An Excerpt from The Saga of Hero the First Crow

His mortal name is long forgotten. All that is known of the First Crow is that he was unwavering in his devotion to the gods. By all accounts, he was pious and generous and humble.

Illara, Mother of Cats, came upon him in a field. She asked him, ‘Why do you toil so? Put down your blade and play with me.’

The man was not one so easily put off his duty. ‘It is written in the Book of Deeds that the day is never to be wasted. I cannot put down my blade.’

And Illara was displeased and she left him.

Malekai, the Spider Lord, came upon him at the river and said to him, ‘This day is long and splendid. Why do you spend it fishing?’ and the man said, ‘I must feed my family. I cannot put down my rod.’

And Malekai was most displeased, and he left him.

And the one said to the other, ‘This man says that he is pious. Let us test his devotion.’

The man was whistling near the river when the black cat came upon him.

The creature said to him, ‘The gods demand that you send your eldest son into the Wyvern’s cave!’

And the man was beside himself with worry, for surely he believed that the Wyvern would devour his son. But he was a man of faith, and so he sent his son into the cave.

The Wyvern was waking when the boy appeared, and hungry. She devoured the boy, then returned to her slumber.

The man was weeping in his home when the Spider came upon him.

The Spider said, ‘The gods demand you send your second son into the Wyvern’s cave!’

The man was full of fear, but he did not wish to anger the gods. So, he sent his second son.

This son was likewise devoured.

The man and his wife were wailing in the temple when the Cat and the Spider came upon him. ‘The gods are not convinced of your devotion. You must send your youngest son into the cave.’

The man’s wife cried and pleaded, ‘We have but one son left, please do not make us do this thing.’

And in that moment, the merriment of the gods turned into anger. They went to the Wyvern and said, ‘This mortal does not love us.’

The Wyvern swept down from the mountain and destroyed the man’s home. She devoured his wife, his last son and his four daughters. She burned his village, clawed up his fields and chased away his neighbors.

The man was left with only soot and ash and bones.

Through his tears, the mortal said to the Wyvern, ‘What have I done to deserve this?’

‘It is not for you to question the gods’, said the Wyvern, and she returned to her cave, her hunger sated.

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