In the beginning there was only the great void, an expanse of unimaginably cold darkness, and only one thing moved there – Kytra, the embodiment of the Life Force, who was fire and substance all at once, and who curled about her multicolored clutch of eggs from which all things would come. After eons of being warmed by her touch, the First Clutch hatched, and the multicolored eggshells were scattered into the void to form the stars. Each of the First Hatchlings took over some aspect of Kytra’s Life Force: the sun, the moon, the earth, the weather, the ocean, the plants and animals. One of Kytra’s daughters was Deshka, who secured herself in the deepest caverns of the earth and there proceeded to do her work; from parts of the rocks around her, and with additions from her own form, she created every living species that was to walk or fly or swim. For the fish she took filaments from her own gill-slits and gave them gills, and sent them up into the world; sometime later she molded amphibians out of the molten stone around her and breathed life into them; for the reptiles she used the same basic body plan but took scales from her own legs and inlaid them into their skin; a bit later she experimented with flying things, and for the birds she plucked feathers from the crest along her back and inserted them (finding, also, that this insulation helped keep her creations warm on cold nights); and finally she fashioned mammals who needed insulation as well, though not for flight, and so she trimmed some of the fur from her mane and dusted them with it. All of these she sent upwards out of her caverns to populate the earth, having given some of them bits and pieces of her claws, teeth, and droplets of venom, the better to defend themselves with, and having given others some of the light from her eyes, so they could more easily see in the dark.
In time, however, each group of her creations sent emissaries back to her with an important question. The world was a good place to live, and Deshka’s gifts had served them well – but how were they to reproduce themselves and pass them along to their offspring? Deshka considered, and finally said, "All things in the beginning came from the First Clutch, my mother’s eggs. That will be a suitable means of propagation for you as well. And each time you hatch a clutch of eggs, you will be re-playing the ancient beginning of all things." Most of the animals were pleased with this answer and returned to the world. One, however, lingered. She was a nondescript little furry Insectivore, and spoke up after the others had gone, "Mother Deshka, re-playing the past is all well and good, but what about the future? What about progress? What about trying something different, that may open new possibilities?" Deshka again considered, turning her huge, luminous eyes on the tiny creature, and felt a moment of regret in knowing that her creations were already striving to move beyond what she had given them. But she could not keep them dependent on her forever – she wanted them to set out on their own. So she said to the Insectivore, "I see what you mean. Very well then. You and your descendants will be the innovators, and will find a new way to reproduce. But how, precisely, you are going to do that, I will leave to you."
The Insectivore looked confused. She’d expected to come away with an answer, not the responsibility of coming up with new methods all on her own. Then her whiskers twitched in a sudden smile as the solution came to her. "Thank you, Mother Deshka," she said, and scampered eagerly back up into the world. Mammals to this day bear their young internally rather than laying eggs, following the footsteps of their ancient progenitor who first dared to break with tradition.