Kanayama was the youngest of the four ancient Yokai that existed within Ēteru — the space between the folds of reality, where creatures of legend were born from the dreams and prayers of creation itself, and all things were possible. He was noble and kind, but he had always envied his elder siblings, for it was they who had used their backs to form the shimmering sky, their hair to craft the fields and the meadows, and the water they sucked from the clouds to create the living oceans, full of Kappas and Nymphs and serpents the size of rivers. Even when their task was done — and they climbed the mountains they had crafted from the salt in their sweat, and sat as monks and miko to quietly watch and wait for the world of mankind to be born from their world of possibility — did Kanayama remain jealous.
The young Yokai felt this heaviness of heart, and green hue to his eyes, because he did not feel worthy of their love, and the adoration of all the creatures big and small that filled the tumbling kaleidoscope of beauty that was Ēteru. This was because his siblings has created the world they all lived in, the infinite majesty and the color and the life and all of the endless possibility that spread out into the worlds beyond — the orbs of the night skies, the realms of shadow and fire, and the barren Earth where life was just beginning. They had done all these things with love in their seven hearts and grace that fell from their skin like droplets of golden rain.
And all Kanayama could do was craft statues of toads.
He was an expert at his craft, and his creations were noble and regal and filled with abstract wisdom that even Kanayama did not understand — some made him feel pure and euphoric love when he worked his blade on the contours of their legs, or impossible strength when he filed the bumpy folds of their skin — but they were never more than six statues made of jade stone, and served no purpose. And by extension, the sad and frustrated Yokai felt like he too served no purpose.
So each night he would walk to the lake near his home formed of gold and jade and marble, and kneel at the water’s edge — staring into the dark blue abyss. He would lament his misfortune, and his idiocy, and his dreadful lack of skill compared to his dear brothers and sisters. He would cry until his heart heaved in his thundering chest and his plentiful tears spread the lake wider still. Then he would pick up his hammer, formed of pure diamond, and walk over to his creations, smashing them to pieces in fits of hysteric rage. Finally at the end of this sad and lonely ritual, he would sweep up the pieces into piles before entering his home with shoulders slumped, to sleep until the rise of the five suns.
So deep was Kanayama’s sleep of despair that he never woke to the sounds of his statues releasing ribbons of their powerful spirit forms from their hard shells, seeping their energy deep into the fabric of reality itself. There these beings would stay, growing in power each night as Kanayama rebuilt and then smashed his noble toad creations. Just like the young Yokai’s siblings, the Ōgama (as they named themselves) waited for the dawn of mankind, all six of them — Love, Faith, Strength, Courage, Hope, and Patience. For when it was the time of mankind to emerge, they began to join with their newly beating hearts, in turn becoming the purest form of being that any Yokai had ever created.
However, Kanayama was so deep in his misery that he never felt or noticed this. He also never noticed the dark and swirling shadow that grew under the water whenever he wept. Each morning he would walk the world of creation he loved so dearly, thinking of how wonderful it would be to have purpose. and then after eating, he would get to work on the piles of smashed jade, forming them once more into six glorious but doomed Ōgama sculptures, ready to feel the devastating force of his hammer each evening.
This cycle of creation and destruction lasted for millennia, and as the anger and frustration of Kanayama grew, so did the shadow under the lake of tears grow ever darker. One day it slipped out of the lake like oil — a being who had once been the Yokai’s reflection, but was now as dark as his shadow, and twisted with countless years of frustration and fury feeding into its creation. So as Kanayama slept, the being who called itself Kurai itself gathered up the jade and set to work creating its own hideous versions of the Ōgama, which it marveled with wide smiles and glistening eyes, before smashing them to pieces to reveal the worst of the Afflictions — Anger, Jealousy, Greed, Lust, Gluttony and Pride, in their spirit forms, and released them into the world of man. Just as the noble energies of the pure Ōgama filled the hearts of the pure with colorful and wondrous dreams that made them sleep peacefully, so too did the demonic versions slice hideous nightmares into the restless minds of those they corrupted.
So began the age of the unbalance, where the hearts of man would need to be judged by the quiet Yokai watchers from within Ēteru, and the Ōgama spirits would fight to stop the world from being further cursed by the evil deeds of their dark counterparts.
All while Kanayama created, wept, destroyed, and slept — none the wiser to what he had done.