End of the Rending
This is a story of how the Rending was stopped. Others may tell their own stories, but for the faithful, there can be only one answer.
Her father had traveled by sea to Freeport and then the dangerous over land route to Qeynos. "We are not like the men of Freeport," Danei's father said repeatedly. Well, Danei thought to herself, we are not much like the men of Qeynos, either. Her father was Feir'Dal, an archer. Her mother, whom she had never met, was a human female of Qeynos. Danei had lived with the Feir'Dal all her life, but now they were going to Qeynos.
"Where will we live?" Danei asked again. She dragged a long stick in the dirt behind her, letting it kick up tails of dust and tiny rocks. "We live where Tunare sends us," her father answered. Apparently Tunare was sending them into the city. They had lived outside its walls, especially during the massive earthquakes that shook the lands day and night. Danei had been frightened when the lands slid into the sea, afraid she would slide in with them.
The city was rebuilding. Again, apparently. Danei's father, though an archer by training, worked alongside the other elves, the humans and barbarians to carry out the dwarven designs. They could not find her mother; no one knew where her family had fled. And so Danei's days were long and tedious. When the ground rumbled beneath her, Danei huddled beneath the massive oak table in their home and would not come out until her father came home.
Eventually, Danei met the other children in her neighborhood. Some were half-elven. Some were Feir'Dal. The cobbled streets and stone buildings made them uncomfortable and so they liked to climb the dust-choked trees in the small courtyards. "These trees are dying," whispered one of the Feir'Dal. "Tunare needs to speak with Karana and send some rain." Danei laughed, "Tunare cannot speak to him; they're gone!" But the lad insisted. His name was Genoa.
Genoa liked to tell tales of the ancient days, when the gods walked the world. Danei wasn't sure she believed all his tales, but she liked listening to them anyway. When the ground rumbled and shook, they would hide together and Danei was no longer afraid to come back out before her father returned. She and Genoa would hold hands and race through the streets, competing to see who could spot the latest damage.
"Our tree," said Danei as they ran out into the courtyard after a particularly fierce quake. The tree in their courtyard had fallen sideways, half of its roots pointing skyward while its branches lay along the dusty cobblestones like a cat stretching. "Our tree," echoed Genoa, touching its bark. They stood together and looked at it. Danei was sorry the tree had fallen. Genoa, however, seemed devastated. He walked around it, touching it gently as though it were a rare blossom and not a gnarled tree.
"I know what we can do," Danei said, tugging at Genoa's sleeve. "Let's ask Tunare to make it stop." Genoa looked at her sadly, "You don't believe in Tunare; don't make fun of me." Danei shook her head and said, "I don't not believe in her, either. If she'll stop the shaking, then we'll know she's there, won't we?" This seemed sensible, but Genoa was hesitant. Danei goaded him, "If you don't believe in her, just say so." They fought so hard then that it took two adults to pull them apart.
"I'm sorry, Genoa," Danei said. She was very sorry; the look on Genoa's face was terrible. She hadn't meant to take Tunare from him. He did not speak to her, jerking away from her offered hand and running home. Danei stood for a long time in the dusty street staring after him, swallowing over the lump in her throat. She felt...she felt just like Genoa must feel without Tunare. Danei had to prove to him Tunare still cared, she had to!
Danei took an ancient and brittle cup carved from Faydwer trees that she felt best suited to the task, filled it with water and went out that night. Standing beside the up-ended tree, Danei whispered, "Tunare, mother of us all, please talk to someone about the earth shakes. Please help me make up with Genoa. But mostly, make the ground stop moving." She poured the water in a thin stream over the roots, then took the cup back inside.
The ground did not shake once over night. The next day, Danei ran out of the house and the tree was standing upright once again. She saw Genoa and ran over to him. He said, "I saw you praying last night...I guess Tunare heard you all right." Danei nodded. "She heard me, Genoa. Everything will be okay." They stood hand in hand looking up at the tree in their courtyard. The ground did not shake again.