The wisest of us remember the days when men were free to choose their own lives. In that time long passed, a man could wander for days, picking the apples from the trees at his whim and singing as his heart discovered the tunes that made him one with the land. His steps broke no grass, and his laying upon the fields left no impression, and the wolves and bears and birds made themselves known to him without fear. In his delight he formed the clay of the earth into vessels so that he might drink of the streams many days from when he passed them. On these vessels, the man would record his journey, and paint them in colors and sheens that would move men to tears with their beauty. In these vessels he poured his hopes and dreams and fantasies, and showed through his craft the capacity to grow and love and appreciate. What he could not show on his vessels he put into voice, making for himself instruments of the trees to mimic the sounds of the world while he told his tales. Of these crafts were born the magic of earth and trees and streams and song.
From the trees came the magic of fire and curing and making, and men devoted to its study attracted women, and the children from their union were taught the craft and its magic. Fairest of all men, they hid from those who sought to steal the magic they had worked so hard to gain.
Of the streams came the magic of life and rebirth.
And of the craft of song, all men studied; the magic of spirit was inherent to all, but few were able to become its master. Those so gifted in its study, the bards, moved about the towns of men, forever forcing upon those without an outlet for their voice a memory of self. For the magic of spirit was focused on a reflection of past and illumination of present. Darkest, it seemed, was the future, and its weaving into song called upon talents that men did not possess.
Above all crafts, there came the magic in earth. Where trees met the earth were born grasses and plants. Polished stones with beauty beyond compare appeared where the streams met the earth. And songs could be heard over great distances when the earth appeared on both sides of the crafter.
In the end, the magic of earth proved most accessible. Men had only to dig, and the earth produced. First came the stones, easiest to find and stronger than wood and water. And with these tools came the magic of strength. And as time passed, metals were mined and crafted into weapons to defend themselves from beasts and as teeth and claw when they preyed upon the animals of the fields. In these conquests, man lost himself; he turned the weapons of the earth against his brothers, greedy for his earth-claim, and his women and his gold, until the stain of the blood he had spilt ruined the trees and streams and the sounds of his song became lost in the strikes of the hammers upon the earth and even the magic of vessels failed to endure.
The sons of these men were taught the magic of the earth, and the other magics were lost.
And the only choice left was the way of the earth.