The Earthen Firmament was born from the passionate union of the Sky and the Waters of the Underworld. Their love cries we remember now as the Language of Names.
The Earth had many children — the immortal Giants, who strode the body of the Earth for a thousand years. Their quarrels have rent the earth; mountains lay where they were hurled; craters mark where they fell; Time, itself, lost its right leg and can now travel only forward, never turning from the inevitable future. They bellowed storms and winds, they stood astride the Monsters of Old, leaving only desert where the mighty beasts grazed. Many live on, though they have retreated to the Sky or to the Waters of the Underworld, where they remain, lest they begin anew their quarrel upon meeting. They can be found in the stars of the sky and in the deepest seas — the Waters of the Underworld, itself. Pieces of their flesh, rent in their combat, became the red clay of the world. Ummud in her mischief molded the clay and named it, and it became the earthen-beings, wandering like beasts until they learned to speak.
But when they discovered that they could speak and could name things, they became like the Great Names, whose words brought all into being. The Giants saw that the earthen-beings could be armies that could fight against their brethren, and took earthen-beings’ seed for their own that the Giants’ wombs might bear armies; they gave their seed to earthen-beings that could bear their young on the Firmament. And the Great Names gave them death, that they might never overthrow their masters with their tiny lives.
Those children are the Heroes of Old, the founders of cities; the movers of rivers; those who struck down Giants and Earthen foes alike. The Sky and the Waters of the Underworld put aside their quarrels, and said, “Look, these Earthen-Beings, whose lives are short, who know not beauty or the honor of their parentage, grow strong. Let us divide their speech, that their minds diverge, that they might be unable to become mighty in their numbers and rally against us.”
The Heroes of Old begat the Fated Heroes, who raise temples to their mighty ancestors and rulers — to the God-Queen who stands atop a fearsome beast in battle; the pomegranate tree with its beautiful winged husband who, together, fertilize the fields of barley that give the city strength to withstand famine while its neighbors falter; the twins who, together, summoned the lion-legged, eagle-winged, wise-browed lamassu that now guards the gate of their city.