Origin of the Tsol'aa

16.5.5 Origin of the Tsol'aa

As sung by Ta'hena, the sage:

There was a time when all the world was mysterious to the eyes of ignorant
mortals, and trees were companions in their silence. The Celestine had gifted
us with sentience, yet still did we live like beasts from the kindnesses of the
forests. They brought food when our bellies ached, shelter when the demons of
thunder roiled, and water when our throats were parched.

In this time of safety and contentment, there was one mortal more ambitious
than the rest. She was named Losi'al, meaning gaze of the moon. She spoke to
the forest thusly: "I am wracked with guilt, my friends! Kindly have you
provided for me all my life, yet I can give nothing in return! I take from you,
and take again, with nothing but my gratitude to offer. I am a wretch, O Great
Provider, unfit to walk your ground. What can I do?"

The Canopy listened and thought. Losi'al waited, but then as now, mortal
patience was not as long as that of the forest. While she waited, she married
and bore a son. Eventually her life came to a clumsy end. Losi'al died
believing the forests had not heard her plea at all. But when her son (called
Sironn, meaning wide smile) came of age, the forest spoke to him, saying: "What
is a song? We do not know what it is to sing."

And Sironn, little more than a boy, hastily explained the mortal concept of
music and composition. "Though not as beautiful as dawn through your leaves,"
he said earnestly, "we yet make sounds pleasing to our ears. Can you not hear

Again, the Canopy pondered. The young man grew, took a wife, and raised five
children. All the while he sang and played upon a thousand crude instruments.
For fifty years, it seemed the leaves crowded closer in audience and the ferns
trembled in anticipation. Sironn's bones grew brittle and mind crisp with age,
his fingers shaking upon his pipes, yet never did he lose hope. Finally the
Canopy answered: "If you wish it, you may become our song."

Sironn did not know the meaning of this offer, and was loathe to ask for a
clarification he would not live to hear. After a brief discussion, he and his
family agreed. Together, they asked that the Great Provider make them its song,
as well as the departed Losi'al. The Canopy, in rare excitement, accepted their
offer only five years later.

"The green tongue we give to you," said the wood. "You are the Tsol'aa, the
Song of the Canopy. Sing to us of your life that is so fleeting, and we will
care for you as we ever have."

And so it remains.