Challenge #02483-F293: Sudden Onset Deification
A young human in her early teens, a mere military cadet, is forced to fight in a war against an invading tyrant's forces and ended up facing off with the tyrant himself. Either due to her own small ability which was to cause someone to freeze for a few seconds which she usually used to escape bullies, or he made an error in the heat of battle, she got in a fatal blow, and his head fell from his shoulders. He had been a Greater War God. And at his defeat, the power of a god, and the command of his legions and the lands from which they came, fell upon her. The angels of war surrendered to the humans and then, kneeling before the young human, held up their swords to her swearing their fealty to their new goddess. However, that night, she left her tent in the encampments and fled. She was terrified of having that kind of power and did not want that kind of responsibility. Since the tyrant's forces were defeated and the human's lands were now safe, the search began to find her. But would she be found by those that wanted to aid her? Or those that wanted to control her for their own nefarious plans? She feared the immense power she now held, reluctant to accept she was the new goddess of war, and continued to run. -- DaniAndShali
This is the reason why the gods should not tread the same soil as the mortals who are their charges. In such a world, things like... well... this... are wont to happen. Gamin, fresh new god of war, was running from the scene of her crime. She had -however accidentally- just killed the previous god of war. The sword she used keeps coming back to her hand, no matter how many times she throws it aside. It still drips with the somehow ephemeral, and simultaneously visceral, blood of a former deity. Tears streak her face and terror grips her heart. She wants to run until there is no more 'run' left in her body but...
Gods never tire.
She is breathing out of habit. Crying out of habit. Running... well the running is simply because she, Gamin Helfarro, is now and always has been a pacifist. She never wanted to be in the army. She never wanted to be in the base. She never wanted to wear a uniform and she certainly never wanted to carry a sword, let alone swing it at any living being.
But the gods aren't exactly alive, aren't exactly living. Even though they can be killed, they are not exactly alive.
She wasn't even supposed to be there. She was on convoy guard duty when the convoy was captured, and then swept along with the rescue team when they decided to take the opportunity to take out Codename Bloodthirst. Gamin had only intended to distract the man in blood-red armour with the eternally-dripping stiletto at his hip. To give someone else a chance to take the bad man down. To give someone else a chance because she knew she was out of them.
She'd never seen a walking god before. She didn't know the signs.
The instant the head cleaved off the body, he didn't bleed a mortal's blood. He bled lightning... all of which struck her in her heart and head.
She didn't know her heart had stopped beating in that moment. She didn't want to believe that she now had lightning in her veins.
Gamin ran. Ran from the enemy base. Ran from the bodies. Ran from the blood and the battlefield. Ran past all mortal logic into a space that did not contain the screams and shouts of war. She was not tired. She was not thirsty. She was weary, that was true, but it was a weariness that she expected to have from running for miles.
The sword was in her hand again and she was too weary to throw it aside.
"Well," said a strange voice. "This is interesting..._
Gamin looked up. The man was old, true, but there was a special depth to his elderly state. He hadn't just lived through decades and she could tell. She said, "I'm not going to use this sword. It... it keeps coming back..."
"Good to know. I don't think they let anyone be the god of two things at once, anyway. If you tried, it could end badly for the both of us." He gestured with his walking staff, and a berry bush sprouted, grew to its maximum, and fruited before her eyes. "I am the Old Man of the Mountains. I look after all those who come so high, and my sacrifice is the fools who came unprepared." He gestured for her to eat.
"Um." Gamin sniffed. "Thanks, but I'm... I'm not hungry."
"You ran a long way... are you sure you're not hungry? Not tired?"
"I'm not either of those." She looked back over her shoulder. Down a seemingly ceaseless path to the smokes of war far, far below. "Is it the sword? I didn't know it was magic and I didn't want to steal it... I just wanted to stop him hurting people."
"It's not the sword, poor child. You killed a god. Therefore, you take up their godhood."
"I didn't mean it," Gamin protested. "It was an accident."
"I know. Mine was an accident, too." Only now did she see that his staff dripped, too. The liquid issuing forth had slowed and faded, but it was still there for those who had eyes to see. "You are now the goddess of war. Your sacrifice is the blood spilled and cries for mercy. You look after the soldiers who are lucky in battle."
"I'd rather look after those who never belonged in battle, to protect the children and other innocents who get swept up in war despite their best efforts to stay safe," protested Gamin. "Soldiers don't need to be lucky, they need to be trained. They can look after themselves. I'd rather care for those who don't have any luck left."
The Old Man of the Mountains smiled. "Good," he said. "So you change the nature of war. At last... the world has long needed kinder gods."
Down in the valley far below, the regiments returned to their camps. The distant screams ebbed to a slow halt. Tomorrow, they would not have a god thirsting for blood on either side. They would have a god thirsting for peace. Gamin found a sheath for her bleeding sword, suddenly at her side. She looked... and saw the half-ruined houses of her chosen charges. The huddled families. The children without parents. The people searching for hope.
"What do I do for them?" she asked.
"Go be among them. Guide them. Show them your new way. Go do your best, and be on your guard. Gods can be killed."
Give praise, mortal... to Gamin, goddess of war. Pray for her protection and don't raise a weapon if she appears. She will appear, if you need her mercy. If you have no hope. If you have lost everything and are scavenging for scraps. Sometimes she appears as a young maiden in bloodstained clothes. Sometimes, she is an older woman with a careworn face. Sometimes, she is a threadbare veteran... but there is always a sword at her hip. Sheathed. There only to protect those who have no protection from war.
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