The vast bulk of recorded zetii history is dated subsequent to an event they name the Great Alluvion. This was a cataclysmic event where a vast amount of trapped freshwater was released into the seas during an “Ice Age”. Although a number of these events occurred over time, dolphins refer to one particularly large event by this name and count years from that point, which was approximately 13,000 years ago. Usually, their dates count from the year that event took place, so a date of 12,000 post Great Alluvion (pGA) would be about 1,000 years ago.
According to dolphin folklore, it was because of the shock of the events of the Great Alluvion that zetii culture moved to formalise and perfect the arts of the Starwriters and Dreamweavers. There was a belief at the time that if they could accurately record their observations of nature over a long period of time then they might be able to predict such events, or at least predict the consequences of them.
The Ka-Tse were the first to refine the techniques of recording detailed data into the subconsciousness of selected females using astronomical events as a framework upon which to sequence the memories. The other open sea-dwelling zetii adopted the techniques to varying degrees, and significant records started to be kept from the millennia shortly after the Great Alluvion to the present time. It is a tribute to the extraordinary intelligence and foresight of Watches Moon Silently (358 – 397 pGA) and her followers that the techniques they originally devised for the Starwriters have remained almost unchanged to the current time.
Much of what is recorded prior to the Great Alluvion is considered myth or legend, and while the records of such times still make popular stories, serious Seekers view them as at best only semi-factual. Most of these legends have a large amount of fact behind them, as can be seen from the following excerpt from one of the oldest of them.
The Creation Legend
At first, there was only infinite space. Unimaginably cold and dark, like the deepest reaches of the sea. Yet empty. No living creature, no plants, no rock, no water. The void waited an eternity of time until the darkness exploded into a million stars, flung outwards like shining sand grains to light the endless night. These stars passed through the icy nothingness, each one bearing its message of light and the promise of life. Many stars gathered disciples that span obediently about them, warming themselves in the bright glare of their masters. One such star was Senx. He positioned himself on one arm of a great galaxy and burned and raged, swelling with fire then subsiding as he learned to control his power. A number of huge, cold stones drifted towards him, drawn by his magnificence and blinding light. Yet they were soon repelled by his great heat so choose instead to circle him endlessly and to bathe in his light, each in their own path, at their own chosen distance from him.
The third of these stones twisted in agony for countless centuries. Great mountains were thrown up upon it and destroyed again. Rivers of fire scoured its surface. A thick mantle of poisonous cloud covered it. Slowly its torments subsided and the stone began to cool. With the cooling came the first drop of rain, that most precious substance in the universe: water. More drops fell, and yet more, until it seemed the sky was made of water. The rain fell without rest while the stone span around and around Senx; countless, countless times. The water fell into the deep cracks of the stone and cooled its fire. As the rain fell, the water rose and gradually great seas filled and their shorelines edged up across the lifeless ground.
The third stone changed. Senx saw the clouds slowly part to reveal that one of his attendants had put aside the drab mantle of its fellows and was now a shining, liquid blue orb. The stone had become Ocean and Senx delighted in her beauty. Ocean continued her slow dance around Senx and he was entranced by her radiance. Dancing together so for an eternity they could do nothing but become lovers. Across the coldness of space, he planted light, his seed, into the sea, her womb.
Mother Ocean spilt forth life. The first of her children were tiny, simple things but they grew and changed. Because they were the first and dearest to her they followed her teachings closely and adapted themselves to enjoy her gifts. Senx and Ocean fed and cared for their children well, but like all parents knew that they must allow their children to choose their own path in the end. Ocean’s children were small and slow at first but they learned to swim and to hunt and to think. Some became large and powerful, some small but clever. The fruits of Ocean’s coupling with Senx were so bountiful that they filled the sea and spilt onto the land so that it too began to flower and became green with life.
After a long time and many changes came a new creature; smooth-skinned, warm-blooded, sharp of eye and mind. The first two were T’ret, a sleek, fast female, and her strong and proud brother, Den-tew-ron. They were as bright with life as stars and Ocean saw them and was glad. They spoke to each other, swam, sang, leapt to the sky and revelled in the beauty of the Universal. As Ocean’s highborn they were immortal and began their long study of the ways of life.
As they became more independent, the siblings spent much of their time playing in the shallow waters. They were fascinated with the newly fertile land which held so much promise. When they reached the Age of Decision, they chose to leave their birthing place and to leave the waters. At first, this was hard, as they had to accept the great burden of gravity against which land dwellers must struggle their whole lives. They missed, T’ret especially, the lightness and grace allowed by the noble medium.
For many millennia they were enthralled with the exploration of the land, which, although small compared to the vastness of Ocean’s waters, held many secrets. They saw the multitude of forms from the simple to the complex, but still, they were the most quick-minded of all that was there. Over time they became proud and vain and believed themselves to be superior to nature’s other forms. One day, Den-tew-ron said, “We are so much above these simple things sister; let us bend this world to our needs.”
T’ret agreed that this was truly within their power and so they began to plan how they would change the face of Ocean and harness her resources to suit their needs. They would move mountains, cut new rivers in the earth, make dwelling places for their heirs, and destroy those things they despised or saw no purpose for.
They spent an age on their plans, saying this valley shall be filled with water, this lake will be emptied, this plant will be made stronger, this creature will perish. Then, just before they were about to begin their scheme, T’ret was sleeping alone at the edge of the sea and had a dream.
T’ret dreamt that Senx came to her, terrible in his power, and spoke. “Are you so intoxicated with your power that you have lost sight of the Universal? Observe!”
And T’ret dreamt that Senx lifted her up high and changed the flow of the river of time so that she could see the world that she and Den-tew-ron had envisioned come into being: slowly at first, then, gradually faster and faster. The first scenes were happy enough; as they had imagined, the less pleasing creatures, or those they saw no purpose for, soon faded from the face of Ocean. New lakes grew, flooding areas of the land. Those things that they discarded were flushed into the sea and swallowed from sight, that land which they had decreed must be cleared of vegetation was burned and the essence of those things on it was carried as black smoke into the air and seemed to vanish.
But the time-river flowed more swiftly, and, as rivers do when they must flow swiftly, time lost its calmness and became violent and turbulent. T’ret watched in horror as their fine plans became undone; those creatures they had thought of as beautiful soon had nothing to eat and must tear each other apart. Black, acid rain fell from the skies and the great forests began to decay. As they failed to turn the light of Senx into life-giving oxygen, other creatures began to suffer. Birds fell from the sky; other animals dug holes into the ground where they could live out their last days in anguish and watch their young die before their eyes. And all this time all the debris of the land’s destruction washed into the sea and those that dwelt there choked upon the filth.
The time-river flowed faster still and T’ret watched the images of she and her brother become mad with their power. They destroyed the remaining forests, raped the seas of life and covered the green earth with a cold, grey, liquid stone that hardened and sealed out life. Their descendants multiplied like a mould across the face of Ocean, out of all control. Soon there was not enough food, not enough water, not enough air. In the last scenes, barely visible in a blur, they made weapons of stupendous power that let them destroy their own; millions at a time.
At last, T’ret could bear no more, “Enough!” she cried, “Please, Senx, I will not see any more. We are wrong to be here — let my brother and I go back into the sea and we will forgo these mad plans!”
Senx said, “You may go back to the sea, but Den-tew-ron wishes to stay and continue with your plans.”
“No, he will not!” cried T’ret, “show him what you have shown me and he will not!”
And Senx said, “I have.”’
So it came to be. T’ret left the land and returned to the sea forever. From her sprang the zetii, and they chose to live in harmony with Ocean and to keep the balance of the Cycle of Life.
Den-tew-ron chose to stay on the land. He had seen the horrors in the dreadful river but was proud and believed that he could make his world better than that. He spawned a new race. They turned away from the sea, and so their bodies changed; they lost the sleekness of a water-dweller. Their tails vanished and their fins divided so that they might hold, move, create, manipulate. They learned to move with the awful weight of their bodies, at first crawling, then walking upright.
Soon Den-tew-ron and his kin forgot the zetii; they forgot everything under the sea. They believed themselves masters of all Ocean, and they wielded their power with the carelessness of a child.
It was left to the zetii to live in harmony with Ocean. They shall inherit what remains when the sons and daughters of Den-tew-ron have done their worst. They must keep Ocean safe and their path shall be the Way.