The Tale of Athar & Zarene
They only ever met at dawn and dusk, the embodiments of life and death, the union of the light and the dark.
It is said that after regarding the world they had helped create, Athar, the god of life, and Zarene, the goddess of death looked upon each other and saw the beauty of infinity itself reflected in each other's eyes. The love they shared lasted for years. However, their attention to each other was mirrored by the lack of attention the world they were supposed to guide was receiving. Capitalising on the distraction of the warden of dead, undead scourges spread across Aldenia and the rest of the world. New diseases affecting young people, births developed and the general vitality of the people worsened. Torm, agitated by the unrest that was growing and the seeming abandonment of godly duties approached Athar and forced him to address the situation. Horrified by this revelation, Athar asked to meet Zarene upon the hills in northern Aldenia for one last time. There, with regret in their hearts, they parted but not before bestowed the land a gift. Together they planted a seed to represent their love, a reminder to last forever. This seed grew into what the people of the land call The Ancestral Tree, a link between life and death.
Being a tale regarding the gods and one that has existed as long as anyone can remember, no one can be truly sure how truthful it is. Even the non-religious folk of Aldenia find meaning in its story, though. The Ancestral Tree has a circle of druids devoted to it and its protection and many people seek out the Tree to reconnect with their ancestors and come away feeling like they have.
Everyone in Aldenia knows of The Ancestral Tree and the tale of Athar & Zarene is a popular story amongst households to tell their children. You would be hard-pressed to find anyone who has not heard of this tale.
The story is particularly strong in the continent of Aldenia, since that's where The Ancestral Tree is located but the story is well known if perhaps not as important, in other lands around the world. Followers of Athar hold their counterparts who follow Zarene in higher regard than other deities and vice versa. For the Circle of the Ancestors, this tale is core to their beliefs since it is the origin story for the Tree they are sworn to protect. In general society, parents often tell this story to their children, for the morals are two-fold. First, it teaches them that beauty can be found in the place you would least expect it. Secondly, that we must look after our world lest if we are not dutiful, darkness will try to reclaim it.
The Tale of Athar & Zarene is a popular inspiration for many poems.
There is a statue of Athar & Zarene located in the Grove of the Ancestors, where the Circle that protects the tree live. 'Life and Death' is a painting from renowned human artist Clement Pizarri, which currently hangs within the dining hall of Dawnstone Palace. The Ballad of Athar & Zarene is a well-known song performed many bards across the land.
Date of Setting
Shortly after the creation of the world itself.