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Volume 4: Intermission – The Dawn of the Gods (1/2)
──Where did we go wrong?
Altesia’s eyelids fell sorrowfully as she watched the giant mirror that reflected
The new gods had indeed unified and created the world after the great war when
When the world was yet in chaos and the old gods birthed by the primordial god, Kurtiarga, and the mother god, Deetna, yet wielded their great power in the world, the last born, the god of fire, created his own incarnations by giving birth to the gods on the land.
Ativ, Hera, Altesia, Hekaterina, Gurdika, Liuryuna, and Zenobia.
To them and the newly born humans, the existing gods were “malevolent gods,” and the other races were overwhelmingly powerful. A natural phenomenon that itself possessed overwhelming power. That was the old gods. The non-human races that received their blessings were stronger, longer lived, and smarter than the humans.
In fact, at the time, the primordial elves, giants, and dragons all possessed power and knowledge not too different from the gods. They even equaled the new gods like Ativ in power.
The old and violent gods that reigned above them even descended on the mortal realm in their true form and half-openly fought with the other gods. It was common for the topography of the world to change, and in worse cases, volcanoes would even rise and lakes would dry.
After the primordial god and the mother god passed, there was no one who could contend with the old gods, and they changed the world as they pleased and created and destroyed many races.
The gods and their creation were not exempt from the cruel law of the survival of the fittest.
The newly born Ativ and the other human gods had just been born. They were weak in power, but what greeted them upon their birth was an unreasonable reality. Humans, who had just been established as a race, were no match for the giants, the elves, and, of course, the dragons, who were comparable to gods, and for a long time they were killed on a whim.
At the time, it was Ativ who was most distressed by these humans. The newborn gods had no color. The primordial god had given the old gods thrones and meaning worthy of their godhood, and they wielded their overwhelming power in the world. The new gods were incarnations of the fire god, and while they might have received thrones, they did not receive meaning.
They possessed great power, but they did not know how to use it. They knew that they were gods to the humans, but they were completely blank and did not know how to use their power.
Then Ativ convinced Hera, who was in the same position as he.
“We have to work together to oppose the other gods and protect the humans.”
Clad in splendor, Ativ believed that they had to ‘work together’ to resist the old gods. He would later be called by the humans as the ‘the ancestor god that birthed the nations’ because he convinced the gods to cooperate.
“In that case, I will give them knowledge so that they might survive.”
Hera agreed to Ativ’s proposal and advised him without a smile.
“Allow me to advise you first. Persuade Altesia.”
“But she doesn’t seem all that bothered by the state of the humans…”
“Isn’t that why you have to persuade her?”
“I see, you might be right.”
Moved by Ativ’s enthusiasm, Hera defined herself as “wisdom” and was later called the Goddess of Wisdom. With Hera’s wisdom backing him, Ativ’s enthusiasm gradually moved the other gods.
At the time, Altesia was still a young god, but she was a force to be reckoned with because of her strength of spirit and her power compared to the other new gods. However, despite being called a god of the humans, she did not possess much affection for them and was largely disinterested.
“Altesia, I need your power.”
Eyes burning with passion and a head of gray, Ativ approached Altesia with sincerity as a young man impassioned by his youthful ideals, and gradually, he manged to close the distance between them.
“Why do you want to change the way the humans live?”
“Because I love them. I love humans. That’s why I’m also scared of changing them.”
Ativ’s gentle words were enough to move Altesia’s heart. In fact, she was jealous of him. She was a god herself, but not once has she experienced being so attached and captivated by something.
The young Altesia swore.
“If you’re going to protect the humans, then I shall protect you.”
“Thank you… Altesia. I’m glad.”
The moment she took on that position that would inevitably bring her to fight with the old gods, Altesia became the Goddess of Courage.
Because of Altesia’s cooperation, Gurdiga, Hekaterina, Liuryuna, and Zenobia cooperated as well.
With six gods working together, the humans gradually expanded their world, but their power remained insignificant.
Ativ frowned as he watched Altesia descend into the world many times to fight the old gods. As the power of the humans grew, so did Ativ’s.
One day, an incident occurred that finally convinced him. Altesia fought a giant in her true form, and although she won the battle, she caused enough damage to the surrounding area to chip away at the mountains and alter the topography.
“Altesia, I was thinking of sealing our ability to appear in the world in our true form.”
“Won’t that increase the casualty of the humans then? The humans can’t win against other races just yet.”
With neither side able to come to an agreement, Hera suggested a compromise.
“…In that case, how about we lend the humans a portion of our power?”
It was then that the divine protection was conceived.
“Just that won’t put me at ease. I will make weapons and magic for them too.”
Not only would they lend the humans their power, Gurdiga would forge weapons and weave magic for the humans as well, giving them a small portion of the power that once belonged only to the gods.
After acquiring weapons, magic, and the divine protection of the gods, the power of the humans greatly grew, and their numbers slowly grew in the eastern coast of the continent.
Ativ bestowed his divine protections upon those that led the humans, while Hera bestowed hers upon the wise.
In the midst of all that, Altesia was pressured to give her divine protections to those worthy. She chose those that would always wander away from the group to go where they pleased, the youths that would hunt monster beasts and make a living from that.
Altesia saw herself in them when they fought, so she gave them her divine protection.
“Altesia, so you agree with me too.”
When Ativ saw Altesia bestow a diving protection on a human, he became happy and hugged her shoulder from the side.
“Looks like his companion can also bring together people.”
Ativ gave his own divine protection to the spouse of the one she blessed.
“Let me give you a gift so you and I can work together forever.”
His genuine good will confused Altesia, but she nodded nonetheless. She could feel something warm flowing from within her chest, but she didn’t try to understand what that was.
Before long, the people they blessed built a nation.
The kingdom, which called itself the Kingdom of Alsanzak, would later be referred to as the Unified Kingdom. Which really only meant that it was the one and only nation of the human world.
The yet small world of humans developed steadily, from villages to town, to cities, and to nations, the weapons and magic that Gurdiga gave the humans brought security and stability.
They made Alsanzak more developed than any other nation.
As their numbers grew, so did the power of the humans. That was true for both humans and the other races. With the people that have been given divine protections, the few humans gradually increased their numbers and expanded their world.
They fought with the elves, who were nearest to them, and they gradually overwhelmed them.
It was true that the elves possessed great power, but their territories were ruled mostly by a small group just big enough to be called a big household. That was due to the vastness of the territories that they occupied. That’s why the humans gradually gained the advantage.
The number of humans that have received Altesia’s divine protection also increased in number, and they took the initiative to fight with the other races. When Ativ saw the influence of the humans growing, he laughed with satisfaction.
After the elves came the demihumans, and before long, they even claimed victory over the giants. Before they knew it, the humans had already taken half of the continent.
The other races didn’t know how to work together, so they couldn’t win against the nation built by the humans.
It was the golden age of the new gods. The courage to fight was provided by Altesia, the wisdom to win by Hera, the weapons and magic by Gurdiga, the luck was attracted by Liuryuna, the power to heal the wounded and the fallen by Zenobia, and the ability to cooperate was provided by Ativ, then the victories won were extolled by Hekaterina which brought forth even more victories.
The dominance of the humans as a race was established, and the other races were driven to the west. The way Altesia saw it, the humans had won.
But then a change came when dark clouds approached from the ends of the west and covered the sky.
It was the invasion of the land by the Goddess of the Underworld, Deetna, that would come to be called the War of the Gods. Leading her armies were the devils of the underworld.
“…Has the contract of the old gods been broken?”
Altesia asked, Ativ nodded, and Hera became thoughtful without expression. Gurdiga became thoughtful with a difficult face, while Zenobia cast her eyes down sorrowfully. Liuryuna was uninterested, while Hekaterina exchanged gazes unsure what to do.
“Yes. They’ve brought the Goddess of the Underworld back to life.”
“To what end?”
“Vengeance against us.”
Altesia found it hard to comprehend Ativ’s words.
It was true that they fought with the old gods and gained power for themselves by expanding the world of the humans, but that was something the old gods participated in as well. Altesia couldn’t understand why they would seek vengeance.
“They think we’ve grown too strong. Some of their creations have already been hunted down by us and are about to die out as a race.”
“But they can’t just…”
Altesia turned to Hera.
“…Anyway, there’s no denying that sinister beings are approaching from the ends of the land.”
“I’ll need more time to prepare the weapons and the magic, but I’ll definitely make it in time.”
“What kind of enemies will come this time, I wonder.”
A cruel smile surfaced on Liuryuna as she turned to Hekaterina.
“I’m sure, it’ll be fine~”
Hekaterina’s smile had a calming effect to it. Liuryuna and Hekaterina were both young, but their disposition were the exact opposite of each other. Liuryuna was cruel and wise, while Hekaterina was gentle and sincere. Despite that, they actually got along quite well.
“Do you understand, Altesia?”
“If that’s what everyone wants, then I have no qualms about fighting.”
Altesia felt something was off, but she nodded all the same. They gave out their respective divine protections and watched the humans, then Ativ called Hera, Altesia, and Zenobia.
“…I have a favor to ask you.”
But those words were meant only for Altesia.
“Something to do with Deetna?”
Ativ then started telling a story about the gods that Altesia did not know of.
A device that could decide the principle of the world, that was Deetna.
In the past, the primordial god used Deetna to decide the principle of the world. From the gods, to the relationship between the creations, to power and divine protection, and even weapons and magic, everything.
“This is our chance. We’ll steal Deetna and change the principle of this world.”
“…You want to recreate the world?”
Seeing Hera and Zenobia quiet, Altesia asked.
“Yes, that’s right.”
Ativ firmly nodded, and Altesia nodded back.
“Everything comes after victory, right?”
“I’ll be counting on you again, Altesia.”
Upon seeing that Altesia had left, Hera asked Ativ.
“…Why did you lie to her?”
“…She’s too pure.”
The old gods had lost their power after a long struggle, and they offered to surrender to Ativ, the representative of the new gods. The condition Ativ demanded was for them to surrender the device that could change the world, Deetna.
But the old gods couldn’t possibly just hand Deetna over just like that after being filled with shame from their defeat. Unfortunately, Ativ didn’t understand that.
Hera blamed Ativ for causing this war.
“Then why did you summon Zenobia?”
“She agrees with me.”
Hera narrowed her eyes in surprise and anger as she glared at Zenobia, who in turn, only sorrowfully cast her eyes down and nodded to Ativ.
“Deetna has already been released. At this rate, the land will be covered in darkness.”
Hera knew that too. Hera asked if Zenobia was going to ally herself with Ativ even while knowing that he was the cause of all this.
“This is the best way if we are to consider the prosperity of the humans.”
“At the cost of killing most of humanity along with many races.”
“We are the gods of the humans.”
Hera grit her teeth and turned heel.
“I will cooperate. Deetna must be stopped.”
The only one that remained beside Ativ as he quietly saw Hera off was Zenobia.
“…Zenobia, do you laugh at my foolishness? I’m afraid. Kurtiarga, who used Deetna to establish the world, is no longer here. That means even gods can die.”
He embraced the graceful maiden, Zenobia.
“I’m afraid. After I die, what will happen to the humans that I so love?”
“…It will be fine. I’m sure, it’ll be fine.”
The only thing Zenobia could do was to console him, so even though she lamented her lack of power, she could do nothing more than caress his hair.
Then the battle to decide the principle of the world began.