The Tale of Dronomin and the Losthane. Avásh'estár was the Titan born for the wind, and
Efér'estár was born for fire, and they hated each other as all the Titans
hated, because they had been taught by Etherus the Treacherous that only
one could be strongest. All the four Titans fought, and wished to fight
with every breath, but whenever Avásh'estár and Efér'estár met, they could
barely touch each other. Built of air and flame, things insubstantial as
they were fierce, they could not be struck as earth or water or flesh is
struck, could not be burnt or blown away, and their struggles to best each
other seemed only to stoke their anger.
The two Titans, in their wrath, made weapons to attack each other with.
Efér'estár, the fire Titan, hurled handfuls of fire. But Avásh'estár, the
wind Titan, cooled them with his breath as they flew, and they passed
through his body and did him no harm. Avásh'estár then made daggers of icy
wind, and threw them at his foe. But Efér'estár made shields of unbearable
heat, which drank up the cold in unending fires. Efér'estár fashioned
lances of wrought flame that flew screaming and trailing clouds of ash.
But Avásh'estár turned away all steam and smoke and rains of ash with his
gales, and sent them to wear down at Efér'estár. It was no use, for
Efér'estár laughed, and flickered wildly, revelling in the turmoil of
stormy winds. So they fought on, too evenly matched to win or lose, too
furious to rest or admit defeat.
Their fighting scarred the world and set everything shaking. The gods were
forced to interfere, and ordered Efér'estár and Avásh'estár to keep peace.
Dutiful, the two Titans agreed. But though they ceased their fighting,
each continued to yearn to best the other, craving to finally, decisively
prove that he was the strongest.
They looked to the world and all the living things that crept over it.
Each in turn, watching with cold, stormcloud eyes and with burning,
dragonfire eyes, hatched a plan. They decided to make soldiers who would
fight for them, filled with the rage and power of their masters. But the
thinking creatures who called themselves People were all under the care of
the gods, and the Titans didn’t dare steal from under their noses. So they
looked to smaller creatures, which crept unnoticed but in multitudes.
Efér'estár gathered up the tiny creeping things that lurked wherever
larger creatures warmed the air, and fed on hot blood, because he reasoned
that they would be the strongest and fiercest, despite their size. He
whispered to them all and told them secrets about control over larger
things, taught them to hate the cold and open air as he did, and he
painted them in his own colour, so they would glow like bloody fires when
they bit. And he put a little piece of that knowledge into every
bloodsucking creature, saying “Drink together and you will fit together,
and be more than the sum of your parts, and be Losthane, my warriors of
So it came that the small suckers of blood learned to drink together and
become one single being, great and cunning and fearsome. They were like
mortal warriors, speaking in voices stolen from the thinking creatures,
but thinking with a thousand tiny, burning minds, and thirsting for blood.
Avásh'estár collected together the flying things, and spoke to all their
tiny glimmering souls, and taught them to dance. He taught them how to
hate what burns and taints all it touches, and steals the very blood that
heats the hearts of living things. And he put a little piece of that
knowledge into every flying thing, saying “Swarm together and you will fit
together, and be more than the sum of your parts, and be Dronomin, my
warriors of endless voice.”
So it came that the flying things learned to swarm together and become one
single being, great and wise and fearsome. They were like mortal warriors,
speaking in thunderous hissing voices, moving like the wind and never
still, always beautiful.
The losthane of Efér'estár crept into the homes of the thinking creatures;
the elves and men and dwarves and every other being that gave itself
names. They took one here and one there, from treetop hammocks and stone
halls and clay huts and hide tents. And they bit, with subtle tiny jaws,
and stole away blood to fuel their anger. They massed, turning red as
their master’s heart, coating men in scaly armour and making them into
terrible soldiers, an army, which marched out one by one from their homes,
meeting as they went and forming rank on rank and row on row, a horde, a
plague, seeking the battlefield where Efér'estár waited.
The dronomin of Avásh'estár formed from malise and myrddin, corbies and
corpse flies, flittermice and flittertwitch and everything that flies.
They swarmed together in wild places, gathering as hives emptied in the
shadowy forests, or pulled from cliff top nests in gale-torn mountains,
and drifted like breezes, joining ranks until the murmur of wings was a
roaring, endless battle cry and they fell like a shadow on the world as
they flew, seeking the battlefield where Avásh'estár waited.
The losthane stood fearless, glittering too brightly to look upon, against
the dronomin, who were tall as giants, and danced as endlessly as life,
sang a roaring fearsome song as terrible as death. They waited, still and
forever moving, as their masters drew breath.
The battle cry came, and it fell like thunder, rose like air set alight,
like fire given wings. One cry from two voices, at the same instant,
inseparable. A whole greater than the sum of the parts.
They fought, with all the rage and power of the Titans who commanded them.
Beak and claw and spiny jaw clattered against armoured limbs leant
strength by fury, and the noise was like burning worlds. Creatures made
from thousands of tiny lives boiled like smoke and cloud and storm. The
ground glittered with crushed feathers and blood and the wings of flies
and the bright carapaces of lice.
For thousands and thousands of years they fought, and all the small
creatures of the world became soldiers in the Titans’ war. The gods saw
this, and were displeased. They decided to punish Efér'estár and
Avásh'estár, and dragged them away to opposite ends of the world, where
they bound them fast, so they could never meet or make war again. But even
though their masters were gone from the world, the dronomin and the
losthane kept fighting, and every one that was killed was replaced,
gathered from swarms of malise or from a thinking creature stolen by
hundreds of lice. The gods saw that they were destroying each other, and
they tried to quell their fury by carrying away handfuls of the creatures,
breaking them apart and making them forget what they had learnt. It is
said that some of the boundless fury that burnt in the losthane and
stormed in the dronomin fell to the gods, and that this fury multiplied in
their divine souls quicker than they could quench it. This, some say, is
part of why the gods became so quarrelsome.
The dronomin and the losthane were driven mad and weak and confused, and
forgot why they hated and why they fought. Yet still they fought, and
dreamed of fighting when they could not. They lost their voices and their
reason, so they could not ask questions of other creatures, or try to
regain what they had lost. So they wander like ghosts and fearful spirits,
carrying wonder and beauty and madness and rage to the corners of the
world where they still search for their voices and their masters.