In the eons after the First War was fought and lost by Mar, he secluded himself from the other gods, seeking to hide the shame of his loss of the Throne of the Void and the hand of Ssita. While he laid hidden Ariga, who had longed for the young god for some time, went to him with her own loneliness. She nursed him back to health and as she brought him out of his melancholy, their loneliness blossomed into love.
They were soon betrothed, sealing it with a kiss. Ariga, in her joy, created the Great Southern Forest around the spot where she and Mar’s love first blossomed. She fashioned guardians out of the very trees and tasked them with keeping this spot holy and sacred to the couple. The forest was as vibrant as she was. Still in her youthful form as a young girl she felt no greater joy than when she was with Mar, and the forest blossomed when they spent time in each other’s company.
Yet for ages uncounted the couple remained betrothed. The forest Ariga had created remained vital and green even as she went from youth into the form of a maiden. As time went on and Ariga waited she grew in wisdom and understanding and passed from a maiden into that of new mother. Childless however, she continued waiting for Mar to formalize their betrothal into marriage. The Great Forest aged too. The trees went from a vibrate green to deep reds and yellows, giving up their fruits and nuts for harvest.
And yet still she waited.
She waited through the births of Bahu and Tiala. Watching their love bloom and the short passionate courtship they shared.
She waited through the birth of the dragons, noble creatures that they were. She watched as they divided themselves into factions and beseeched their parents for peace.
She waited through the creation of the dwarves. She watched the dragons accept stewardship over the dwarves. She then watched with wonder when the mortals divided themselves into factions like the great dragons.
As she waited in the form of a new mother, though she had no child, Mar grew distant. When Ishari was born, a wild passionate young goddess, it was her that Mar went to, seduced away by the goddess of lakes and rivers. Tempted away by the new goddess, Mar went to Ariga and broke off their betrothal.
Shattered, Ariga wept. Ariga aged. As she aged, the forest below did as well, losing its foliage and leaving the trees bare. Ariga went to the world below to hide her shame, seeking solitude on islands far tothe south of the mainland that Tiala had told her about. It was on the largest island that the sorrowful goddess hid. Hiding her face in her arms and weeping out her sorrow.
How long Ariga stayed there none can say, for the gods reckon time differently than mortals do. But small lakes of mud had formed from her bitter tears. In desperation to stave off the loneliness that she felt she sculpted small dolls from the mud, all in the form of Mar. These reminders did nothing to quell the pain, and her weeping began once again.
Small comforting pats upon her cheek moved her from her grief. The little dolls, three in total, had gathered around their weeping mother’s ancient face and were set to comfort her. Willing away the pain they surely felt emanating from her. It was this that woke her from her grief. These imperfect replicas of Mar peered innocently up at her, seeking only to quell her suffering.
These beings made her smile, even if for but a moment. She gathered up more of the sticky mud and fashioned dolls in her maiden form giving each to the models of Mar that she had already created. She watched them for a time. And for a while they were amazed at the new world around them. Soon however they began to seek respite. Searching across the island and finding nothing to stave their hunger the little dolls came back to Ariga, and pleaded with her. “We hunger, but there is no food, please show us how to find it?”
Ariga was alarmed by this for she had no need of food herself. She reflected for a short time and realized that if the forest bloomed as it had when she had been young they would find an abundance of food. She changed her form, thinking of the joy she had shared once with Mar, and taking some happiness from the small people that she had created. With these thoughts she grew younger, moving from crone to maiden. The islands began to grow green and the plants that had remained dormant sprung with life.
Ariga showed the people which plants she had made to eat, which plants to use to build shelters with, and what animals could be hunted safely. Their hunger sated the little dolls danced, sang, and coupled with each other joyfully. She watched them have children, grow old with age and wisdom as she had done. And eventually die, grieving the loss of their dead with bitter tears. She then watched their souls gathered by Daras who returned them to the Realm of the Gods. As Ariga watched with wonder at the beauty she had created through her sorrow, she grew youthful again going from maiden to girl, and far to the north the Great Forest blossomed once more.
She wept again, this times her tears were joyful. She named the people Tama’arig, or Ariga’s children. Before returning to the realm of the gods Ariga gathered up many of the people that she had created, spreading them over all the islands of the south. She promised them that this was their place and they would be protected from the lands far to the north. And so it was until the slithering children of Ssita came.