire a ray of blinding light pierced the darkness at the top of the dome. As the queen looked at the assembled gods they imitated her. Rings, swords, pendants and other objects were exchanged and every time they touched gems started pulsing with a light that forced the darkness to withdraw as if it was to be banished. A few gods laughed, hoping to vanquish, but the Queen spoke again.
“My friends. Today we are going into exile. Say farewell to your companions for it will be long before we stand again together in the world to fight this war. Do not give up hope, ever. We will stand together again and we will battle in a war that we will stand a chance to win.”
She knew her words were not entirely true. She had no idea when or if the chance would be offered. But keeping faith and hope was crucial; faith could change the world. Would her husband know her deception? Maybe; but he would forgive. Instead she looked at her family; these gods, for whom time had no real meaning, realized that they had only a moment to say words that they thought they had eternity to say. Fast farewells, short embraces were exchanged in a desperate attempt to gather more time. She glances at the dome as the light of the jewels was reaching the wells; as it did she looked at her husband again.
“I will wait for you to find me my Love.” If they ever came back, he would come before her. She kissed him as lightning struck the dome. Suddenly all disappeared: the dome, the gods. Ervassaë’s exile started. Unable to enter the sacred temple and to destroy the gods, the Nixes were denied the highest power. Not gods themselves, only their meaner avatar, their might diminished. Subjected to Chaos’ rules no matter how hard they tried to escape them, they were unable to steal mankind’s free will. And so ever and ever their power remained challenged; for though they were immortal by nature, their dominion over the world was not divine, only comparable to that of tyrants although eternal. All over the world groups of people resisted their rule, more often than not led by the Faithful. However with the gods gone from the world, the Nixes could do whatever they wished without fear of reprisal beyond the rules established by Chaos.
Some regions of the world, which refused to kneel at the Nixes’ feet were entirely annihilated by calamities or monstrosities created to destroy those who believed in the gods. The deserts of these condemned regions were baptised the Forsaken Lands and none lived there. As centuries went by the knowledge of their geography even of their very existence disappeared. Still the war between the Nixes and those who became known as the Ervassaëans went on for long and had a lasting impact on the world; the most important being the Great Division, which caused the main continent to be broken in four pieces sometimes separated by seas and oceans and in time, even the Nixes gave up on ruling the entire world maintaining control on three of the four worlds. The numbers of the Ervassaëans ready to wage war on the Nixes dwindled too so much in fact that they were believed to have disappeared or died. Afterwards the knowledge of the world was lost to most and even among those of the ancient religion the ability to open the doors to the different regions disappeared. The doors became legend and the Moon Bridge a path known to only a few. And among the survivors of the old religion only the priestesses of the Queen knew what messages would announce the return of the gods.