My name is Nadia. I was there when Aure created Men and placed them on the blessed Earth. On that day long ago, I was given special orders by Aure, and his orders were clear. As the goddess of peace, I was to watch over mortal men, protecting them if needs be, but never interfering with them or their designs. Such was my duty, and for ages I maintained my role, faithfully watching over the frail creatures Aure called Men. But that was a long time ago, and I've changed since then.
At first, I held Men in contempt. They were so weak, so helpless, so prone to failure. Compared to the Gods they were a mere speck of dirt. But their resilience surprised me; their strong spirit and will to live made me wonder if there was a hidden strength to be found in them, a strength different from the divine might of the Gods. Could these feeble and weak Men ever become great? Would they ever be beings worthy of my respect?
Men were very different from the Gods. They held complex social structures, entire clans and villages built upon friends and family. They depended on each other to survive. They trusted each other. But, more importantly, they loved each other, watching over their friends and loved ones just as I watched over them.
They still had their faults. Their arrogance and foolish prejudices against other men often led to quarrels. But these petty skirmishes never alarmed me. The Gods themselves fought with one another. Their faults simply made me realize that these Men were more like the Gods than not. A strange sympathy welled up inside me, a desire to protect these Men arose. Not because it was my duty, but because I began to care for them.
As years passed, Men grew wiser and more sophisticated, building great cities to dwell in. They invented tools to farm their food more efficiently, they established trades with other civilizations. Together, they became strong. These were the golden years, and as they prospered my desire to befriend them became stronger.
I used to walk unseen among them in the streets. But I didn't dare disobey Aure's command. I never interfered. Certain faces became dear to me, and before I knew it these faces became people I couldn't bear to lose. For the first time in my long life I had friends, in a way. I watched over those I called my friends with a special fondness. I shared their joy and sadness and protected them, showing them favor and blessing their efforts. I knew I was bending the rules, but I didn't think Aure would mind. These were my friends, and I was sure he'd understand.
But as Men grew stronger, many of their hearts turned black. Blinded by greed and jealousy they swept across the land, pillaging and burning. Their hands, created by Aure to craft wonderful things were instead used to make horrific weapons. Their evil deeds summoned death and destruction, and many innocent lives were taken. I watched, horrified, yet unable stop the madness. War had descended on the land.
Families became divided as brothers fought against brothers and fathers against sons. It was a desperate struggle between the conquerors and the conquered. Friendships were sold for gold. Peace melted away like the morning mist, and the people's hope vanished with it. It was a dark time for Men.
And yet, I was helpless. I was captive to Aure's command. I could only watch bitterly as they destroyed themselves. I lamented their fate, begging Aure to let me stop the madness. But there was no answer from the empty skies. No help came from the Gods.
Rage burned within me. A hot indignation toward Aure blazed in my chest. He had abandoned his creation, leaving them to die. He cared nothing for them. If he did, he would save them. But no help came from Aure. He had deserted them. I felt the injustice keenly. After all, it was I who watched over Men, not Aure. I was the one who protected them from danger and from themselves. I would not allow the race of Men to perish. My toil would not be in vain, nor would I see my friends die alone.
But I lacked the courage to defy Aure openly. I knew the consequences would be severe. I waited, desperately hoping for some divine aid to shine forth. But things grew darker. An evil man appointed himself lord over all men and established his empire on fear and bloodshed. His reign of terror took many lives. In spite of this still I waited, the pain of it driving me to agony. Until one dark day, I lost the people I couldn't bear to lose. War had come, and with it Death came and stole the ones I loved the most. My friends were dead, and I couldn't save them.
Or could I? I despised myself for my inaction. If I had the courage, I could have intervened and prevented their deaths. My fear of Aure held me back. But it bound me no more. If no help came from the Gods above then it would come from me. I deliberately ignored the consequences, grimly resolved to endure whatever punishment awaited. My grief had cast out all fear in my heart.
And so, that is how I, Nadia, the goddess of peace, led Men into war. We rallied the scattered survivors and banded together for one last assault. Men feared the man who called himself lord, but he did not terrify me. What could a mortal man do to a goddess?
I led the once feeble Men into that mighty battle. We fought for peace, and in the end, victory was ours. That evil man was overthrown, his army scattered and his reign ended. After much heartache and bloodshed, peace returned. The survivors were overjoyed, and they feasted and sang songs about the goddess who gave them victory. But there was no joy in my heart that day. I knew Aure's judgment would be swift and grave. I had defied his orders, and for that I would be punished severely.
It was as I had predicted. Aure was furious, and as punishment I was banished from the Earth to the Outer Void, beyond the confines of the world. I was exiled from the realm of men and the kingdom of the Gods to an empty plain where time never flows. So here I've remained, as lifetimes and generations pass on Earth. The sun rises and sets on the world of Men, but not so for me. I wonder about the new guardian appointed to watch over Men. Would certain faces become dear to them? Would there be people they couldn't bear to lose?
A hundred thousand years is a long time to think about one's mistakes. But as I remember what I've done, I can only be certain of one thing: that if I was given the chance to go back, I would do it all again.