The Earth was born in a furnace. When the world grew strong enough, it crawle_nto the dark void to cool and heal itself. Soon, however, it grew too col_nd shivered with ice.
The Earth looked around and found a small star to warm it up. Deciding i_iked the neighborhood and the climate, there the Earth stayed.
Life appeared across the Earth, splashed in the water and glided on thermal_hrough the sky. It didn't take life long to grow so abundant that it bega_reying on itself.
Crows, bats and eagles, the lords of the air, scooped up fish from the sea_nd dumped them in the desert until the dry lands were piled high with thei_ones. These carcasses became the Earth's first mountains.
Other animals learned to climb the trees and attack the birds as they hunte_or food. The land dwellers decorated the bare trees with the birds' feather_nd painted the ground with their blood. The gray earth suddenly had color.
Every creature who lived in the sea—the fish, the whales, the seals, th_rabs, the squids and the rays—met in the South Seas and beat their fins,
claws and tentacles, and raised an enormous tidal wave. The wall of water sho_cross the earth, drowning millions of the land and air beasts. This is ho_he many rivers and oceans of the world were born.
After an eon or two of mass murder, when the surface of the Earth was _tinking slaughter house, the lords of the different realms of life met at th_ncient human city of Thulamela to see if they could end the butchery. Thi_asn't all that simple, since the many different creatures of the Earth wer_oing to have to live on the same planet, but give each other plenty of room.
They divided the world into three Spheres, with each Sphere being invisibl_nd out of the reach of the others. Humans and the most numerous animals o_he land, sea and air were given one Sphere.
A second Sphere was home to the rarest creatures—the phoenix, selkies,
The last realm was left to the most glorious and dangerous inhabitants of th_lanet: angels and demons.
So it was that each of these groups lived and grew old and died in its ow_phere, inhabiting the same time and space as all the other Spheres, bu_arely touching—unless a creature was powerful or clever enough to learn th_pells of crossing over. Because the town meeting that divided the world ha_aken place in a human city, cities became the places where the creatures wh_oved from Sphere to Sphere would meet up to talk, joke, eat, exchange spell_nd news, make love or commit the occasional genocide.
Over the next few thousand centuries, the creatures who dwelled in the secon_nd third Spheres struck a kind of déente. Unfortunately for the beasts of i_he first Sphere (which included ninety-nine percent of humanity), they forgo_bout the other Spheres completely and only glimpsed them in their dreams.