By Hannah J. Kuo
There are stories that your fathers and grandfathers and their grandfathers have passed down to us – stories that seem to be basic knowledge today. I have taken it upon myself to record these legends, lest they be lost to our people forever one day. Let us begin.
There was once a land where many flocks of birds coexisted. There were swans that occupied the serene lakes; there were owls that burrowed into the soft soil. There were falcons that policed the skies; eagles that monitored the weather, and finally, majestic phoenixes that brought heat and warmth to everything living in the land. It was supposed to be peaceful, but the birds often argued on who was more important.
One day, a strange wizard appeared on the shores of the island. He liked the land that the birds were living in, and as a gift of honor, he wanted to bestow upon the flock leaders gifts that had never been seen before. To obtain the gift, however, the birds had to follow the wizard to his magical lair. The flock leaders, ever so proud, quickly accepted the invitation and left.
As the story goes, they never returned.
After that point in time, hundreds of wizards appeared on the beautiful Terrene Island and started to capture more birds. They set traps and nets until no longer was the soil filled with the burrows of owls. No longer did swans dance among the water droplets at midnight, no longer did the falcons sweep the land, no longer did eagles send showers of rain. No longer did bright phoenix feathers warm nests and comfort young chicks.
The new flock leaders were smart. They knew something was up the moment the new wizards also said they wanted to impart gifts. However, the other wizards said that their previous flock leaders were now living in paradise, in a place where pain, hunger, and thirst would no longer reach them. The new flock leaders knew that would mean a better future for the Terrene Island birds, so with the wizards they went. They were taken to separate caves based on the type of bird, and the wizards brought all the flock leaders into a smaller cave. They didn’t return for days.
As more and more wizards called birds deeper into the caves for their gifts, the other birds began to feel anxious. They missed their rolling hills of green grass, the deep, warm earth that kept them safe whenever it rained. In the cave, it was always cold and wet. Their beloved leaders were missing and there was no telling what was going to happen next.
One day, a young eaglet was hopping around his cave, unable to fall asleep. He jumped and flapped his wings, practicing how to fly, and thought of his mother. She’d been called the day before by the wizards to receive her present. The eaglet wondered what she would bring back when he heard a loud “scraaaaaaaaaape” and a thud. Confused, he snuck out of the main cave and wandered deeper and deeper until he saw…
His mother’s feathers, strewn across the floor. Without her feathers, she couldn’t fly. And if she couldn’t fly….
The eaglet got really upset. He was heartbroken that the wizards would do such a thing to his kind mother. He made a silent promise to himself to take revenge on the flock leaders for allowing this to happen.
The next time the wizards came for more birds, the eaglet begged for his present. He pestered them so much that the wizards finally agreed and took him with the rest of the eagles deeper into the caves. When they finally reached their destination, the eaglet quickly flew onto a hidden ledge on the cave ceiling. He saw strange bubbles that the wizards kept birds in; he saw the tables that the wizards used…. What exactly were the gifts that the wizards wanted to give?
After the wizards left, the eaglet flew as fast as he could around the small cave. There! There were the flock leaders! He flew towards them angrily and immediately started to blame them for what had happened to his mother. After listening patiently and wearily, the flock leaders spoke, “We have a plan, young one. Be patient. We just need more birds to be blessed with these wicked ‘gifts’ then we will be free.” The eaglet could see the leaders’ guilt, and understanding dawned on him when he realized that the leader of the eagle flock wasn’t there.
“What should we do, then?” the eaglet asked.
The leaders explained that the gifts bestowed upon the birds were supernatural abilities to tame the natural elements.Each leader then began to share their stories of when they felt as if fire were searing their muscles, or when it felt like the water filling their veins gave the illusion that their bodies would burst. When the leaders had realized that they were able to control the element they were given, they saw it as an opportunity to revolt against these evil wizards. However, having only four birds wasn’t enough. They needed more birds.
After their plan to revolt was explained, the eaglet was eager to join the cause, so the next time the wizards came in, the eagle once again insisted on being the first to be taken in. After enduring hours of immense pain, the eaglet felt the electrical power of lightning coursing through his veins, filling every fiber of his feathers.
The next night, the eaglet trilled to his leaders. It was time to be free once again. All the eagles in the caves simultaneously broke free of their bubbles, and as wizards poured in with wands at hand, the eagles overpowered the men with their newfound abilities and escaped. The eaglet followed the leaders to the other caves to free the swans, the falcons, the owls, and finally, the phoenixes, who had been trapped in magical underwater boxes, able to breathe, but unable to burn.
It was a long and harsh battle. The birds were finally able to avenge their fallen brethren. The swan leader, Unda, had the greatest power of all the swans. She was given the ability to command the oceans, and with a swift flap of her strong wings, all the caves were flooded. Her swans flew here and there, saving all the birds who were still recuperating from the gifts in bubbles. Many wizards waved their wands and fired bullets of evil magic at the swans, freezing their bubbles and recapturing the hurt birds, but Unda bent the ice to her command, releasing the hurt birds and aiming the sharp shards at the wizards.
Upon release, Ventus, the falcon leader, spun into the air with a forceful spiral, as if piercing the air itself. A cyclone erupted out of the air, helping the hurt birds fly out of the cave and into open sky. The wizards tried to catch them, but the speed of the cyclone was more than the wizards could take. After being spun many times by Ventus’s winds, they tumbled to the floor, too disoriented to cast their spells.
Terra, the owl leader, burrowed so far into the earth, that all the caves collapsed and were no more. Once again, the wizards tried to fight back. They struck the earth with their wands, trying to find Terra before the caves collapsed completely, but to no avail. One stroke of magic did strike her, however, and that is why she bears the scar on her back to this day.
Ignis, the phoenix leader, reignited his feathers and burned everything that survived Terra’s collapse until absolutely nothing remained of the wizards’ caves. He commanded the rest of the phoenixes to guide the rest of the flocks back home, their flaming feathers a beacon in the rainy night.
As for the eaglet, his name was Cosmos. He commanded all the able civilians of all the flocks, engaging in combat before Ventus swept them away. Cosmos zapped every single wizard he spotted, fulfilling his vow to avenge his mother. The spells that the wizards cast were no match for Cosmos’s ambition and power; however, he missed one wizard, and as that wizard escaped, the angry temper of his lightning was never satisfied. Cosmos still seeks after the wizard today.
After the battle was over, the swans called the oceans to bring the fighters home. Everybody was excited to return to their beloved island, but upon returning, they realized that nothing remained. The wizards had cast an evil spell, destroying their home forever. Unable to let their birds live without a home, Ignis, Terra, Unda, Ventus, and Cosmos performed their most famed act of heroism. In a split second, they inflicted all their power, all their energy, of their ability on each other, causing them to grow so big, they formed separate islands in the middle of the ocean. Each island was filled with every necessity that each species required, and even better, was hidden from the rest of the world.
This is the story of the Titans, the five brave heroes who saved their flocks from the undeniable evil of the wizards. Of course, this was ages ago, in a time before our known ancestors lived. But legend has it that if you find the place where the first home of the Titans resides, the Titans will return and rise again once more, their power at the dispense of the one who discovers it.