Not in the beginning, but very soon after, when the gods set to discover their place in our scheme of lights, one was burdened with shouldering the color black. Hymni would have settled for nearly any color. He would not have complained about blue, which Usiris had requested in a hurry. Green was not his favorite, but he would have taken it if Qitom had not already. Perhaps red was a little rough, but it was passionate. He would have liked red.
But more than any of these, Hymni had hoped to be the god of white. Instead, that privilege went to the gentle-hearted Ririka. Hymni did not hate Ririka, but he hated that she was gifted white, and he was not.
Yet, the Greatest of Them saw fit for Hymni to be the herald of black. What might he do with such a bitter color, he thought? In time, he figured he could find his way around the dilemma.
Because of Hymni, we now have a color for infection. We have something strong and evident for scripting. We have any of several hard minerals, stones, and metals with which to build our societies. Desperately, Hymni found more ways to use his color for beauty. The core of our eyes, the endless adventures of the wandering night sky. He tried, but did not meet satisfaction.
White shine filled the eyes of men, glowing with love and admiration. White stars burned through his blanket of night. Ririka meant nothing cruel of it, she just knew the best ways to find beauty in her color. Hymni’s black helped accentuate her wonders.
That was all well and good, but Hymni wanted more.
So for decades, we had the weeping ash fall of Hymni’s tears. The whole world gone black in the depths of Hymni’s jealousy and sorrow. Of course, we know that black can be just as beautiful as any other color, but Hymni did not think as such. To him, it was a color for evil, a color meant to be overcome by its vibrant kindred of red, gold, blue, silver, white. But if mankind had not detested the color before, it had begun to now. Black killed our plants, coated the land in waves and mounts so thick we could hardly travel from one place to another. It blotted out the sun, it drove away the light. It made us hate Hymni, and so reflected the way he’d come to see himself.
Hymni had never felt a craving for violence before, but there it was, piece by piece, swelling inside of his heart. A strange tumbling captured his gut, curled his fingers, clenched his chest. He did not long to live the rest of his immortality as the dreadful spring from which all blackness sprang. He did not wish to live in sorrow, a subject to the hatred of others.
Gods, it seemed, were not immune to the treacherous whims of anger. In his hour of wrath, Hymni sought out Ririka and struck her down, thinking somehow he might be able steal her white. Perhaps then he would be loved like Ririka was loved. She was fragile and broke easily. He learned there was red inside of her, which he found odd. Was there red inside of him, too?
But Ririka, she died slowly. What’s more, and Hymni found this hauntingly curious, she wore the greatest of tender smiles on her lips, even as red pooled at her side where he rent her open.
“I’m sorry,” she rasped. “I am sorry, Hymni.”
Words scattered from Hymni’s tongue, leaving him dry and abandoned. He watched the girl, observed her slipping away.
“I’m sorry you have not felt loved for so long.” She coughed, and the red came out from there, too.
“I,” Hymni said, “I only wanted your color. It’s beautiful. It’s all I’ve ever wanted.”
Her nod was a whisper of the body, hardly existing, hardly perceived. “You may have my color, Hymni. I hope you find happiness with it.”
At this, the darling goddess passed into a realm unknown and uncertain even to their kind. Only now, with the trace remaining light banished from her body, did Hymni realize what he had done, and with the understanding came a new sort of sorrow.
As he’d wished, the color we call white fell into his hands. But somehow, it did not make him feel any more loved. The joy he’d anticipated, the sense of peace, they did not come. No, in their stead, he was met only with grief. He had brought about the end of one of his own, and she had gone so far as to apologize for his actions?
Hymni could not hold himself upright. He came crashing to his knees before Ririka’s soul-empty shape, smile still against her cheeks. Taking her body into his arms, Hymni wailed every misery old and young. He did not care for the red stains against his body. He did not care for black, nor white, both now under his dominion. He cared only for the girl, taken unjustly. Taken by his selfishness.
Angry in a new way, Hymni expelled the undying ash-storms from the sky. He pushed the ash into corners and pockets of the world where it belonged, places where fire churned in the air. Then, the world began to fill with tears of white. Hymni’s despair took on such great lengths that it superseded his world and made its way into our own. First it started slowly, then it began to build. One flake became two, which with time became thousands, and then millions and billions.
Infinite white came down all across the world, some sort of request of forgiveness or atonement to a girl who was no longer there. Where black ash had brought difficulty and strife to men, this new ash, something we’d later come to understand was not ash at all, had brought comfort and beauty. In time, we’d call it snow, and it would identify entire seasons of our world.
Now, it stands as the penance of a lonely god who continues to grieve for the foolishness of one mistake. It is a promise, I think, that Hymni would try his best to care for us in Ririka’s place. It is a statement of hope, that we all have an opportunity to forgive ourselves.
I do hope Hymni begins to love himself the way we love him for giving us this snow, this most perfect of gifts. For it is the opinion of no man, that one who can create something so beautiful, could possess a heart worth hating.
I do hope Hymni finds the peace he so longed to find, as all of us do.