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A Drop of Dew

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The mighty Chaos walked slowly along the gravel path. In his wake the morning dew settled on the grass.

Chaos was benevolent. He knew of people who worshipped him, called him a "god". He did not know what that was, despite all his wisdom, but accepted the title graciously from those who would be called his "followers". They sang praise about him and left gifts, and in return he'd bless them with abundance's of water or a good harvest. His lovely children, the Chao, had scattered upon the world, and his "followers" would take great care upon meeting each one. As water changes shape to fit it's container, so too would the Chao change depending who they met or saw.

Chaos was content.

As he glided through trees and let soft rain fall where it may, he noticed a small village. Chaos disliked being seen in public, as the "followers" liked to show loud adoration. He appreciated their sentiment, but they never seemed to understand what "quiet" meant. So he took to the shadows, watching them go about their daily lives like a guardian angel. He watched the small ones play, running in circles and singing rhymes that had his name in it.

Chaos knew of the "small ones". They were young, underdeveloped peoples, who slowly evolved into the "taller ones" he was more knowledgeable about. It was much like a Chao, really.

However, he spotted a tall one carrying the smallest one he had ever seen. Carefully and quietly, he dashed through puddles to get a closer look. She was holding the child so gently, as though it was made of porcelain and might break at the slightest touch. It wiggled, it's eyes not open, and quietly let out a yawn.

Chaos' heart was filled with joy upon seeing this. What an adorable little small one. He wondered if any of the other small ones started out so tiny. Oh, how sweet.

The caretaker sang soft songs to the smallest one. Their evolution seemed so stunted. At first, Chaos became worried. But it was at the next moment Chaos realized that this "smallest one" was completely fine. He could feel their heart beating, the blood pulsing through their veins, their little chest rising up and down as they took breaths. Chaos energy flowed through them, as powerful and bright as any other living creature. As time passed, Chaos learned there were many more "smallest ones", and every small one had been a smallest one at some point in their life.

And so, it was one day that two hedgehogs had their litter. There were four of them. One, a small cocoa brown hoglet, laid shivering and whimpering. His breathing was trembling, and his body stunted. Disgusted by his frail appearance in comparison with his siblings, they laid him on the grass several miles away from their home, hoping nature may claim him and free him from what would "surely be a hellish life".

In a way, they were right.

Just a few yards away laid a lake. Several Chao were frolicking, and one stopped suddenly when they hear a small whimper. The group of Chao flew over the bushes and found the little babe in the leaves, crying out softly for his mother. The Chao stayed with the child, wondering if his mother would be able to find him, before they realized solemnly that he had not been lost; but rather abandoned.

Thus, the Chao called for their maker, the great Chaos, and the being formed out of the little lake. He strode over, steps heavy in the dirt, and sighted the "smallest one".

Where is it's caretaker? The water god asked.

No parent. The Chao replied. Alone. Left behind. On purpose.

For the first time in centuries, Chaos wanted to roar, scream, set a thunderstorm upon those who would dare leave such an innocent being to fend for itself, but wavered when he heard the cries of the baby. Extending his hands, Chaos wrapped them around the child, letting a warm flow into his water so the babe would not freeze in his hold.

Chaos held the babe gently, it's small frame relaxing in his grip. He watched it wiggle silently for a few minutes, and hugged the child to his chest. Being a being of chaos, he could easily hold the little creature without soaking them.

In a flash, Chaos was at his mountain temple, carrying the child with him. Chao gathered around their maker, chittering at the mysterious visitor.

Years ago, an ancient race had constructed this temple for him, and laid down the purified gems of chaos energy to rest as well. Chaos had made this place his home, watching over the world with the miracle gems glittering beside him. Now, however, he would be joined by a smallest one.

Chaos pressed his face to the child, an act he had learned was called a "kiss". In a flash of power, the young hedgehog's injuries were healed. He sat up a little taller, his fur a shining blue as azure as the ocean itself. Blearily, he opened his eyes, revealing a bright emerald green. How perfect he was.

There were still a few things that needed work. His ears, for example, were small and folded against his head. His gaze was unfocused, and his face had begun to cry. Chaos would help him evolve in time. For now, he just needed to keep him alive.

A small strain of chaos energy began to flow from Chaos' chest into his little babe's heart. The child calmed down, opened and closing his fists with a sense of rhythm. Chaos recognized this as the child being alright and happy.

Chaos was, once more, content.

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The Chao liked to talk, especially things concerned their maker, and the followers liked to listen. Twas a great day when the followers of Chaos discovered the existence of his heir and child.

The echidna tribe prepared a great festival, with fountain displays and great dancing. People left offerings to the holy child at the steps of the shrine, candies, dolls, flowers, precious gems. None could compare to the beauty of the young babe, however.

Chaos stood at the top, watching the festivities in content. In his arms sat the holy child, wiggling intensely. 

Names were strange things to the god.

When he was birthed from the primordial cosmos by Whoever had created this universe, Chaos did not have a name. He simply had a reason to exist, and that was enough: bring life to those who need it. He settled in the form of water, the source of all life. Only when the creatures of these planets found him wandering and said he looked like "a being of pure chaos", did they take to calling him such. Chaos. What a strange word. He supposed it fit him. After all, you cannot truly control water.

He tried giving something a name once; the Chao. Chaos wasn't very original.

So, staring at the child, he furrowed his watery brows, trying to come up with something. Aos. No...Cha? No. Smallest Chaos? No, no, he would surely grow bigger. As of now, he was barely larger than a dewdrop.

My dewdrop.

Yes. The babe was his dewdrop. That could work. My dewdrop...what do you think of that? he asked. The baby yawned, but didn't argue. Chaos smiled, holding him closer. Seeing that the festivities were nearly done, he brought his dewdrop to a bed of soft petals and leaves, floating atop a lily in one of the ponds decorating his shrine. Several Chao had taken floating beside it, and Chaos set him in place between them. The rocking of the pad on the surface of the water lulled him to sleep.

Absentmindedly, the hedgehog snuggled into the plant. He began to suck his thumb, his mind wandering into a cosmic dream landscape.

Hours passed, and Chaos watched the stars. He mapped out their locations, until he was interrupted by a shrill scream.

The child. His dewdrop. They were crying.

Chaos rushed over, panicking and letting a light rainfall flow over the temple. He waded into the water, picking up the crying child and looked him over. No bruises. No scratches. Why was he so sad? What did he do? Chaos remembered the image of the mother he had seen, rocking her child and singing lullabies. Chaos couldn't sing...well, not like one of the peoples he watched over. Clearing his throat metaphorically, Chaos slowly moved his arms from side to side, and the sounds of whales emanated from the pools of water.

The babe relaxed a little, but still cried.

No no no no no, calm down, calm down! Don't be sad! Chaos pleaded. What can I do to make you feel better?

He tried feeding his Chaos energy. That didn't work. The little one's body was healthy. What else could...

The gifts. Chaos commanded his children to fetch the tiny, cloth caricatures from the offerings left below. They quickly brought up three- one that resembled a flower, another that resembled an echidna, and a fluffy, feathery one with an abstract shape. Chaos took the latter and presented it to the babe.

He grabbed it instinctively, and his cries grew quiet. Sucking on the feathers decorating the little ball, he snuggled it, shivering.

Of course. He was just lonely. And probably very cold.

Chaos draped a set of warm leaves over the baby. He set him back down onto his spot, fading into the water and rocking the lily pad gently. The sounds of whales continued, and it wasn't long before his dewdrop was sound asleep once more. Commanding the Chao to move closer to him, they settled in a small pile, so he'd be warm and with somebody. His dewdrop was at peace.

Most of the peoples couldn't make it all the way up to the temple. The great light and power which emanated from the Emeralds was too much for a single being to handle. Thus, Chaos was pleasantly surprised at how well his dewdrop was handling the exposure. His body, instead of rejecting the massive amounts of energy, seemed to embrace it instead. Most assuredly, it had something to do with the kiss Chaos had blessed him with when they arrived.

As Chaos observed the peoples, he had discovered "food" and "hunger". Much like plants hungering for water and sunlight, the peoples hungered for scraps of fruit and slices of meat from their eldest livestock. His dewdrop was no different. While Chaos Energy was more than enough to keep him alive and well, the little babe still begged for food every now and then. Chaos began searching for appropriate meals to satisfy the child.  But Chaos' dewdrop did not have the boney fangs lining his mouth like others, making the search ten times harder.

Nuts. Oranges. Pork. Bread. His dewdrop just let them fall out of his mouth, unable to swallow such a hard thing. He couldn't "chew". Chaos didn't know what foods existed that didn't need chewing before swallowing.

However, on the chance that a Chao dropped an apple from above and it was crushed into a juicy, liquid-y paste, Chaos had an idea. He scooped up some of it with a finger and gently fed the soft remains to his dewdrop, curious to see what would happen. Those who drank his water of life never needed to chew it, so what if the food was just as soft? The baby swallowed it with ease, and begged for more with a wail. His appetite was now truly insatiable.

More gifts and offerings arrived. Chaos let morning dew fall unto the civilization like a summer frost. Plates of food would sometimes be put at the steps, and the Chao would eagerly bring it up, mushing them softer with rocks. A steady diet of raw Chaos energy and small bites of the offerings kept his dewdrop's little belly full and content.

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Chaos heard the pleas of people. People who needed his help. The water of life. He had been so preoccupied with caring for his dewdrop over the last few months he had begun to neglect his duties.

The land which he was to venture to was no place for a child. Begrudginly, he chose to leave his dewdrop behind in care of his eldest Chao. Promising he'd be back as soon as he could, Chaos burst into a shower of rain, his spirit traveling through the lakes and rivers.

The dewdrop crawled around the temple.

That same day, a member of the tribe of Babylon made her way to the temple to drop off some offerings in thanks. Chaos had saved her village from a drought some time ago, and she was so thankful. The great owl had just arrived in town, and had no idea of the events that perspired here over the last few months.

Her name was Longclaw.

She traversed the stairs, knowing if she ever flew up it would be considered a disgrace to the eyes of the echidna population.

She nearly fell from the raw power of the Emeralds upon the shrine. But she had to bring her offering right up to the front door. She had trained her body for so long to handle the Chaos Energy exposure. She had to see Chaos for herself and give him the utmost thanks.

Upon reaching the last step, she collapsed. The bright gems glittered in the afternoon sunlight. Weakly pushing herself up with her wings, Longclaw staggered to the Master Emerald, laying down a bag of thanks her people had created together.

"My great Chaos. Keeper of life. Bringer of water. I come bearing a gift, if you...gnh...would so kindly receive it." Longclaw winced, trying to stand up straight. There was no answer. Was he off somewhere else, answering another cry for help?

Longclaw was saddened she wouldn't be able to thank the god in person, but she was very proud of herself for making it as long as she did. She nudged the bag closer, hoping Chaos would arrive home to a wonderful surprise.

Then she felt something hit her talon.

Longclaw looked down, her vision dancing. Something blue, with green eyes. Chaos? He was here after all? And why was he so...small?

Wait a second. Chaos didn't feel fuzzy.

She forced her eyes to focus. The creature...he was the most brilliant blue, shining almost as bright as the Emeralds themselves. Hold on. It was a baby Mobian! He was staring up at her with squinty eyes, in absolute wonder at her feathery form.

"Oh!" Longclaw peered down at the babe. "I..." He was so small. So young! Did some zealot leave him here as a sacrifice? barbaric! She knelt down, and he grabbed at her beak.

"Who would just leave you here?" She asked. The baby smiled at her. He didn't even know the danger he was in.

She had to do something. She didn't care who's civilization she might upset now, the person that left their baby here was putting a young life at risk. And so close to the Emeralds' power! She had to save him before the raw energy hurt him, or worse. He wasn't trained. In fact, him still sitting in front of her was a miracle in of itself.

Longclaw gently pet his head with a wing. "Don't worry. I'll take care of you." She gently picked him up with a talon. If she ever found the parent who left him here all alone, he would face her wrath. She sucked in a deep breath, and took flight, soaring down the steps with the child. He wiggled in her grasp, and began to cry, prompting Longclaw to stop and hover in the air.

"Shh, shh...I got you. It's okay. You won't be alone from now on." She tucked him into her chest, her feathers providing a soft atmosphere for him. He calmed down, only sniffling a little. Gently, her remaining talon touched to the steps, and the babe closed his eyes. In a moment, he was fast asleep.

In front of her, the echidna priest dropped his holy staff. It bounced down the rest of the steps, rolling and hitting the bottom with an audible thud. He watched, mouth agape, and Longclaw finally noticed him. She bowed her head in respect.

"Forgive my sudden intrusion, but somebody left a child at the alter. Some sort of sacrifice, I had to do something-"

"Put the holy child back!" The priest screamed. "Put him back! You will anger the god!"

Longclaw's heart shattered. They knew about this? Worse yet, they were okay with it? Leaving a child without their mother at the alter of somebody they called "god"? She would not bear this kindly. Longclaw furrowed her feathery brows as the priest continued ranting.

"You don't understand what you have done!" The high priest yelled. "Chaos will be enraged, he will kill us all!"

"You were willing to sacrifice a child!" Longclaw spat back. "I will not allow an innocent soul to be harmed for a mere superstition!"

"That's not-" The echidna priest never finished, because a gust of wind knocked the voice from his lungs. Longclaw had spread her wings, soaring into the air, and shot off into the distance. They were insane. Truly, they were.

She flew for hours.

Once she arrived home, the child woke and, realizing he was not back home, screamed for his parents. Longclaw could only stare at him sadly, knowing she could not do anything to bring them back to him. He was scared, alone, and she promised herself that day she wouldn't let anything happen to him as long as she lived.

"I'm sorry..." She tried to pull him closer, but was met with a sharp sting. "What the?"

Lightning sparked over the baby's body as he screamed again, and all the candles blew out at once. There was a sudden rush of blue around the room, and the child disappeared for a second before reappearing in a different position. A heavy pressure fell over the room, like they had suddenly descended miles underwater. 

Longclaw knew this aura. It was Chaos Energy. And it was coming from him.

Meanwhile, the echidna's city suffered a devastating flood. They packed their belongings on canoes and settled at the top of the highest buildings, staring in awed fear at the temple mountain. A hurricane had formed around the peak, and the screams of Chaos echoed for miles.

Bring him back.

Then Chaos went silent.