In the days of old when the earth was young, many a great fawnling wandered across these lands. It was not the world as you and I know it, its face was ever changing as the seasons, both volatile and beautiful in equal measure. It was upon this earth that a mother doe travelled to the southern ocean to give birth, to first a fawn in the brilliant blood red glow of sunset and then to a second under the gentle glow of twilight and the evening star. The effort of birthing two fawns left the doe spent, and she died a short while after, surrendering her earthly body and joining Adhar in the sky. The spirit-doe pleaded with the sky god to spare her children, for there was none who would know where they were and without her they would surely perish.
Adhar took pity on the tired old doe, and in reward for her sacrifice for her fawns, he agreed to help the children. He appeared upon the darkening beach as a stag with a coat of grey and white, pale mane and tail seeming insubstantial and untouchable like smoke. Adhar approached the dark body of the fallen doe and her two youngsters cuddled up to her bloodied side for warmth. They looked up at the stag with wonder and fear, for his eyes were bruised blue and purple with flecks of red like the dying sun and silver specks of starlight. He was not a creature bound to the earth, yet here he was. That night he lay down on the other side of the trembling pair to shelter them from the sea winds from the south, waking at daybreak to the sounds of their hungry bleats. Adhar was no doe and he could not feed them, so he led the two tiny fawns away in search of someone who could.
It quickly became apparent that both fawns had not escaped their mother’s plight unaffected, as the smaller of the two had eyes white and unseeing as ice - she was quite blind. Her coat was a pale cream, where as her larger sister who had been born in the light of the dying sun was a far richer, deeper gold with blond tail fluff. The older sister took charge of leading her blind sibling, letting her hold her tail so that she would not wander off and get lost. They travelled for three days and three nights, and the fawns grew hungry and weary, the pale one especially. Adhar knew that if he could not find a suckling doe soon both would perish, and his promise would be left unanswered.
On the morning of the fourth day, Adhar picked up a scent in a glade, and followed it eagerly, all but tugging the exhausted youngsters along with him. The morning light revealed a ruddy coloured doe, still standing vigil over her own fawn who had been born without the spark of life. She looked up, alarmed, when the mighty stag entered her domain, and stared warily at the exhausted looking foals.
‘’Little mother,’’ began the stag, and the doe could not look away for his gaze held her in place, his eyes now a pale blue mixed with white and flecked with gold, like the morning sky. ‘’It seems life has dealt you a cruel hand, but these fawns are thirsty and dangerously weak. I made a promise to their mother that I would take care of them and watch over them, and if you assist me I will watch over your fawn too in the sky kingdom.’’
The ruddy brown doe cast a sad glance back down at the lifeless form at her feet, then back to the stag and his swirling, changing eyes. His mane and tail too were ever changing, moving gently like the clouds in the sky above. She did not doubt that this stag hailed from the sky kingdom, or that he would keep his promise. She bowed her head once in acceptance of his offer, and called to the starving fawns, who rushed to her side and immediately set about guzzling her life saving milk. The sky stag bowed long and low to the doe, who watched with fearful, yet strong eyes. Adhar then turned away, back the way he had come towards the coast and the horizon.
‘’Wait,’’ called the doe. The stag halted and turned back. ‘’Won’t you stay and protect these here fawns? My own stag was killed by wolves. How is one old doe to protect two fawns, one impaired such as she?’’
Adhar shook his mighty antlers. ‘’Alas, my place is not here, but with the stars in the sky. I must fulfill my promise to you and watch over your fawn in my domain. I will keep my word, and watch over you all. You will take better care of them than I.’’
The sky stag then walked back to where the two tired children had dropped to the grass and were already slumbering, weary from their travels across the great plain. He dipped his muzzle to rest briefly on their brows, first on the deep gold sister then the pale cream. ‘’Sight is sometimes an impairment to seeing the truth of things,’’ he said to the russet doe. ‘’Look to the west of the evening star, you will see your child there.’’
And without another word the stag turned and melted back into the thicket from which he’d come. The russet doe looked to the sunset that evening to spot a new star to the west of the evening star, just as Adhar had told her there would be. She finally set off from the clearing under the cover of darkness, leading the two fawns away from the place of both death and wonder. The mother was a recluse, living by herself in dense forest on the edges of the great plain, and the life assigned to her was no easy one. She named the gold fawn Grian, and her pale sister Luan, and it was Luan that caused many a sleepless night. She was forever sickly, constantly falling into fevers and tremors that seemed as though they would not stop until all the life had been sapped from the tiny doe. But whenever this would happen, Grian would curl up to her side, and the two would sleep long and deep, and Luan would awake much improved in strength in the morning. Grian used to tell her mother they were dreaming together, and that the stag in the sky would help her sister to her feet whenever she fell in their races through the clouds and across the seas.
By some stroke of luck or divine intervention, Luan lived through her first year and grew into a skinny, malnourished yearling beside her vibrant sister. The russet doe was growing old, and she knew her time was coming where she would need to see Adhar again. She resisted though, for she still feared for the weak creamy doe, and the fate of the two sisters should she not be there to protect them. One night, she fell asleep and she did not wake the next morning, despite Grian’s pleas. Luan scented her way to her sister’s side, and gently nuzzled the cold side of their second mother. With some gifted wisdom far beyond her years, the creamy yearling knew their mother was dead. After touching her nose to the russet doe’s for one last time, she drew her frantic sister away, and they left the small clearing far behind.
Years passed, and the two sisters travelled the great plain, encountering neither sight nor sound of another soul. They grew into fine young does, Grian’s coat deepening to a brilliant fiery red along her back, burnished in gold and bronze, silken mane and tail of faded cream. Her sister was the opposite, for Luan was still small and weak, with a coat that had long since lost the pale tinge of gold, and was now devoid of hue, white as the foam on the sea. Grian like her hide was burning with life, exuberance and energy, something her sister would never hope to have. Grian loved Luan dearly, but the pair began to see less and less of each other, as Grian revelled in the morning sun and Luan prefered to travel under starlight, where her damaged eyes might make something out of the terrain. Luan fell behind, tired and well spent as Grian charged on ahead, frolicking through the grass not realising for many hours that she had lost her shadow. She called and called, but Luan did not appear in the distance or answer her.
Grian searched far and wide, by daylight and moonlight yet she could not find her sister. She woke one morning to find a mysterious figure in the distance, with a coat of gleaming gold and points of darkest ebony. The stag courted her and won her, and they returned to the wood, while Luan remained a pale ghost, haunting the plain at night and tilting her nose to the aurora as it danced green and blue across the night sky. Luan remembered her sister, and looked to the east for her each day, expecting her flaming form to appear on the horizon. The does grew old, and Luan befriended an old mother wolf, helping her to raise her pups on the plain. Grian had many fawns, blazing with colour and golden life as she and her mate were. She thought of Luan, when the nights were cold and the moon was full. Her daughters and sons left, and one day her mate was gone too. She searched high and low for him, only to find his once glorious form crumpled and broken at the foot of a ravine. Fighting back tears of rage and loss, she again turned her old hooves to the plain, and her twin sister.
Grian wandered aimlessly for months, seasons, unsure of where she was or where she was going. The only thing binding her spirit to the earth was the unwavering need to find her sister she had lost so long ago. It was not until one evening in late summer she spotted something pale and ghostly atop a rise. She approached slowly, weaving through the swaying grass around her knees to the hilltop, where she came upon the bleached bones of a very small doe, curled around those of a wolf. Grian looked up at the setting moon with weariness and sadness in her bones. ‘’I come to join you sister,’’ she whispered to the sky, sinking to her knees. ‘’Forgive me.’’
And then as the sun broke the horizon in the east, the fiery doe died. Adhar welcomed the old doe to his kingdom, and he was smiling but there was sadness in his eyes. ‘’Light the day, my child. Your sister guards the night. For when you next meet, there will be darkness.’’ Grian’s spirit became the fiery sun, forever chasing her ghostly sister the moon across the sky. The fates wrote that they would never catch each other, except for a very short time, where the two can leave their posts and rejoice in the other’s company before lighting the skies once more.
Wooow this is so powerful *_* that picture!
and the story was magical to read, too °_°