Songs for the Sun
This is a story of the Wanderers, those gods who hadn’t found a place in the pantheons they came from, but instead found companionship together, building a community of people who also felt they didn’t fit elsewhere. Together they built a town, Wanderers and other folk alike, at the place where the waters gathered. This is a story of when that town was brand new, and the Wanderers and their people began to notice that the Sun was going away.
Every day, the sun would rise later, and set earlier. Every night was colder and darker than the last, and plants withered as ice and snow covered the ground. The people began to fear that they’d freeze, that they’d never be able to grow crops again. They turned to the Wanderers and said, “Can’t you make the Sun come back?” But their gods replied, each in their own way, “We won’t command the Sun any more than we would command you. Our way isn’t to control, but to aid. And we will do all we can to help.”
All the Wanderers set to their work. The hard-backed Sculptor-of-Pieces set paws to the forge, making lanterns and fire pits and beacon towers. The blaze-winged Writer-with-Flame kindled roaring fires in each of those and in every hearth in the town. The fractal-antlered Dancer-Between danced in the town’s streets and hearts, raising spirits and inspiring everyone to support each other. They and all the rest did their parts, all but the Dancer’s younger sibling, the quiet one who hadn’t yet found a role or a talent, who kept quiet because even every time they talked, something came out wrong. All that one could think to do was watch the Sun as it dwindled, and think, and worry.
Finally the quiet one couldn’t stand it anymore, and went to the other Wanderers. “It’s still getting colder!” they blurted. “We have to do more; someone should at least try to talk to the sun, all this isn’t going to be enough!” And this too felt like the wrong thing to say, because everyone knew it was true, but no one had wanted to think about it.
“What else can we do?” came the replies, grumpy and defensive. “It’s the sun, it’s not like a person or a tree or a river that you can talk to. It’s so far, remote, overwhelming, no one has any idea how to talk to it!”
“I’ve been watching!” replied the quiet one. “The sun glimmers as it touches the mountains in the west, maybe we could reach it there! And I don’t know how to talk to anyone either, maybe it’ll help that we have that in common.”
And before anyone had a chance to reply, the quiet one was off, a silver streak out of town, paws bounding through the snow as they left behind everything familiar and journeyed up into the mountains to the west, following the sun.
As the quiet one got closer, and the Sun began to dip below the edge of the mountain, they saw a dazzling sight. The sun was lingering over an icy crystalline forest, glittering with colors. The sun seemed captivated, reveling in the display it made as it dawdled over the shining lifeless landscape there.
“Sun! Please! Why are you spending so much time here? Back in the town, we need you! We’ll be lost in the cold and dark without you, we’ll starve!”
The sun only glanced back. “But look what I have here!? Why would I want to spend more time there when everyone just averts their eyes and takes me for granted? What you have can’t compare to what I can make here!”
The quiet one thought for a long time, their heart brimming with desperation and need, but couldn’t find any words to express it. The emotion built and built, until what came out of their muzzle was a howling song, of longing and fear and cold, of all the work they’d done and how much they’d all come to miss the light.
They sang and sang, and the Sun shook, flickering with a moment of emotion, but then the reply came. “Well, if that’s so… Why is it just you here?” And with that, the Sun continued on its way over that icy forest, sliding out of sight, leaving just a faint glimmer of rainbow, fading along with the last of the song.
And the singer sat there alone, again thinking and worrying, but for hardly any time at all. They realized what to do, and began to dash back over the mountain, singing out down toward the town, the story of what they’d seen, and a new plan of what to do next, loud in the silent night.
Back in the town, everyone who heard the song set to work, all through the long night. The Sculptor crafted even more elaborate lanterns and displays, the Writer created flames of countless colors to fill them, the Dancer inspired everyone to gather together out in the streets, and the Singer, coming in, taught them new songs to sing to the sun in their last, desperate celebration.
In the town, the Singer paused for only a few moments, hanging some of those bright, colorful lanterns from their antlers and neck and tail, before dashing off again, this time to the mountains in the east, to catch the Sun as it came back around.
They saw the Sun there, still lingering over that barren sparkling expanse, and called out, “Come, see, if only one last time!” And the Sun could see, in the shadows at the foot of the mountain, the town filled with light and color even more vibrant than what it could make in that crystal forest. The sun quickened, just a bit, to try and see it better, and when it was over the town, it slowed, just a bit, to better observe the celebration below, all they’d done in need of the Sun and in hope for its return. And that night, the Sun came back just a bit quicker, to see if it was still happening, and all the Wanderers and all their people kept up their bright celebration, even more joyous now as they saw the Sun paying mind to them again.
They kept it up for days, until they were sure the Sun was slowing down and staying longer, and even then, they kept some of the lights and songs with them, to show they Sun they still needed it, and to be sure they’d be ready, the next time they had to call it back.
And that once-quiet Wanderer finally felt a part of the community there, having found what they could do: Seeing things differently, trying things others wouldn’t, and being willing to speak, and sing, when others were silent.