This was originally meant to be used in theavatar100's challenge for mythologies, but at 850+ words it hardly passes for a drabble. So here you go. My version of the Avatarverse creation myth. It's not told from any particular nation's point of view, and I tried to show the characterizations of the different nations in the dialogue of the spirits, what each saw and valued and how each reacted. I also tried to make different levels of parallels—in some it's Earth/Fire vs. Air/Water, in others it's Earth/Air and Fire/Water, etc, though most of that comes out in the sentence structure, not the actual words. Thanks for making it through the author's notes, and enjoy!
Avatar : Genesis
I have a tale to tell.
When the world began there were two elements, and it was from them that life was born.
The first element was Air. Said the spirit of the Air,
All things of me require, but none shall ever keep me.
The second element was Water. Said the spirit of the Water,
All things may eat of air, but their bodies I will fill.
And for a time there was sea and there was sky, and life was held between them.
Then a new spirit was born, and after it another.
The third element was Earth. Said the spirit of the Earth,
The world is empty, so I shall be its center and its keeper.
The last element was Fire. Said the spirit of the Fire,
The world is stagnant, so I shall bring it change.
The world could hold two spirits, but it could not hold four. Their wills were too great and their natures were too different.
Said the spirit of the Air,
I am life, and without me all comes to nothing. My will is law.
Said the spirit of the Water,
I am substance, and my body covers all. My will is law.
Said the spirit of the Earth,
I am shelter, and all rest upon my generosity. My will is law.
Said the spirit of the Fire,
I am knowledge, and allcrumble before me. My will is law.
So the spirits warred. Each held the power of life or death, and none would suffer a master.
Air, the eldest, was swift and could never be wounded.
Water, the second eldest, was vast and would continue when all others had perished.
Earth, the third eldest, was strong and could halt any blow.
Fire, the youngest, was clever and hungered to eat the very life it sought to inspire.
The world trembled with the force of their conflict, but out of their battles creatures were born. These creatures walked and crawled and swam over the surface of the world. They hid from the warring spirits, whose conflicts changed the face of existence as many times in a single day as we see in a year of seasons. One day the spirits noticed these creatures they had thoughtlessly made.
Said the spirits,
The world cannot support us, and soon it will be torn apart. All life would perish.
But who will go, when none will consent to a master?
Perhaps we might spread ourselves throughout the world?
We shall put a piece of each of us into the creatures and objects of the world, and through them we might find peace.
So the spirits scattered themselves over the world.
The Air became the Sky and the Wind.
The Water became the Oceans and the Moon.
The Fire became the Sun and the Magma.
The Earth became the Mountains and the Soil.
And the spirits also gave themselves to the creatures of the world, those that walked and those that did not. The creatures that walked were many, and each spirit chose those whom suited it best.
Said the spirit of the Air to the people who wandered,
Your souls are free and your hands are deft, I give of myself to you.
Said the spirit of the Water to the people at the ends of the world,
Your souls are nurturing but your hearts are vengeful, I give of myself to you.
Said the spirit of the Earth to the people on the mountainside,
Your souls are forthright and your feet are strong, I give of myself to you.
Said the spirit of the Fire to the people of the valley,
You have been passed over by the other spirits, so I will take you and I will make you greatest.
Your souls are earnest but your minds are proud, I give of myself to you.
So the spirits gave all but the last drop of themselves to the walking creatures, and the world was burdened by their violence no longer. In the souls of the walking creatures the spirits were tempered and shaped, their rage restrained to human dimensions.
However, before the great spirits disappeared, they made a final pact. To ensure that conflict so terrible as their own never endangered the world again, they merged the last of their essences into one body. In this act they created the last the human ever to be made, not born. Unto this human they bequeathed their final powers: this human possessed all the gifts of all the peoples, and was called the Avatar. This human alone could speak with the smaller spirits of the world, for they were the Avatar's sisters and brothers, born also of Air and Earth, Water and Fire.
To this day the Avatar protects us from the forces within ourselves.
The Avatar has been woman and man, king and peasant. The Avatar was the last human created by the great spirits, and will be the last human born when the world is old and dying.
If ever in your life you should meet one of the Avatar's incarnations, greet them as you would the greatest lord, and offer always your friendship.