At the beginning of the world, before time, the continent of Mor-Thir was born of ice and fire. On it lived a great snake, an evil, chaotic being. It saw that Mor-Thir was barren and desolate, and smiled. It twisted in the dust as it prowled the land, god of its domain. However, the great god Alehim was saddened by the desolation, and spoke with the wyrm: "I will give you soft moss upon which to tread, and gentle birds to sing you to sleep."
But the wyrm only bared his teeth. "I would crush the plants, and eat the birds!"
Alehim replied, "Then I will make hardy grass that cannot be crushed, and fleet-footed creates that you cannot catch."
But the serpent scoffed, and said, "I would burn the grass, and chase the creatures into the ocean."
Alehim replied again, "Then I will make tough oaks to survive the flames, and bears and wolves and other creatures who will not flee from danger."
Once again, the snake answered rudely. "Ha! I will knock down the trees, and tear the beasts limb from limb! This is my land, and I want it to be left as it is!"
Alehim was angry at how rudely the creature had spoken. "Ungrateful wyrm! You roll in the dirt, and wish all to be as lowly as yourself. For that, I will not abide your wishes, and I shall bring all that I have said to these lands, and more: creatures who will fight against you, and make the land their own!"
With his breath, Alehim blew, and soft moss covered the ground, but the wyrm ran back and forth to crush it, scuffing the earth. Sweet birds began to fly over the earth, but the beast caught many in his jaws, leaping in the air and crashing to the earth, making long lines and deep holes. These later became the lakes and rivers of Mor-Thir.
Alehim blew again, and grass sprung up, but the dragon shielded the earth with his body, and Alehim's breath did not reach parts of the land; that has become the Southern Deserts today. Dirt and stones piled up beside the wyrm and formed what is now known as Dagons Rygg. Alehim caused fleet creatures of the earth to appear, and leap and play, but the wyrm chased them hither and yon, and many plunged into the ocean in fear.
Finally, Alehim blew one last time; he blew so hard that the great serpent could scarce hang onto the earth. As the great snake scrabbled and shook, the earth tore up behind him, forming the northern mountains. Some of his scales were torn off, and flung to the wind. As Alehim blew, fierce creatures with teeth and claws climbed from the earth, and stood before the wyrm, and threatened him; exhausted, the serpent fled, great drops of blood falling to the earth as he ran to the south-western shore. He tripped, and with a mighty quake, he splashed the earth, forming the curling pincer around sea there. Tired and injured, the snake waited for night, then crept to the side of Dagons Rygg and lay in the hollow he had created there. He laughed to himself, knowing his wounds would be healed by the morning, but that Alehim would be gone; then, he would scorch the earth and flatten the hills and valleys, and eat the birds, and chase the animals, until his land was his own again.
But little did he know that Alehim had created more than plants and birds and fleet creatures and dumb brutes; he had created Elf, and Man, and Dwarf. They heard the great wyrm laughing, and waited until he slept. The Elves wove a blanket of leaves, weighted it with stones, and tossed it over the back of the dragon; the Dwarves dug a deep chasm, and the wyrm sank into it, and Men threw down stones upon him, covering the wyrm until the beast could no longer move. The great beast realized only too late that he was trapped; with the last of his strength, he created his own creatures, ugly and half-formed, but strong: scorpions and spiders and other evil beasts, with mighty lizards formed in his image to rule them. His effort was in vain; the creatures scuttled and scurried to the far corners of the land, ignorant of their creator's wishes.
However, the Elves built great towers at the places where the dark blood had splashed, to bind its power; and the Dwarves gathered the fallen scales of the wyrm and forged them into mighty jewels; and the men began to boast of their great power in helping bring down the serpent, even though they were only a part. When Alehim returned and saw all this, he was saddened. "Oh Elves! Those towers will bring ruin upon you and your children, and upon all creatures of this land. Oh Dwarves! Those jewels will bring strife and wars upon you, and whoever seeks them. Oh Men! Your boastfulness in your weakness will be your downfall!"
Then Alehim saw the lizard-men, cringing in the shade, and spoke to them, as well: "You are children of the wyrm, and yet you have free will; you may choose your master."
Some of the lizards chose to follow the great wyrm, who created them; others pledged themselves to Alehim, and still others fled to the desert, wanting no master at all.
One of the Elves began to laugh. Alehim asked him, "Why do you laugh?"
The Elf answered, "See! I have made little men, but no men at all; and they make me laugh, but I know not why!"
Alehim, too, laughed. He breathed on the little figures, and they stood in amazement; delighted, the Elf named them "Gnomes," for they are no men. This is why, even today, gnomes are such happy creatures, for they were formed in laughter, and never witnessed the struggle of the world.
There are many other tales of Alehim and the other gods that came afterward, but the tale of creation is at an end.