5

I'd like to tell you the story of my life. It was not a simple one and you must have great patience to hear it out, for I am old…centuries old, and there is much to be told. Yes child, my skin is crinkled and rough, my hair is thin and grey, and my eyes are fading with the stress of all they have beheld; but this was not always so, once my body was fine, with skin like the delicate white of the Jasmine flower, my hair was so raven that it looked blue in the sun and my eyes were envied by the sea for their deep azure. Once, I was a goddess.

First, you must understand how gods come to be: we are not born-I was not born, we are created from the needs of men. We are created for the purpose of protecting, for worshiping and for balancing evil through fear and love. Our personalities are rendered from the goodness or wickedness of their collective hearts and our beauty is honed by the purity of their souls. When humanity is no longer in need of a god or goddess we die.

It was the people of the mountains who sought me. They prayed for the winds howling around them to blow gently in the cold of winter and coolly in the heat of the summer, they prayed for me to bring them good fortune and power on my strong current and so I came to be. I was Zephyr, goddess of the wind. Gently I came into being, first knowing that there was Earth, then knowing that there was Sky and learning that there was Life-all before realizing that there was Me and that I was Wind.

My power and wisdom grew with the worship and each new soul who avowed themselves to me made me stronger, in return I appeased my loyal followers and under my rein the people prospered and grew. As they moved and multiplied temples were erected in my holy name all over, alters of silk and gold were in the sills of the wealthy and I was praised and beseeched by many. Eventually I found it difficult, from my Earth bound presence, to acquiesce their needs; it was then that I ascended to the heavens.

The ascension was without feeling, not pleasure and not pain, simply I moved from the earthly state into the cosmos-the playground of the gods, where time meant nothing and space was, all at once, vast and infinitesimal! It was then that I saw them, each one, countless as they were, were clear to me and though I'd never known them, never seen their faces or heard their names, I knew each one: many were my fathers and many my mothers, elder, wiser, more powerful than I; still I knew more as brothers and as sisters with kinship in power and love. I knew them as friends, I knew them as lovers, I knew them, and they knew me.

And now my story begins, for She was among them…. Her hair was the color of Ivy, and her eyes were like crushed emeralds aglow in the sun, her skin was dark, tanned by the sun, and she wore garments of gold sewn together with the stems of flowers that budded and bloomed with her changing emotions…Terra.

Terra was worshiped by man for her powers over the earth…and she was worshiped by me for her magnificence. She was to become my friend for our eternity, we would work together to make the lives of our worshipers good, we would play in the open windswept fields and we would embrace in the light of the stars in the heavens. I was content for countless centuries.

One day I was called by my goddess to the plateau were one of Terra's many temples sat, and she came dancing up the hillside, her flowers blooming in colorful displays, the ground she walked on grew green with life as she moved about and I watched intrigued as to what made my love so happy. "Tell me, sister," I asked, "why are you so joyous, today of all the days in eternity?"

"I have found love!" she sang, moving close.

I was astounded; our love had always been, as far as I could remember at that time, what love did she speak of now? I couldn't help but brush back her hair as I stood beside her, silently wondering.

"Don't fear, my friend," she turned her smiling face to my palm, "I'll always love you, of course."

I suddenly realized that it wasn't our love she spoke of: her joy was from a new love.

"Come, meet him!" She smiled so brightly, I couldn't recede from it. I had no time yet to mourn my sudden loss, instead I turned it into curiosity and hatred.

"Have I not already?" I asked. What god had betrayed me? What war was to start in the heavens over Terra?

"I shouldn't think so…." she said earnestly, turning to point to the east, "He lives not far from here-look there..." she pointed to a valley in the distance, "just past that spot, my love lives. He is so beautiful even the god Adore would be consumed…."

The horrifying truth began to settle in me, though I tried desperately to admonish such thoughts-she couldn't…no god or goddess would ever be so simpleminded or so ridiculous as to seek love from a human, let alone the powerful and ancient Terra!?

"I have told no one but you, my dearest friend, for fear they might try to take him from me in jealousy. What a shame it would be for one of the others to make him into a servant or a priest. Oh, Zephyr, you'll love him-" she stopped abruptly looking around confused for a moment "…Zephyr, are you okay?"

It took a moment for me to realize the difference, I felt no godly peace, I heard no hymns from the humans, and I could not sense the winds. I had lost the will to control my power.

I could not change her steadfast mind, though I attempted to reason with her: without even saying goodbye to the others she took on human form and went down to her love. Terra played house very well and before the seasons changed she was wedded to her human. I watched her from the stars infatuated, infuriated and unheeding. I knew my subjects were in need of me, I could see them praying, I could see the offerings at my temples, but I could not hear them, and I could not help them, I didn't even want to try. I became so uncaring I even allowed my faithful homeland, the mountain where I came from, my most cherished and ancient endeavor to suffer typhoon.

When I realized I was no longer a help to my people I chose to effort saving Terra from herself-I was so sure it was saving that she needed, I had the wisdom of the gods, I knew a mortal could not love as we did- so I devised a plan.

In the winter, when cold and darkness covers the earth and seeds fear into mortal souls, I stole down to the world and met him in the streets of the market as he tried to sell his blessedly fair stock of vegetables even so late in the season and without much trouble convinced him to lie with me. Afterwards I traveled to Terra's home in the valley and begged her forgiveness for my jealousy and she welcomed me into her home.

When her husband arrived home that night he came to me and I screamed purposely alerting Terra to her husband's impurity. When she came to inspect I allowed my truer form to show and stormed, "This is the man you love so much!?" I insisted cruelly.

What happened then the weavers of time could not have predicted: Terra's love fell to his knees and began to pray to me-it was the first prayer I had heard since the day my love left me. He confessed his ancestry was that of my mountain people and he knew the second he laid eyes on me in the village who I really was. He then vowed to hold no other woman in his heart, no other god in his soul.

It was done.

Terra had sacrificed so much to that one mortal, beset her love, her very existence to him-without the only human she longed for, the only soul she sought, she instantly became a goddess without a purpose. The earth began to shake underfoot, as she swayed to and fro, her eyes washing with tears, her beautiful form began to fade. Suddenly I was able to gather my power. I drew her close and demanded the world of the gods be at my fingertips and in the heavens the gods surrounded us as one of the most ancient began to disappear.

I had never known fear till then. I knew without Terra I would fade too, the decision made itself. "Do you not love me Terra?" I asked, holding her close.

She surged and shook like she was still upon the earth but she nodded slowly.

"Listen to me, my love, my only love-since the day I set eyes on you I worshipped you! Please live for me, I am your fallowing, I am your priestess, I am yours my goddess! I am your faithful human servant, live for me." I prayed and recited surrendering my godly state to take on human form.

I could see she was returning already, getting stronger, she stopped shaking but her look of horror pained me, it stained my soul as I lost my powers and began to fade in her place. I could feel the pressures of the earth upon my developing human body though my consciousness stayed with her in the heavens for precious moments.

"Please, Zephyr, how could you?" She cried.

"Did you not listen to me, my goddess? How I love you, how I've always loved you. All I ever wanted was to spend eternity in your presence, in your holiness…" I laughed, "I'm going to save you from the death of inexistence, of purposelessness, I will build your fallowing, I will adorn your temples and I will have a family so great and in your holey name, my goddess, that you will forever live and love the humans upon this earth, you will never forget and you will never be forgotten."

She held me tight, "What a fool I was for not seeing it, now you've given your powers and your life to me…." She began to cry again but spoke her vow clearly enough, "You may not be a god but you will have the power of the gods…I will see to it that you are provided for in every way, you will find love quickly and the earth will produce foods at your request, you will have luck on the sea…and your children will prosper and be innumerable but each will be favored by the gods, my Zephyr, my love."

I never saw my goddess again, though I've always felt her presence and always I have had the luck and wealth and happiness she promised me that day, as have my many children. And so that the world never forgets her my great family carries on her name.