Misotheism: Part Two
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When I was a child, my abuela taught me legends about our people, our rites and rituals, the names of the gods and the struggles of our heroes. Of all her tales, my favorite one told of how we, the Rarámuri, the men and women of the Sierra Madre, received our name.

Sculpted by Onoruame and Iyeruame, Father Sun and Mother Moon, we Rarámuri were the chosen children of the mountain gods, the consummate hunters and trackers of the ridge and the steppe. Our name, "those who run fast," was bestowed upon us to guide our destiny: to forever roam our mountainous domains, to hunt, to run faster, longer, and harder than our prey, to win through our persistence. The gods would watch over their people, and forever run by our side.

Whenever my grandmother told her tales, her eyes would light up, the flame of pride and remembrance joyously dancing in her heart. But with the flame came a shadow, a darkness cast by the age before ours.

For though most people alive today don't recall, there was a time when dragons did not soar the skies, when magic was kept hidden from the world, when gods did not walk amongst men. It was the time before the Sundering, the time before the Veil fell, an age where man believed himself to be alone in the Universe, free from the horrors of myth and superstition… and free to create horrors of his own.

When I was in school, I learned the history of my kind and the world we lived in.

We Rarámuri were one of the many tribes and nations that had dwelt in these lands before doom came from beyond the sea, before the men of pale skin came with their swords and their guns and their cross. From the hands of the conquistadores, my people received death and enslavement, the despoiling of their identities, the suppression of their mother tongue. And soon, like the Nahua and the Apache, like the Inca and the Sioux, the Rarámuri's pride was shattered and defiled, chosen children no more.

And all the while, the gods remained silent.

The hands that held the leash changed, from the conquistadores to the hacendados, and from the hacendados to the many nations born of conquest and slaughter. Borders shifted and new names were given to the land, countries formed and fought for supremacy. And in the midst of their politics, of their power struggles, we were forgotten, our voices unheard, relics of a savage past that had no place in the modern world, even as those in power talked of their ancestors' glorious legacies, as those who had oppressed us clamored for "human rights."

And all the while, the gods remained silent.

The Earth found itself united, first among its nations and peoples, both mundane and occult, and then with those who came from the stars. The Immortal Empire offered the path to a greater destiny, and the leaders of the new world were all too eager to claim it. Reparations were given to fae and djinn, the organizations guilty for their suffering were punished. Justice was the Empire's motto, and now it was Earth's too.

Or so they claimed.

And whatever happened to my people? Our struggles became another footnote in Earth's history, one of countless anecdotes of man's primitive past behavior. What blame could the conquerors and the children of conquerors bear, if they knew no better than slaughtering those weaker than themselves? Our suffering was glossed over, our stories crystalized in monuments and "remembrance days." What else could we ask for? The past is the past, they said. Move on.

And then the gods returned.

When I turned fifteen, my family made a pilgrimage to Teotihuacán, ancient city of the gods. We were there to greet the sun, to give thanks for our freedom, for our people's prosperity under the Immortal Empire. The old gods had returned to their place of worship, and we wished to give praise.

The first time you see a god is the experience of a lifetime.

Raw power oozes from every fiber of their avatar's flesh, their divine aura radiating into the hearts and minds of those who bow down to worship them; it isn't uncommon for the most devout to experience a holy ecstasy in the presence of their patron deity. Such was the case with my grandmother, the good old woman, but for me… for me, my eyes opened to the truth that day.

As the gods paraded one after another, receiving praise, spreading blessings among their frothing worshippers, I did not feel awe or devotion. Something in me stirred, an unknown sensation, a smouldering thing that burnt as bright as the gods' aura, filling my eyes and my heart. In my mind, I pictured the scourged backs of my ancestors, heard the anguished voices, the tears of despair and fear. Centuries had gone by, not a single prayer answered.

And now… now here strolled the gods, flamboyant, arrogant, smiling at their people, faces radiant but eyes contemptuous. They saw us for what we really were: pathetic, weak, insignificant.

And for that reason they had forsaken us.

Back then, I did not know what it was, what that blasphemous, unspeakable thing that had taken hold of my soul was called. How could I? I was but a little girl. What do children know of hatred?

It did not get better afterwards. Home felt strange, the idols of my family's gods staring down from their pedestals, as if challenging me to strike them down, knowing that my people would rush to their aid, to restore their precious creators' honor. I felt sick, powerless, humiliated despite not understanding what I felt.

That day I understood what was always hidden in my grandmother's tales, in my people's history: the gods were eternal, amortal, death as alien to them as music to a deaf man. Without lifting a finger they could sink continents, place stars in the firmament, seed worlds with life. To them we were toys, playthings to be cast aside and forgotten. Our worship was not fuel for their divinity, not food for their susteneance; it was but an amusement for the bloated egos of the cosmos' overlords.

From their altars, the idols mocked me.

When I was a young woman, I saw the life drain from a man's eyes, my hands pushing a knife deep into his chest. As the warm blood flowed from the wound, a whisper left his mouth, a last-minute prayer to a god whose name I do not recall. What did he pray for? Another chance? Did he pray that, by some miracle, some divine intervention, he was allowed to make it out alive? Whichever god the man prayed to, the answer came soon enough: the body slumped to the ground and did not move again.

That was the first time I killed, the first time I saw the helplessness death brings. That man's demise stuck with me, not because I regretted the killing (there would be plenty more to follow) but because of those last few words he choked out as his gaze went blank. For a few instants, I was aware of my own mortality, my own imminent passing into the beyond. Would I have prayed, even wordlessly, had our roles been reversed? Would I have begged for my life, for my soul, humiliating myself before the gods in a desperate attempt to preserve myself?

As I cleaned the blood off my knife, I swore I would never bend the knee, never give in. Death was inevitable, but I would face it and the damnation that followed on my own terms; that would be my victory, my final act of defiance against the gods: to deny them my prayers, to deprive them from the pleasure of hearing me beg.

For the next ten killings or so, I gazed into my victim's eyes as I struck them down and saw my own reflection, my own image in the moribund light. Into that ghastly mirror I stared, my face the last image in their dying minds, until a new revelation came to me.

One day, as my prey died with my hands around her neck, I understood.

The beach is empty, quiet save for the crashing waves. The full moon above me has raised the tide; it won't make the sand any softer here in Sounion, but it's nice to get my feet wet; it helps to maintain the illusion of this being a vacation and not a hit.

Can't really blame myself for being excited: I'm about to place a magic bullet in a god's avatar, about to shoot a force of nature made flesh. However deathless he is, I wonder how much it will hurt him. Not physically, but his ego. Getting shot by a mere mortal will probably make his return to Olympus all the more humiliating.

As I've aged, as I've killed, I've grown beyond my hatred of the gods. The more I think about it, the more infantile it seems to hate that which simply is. The lioness cannot help preying on weaker animals; does the gazelle hate her for it? A man stops not to ponder what the ant feels under his heel; does it make him evil? Such is also the nature of our relationship with the divine: the gods shape reality and we grovel at their feet. That was the revelation vested on me through my prey's death: the strong dominate, the weak cower, and the world keeps turning.

What would my abue say if she knew I'm about to shoot this place's patron god square in the face? She always got that stern look whenever I dared say something mildly blasphemous; guess this time I'd get something harsher than a rod to the knuckles.

Would it make it any better if she knew it's nothing personal? I'm only doing what is in my nature, and for that I am blameless, I am strong.

After all, the gods made me in their image; time to show them their work.

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