I have slumbered, since the beginning of existence. When the stars screamed fire down upon me, and when my skin was red and liquid; when all there was was heat, and fire, and no death. No death because there was no life... I slumbered. And yet I did not. Because at some level, I was always awake, always active. But I had no one else; no one else in the whole of existence. Alone, I was trapped in the void. The cold, dark void. And so, my skin cooled, turning from molten rock to a more solid shell, but deep inside my core, my heart still burned. And I despaired. There was no one else, nothing else. Just me, alone for all eternity.
Then, they came. Simple at first; little more than self-replicating nutrients. But they had a live of their own. They lived; it was a basic live, with no higher will or sense of self, but something deep inside them drove them on. Forced them to survive, to reproduce. I was astounded, here these tiny creatures lived upon me and I had not known. How long had it been? Centuries More? It didn't matter, nothing mattered but them. They were my children; born of my stone flesh and my iron core. They were me and I was them. Their minds a part of me, and yet they were separate. I could ''hear'' them to an extent, I could predict their actions, I could not influence them, or even get them to understand me. For millions of years I worked tirelessly on them, probing them, trying to get them to change, to become better. Nothing worked, and in frustration, and in a moment of passion, I wiped them from existence.
Tried to wipe them from existence. But in my anger, I had done what millions of years of calm could not. Before my very senses, they changed, became bigger, stronger, today they call it ''evolution'' but back then, when I was the only sentience in existence, I thought it amazing. But they stopped changing, as soon as my wrath was sated, they halted their forward motion. They stopped their advance. Thus, I came to a simple conclusion. To help them, I would be forced to hurt them. To kill them, and to force them to change, and then, to kill them again. To create a constant cycle of death and destruction and force them to realize the potential that they would never otherwise do. I hardened my heart of magma and set to work. Over the next billions of years, I killed them in countless ways and watched as they always found a way to survive. When I killed them one by one, they bound themselves together into more complex forms. When I covered the sun, they began to eat each other to sustain themselves. They began to force themselves to evolve. At this, point I could have left them; I had started the chain but they could clearly sustain it themselves. I did not however. They were my children and I could not leave them now; so I continued to force them to change and adapt. More time, billions of years and they reached a new apex of evolution.
I was so proud of them, my children had reached such heights that I could never have imagined. And I was sure that soon, their time would come. And then, the rocks fell from the sky; great chunks of an ancient planet. But it was not like me; it held no life, and I had no control over it like I did my own realm. So, when it crashed, I could do nothing as it wiped out all life for miles, and kicked up great clouds that would linger, despite my frenzied attempts to dissipate them, for many, many years.
And so the world grew colder, amongst the bones of my children. And I too grew colder, for now my eyes had been opened to the true nature of reality. There was no love out there, there was no peace, no happy ending. Only the darkness of space, waiting in the wings to devour all who would one day have the power to master it. The weak could never survive, I saw that clearly now. I would have to become something new, something different... I would have to become more than the guide, I would have to be more than just the machine by which evolution was driven. I would have to become an enemy of all life, I would have to force my children to hate me, and to fight me so that one day, they would be prepared for the life which was waiting for them.
And so, when the smoke cleared I was harsher, more merciless than ever. I forced evolution, it was change or die, and oh so many species died. I did not allow myself to feel pity, I drove the survivors ever on... Eventually, I was left with a few favoured species who were showing great potential... who might one day rise even higher than the mighty dinosaurs. Of their modern names, these species were the crocodiles, my favourite and a throw-back to the original great lizards. A last hold-out, and perfectly adapted for their life-style. Then, there came the canine, as social animals they were smart, and because of their warm-blood, they were fast in the mornings. They looked poised to expand and indeed, I half-expected them to become a new dominant life-form. Lastly, there were the naked apes. Small and weak, they lacked the heavy fur to protect them against the cold, and the natural strength to defend them against predators. They could not climb like their kin, and they could not dig or swim. They could not out-run the canines or out-fight the crocodiles. They were a wild-card, my final attempt. Out of all the species on Earth, I devoted the most attention to these three.
The crocodiles were too well-adjusted; I could force them to change only slowly, as if they knew of my meddling and resented it. Next, the canines too were slow. They didn't change, they didn't evolve. They found a social order and they stuck to it no matter what. They were useless for my needs. And so, I decided, with my eons of experiance, that they were as doomed to extinction as the dinsaurs before them. But the apes, now the apes were a surprise. They were weak at first, pitiful and pathetic. But I pushed them, they were the last outlet for my hope, and where I had once seen weakness, I saw strong.
What they lacked in speed, they made up for with numbers; what they liked in strength they made up for with technologies. Primitive certainly, but they were one of the first to do such a thing and I was astounded. They created spears by sharpening pieces of flint - pieces of me - and attaching them to wooden sticks, and with these primitive tools, and with fire, they set out to hunt the greatest creatures my chain of evolution and death had created. I sat amazed, as the centuries rolled by and the naked apes went from strength to strength - they decimated the mammoths, one of my most sturdy children, and they tamed the canines and turned them on their wild brethren. Here was a species with all it took to survive. Soft and weak looking, but underneath, their hearts were as merciless, unforgiving and relentless as my own core. They could plan, not the simple plans of most predators, but complex, long reaching plans. They could socialise, like the canines. Except with the apes, the social order was not set - there was no orderly acceptance until a new alpha turned up. With the apes, any opportunity for a rival could lead to a power-change, and the war... oh the war was magnificent. They drove themselves, without my help, they drove themselves onwards. Forcing technological evolution just as I had once done with biological evolution.
This was a species after my own heart. Capable of such destruction, of such hatred and yet, at the same time of such warmth and loyalty to each other. Here was a species which, more than any other species that had evolved on this planet, had the potential to reach beyond the borders of my realm.
So I brought all my might to bear against them, with no mercy or remorse, I pounded them with the coldest, darkest winters, I stirred up mighty forest-fires, I called down storms and rain and plagues and pestilence. I wiped out dozens of lesser creatures, but that didn't matter. All that mattered were the naked apes now shaping up in my hands. And as they changed, so did I. I became colder yet, more bitter. Still I worked on the naked apes. I took away their resources, they dug deep into my skin and extracted more. I flooded their small villages, and they constructed barriers. I arranged it so that they ran out of living space, and they simply took more from their neighbours. This was a species that I could be proud of. This was a species that captured my spirit in their own. That mirrored their mother without even knowing it. But I showed them no mercy, for if they were indeed worthy then they would need none.
In time, they became more numerous, killing many other creatures and species. They grew more advanced as well, villages turning into towns, into cities.
They began to affect me the same way I had them; they dug deep into me to extract resources, oil, coal, iron ore, the list went on. I gave gladly, for even as they forged their new society from my flesh and blood, they incarnated me into it as surely as they did themselves. Every ounce of metal they took was still me - even as they forged it into a sword, into a gun, it was still my flesh, still responded to my call.
Then came the World Wars; such death and destruction I had never before seen done by any hand other than my own. I was...impressed... with the growth of my children. The ability to call down such death upon their fellows, to cause such suffering amongst themselves. It was the final proof that I had been right, to prod them into such a niche. I decided, during the Second World War that humanity was a survivor.
No longer naked apes, I called them by the name they assigned themselves ''humanity'' it is a name they deserve. I watched with interest, as they split the atom, granting them a power that even I lacked. But they were no threat to me - a threat to live, yes, but not to me.
The mining and drilling, the stripping of all natural resources continued, how much longer could they keep this up? I mused, how much more of me could they use-up before they turned their gaze starward?
And then, it happened, the first humans in space. It was a triumph for the species, but also for me. it meant that I had been right, and that their childhood was nearly complete. I had prepared them for the hostile universe as best I could; I had given them the minds to make the technologies to tame space. I could do no more.
And so I slept once again. Not the semi-waking slumber that I had used to guide their evolution, but true, dreamless, sleep. Void of thought or feeling. I rested knowing that mankind was able to stand on their own. They did not need - nor would they want if they knew of it - my interference.
How much time passed I do not know; it could have been a mere century, or likewise, it could have been billions upon billions of years. For a being such as myself, time is unimportant. What was important was that when I awoke, I found mankind much improved.
Their mighty starships, hulls born of my bone and flesh, ploughed the ocean of the stars. Colonies flourished off-world, I and watched them through the metal they had taken from their home. I watched them through their minds, for no matter how far they went, they were still my children. Though they could not hear me, nor could I hear them. I could watch, I could learn.
I remember the day I learned of the Other... of Pandora...
I looked through the eyes of my children and the bones of my body as they descended upon a world vibrant with live, and lush with plants. I watched the other creatures, who bore no connection to me as they approached my children. I knew, at that moment, upon seeing that rich world, that I was not alone.
This world, this Pandora was like me. It was their mother, their guide, their nurturer. And it was also something that I was not; it was their master.
Eywa, I was later to learn of the being's name. Controlled her children by force, over the billions of years of natural evolution, some ancient creature had gained the ability to link directly into the planet's mind. Unlike me, Eywa could not only influence, but fully control her children. They were more puppets really. Oh, they thought they were free. Likewise, they didn't want to take metals and resources out of the ground. Likewise, they didn't want to continue their evolution as my own children had done . Likewise, they were content with their place in the food chain.
And if any of the Na'vi, as I later learned was their name, began to develop opinions contrary to what Eywa decreed then, well, there were plenty of hungry predators about. Nothing new about a Na'vi being ambushed by something they weren't expecting. And so, Eywa controlled her children so perfectly and so subtly, that they did not even know she was doing it. They said she never intervened! They said she was a guardian of balance! And yet, she ruled their every waking moment, and they didn't know it. Generations of them had grown gradually more susceptible. I was disgusted. I was outraged.
Sympathetic thunder-storms boomed for months around me, the humans scratched their heads, for they could find no cause, but my anger fuelled them. My fury made manifest. How could Eywa do such a thing? How could she have taken her own children and turned them into flesh-puppets? The very idea repulsed me, an emotion I had never before experienced.
Something had to be done. Eywa had stepped over a line; had crossed a boundary. I never pretended to be saint, I have killed billions of my own children. And yet... I may have summoned storms and brought down lightening to terrify their early ancestors, I may have created life and forced it to shatter into a million different branches of a million different species, I may have overseen the evolution of germs and the virus that could kill, and caused untold suffering upon mankind. I may have stood callously by, as my children died. But it was always by their own hand, and I felt proud, proud that they had the strength, and the power to do that to themselves. Because it meant they had the power to survive on their own. Survival of the fittest, that is a phrase that the humans coined when speaking of my work. I always liked it, because it is true.
The weak die, the strong push on. That is what I stand for, and at the end of that vast, twisted tunnel of death, suffering and anguish? Why had I put mankind through so much? Because I had decided that they needed an enemy to unite them... they needed something other than themselves to fight. And so I became the enemy; and I caused disease and suffering but I also forced advanced new technologies. I did not complain when they ripped the resources they needed from my body; not even when they took what held no practical purpose for them - the gold and silver. What need had I of such things? My one treasure, my only treasure, was life itself.
And Eywa had made a mockery of that; those things were not life. They were puppets pretending to be sentient, their own feeble will brutally pushed aside when Eywa required them to think something new. I may be a bitch, I may kill without discrimination, I may cause untold suffering, and I may have forced evolution onwards only greasing the axle with the blood of those who had failed, but even I had standards. Even I would not stoop so low.
This could not continue.
I would have to put a stop to Eywa once and for all, for if it were anything like me, it would favour its own children over mine. Considering what it had done to its children, I would never allow it victory over the Sons of Earth.
I would show Eywa the true power, the true majesty of the children of Earth,
Of the Children of...Gaia...