Vakarine’s Night Off?
248 days before the Goddesses disappeared (688 words)
Above the world, far upon the highs of the astral currents of moonlight, swam Vakarine, Goddess of the Evening Star. It was She who guided mortal travelers by night; pray to Her, and She’ll spirit you home.
Swimming in moonlight was a favorite pastime for the Goddess. Floating on her back among the lunar rays, Vakarine peformed a slow, gentle backstroke, flicking droplets of light from her fingers across the universe. Every one of them remained, each one a birth of a twinkling new star.
Like mortals, however, even the Gods grew bored every now and then. Goddess Vakarine huffed a sigh, sending a slow gust of wind across the earthly mountaintops far below, and climbed out of the moonlight current. The Goddess dried away the starlight, creating several new stars in the process. Vakarine called out for Gabija, the Goddess of Fire, and the latter answered, tip-toeing Her way into Vakarine’s part of the sky.
“What’s the matter, Vakarine?” said Gabija, chewing a mouth full of food. In Her hand She held a “froasted” (fresh roasted) boar’s leg by the bone, and it was half-eaten.
“Gabija,” Vakarine said, “I have need of you.”
“Sure,” the Goddess of Fire said, accidentally spitting a small morsel of meat through Her teeth. She gulped down Her bite of meat. “What is it?”
“I want you to take my place for tonight.”
Gabija took another bite of boar meat. And She chewed… chewing… chewing. “What?”
“I said, I want you to take my place for the night,” Vakarine repeated, patiently. “There is something else I must do, and I do not wish to grow too terribly bored of my duties here in the stars.”
“Mm,” Gabija said, chewing. “Look, Vakarine, I know it gets dull sometimes, but face it, there’s no one more suited than you for ruling the stars. I mean—” Gabija swallowed Her food. “—you don’t expect me to do as good of a job as you, guiding mortals to here, from there, from there, to here, do you?”
“No,” Vakarine said truthfully. “But I know I can rely on you, for just one night.”
Gabija brandished Her half-eaten boar leg. “Hold on a second. Why don’t you call for Zemyna? She’d be more suited for it than me.”
Vakarine broke eye contact with the Goddess of Fire, looking across the eastern horizon. “I don’t trust Zemyna. Besides, she’s asleep right now. If you wake her up, she gets cranky. If she gets cranky, the earth will quake. I don’t think the mortals need an earthquake tonight, do you?”
“Urk. That’s true.”
“Besides, humans love you more than any of us. You’re the bringer of fire. You gave them warmth, you taught them how to nourish their food. In the night time, humans cherish that above all else. That’s why I called for you.”
Vakarine’s words brought a fire to Gabija’s cheeks. The Goddess giggled. “That’s true, isn’t it?”
“So you’ll take my place tonight?”
Gabija made a straight face, bit off another chunk of boar meat, and said, “No.”
“Not unless you want to represent fire. Do you want to represent fire? The humans would ask so much of you!”
“You see? Hehe!” Gulp. “There must always be a Goddess of Fire—me—and there must always be a Goddess of the Evening Star—you. If we were to switch places or abandon our duty, well, that’d spell disaster for the humans. What if all your stars disappeared?”
“Or if every fire in the world burned out, leaving the world cold, and the humans would have to huddle together for warmth…” Gabija started to sulk further and further as She spoke. “Or some helpless child couldn’t find their way back home, and their prayers were left unanswered… because I can’t… transport them…”
Vakarine groaned. “Alright, Gabija. Alright. You win. I’ll stay up here.”
“Yay!” Gabija threw Her arm around Vakarine’s neck and pulled the Evening Goddess in close. “Have a bite of meat,” She said, sticking the mostly eaten boar’s leg up to Vakarine’s mouth.
“I’ll pass, Gabija. I’ll pass. I’ll just take my vacation at sunrise.”