The Pollution War

Table of Contents

Normally the major patron gods of our city resolve their big conflicts out of sight from us, presumably in a kind of local gods' council they held together in the god realm. However, two centuries ago, they came at an impasse on a particularly controversial topic: whether to let mortals continue and to help them in their fast-paced industrialisation or to stop them.   Since they could not come to a compromise, the gods took out their problems on us, as usual. The selection of a royal heir is always a very tense and fiercely competitive affaire, since, upon their coronation as king, they get to choose the god who will be the main patron god of the country for their reign—and also presumably the one who will lead their little godly council. However, the tension surrounding the selection normally stays within certain limits. After all, the main patron god gets to decide the direction the city will take during that time, but they are not ruling over the other gods; their opinion has just become a little more important.   Yet, it quickly became clear that on this particular occasion, the conflict would go well beyond any tacit limits.
 

Belligerents

 
The main belligerents were our Lord the water god Lydien, ruler over all waters, and the forging god. Despite having founded our capital city together with the architecture god and their partnership having allowed it to flourish for millennia, those two are fierce rivals. In fact, this is that constant rivalry that has allowed our city and kingdom to prosper so much, as the gods have always competed with each other to gain more followers and worship. This conflict was not the first time their relationship had turned violent, nor will it be the last.
 

Casus Belli

 
The forging god has been one of the main initiators of the worldwide industrial revolution. At the time, he was focusing on his international rivals and racing them to create better and bigger innovations and engineering marvels, bringing prestige to the capital and the kingdom in the process but not caring about the costs.   Meanwhile, our Lord was simmering and becoming more and more irate at the constant pollution seeping in His waters, forcing him to constantly serve the humans and clean it all up. Even then, it was not enough, and people were constantly sick and dying, muttering about how weak our Lord was for not being able to prevent that and cursing His name.   When the forging god refused to temper his activities, our Lord started killing all the people responsible for the pollution, mostly by making them fall into the sludge and getting poisoned, barely caring about keeping the appearance of not interfering too much in the mortal world as dictated by the gods' rules. In turn, the forging god became incensed that all of his hardly trained people were disappearing one after another, forcing him to waste time training new humans and delaying him in his race.   It was only a question on time before this conflict exploded in the open. The final trigger was the death of the lead engineer working at the main manufacture of the capital: after a batch of chemicals was spoilt, he ordered his people to empty all the vats in the rivers rather than dispose of their content properly. You can guess how much this pleased our Lord...   While we, mere mortals, obviously do not know all the details, it is the beliefs of us, the archivists, that the local gods' council intervened and insisted the two gods solved their problems through a royal heir selection rather than by levelling the city. Never mind that the king was only 43, he could always be done way with early...
 

The first half of the events

 

The trigger

As usual, once the king declared a new royal heir selection and who the candidates and their chosen patron gods were, the campaign began. The candidates left with a small contingent of guards and supporters, travelling through the country to give speeches and make promises about the future to the local population. Both groups also sent plenty of spies to listen to what the other was saying, then as soon as the candidate had left, contradict their words and attempt to outbid them.   This was hardly done with either discretion or fairplay—not that anyone sensible would expect better from gods—and soon, everyone was getting more and more underhanded and slanderous, invoking their god's names and their power, and threatening to smite their opponents with it. Within a few weeks, huge amounts of magic were flying around everywhere. While the official version is that only the gods' priests and mages were involved, the intensity of the magic made it clear that the gods themselves had to be there.
People attending a campaign speech by marzolino on DepositPhotos
 

Divine magic

The most impressive display was the forging god using the coal smoke coming out of his manufacture and polluting the air to make the clouds sparkle with just the sheer amount of dust in them. The same manufacture was also rejecting gas directly into the river. Whatever it was, it was coming out of the water in bursts and flying into the clouds. Well, the combination of both made the gas catch fire, and, in mere seconds, set ablaze the whole sky and water with a column of flame joining them. Absolutely terrifying. And the forging gods' minions all declared that their god taking over our Lord's dominion was the ultimate proof of his supremacy.   In retaliation, our Lord took to the sky and created a lot of strange phenomena there. The most striking was his conjuration of an enormous derecho surrounded by dark shelf clouds. The storm it contained carried hailstones as big as apples that rained down, destroying fields, houses, and people alike. What made it particularly unique and eerie, however, was that when the sun started to set and the sky turned red, the whole sky inside the storm became fluorescent green. We now believe that this was caused by the red sunlight reflecting on the hailstones.   At the time, people only knew that it was, at best, a terrible omen, at worst a horrible poison present in the air. In the ensuing panic, many people turned against each other, accusing their neighbours of having betrayed and offended our Lord, and killing them in an attempt to pacify Him.
Green hail clouds created by our Lord the water god Lydien by AmélieIS
Green hail clouds created by our Lord the water god Lydien by AmélieIS
 

The second half of the events

 

Direct violence

At this point, a lot of the gods' realm had become very interested in what was going on. Many of the other gods are always jealous of our city and of our Lord and the forging god; they are all too happy to watch them tear each other apart. For us, this was both good and bad news. The presence of outsiders and all the ego put into the fight prevented any peaceful resolution. On the other hand, both our Lord and the forging god now had to be careful not to break the gods' rule too obviously. This would somewhat limit outright displays of divine power and forced them to turn towards other means.   In order to avoid accusations of interference, our Lord and the forging god ostensibly possessed their high priests and attended the royal court in full view of everyone. Meanwhile, the rest of their Churches gathered at key points through the kingdom. Then, they started to destroy key manufactures and irrigation systems, as well as kill all the people manning them and anyone rushing to defend them. Since priests often get to learn secrets of magic from their god, they are extremely dangerous enemies to face. The army was left completely helpless as the rampage went on for days on end.   We do not have the exact number of the victims, but current estimations are that nearly 10 thousands of people had died since the start of the campaign. This does not mention the injured, people poisoned by the pollution, and the subsequent famine.  

Resolution

At that point, something even more shocking happened. Among all the gods on the local god council, everyone has always been underestimating the architecture god. She is not a major god, and most people think that she got her place on the council just from the luck of having been one of the founding gods of the city. Yet, as her high priests have since smugly shared, no one could be close to gods as entrenched in manipulations and scheming as our Lord and the forging god for millennia without some measure of intelligence and shrewdness themselves.   The architecture god played a magnificent game, making use of everyone underestimating her and paying her no attention. As all gods on the local gods' council had their own heir candidate whether they stood a chance to get selected or not, she had her own do a discreet campaign through the kingdom, always staying in the opposite direction from where all the actions was taking place. And during those speeches, the candidate promised that he and the architecture god would bring back peace by forcing our Lord and the forging god to compromise together, as having one temporarily win over the other would bring nothing good to the kingdom.   Following his advice, the population and nobles kept quiet about their intention, and so none of the other gods suspected anything was amiss until the final vote for selecting the heir occurred and the architecture god's was selected.   Of course, our Lord and the forging go were absolutely furious. Yet, the rest of the local gods' council and the presence of all the other gods watching over the show forced them to accept the results.
 

Opinion from the archives

 
After this, the king obviously very quickly suffered a very tragic accident, leaving the new heir to succeed him on the throne and the architecture god as the new main patron god of the country. Thanks to the support of the council, she forced some restriction on the relentless industrialisation pursued by the forging god as well as having our Lord continue His cleaning of His waters. Unsurprisingly, neither of them were satisfied at all with this situation.   Yet, it was us, the inhabitants of the kingdom, that were extremely satisfied with it all. So much that, after the king's very long reign, we voted for the architecture's god candidate again. And again.   Our Lord and the forging god have been beyond livid with rage.   We can all be extremely sure that some reckoning is coming soon, especially as the current king has suddenly started to suffer from a disabling disease despite his relatively young age. A new selection is coming for sure, and we all need to prepare for the violence.


Cover image: Gods fighting by Thommas68 on Pixabay

Comments

Author's Notes

Inspirations:

  • Green sky event during a hail storm in South Dakota in the US in July 2022.
  • Naga fireball in the Mekong River (thanks TC :D ).

  • Please Login in order to comment!
    Autumnkitsune
    Autumn Riverwood
    25 Aug, 2022 23:16

    This article is absolutely INCREDIBLE. It's detailed, informing, and extremely interesting. I also love the Very Natural Cause Of Death. You did amazing!

    Eternal Sage AmélieIS
    Amélie I. S. Debruyne
    26 Aug, 2022 15:14

    Thank you! I had troubles coming up with those actual details as the prompt forced me to think about a lot of things that I had not established in this world yet, so I'm glad it worked out well :D

    To see what I am up to:WE list of articles and goals.
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