Vol. XI

    Ashnu remained in his forge. He had no plants, flowers, or creatures to call his own. Time passed as he watched the fires of his forge flicker. He sat in loneliness, smoothing a slab of black stone till his heart could grow no more heavy. Ashnu tossed the smooth stone into the fires of his forge and watched it heat. When he took hold of it again, he found it soft and easy to shape. He summoned a hammer and began to pound the stone into the shape of a blade. He heated it once more and watched the stone turn black shiny, so shiny it became clear and dark, like black glass.

    It was here that Ashnu learned to make weapons. He used stone, marble and glass, each time shaping and creating a different weapon. He would use own blood, sweat and tears, turning them silver, gold and crimson. When heated by his fires his magic brought his weapons to life. And so he became known as the God of the Forge. In his quest to forge the mightiest of weapons, Ashnu left his island and went to into the World of Land. He sought the golden temple and called forth Aashetu.

    “Dark one, give to me some of your finest gold and onyx and in return I will make you a mighty weapon.”

    Aashetu, surrounded by his priests and priestesses, met Ashnu at the edge of his garden. The God of Oasis granted him mounds of gold and onyx. Ashnu took these back to his forge and for a thousand years, created nine great weapons: a great sword whose blade was black and speckled with stars, a dagger, bow, lance, an ax, a black hammer, shield, a golden staff, and twin blades.

    The great swords, axes, hammers and blades that bore the mark of Ashnu would never falter in battle. Some could recall his magic, pouring fire from their blades or commanding the earth with but a swing. Ashnu went to earth with his weapons and gifted them to many warriors who he watched as they tested his weapon’s strength against each other. Humans loved to fight and relished in war; so did he. He allowed them to have his weapons on the condition they fight in his godly name.

    Soon they prayed to Ashnu and wished for more weapons. He granted it to them and the humans worshiped him. They asked for his blessing in battle and protection from their enemies. They rose statues to him, and called him the god of weapons and war. This pleased Ashnu so he continued to watch man and soon discovered their many beautiful lands with forests and flowered fields and grassy plains. He fell in love with the victory songs humans would sing and the music they danced to. He wished to walk among them and celebrate as they did, so he turned to Heteo in the sky.

    “Will you give me advice, old one? I wish to walk among the world of Man without destroying what I touch,” he said.

    The sun looked upon the young god who he had come to watch for a while. He now thought of him as a son and wanted to help him.

    “Come to me, and forge in my fires a crown,” Heteo said.

    Ashnu followed the god’s words and took his finest metals and flew to Heteo. It took a hundred years in Earth. When Ashnu reached Heteo, he threw in his metals and began to forge a crown. When he was done, he held in his hands a crown of gold and amber.

    “Use this,” Heteo said, and gifted to him a solid black gem.

    Ashnu fixed it onto the crown.

    “What shall I do next, old one?”

    “Now you may travel to Earth, and when you do, take the form of man. Place the crown on your head and over your flame. This is how you shall tread without fire,” Heteo answered.

    “That is all?”

    “Be warned, Ashnu, while wearing the crown, you may only move as fast as you can walk.” And this was all Heteo said to him.

    To Earth he went, wearing the form of a man. He put on his crown and calmed the fire above his head, and when he walked, he did not cast flame and burn everything he touched. He looked up at Heteo to thank him, but on Earth, the sun was but Heteo’s shadow and could not answer back.

    Ashnu traveled Earth for a few hundred years. He saw many lands and people. He fought in battles to eventually become general of his own army. He fought with a slow grace, never moving fast than he could walk. His men worshiped him as a god and named him their eternal commander. When they fell in battle, they moved on to the next world as his loyal subjects and dined in his immortal halls filled with wine, beer and breads. They called this place Savrasara

    Ashnu quickly became known as the best warrior and general to walk Earth. He collected the skulls of great war generals and wore them around his neck. Time passed this way and Ashnu lived happily. He loved to fight and he loved to feast. He mastered string instruments and woodwinds. He played song and took pleasure in watching humans dance and do battle. For him, the two were one and the same.

    After one particular battle, the great Roman Empire fell and Ashnu held a great celebration with his warriors. The party and feast lasted ten days and nights, moving to one city after another. By the end, Ashnu was so overcome with joy that he joined his people in dance. Forgetting Heteo’s words, his fire grew brighter and his crown fell off. His true form appeared within the bright flames he cast. For any that looked upon him, their eyes would burn and go blind. Ashnu was oblivious in his ecstasy. His golden skin glowed and his four arms danced moved in beat. He danced and the city caught fire; it spread across the land and touched other towns. When he finally stopped, he noticed what he had done. His fire had scorched the land, killed the soil and turned people into ash. Humans came to fear him and told stories of his fire magic. Their stories passed on and soon Ashnu was known as Satma, the demon of fire and dance.

    Ashnu left the realm of man after this and returned to his stone halls where his fallen warriors awaited him. They were his immortal army, loyal to him and granted eternal life as long as they served under him. Together they indulged in drink and food, played music, sang, danced and forever waged war with man.

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