I watch from afar as the army is crushed between two legions of the opposing force. The men being killed are wearing uniforms of gray and red. Familiar colors. My colors.
“Uren!” The voice is aghast, shocked. I look up to see a Deity materializing. His wide eyes solidify, locked onto the battle in the valley, where my people are being slaughtered.
“Hello, An’ten.” I greet him cordially, then turn back to the battle. The red and gray uniforms are turning to red and scarlet; they will not stand much longer. Having been caught unaware at the bottom of a valley, they never stood a chance in Hell.
An’ten gapes at me. “Uren, what are you doing!?”
I feel the familiar tingle of a loss of Belief as the last Urnese soldiers die on the swords and spears of their enemies, delivered their fate by the one they thought their protector.
“Committing suicide,” I answer matter-of-factly, crossing my arms. The battle is over, the last of my followers on this planet dead. And yet I, the only one who wishes to live no longer, am no more dead than I was before.
“You…what?!” The Deity’s youthful face is running through a variety of expressions, none able to quite convey his true emotions on the matter. He takes another look at the bloody field below. “Are you INSANE?”
I bend down, then give up and drop to the ground. Dust puffs up around me, and I wave a hand to disperse it. “That would be interesting. If a god’s entire Faith is made up of loonies, would the god be mad as well?”
An’ten snorts. “Just looks at Ies.”
He has a point. Ies’s small Faith is composed almost entirely of superstitious peasants still stuck in the dark ages. Which would explain his completely unstable Persona.
“You know you can’t actually commit suicide, right?” says An’ten.
“I can if all my followers are dead,” I reply brightly. The valley is littered with the bodies of my followers. The opposing army is withdrawing to their camp on the other side of the mountain.
He looks at me dubiously. “You are going to kill off EVERY SINGLE ONE of your followers? I do not believe you are the type of god to do such a thing.”
“I am what my Believers Believe me to be.” I say it with more vehemence than I intended. “I only wish they would Believe I was gone.”
“Even if they stopped Believing in you, you could not be Forgotten without the Council decreeing it.”
I scowl. The Council hates me, but they would never let me go. I’m too useful.
“Which they will not do,” An’ten continues, echoing my thoughts. “Unless they find another such as you. Please, come back to the Heavenly Plane, Uren. Your followers should not have to bare your wrath undeservedly.”
And yet I must bare my followers’ Prayers and Summons. They are a ball and chain around my neck, shackles on my arms and legs. They hold me down so that I sprawl in the dirt, to be trodden on by anyone who pleases. The Council most of all. The key to my prison lies in their hands, but it might as well lie beyond the Five Planes. They will never let me be Forgotten while I am still of use to them.
Suddenly, I know what I must do.
An’ten is staring at me, studying me. Trying to figure out if my Persona is still whole. Still stable.
“You are right, my friend,” I say with an air of resignation. I push myself to my feet, and look out at the bloodied valley below. The wind picks up, and the cloying scent of blood and death weighs heavily on the land around us. An’ten grimaces and shuts his eyes, likely closing off his sense of smell. “Let us return to the Heavenly Plane. I must tend to my duties.”
His relief is evident on his face and his body as he whispers something to the ground. I realize then that he was likely sent by the Council specifically to bring me back. I feel the shackles tighten around my limbs, stone cold chains of Fate. Somehow, I will free myself of them.
“Come, Uren.” An’ten concentrates, linking himself to the Heart of Creation, and lets himself flow along it, down to the Heavenly Plane. He is gone a second later.
I breathe in deeply, trying to burn into my mind the memory of this scene. The view of the valley, scattered with bloodied weapons and bloodied bodies. The feel of the warm breeze sliding languidly across my skin, making my hairs stand on end. The smell of death, and anguish. And mortality.
I wonder what it feels like to die. I hope to find out soon.
“The mortals,” I say, idly swishing a cup of some golden liquid in my left hand, draped across a cushioned arm-chair in an equally cushioned room. “They Believe in us, and so we exist.”
An’ten looks up from his map of the solar system. Always with the maps, Deities. Always measuring, planning how to expand their Faith. Gathering followers like seashells on a beach. A petty competition, it seems at times. Most times, recently.
“And?” An’ten prompts.
“And,” I agree.
I shrug, pointing first at myself, then at him. “And what do we Believe in?”
“Ourselves,” he answers, returning his attention to the map laid out in front of him. He draws a glowing line between two continents on one of the pictured planets, and the map responds with a soft pulse of white light from a region in the south.
“Ourselves,” I whisper ominously. “We Believe in ourselves. Sounds quite like one of those priests’ cheesy sermons. ‘Believe in yourself, trust yourself, and others will as well.’ Hogwash. Even as a mortal, you have to give people a REASON to believe in you – and Deific Belief even more so.”
“Mm,” grunts An’ten, making some notes on a scroll.
“Well, I Believe I would like some lunch.” I wait, patient as a hedgehog. Not that I know whether or not hedgehogs are especially patient. They seem like they would be, though.
Lunch does not suddenly appear before me. I try not to let my disappointment show.
“I don’t know what you expected to happen,” he chuckles, scratching away at the parchment next to the map. Apparently I’m not very good at masking my disappointment. I’m as disappointed as a hedgehog. “You didn’t say you Believed that lunch would pop into Existence in front of you – you said you Believe that you would like some lunch. Which I assume was already true before you said it, anyway.”
“I will never say no to lunch, An’ten. Not even during breakfast.” He grunts again, engrossed in his calculations.
I leave him to his work, or play, or whatever it may be that drives him in the same direction as every other self important Deity down here. Lunch is waiting, and I Believe I am very hungry.