In the first days, Esselgrim worked in secret, and only The King knew of his true purpose. He started small, taking what he could to lessen his sister’s burden, but he did not touch the crafts of the other gods.
It was the dawn of many ages, not just those of the Dragons and the Elves. And in that time, Esselgrim kept his distance. But he continued to watch the world of the living, and to monitor Namessali’s creations. And as he watched, he witnessed many things; acts of cruelty that he could not forgive. He did not blame the world’s young mortals, for it was not they who were at fault. The blame lay with his fellow gods.
Every now and again, there happens a night where there is no moon, where the air and sea are quiet and still, and no creature dares to act. It is on these nights that the gods assemble in meeting, and it was in one such meeting that Esselgrim made his move.
“Why, Esselgrim, you are so quiet today, has something made you sad?” he was asked by Fionn, and although he had not wanted to upset the sun god, Esselgrim knew he must be truthful to him.
“Yes, a great many things have made me sad, and you are one of them.” And of course, Fionn has never wanted to upset anyone, and so was quite confused, and Esselgrim was forced to explain it to him.
“When you burn too brightly, the living cannot grow food, which makes them weak and unhappy, which makes my sister and I unhappy as well.”
Fionn of course did cry, for he hadn’t known that he could burn too brightly, though Esselgrim tried to comfort him.
“It is not just you, Fionn, but a good many of us. Why, Samar’s work follows yours, and he has hurt many with his flames. Lupelle pushed her followers too hard, and makes them do things they would rather not do. Even Queen Hectaythe causes her followers pain, by giving them powers that they cannot control.”
At Esselgrim’s words, the other gods began to gather around him. With a frown, he looked at Stremis to his right.
“Stremis’ temper is whimsical and fierce, and he causes people to become lost and separated, cold and hungry.” And Stremis could not deny this, and said nothing.
But it was with anger that Esselgrim turned to the rival gods, Arach’lor and Tellor’ich.
“And you! You are the worst of them! You make your people fight and wound each other without end! You drive them to acts they would never dare of without you, and bring out the worst of them! They lie and cheat and hate on your orders!”
Now Tellor’ich did not take well to this, and the two began to argue fiercely. For the first time, Arach’lor sided with the balance god, and when Hectaythe also spoke, it was alongside them. Esselgrim hurt, but he did not back down.
At last, Dhies raised a hand, and all fell silent. He spoke in all his gentle wisdom, and looked only at Esselgrim.
“What do you wish to do about this, my son?”
Esselgrim turned his back on the other gods, and looked only at The King.
“I wish to stop the pain of the mortals, to bring them under my protection when their own gods have injured them.”
“You wish to bring them Death, as you do to Namessali’s creations?”
Esselgrim was steadfast and unblinking.
And Dhies closed his eyes, and all the world did stop, as he thought long over all Esselgrim’s desire would mean. At last, he came to a conclusion.
“Then it shall be done. You will be the guardian of the wounded and the aged, the sick and the hungry, and they shall become the fallen. Treat all with fairness and gentleness, and the living will love you and fear you, and seek ever to evade your grasp. Do you think you can bear the burden, my child?”
As before, Esselgrim did not falter, though he knew his words would pain him.
All remained silent, for several long moments, until at last Dhies spoke once more.
“It is done.”
And so death was brought to the races of the world, and the gods would learn the consequences of their actions. They could never change their ways, but they would learn the value of the life Namessali had given to their creations.
And true to Dhies’ word, we shall hold Esselgrim in contempt, and fight to escape the peace he brings us. But it can never be done. Even the Elves themselves are not undying, for Dhies ensured that his own creations be treated the same as all others.
But we must never forget that it is for our sake, and that a world without Esselgrim’s mercy is one of everlasting pain.