Some say they all came at once; others, that they were simply here, without coming to be at all. Some say they were here before humanity, fighting their unending war over Avyra; others, that their coming disturbed the lives of humanity for all time thereafter.
The story I know best says that they came not all together, but discretely, with tracks of time in between that set humanity on its heels from the imbalance. Yes, the story I know says that humanity predated the seasons, and in a way, we were their genesis.
Hivara came first. She rode into Avyra on the back of a great wolf. Wherever her grey eyes fell, her icy touch came upon the land, withering crops and turning rain into snow and hail. Days are shorter in her presence, and the air blows cold against your skin, leeching all warmth from your body.
Hivara was born of humanity’s fears: that the night will never end, that our crops will fail and die, that we will wither, cold and alone. She brings the snow and the darkness upon us, ceaseless, uncaring, and relentless. Encased in her armor, she is impervious to all that might assail her.
Éthau came next, running astride with his pack of lions. With his heart aglow, he came ready to meet Hivara in battle. His heat burned away at her armor and beat down the frigid mountains of ice that grew in the years where Hivara had sole reign of Avyra. He shone with such light that, in his presence, the days grew longer.
Humanity’s desire for warmth and light birthed Éthau. Hot, dry air flows from him, and in his domain, day eats away at night, lighting the world like a burning torch. Crops drink in the buttery warmth of Éthau’s light and grow strong and beautifully, until they wither, like those that grow them, for Éthau drives the clouds from the sky and banishes the rains.
When only Éthau and Hivara walked Avyra, humanity suffered, crushed between their two extremes. Their wolves and lions tore bloody swaths across the land, through each other, yes, but also through any humans who took a side in their war. At the edges of their domains, great storms rent the land as heat and cold collided. Swirling vortexes of wind ripped houses from the ground and threw humanity miles through the air.
Next came Vernoa and Lotōm, each born of humanity’s desperate desire for respite from the two extremes.
Vernoa brings the touch of life to the world in Hivara’s wake. The flowers that fall from her flowing hair root in the ground and become vast fields. The bees awaken, and the birds sing. She warms the world slowly, breaking Hivara’s icy grip and preparing for Éthau’s unceasing fire. Her soft touch moderates the storms, calming them so that humanity can bear their power.
Lotōm calms the life that Vernoa and Éthau have brought to wide-eyed waking. In his dominion, the trees fall asleep, and the other plants die away, to be reborn again when Vernoa approaches once more. Lotōm brings restful death to Avyra, and the beauty of trees brought to slumber, as their leaves turn and their branches come to mirror those that grow from Lotōm’s forehead, in imitation of the deer that serve him.
In time, Vernoa’s loyalties came to belong to Éthau, and Lotōm’s, to Hivara. Neither remembers the call from humanity that brought them into being. Nevertheless, with these two, a balance in power finally came between Hivara and Éthau. Their war subsided into mere conflict.
Of course, this is just one story. There are other ways to see the seasons; other ways to interpret their actions, and other guesses as to their origins. I like this story. That’s why I told it to you. We might never know the real story, though. Not unless the seasons speak.