She sprinkled stardust into the cauldron. Not so much that it would lose its individual character, but enough to provide seeds of continuity from her own world. It was no longer as alive as it once was, but it carried the shell of what once bore the spirit of her world.

Her ladle was dark and cold in her hands. It always was in the beginning, when the soup was new. But she reached in, and began to stir.

Most of the ingredients were already in place, drawn from variations of countless recipes passed down her line. It was slow going at first. The waters were still and resisted movement, black and thick as tar. It was always so.

Round and round went her ladle, steady and relentless, picking up speed as the tar waters melted away, first translucent, then increasingly hot as energy began to gather in the cauldron. Storms formed in the eddies behind her ladle, throwing her soup in every direction.

Eventually she no longer needed to stir anymore. The motion would take care of itself. Inertia replaced her intervention. But the soup was far from done. It was still primordial. She had yet to mold it into a form that satisfied her.

The recipe was still traditional. She didn't want something so out of the ordinary that it would be unrecognizable, that it would carry none of the hopes of those that came before. She shaped the traditions of her people into the cauldron. The same gravitational constant, unaltered by even the smallest modification. The same values of π and e. She wanted to use the same language if they were going to communicate in mathematics. It would have the same electromagnetic and nuclear forces passed down from her ancestors. There would be an undeniable family resemblance.

But the new world wasn't meant to be identical to anything that came before. Already the randomness of her stirring injected chaos into the formation of intergalactic structures. It was going to have the same laws her people were familiar with, but the celestial materials following those laws would be in configurations never before seen.

Those were only the surface differences though. Despite her adherence to tradition, it was also customary for variations on the ancient recipes. The stars would shine a little brighter in this world, she decided. Their light would lean a bit more towards the violet end of the spectrum.

Sounds would be a little louder on the high-pitch end, and a little less audible towards the lower end. Deeper sounds would manifest a bit more physically, perhaps even unpleasantly as vibrations shook more than they shook in her world.

Tastes would be a bit more intense. Sweet would be a bit more sweet. Bitter would be a bit more bitter. In her own world, it wasn't always easy to distinguish the colors red and green. She would change that in this one, just enough to give it its own character. The cold would be a bit more biting, a bit harsher under the winter sun. The heat would be a bit more pleasant. She was going to give the summers an unfair advantage.

They were just variations on a theme. All her sisters had their own brands of creativity. Each made their soups with their own particular spins. Sometimes it was quite obvious who the original creator was.

With the initial preparations done, she placed the lid on her cauldron. Its internal heat was going to incubate it for nine months. She went off to tend to other business. The soup would be able to take care of itself. Her garden needed tending and her flocks needed feeding.

Two seasons would pass before harvest came, and her soup had settled. The time had come. She pried open the lid to her cauldron. Her creation was perfect.

"Come out," she called softly, "come out here and join us in the light. It is time for you to use the legs I have given you." She beckoned as her own mother had done years before.

"Welcome to your world," she said. "I am going to call you Mara."