Before there was music there was only silence, and before there was magic there was only metal and stone.
But then the first note rang out, and as it resounded, light filled the air. The vibrations sparkled, and when the next note followed, everything glowed.
And the first stone to split gave way to a vine, and it gave a second note in answer to the first. It grew in the light, until the stone split again, and another vine emerged. Then more followed, each singing a note that sought to harmonize with the last.
On and on it went until the land was changed at every corner. There were mountains that reached up to the expanse and valleys blanketed in green. There were rivers and lakes and waterfalls, and oceans of aquamarine.
At the heart of it all, with a song that called out across the world, was the tree of life. It was green and vibrant, pulsing with magic and music. It stood taller than any other tree, taller even than the mountains, and it watched over all.
The land bloomed with life, every sprout and flower brimming with magic. The tree at the core breathed new beings into the world, ones that flew on the wind, and others that swam in the seas. There were dragons who ruled over fire, and devils who danced in the flames, but above all, the greatest number of creatures were those who shared the earth with the great tree,
The creatures of the world shared in its magic. They sparkled and sang, and they spread wonder wherever they went. They carried on the song and tune of the world, eon after eon, until all knew the song of the world.
Harmony prevailed for ages uncounted. How it broke is as lost to shadows as the furthest reaches of the land. Some blame demons for disrupting the song, others say it is why the vampires were cursed with the need to seek blood. Whatever the cause, the world created by music and magic came to need more in order to be sustained.
To that end, the Tree of Life brought forth a new life: a human baby, different from any other it had yet to make. He was named Moss, and he was nurtured by all that is good in Tierney Ríocht, from the fauns and Centaurs to the elves and fae. He was loved well, and welcomed wherever he journeyed, but he was the only one of his kind.
There came a day when Moss’s wanderings took him to a crystal cave hidden deep beneath the magic tree. He journeyed deeper and deeper inside, until he passed through the veil into another world. For many years, he was neither seen nor heard from. When at last he re-emerged, he was not alone. He had a woman with him, and several grown children, some of whom had babes of their own. The other creatures of the world rejoiced for his return, and his family was loved and welcomed.
They brought music with them, simple flutes and horns, and a harp and lute, and drums of many sizes. They sang the tunes of the world Moss had journeyed to, and Tierney Ríocht was sustained for another age.
Generations passed, and Moss’s descendants spread across the realm as much as any other creature. It was whispered that a branch of Moss’s family had remained on earth, and they, too, would have many progeny.
From these events it is hereby foretold that there would forever be a link, a bond between Tierney Ríocht and Earth. The harmony that had been broken long ago was not yet healed, and it would take many more new songs and sounds before it could fully sustain itself.
We had gathered in one of the larger lounge rooms, taking seats on various couches and armchairs. Evander read the ballad to us from the beginning so that even Stefan, Larsa, and Killian would be able to learn all of it.
“Wow…” Larsa breathed as he listened. “There’s so much magic here! And the world really loves music! I wish more people on Earth loved it just as much.”
“At least our world won’t crumble apart without it,” Stefan told him.
Larsa looked somewhat hurt by his comment. “You make incredible music, Stefan, so I know you love it.”
“Doesn’t mean I’d be okay with all of existence relying on it. Imagine if atoms fell apart if there was a certain task we didn’t keep up with.”
“Yeah,” Larsa replied, “we’d probably need help from another world, too.”
“He has such a lovely outlook on life, doesn’t he?” Tobias noted, sharing a fond look with Evander.
“He was just as charming the night of the symphony,” Evander replied. Then he smiled at Larsa. “It’s so wonderful that you’ve come here with Leila.”
“It’s grand that all o’ ye like him,” Killian said. He and Larsa had snuggled together on one of the couches, and he held Larsa a little tighter than usual. I think he felt pulled between sharing in his and excitement and protecting him from diving head-first into this unfamiliar world. “I have questions, though. The ballad talks about Moss…”
“As I thought you would,” Brom said. “Moss was known by that name alone. For Leila and your ancestors, tough, it became a family name.”
“You’re serious then?” Killian asked. “The Moss in yer ballad is related to us somehow?”
Brom nodded. “Surely you’ve already suspected it by now: he is the progenitor of your family line.”
I heard a gasp from Stefan. When I looked up at him, he was staring wide-eyed at Brom. “You’re telling us that one of Leila’s ancestors is from your world? This human created by your sacred tree?”
“Yes, that’s what I’m saying. Moss went to Earth and started a family, His name became a surname for them,” Brom explained, “and it’s been passed down through the generations.”
“You believe in Yggdrasil,” I reminded Stefan. “Please don’t deny that Tiernery Ríocht has a tree with just as much magic and power.”
Stefan nodded, then pulled me closer. “You’re right,” he said, his voice weak. He pulled in a long, shaky breath. “I can’t deny any of this. If we’d been called upon to protect Yggdrasil, I wouldn’t hesitate. But that means…”
“Ooohhh,” Larsa said as he realized what Stefan must have been thinking. “That means Killian and Leila have an ancestor from Tierney Ríocht! Where does Moss live now? Is he still alive?”
“I’m afraid not, young sir,” Evander said. “As you’ll hear in the next part of the ballad, he was taken from us.”