At first they called us heroes for what we did for them. For what we accomplished in their name. We were their saviors, their messiahs in a way. Like gods, we walked the world and made it right. Made it whole. Made it safe to leave one's home without the fear of being harmed in any way. We did all of that and more for the sake of the mundane: humans.
But many things bite the hand that feeds them.
Humans are no different.
At first, we disappeared one by one quietly, inconspicuous where even the highest among the system could not detect a thing. Though it probably went on longer than we believed, it only came out in the open later how much the charges hated their guardians. Within a year of that cruel truth (and a no longer secretive but public execution of one of our kind), the humans demanded retribution. Justice.
Simply put, they wanted a war.
My people, sadly enough, could not give them that for three reasons. One: we are bound by word and honor (which we place in the highest regard, only shadowed by our love of kin ties) to never lay a hand on those we sought to protect. Two: We were few in numbers, as we later discovered. The third, however, was probably the most troublesome... and the deadliest.
We are weak against a certain stone. Moon rocks. Moonstones. Jewels worn in the human custom of beauty and vanity. A single touch could render us powerless or worse dead.
Though we have done many great things, we are all still mortal; we still question. Why we were brought into this world, I do not know. To save those who would just kill us in the end? To change with the times to survive, only to find out not even that will help? To think about who you are, why you are there and realize... you are nothing special; you are but another pawn in an endless game of chess? To discover that even you, the hero of the time, the savior of the people, can die like the rest... and be remembered as an abomination? Yes, we still question.
...Is there even a God?
At the moment, I don't think so. At the moment, I really don't care.
I just want to live. Quietly, with my family, with my friends. Away from this battle.
We're still mortal. We can die, just like you. In an alley. On a battlefield. Old age. Murdered. Suicide. We're still mortal. I'm still mortal.
...And I don't want to die.
In this world, there are people with power. Power beyond human comprehension. Where they come from, no one knows. Why they are here, no one knows. Who they are, no one knows. All that is known, and was known, was that these people tentatively called Virtues brought a sense of peace among the chaos of every day life. They guided the world into an age of prosperity with the gifts given by the gods. That was it. Nothing more.
Of course, peace could only last so long.
Soon, people, dark of heart and consumed by the monster known as Jealousy and Greed, took it upon themselves to outlaw the people who tried so hard to give them what they so desperately needed in life. Safety. Warmth. Honor. None of which were enough for humans. And so, it ended with a war for justice. A more... eloquent... way of slaughtering the Virtues in their own beds.
Now, the world is consumed in a growing tragedy of violence and prejudice. By the hour, new industrial advancement and state-of-the-art steam technology, mixed with a new power source (moonstones) help in the growing call for arms. Virtues, or what is left of them, are hunted down killed or enslaved depending on the person doing it have gone into hiding in fear. Still honor bound, they dare not resist humans in an act of defense lest it make them defy and break the codes they have tied themselves to... and still believe in with all their hearts.
In the mountains, far north where no man of good sense would venture, lay a network of villages. There, Virtues have come together to form a community where everyone knows everyone, and they do not have to live in constant fear of being found. There, they teach their young kindred the way of the Virtue their oaths and their honor, and live in harmony with one another. There, their abilities gods blessed or gods cursed have an effect on their every day lives. A grand healer who can mend broken bones and near fatal wounds with a touch. A blacksmith who can make the fire of the forge burn fiercely. A child who looks on the world with futures that could happen. Futures that should happen. Futures that would happen.
And a girl, passed the age of adulthood, who can change the weather around a whole mountain range so that no one... not even the hardiest of soldiers... can breach the haven made only for their people.
This haven, the villages, were a whisper of hope among the Virtues of the world.
But as said... peace could only last so long.