Chapter 947: Introspection

After the initial culture shock, a good amount of time talking things over with Loki, and a bit of time playing with his children, Vahn had calmed down a great deal. Though he felt a little shaken each time he peeked into the underground structure of the Coliseum, closer observation of events had allowed him to rationalize things a little better. He had seen more parts of the early cycle of an Amazonesses life and was gaining a better understanding of the situation, including the emotional, cultural, and biological components.

Vahn had seen that, shortly after an Amazoness gave birth, they would only spend a few hours with their daughters, usually for the purpose of naming them. After that, many of the new mothers would turn their children over to the larger group of women who cared for all of the children. In some cases, these new mothers would then join the larger group, caring for their new child while also tending to the needs of other infants. Other times, the mothers would leave to receive some healing before almost immediately beginning their training once again. Having carried a child for around nine months, many from the warrior tribe were determined to make up for lost time and worked hard to refine their bodies back into a combat-ready state just hours after giving birth…

Observing how several new mothers interacted with their daughters, Vahn was able to see that there wasn’t a strong emotional attachment between most Amazonesses and their children. Even those that decided to help out in the maternity ward were on the older side and, after listening in on a few conversations, Vahn knew they considered it more of a duty than anything else. Since they were already passed their prime, they would spend a few years watching over the newborn Amazonesses before leaving Telskyura on their final journey. Their next time venturing out into the world would be to find powerful monsters, fighting to overcome their limits until inevitably dying after a few months. Because of factors like this, there were no Amazonesses in Telkyura that were over the age of fifty…

This was a way in which the older generation always made way for the new generation, choosing to end their lives in honorable battle instead of fearing death and trying to hold onto life for a few more years. Unlike many other races, who ‘expected’ the young to care for them as they aged, the Amazonesses of Telkyura knew that they would only burden younger generations, relying on the work and gains of their kind just to preserve their own lives for a few more years. This not only consumed precious resources that could have been used to nurture the next generation of Amazonesses but it also bred malcontent and led to bloody infighting and repression. In the distant past, the Amazonesses used to have a culture that respected Elders and deferred to them for decision making but this had resulted in deeply rooted corruption and internal wars between contending tribes…

It only took a few generations of this kind of infighting before the then generation of Hippolyta changed the law to unify all of the lesser Amazoness tribes after eliminating all of the Elders. After that, fighting in a dishonorable manner, or scheming to exploit your fellow Amazonesses, was grounds for immediate execution. The Elderly were no longer allowed to exercise their influence over the younger generations as newborn Amazonesses could be highly impressionable and were easily exploited if the people they ‘trusted’ had malicious intentions. As a result, it became less and less acceptable for older Amazonesses to even remain in the tribe, causing them to venture out of the country after crossing a certain age threshold, a number that had decreased from around 70 during the inception of the law to around 55 after a few thousand years had passed.

By coming to understand a bit of the History of the Amazonesses, Vahn had been able to slowly accept what he had been witnessing. He had already known that it would take a demonstration of extreme power and violence to even have a hope of changing how the Amazonesses lived while the only alternative was to essentially subordinate the entire race and ‘tweak’ their biology to inhibit some of their more problematic traits. This was something entirely possible with The Path’s Modify function, but Vahn knew it was also extremely wrong and selfish to do so.

For well over ten-thousand years, the Amazonesses had actually put in a lot of effort to create a culture where their people could flourish without placing any heavy restrictions on themselves. Because of this, they had created a society that had withstood the test of time longer than any other civilization, almost completely bereft of the concept of waste, exploitation, and corruption. They even avoided any major conflicts with other nations and countries, only taking action when one of their taboos had been violated. This had given them a very strong sense of unity and was the primary reason that most other countries didn’t even try to antagonize the Amazonesses of Telskyura, regardless of how they viewed the ‘tribal’, ‘savage’, and ‘uncivilized’ race…

Because of the ongoing matters within the Iron Hills and Westport, Vahn felt it was confoundingly ridiculous that other societies considered the Amazonesses as an uncivilized race. Though they lacked in technological development, it was a simple fact that their society functioned with almost none of the issues that plagued the so-called civilized countries. Almost everywhere Vahn had gone, he could find examples of merchants taking advantage of people, self-proclaimed nobles exercising power over ‘their’ people, and massive criminal organizations that performed various heinous acts. Though Telskyura also had its fair share of problems, they were all exposed on the surface and could be dealt with after a bit of time had passed. It was a far more honest and open example of society while a large majority of the population seemed genuinely happy with how things were managed…

These were the types of thoughts passing through Vahn’s mind as he sat upon a ledge at the very top of the Coliseum, looking down on the larger mass of Amazonesses going about their day below. During the daylight hours, Telskyura always seemed ‘alive’ as everyone was constantly moving about in order to contribute to the larger society, all while making earnest efforts to try and improving themselves. There were constant small scuffles and disagreements but things were usually settled very quickly after a few exchanges of punches and kicks. These were almost always between Amazonesses of similar strength unless it was the lower Level Amazoness challenging someone at a higher Level.

It was heavily frowned upon for the strong to try and oppress the weak, especially if it was over a minor matter. In the event that there was a large difference in strength between the two disputing Amazonesses, they would consult a third party, usually a member of the Kali Familia, to make a determination over who was in the right. This mediator would typically be around the same strength as the more powerful Amazoness and, in some cases, they would even fight on behalf of the weaker one if there were further disagreements…

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One of the only things Vahn consistently saw that was troubling to him were the younger Amazonesses that ran around naked, performing various menial tasks after having ‘failed’ to overcome their trials during the crucible. The reason for their failure was either related to a deeply rooted injury, preventing them from keeping pace with similarly aged Amazonesses, or the fact that they had experienced severe trauma and couldn’t overcome it. Vahn felt it was exceptionally tragic and cruel that they were then forced into a situation where they were constantly attending to others just to earn enough food and resources to continue surviving until the next day. Kali had explained to him the ‘reason’ behind their existence, as it was something ‘necessary’ to keep their society functioning, but Vahn didn’t really agree with it since his sensibilities told him it was ‘wrong’ to punish anyone in such an extreme manner…

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Kali had explained that, by being stripped bare and forced to listen to the whims of other Amazonesses, it was a way to stimulate the dormant instincts within those that had failed to pass through the crucible and become proper Amazonesses. Eventually, they would grow dissatisfied with serving others and, knowing their own weakness, work even harder on their tasks so they could acquire larger servings and more training resources. They would then overcome their past trauma and, through constant effort and training, reach Level 2 and become ‘proper’ adults that were readily accepted into society. This would give them a sense of accomplishment and pride at having overcome a very different kind of trial, even though they would normally end up as a member of the Fishing or Hunting tribes after the fact…

Vahn understood the reasoning and, after witnessing several hard-working young girls doing exactly as Kali said, he knew the system worked. Even so, Vahn ‘knew’ there were better ways for them to overcome their weakness without being backed into a corner and pressured so heavily. He also knew it was possible to implement a few small innovations that would greatly improve how every Amazoness lived, all while giving them even more ways to express themselves and increase their strength. Having literal children deal with all the menial tasks in society wasn’t much better than the Elders exploiting the young for their own selfish purposes, even if the intentions behind the process were entirely different…

The main reason behind Vahn’s thought process was the existence of the ‘unique’ Amazonesses that were born within Telskyura, even if they only made up less than 1% of the population. Even if it was difficult to accept some of the things he saw, Vahn could tell that the system implemented in Telkyura worked very well for the vast majority of Amazonesses. In a way, it worked better than pretty much every other system he had seen, including the one he was trying to build through a series of long-lasting reforms. However, this still didn’t really justify the ‘sacrifice’ of that small minority, especially since it wasn’t even difficult to help them survive and prosper.

Vahn didn’t like the idea that, while almost every Amazonesses was allowed to thrive in a society catered to their instincts, these young girls were ‘forced’ to either adapt, often deeply scarring them, or die. If they lacked talent and willpower, something that shouldn’t be outright expected from infants, their only fate was to end up as victims of the system. Girls like Tiona, Tione, Aisha, Lena, and Taliah were the ‘exceptions’, usually only because Kali had taken an interest in them. This was one of the things that Vahn had come to respect about her because, even though she was perfectly fine with allowing people to simply die, Kali still made small efforts to try and help those that ‘went against the natural flow’. She found them interesting and, though she didn’t show them any preferential treatment, the way she awarded these unique Amazonesses varied from the norm…

In Tiona’s case, though it was primarily because Bache had wanted to support her disciple, she had been awarded translations of heroic tales and novels. As for Tione, who experienced quite a bit more suffering than her younger twin, she had been given a great deal of leniency, though this was mostly a result of Tiona’s efforts, not her own. Tione was an example of one of the ‘victims’ within the system, as she had fallen under the mentorship of the extremely cruel and vicious Argana. This was entirely due to the fact that she was a twin, a very rare existence within the Amazoness community. Kali had wanted them to become her next Captains and had hoped that Tione would eventually overcome her own limitations with the assistance of Tiona…

This was where Vahn’s agreement with Kali usually came to an end, as it had been very unfair of her to have such expectations, to begin with. It was obvious that Tiona and Tione were ‘different’ from a very early age and, though they both had extreme levels of talent, it simply wasn’t right to forcibly groom them into something that she had wanted to make use of. In a way, this was the very same thing as someone in another country taking in an infant Amazoness and grooming them to their preferences, something ‘extremely’ frowned upon. If it had happened outside, the entire Amazoness community would have been up in arms, pursuing the offender until they were completely annihilated. Yet, because of her unique position as the primary goddess of the entire Amazoness people, Kali had been able to bend the rules without anyone even batting an eye…

Vahn didn’t outright resent Kali for what she had done, as he still wasn’t in a position where he could truly understand the perspective of a god. He also knew that her actions weren’t inherently wrong as, without a doubt, she had tried to help both girls achieve their full potential. After Tione had failed to meet her expectations, Kali didn’t punish her or hold the fact against her, allowing Tione to leave Telskyura along with Tiona after they had both reached Level 3. She had willingly allowed the two girls she had been grooming to be her future Captains to venture out into the outside world with no guarantees they would ever even return. This was because Kali knew that, even though Tiona was considered the ‘perfect’ Amazoness by some, neither twin truly fit into the larger Amazoness society…

It was things like this that allowed Vahn to see Kali’s wisdom and, though he felt like she could have done more to aid the growth and progress of her people, it wasn’t really her responsibility to do so. If he truly believed that gods ‘had’ to contribute to the proper development of the surface races, Vahn would be putting himself above them and forcing his perspective onto existences that were far older than he was. In a way, it would be the same as Kali imposing her perspective onto Tiona and Tione, trying to change them into something that was beneficial for herself. This would undoubtedly have severe negative consequences and Vahn was beginning to understand that his methods may not have been as ‘correct’ as he had thought.

As ‘pure’ and ‘righteous’ as his intentions may be, Vahn’s time amongst both the Xenos and the Amazonesses had started to make him better realize the ‘necessary’ restrictions imposed on those with power. He previously felt like it was the ‘obligation’ of those with power to essentially shepherd those that were weaker than themselves. This, however, was automatically placing himself above others and believing that his own sensibilities and perspective were simply ‘broader’ and ‘more right’ than those beneath him. It was this same mentality that allowed Nobles, who often rose to power through individual strength or authority, to claim they were ‘above’ the commoners within their dominion.

Vahn had developed an extreme distaste for most Nobles and the Aristocracy in general, finding their often deeply rooted corruption and the nation-wide exploitation to be disgusting. However, his own actions weren’t distinctly different from theirs, even though the choices he was trying to make were for the betterment of everyone. The main difference was the fact that he had an extreme amount of power compared to most people and was proactively trying to make a world where ‘everyone’ had the right to happiness. Even then, Vahn was still creating a merit-based society that would inevitably favor those that rose to prominence through their own efforts. They would find themselves in positions of power and authority and, after a while, it was guaranteed that some of these individuals would eventually become corrupt…

In order to prevent himself from losing control of the situation, Vahn knew that he always needed to be the most powerful person within the record. Yet, by taking proactive actions and regulating things himself, Vahn knew that he would be disrupting the balance of the world and inviting greater threats into existence. The more he tried to make a ‘perfect’ world, the more powerful the forces opposing him would become. Eventually, there could even be a singular entity that was more powerful than the entire organization he had structured, including a myriad of actual gods of creation and destruction. Though he would likely survive the battle, it wasn’t impossible for the very record itself to become destabilized for a very long period of time…

Vahn was beginning to understand that, the stronger he became, the less direct influence he would be ‘allowed’ to have over the record. It was much the same for gods like Ouranos who, compared to almost every other god, had an extreme amount of power. If he wasn’t created by the record as an objective force that observed the world, there would have been nothing to prevent him from shaping this world to his preference. He could have even killed most of the other gods and created a small paradise for himself, something that seemed peaceful and innocent from an ‘inside’ perspective, but was morbid and terrifying from an external perspective.

One day, Vahn knew he would have the power to create an entire universe if he wanted to while, at the same time, he could also create a small record that was entirely isolated from others. This could be a completely peaceful world where only his family lived and he could even make all of them immortal. However, after enough time passed, Vahn knew there would be some who would become unhappy or depressed unless he went to even greater extremes and limited their ability to even feel such emotions. Though this would inarguably guarantee they were happy, Vahn couldn’t help shuddering as the thought passed through his mind. He would essentially have to imprison and brainwash the people he loved, just to make sure they were always happy, robbing them of their freedom because of the choices he had made. Vahn knew this was ‘extremely’ wrong and it was this same understanding that allowed him to rationalize that changing the Amazonesses, especially when they didn’t want to change, was also wrong…

(A/N: A lot of introspective stuff this chapter but I felt it was important to show the inner workings of Vahn’s mind while providing some insight into the past/present/future.)

(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘Not every species as strong maternal instincts…’,’The unique should be celebrated, not oppressed’,’Eternity is a long time…’)

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