Long, long ago, when the Land was young and no men lived in it, the Land was full of life of all sorts. The creatures of the air, butterfly and goshawk, arial and phoenix and cloud swift, all followed the King Under the Sky. The creatures of the forest and plain, hart and nonnig and great mountain wyrm, all paid heed to the King Under the Land. And the creatures of the ocean, lake and river, from the silver darter to the Kraken to the talking fish of the Ladysblood, all were watched over by the King Under the Sea.

But the gods looked on the Land and each desired something new, something made to worship Them.

Anz moved down from the Glass Desert, and formed out of the sands the Grey Men. The Grey Men were slim, grey-haired, grey-eyed, grey-skinned, as well as dependable, logical, and keenly observant. They cultivated the northern wastes and built towering cities of glass, and praised Anz the Bringer of Balance in His glory.

Shagras moved west from Her throne, and as She stood on the shores of the Sea of Storms She gashed Her wrist and scattered the drops of blood to the winds. From each drop of blood sprung up one of the Men of Valor. The Men of Valor were tall and broad, red-haired and ruddy-faced, and were brave, arrogant, and fought mightily for Shagras's pleasure.

Nirian moved east from the Pastoral Fields, and spread Her arms wide. Around Her, the Summer People sprouted like wheat. The Summer People were fair-skinned, fair-haired, both breathtakingly beautiful and terribly nice. They tilled the fields and built thatched cottages and made offerings of flowers to Nirian the Mother of All.

Tulan came down from His heights, and from pure nothingness he Created the High Men. The High Men were all shades of bronze in hair and skin, and could walk barefoot through the snows of the highest mountain without feeling the cold. They were sculptors and painters and artisans of all sorts, and they fashioned perfectly built shrines to Tulan, the Maker of Men.

The Walker in the Darkness came up from the depths, and He shaped the Undermen. Pale of skin they were, and dark of hair. They spoke little and kept to the deep reaches of chasms and tunnels, and not much is known of what they were.

And Geskekelud the Shaker of Minds moved north from His mountains, and brought forth about Him the Touched Men. Each was different in appearance, and each was special somehow. The first blind man was one of Geskekelud's Touched Men, and the first man who changed to a wolf at the light of the full moon, and the first man who could steal the thoughts from another's mind. Each of the Touched Men worshipped Geskekelud in his own manner.

Then each god reached the center of the Land, and each said ``I shall put My people here, the greatest of all places.'' And They began to argue about Whose people whould live at the center of the universe, and from there They began to argue about Which of the six gods was greatest.

The argument mounted fiercer and fiercer until the Land was in danger of being unmade, and then Nirian, Soother of Furies, spoke up again.

``Let Us make another man, between Us, and make him balanced between Our six natures. He will be unbiased. He will choose.'' And Anz declared that this was fair, and They were satisfied. So the gods created the race of True Men, of middle stature, brown-haired and brown-eyed, to judge who among the gods was the best.
And the first True Man awoke, and his task was explained to him. And he spoke:

``So I'm supposed to pick one of You to win, and the other five lose?''
``YES'' the gods answered him.
``So I'll have one of You happy with me and five, ah, displeased?''
``YES'' the gods answered him.
And he looked upon the fierce, dangerous face of the Red Lady, and the implacable resolve of Anz, and the patient gaze of the Mother of Mothers, who no one can bear to disappoint, and the dark and forboding visage of the Destroyer of All Things, and the cracked and broken face of Geskekelud, which saps the sanity of any who look on it, and Tulan, the creator of plague and rains of fire, and he decided.

(Now, some bards claim that his decision was ``You've got to be kidding'', but Soerinen the Mistweaver declared that version apocryphal.)

``This is not a matter to be decided lightly, and I will consider it carefully. I will need more time before coming to any decision.''
And so the gods said that They would give him time to think, and said that They would return in a year for Their answer.

After a year's time, the first True Man explained that he had tried to speak to the other races of men and travel in the lands of the gods, but that they had not been friendly to him (except for the Summer Men, of course), and he was not able to learn enough of what the gods were. So the gods went forth and told Their peoples to give the True Men their help, and said that They would return in five years' time for Their answer.

After five years' time, the gods returned, and the first True Man requested yet more time. He had caused a city to be built, he said, where all the races of Man could live, and a library with copies of all the books yet written, but he had still not learned enough to reach a definite conclusion.

Now, the gods are no fools, and realized that They were not likely to get an answre if They continued on this way, and in addition, They were not pleased at having been tricked this far already. So, as They created him together, They cursed him together:

``If you will not decide, then your son will. If not him, then your son's son, or his grandson. Your line shall live here until you have decided, and until then, so that you may practice making such decisions, all the peoples of all the races of man shall come to you to resolve their petty disputes. And you shall deal with them more fairly than you have dealt with Us. This is Our will.''
And they bound him to this doom, and the line of Tzalin kings was begun. And of the other men, they lived in an uneasy truce, until the first marriage between a Summer Man and a Touched Woman, but that is another story...

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