I ~ The Vestige of the Fade

I awake to the echo of clockwork. After rubbing my eyes I look around. Above me hangs a giant clock. It floats in a place where nothing else other than darkness exists. The time reaches midnight.

The darkness splits in half with light. White light like a spear pierces through this lonely chamber. I step toward the divide. An infant’s cry, a solemn gasp, and the ticking of a clock sound as I approach.

“Child, you have returned. The place you are is the first and last place your existence came to be. From the heights of freedom to the depths of sorrow you fell. Here, you can forget for you’ve become faded.” echoes an omnidirectional and gentle voice.

Cracks of light spread until everything clears up. I fall to my knees and gasp at the sight. Charred ground that black vines grow from goes from horizon to horizon. A mob of people with a dark gray eyes walks around aimlessly. I feel a coldness in their gaze.

One woman grabs my arm. Despair, loneliness, and captivity surge from her weak touch. I pull away suddenly. The mob turns toward me. My mind screams to run but, my body freezes in fear. Stupidly I think about the state of the human condition as they overpower me and tear at my flesh with overgrown nails.

“Damaged. . .” I spit out that single word with a little blood, “Anger and hate vents from broken and lost hearts. Are you looking for a new beginning? I know I am.”

They mindlessly attack me. I feel myself sinking beneath the tide of their bodies. All the emotions gnaw at my heels to keep me stuck here. I cry and scream for help while knowing it’s just in vain. Eventually my body grows numb to the pain.

I dig my nails into the charred ground and pull myself through the mob. My arms collapse from exhaustion. The shadows of their tangled bodies swallow me up whole. I try to remember better times before now because I can no longer feel anything. One memory finds its way among these dark times.

A day where my heart aches but my eyes could no longer cry. My best friend, another kid apprentice in a small town known for its superb smiths, argues with military officers about prices. They call him a greedy kid but they are wrong. He works hard trying to get medicine for kids in an orphanage.

He looks at the villagers who turn away from him. And I, his friend, walk away to work on my craft. After a few hours I run to his family home knocking on the door. No one answers. I decide to sit on their stairs until they return. Before I notice the suns begins setting bringing with itself a cold April shower. Cold and shivering I wait.

I open the door around midnight. He sits there on his knees in a pool of tears. The candles cast a shadow over him but I reach out to touch his shoulder. My thoughts race and no words come out. He pushes me away.

“Where did you go! They, no. . .no one believed me. Those kids are dying! And the military offers nothing while expecting cheaper prices for their duty. They called me a petty thief. No one spoke of my innocence as they called me guilty. Look at what silence does!” he raises bandaged hands missing a few fingers.

“I’m sorry but what could us kids change? They could’ve killed you.” I speak without hesitation and bite my tongue after.

“Get out.” he pushes me back.

That day’s mistake still eats away at my conscience. Thoughts like what-ifs gnash and tear. A wound forms from looking back while knowing I can never change the past. It keeps me awake at night. And my senses return with the old heartache.

“I fucked up back then. I know that. Yet from failure I still dare wish to succeed.” I shout with my whole heart.

“To feel pain is the cost to feel anything at all but don’t become obsessed with it. Learn to grow with every step. And with any luck this darkness, a horde of tainted hearts, will never be. Cure the blight.” everything blurs out of focus.

Hello or Goodbye? ~ I Never Know

A dagger thrust between your chest
And mine. See the light of dawn
On this horizon where dreams rest
In their forlorn cradle and coffin.

“Oh please just take away the pain, a stain of a life
Only washed away by our blood with this one knife.”

Eternity will call as we fall to our knees
One by one in procession. We’re falling
Through the skyline and I’m unafraid
Of what comes next. Hello or goodbye?
This is an evolution-revolution-devolution
To see myself fall from materialistic highs.

Magic_Sword_Wings_Tattoo_by_Nalavara
To find a way between light and darkness. . .

 

 

Protocol13: To Save the Endarkened

A time existed where mankind found itself owing a debt to its own hubris. The cities once full of jubilant laughter fell into silence as if they all were in mourning. One man died but his death wouldn’t grant amnesty to those responsible.

Him and a friend saved everything that was, is, and will be. He wasn’t great, humble, nice, or anything. . .definitely no messiah. But he didn’t have to be. A choice came to him; will you run away from consequences or will you face them even if they’re not your own?

The universe began dying after selfishness infected it with a blight. Thirteen heavenly gates manifested into existence. Each gate hosted a trial that could revitalize the universe. These two men faced trial after trial in a desperate attempt not to let everything fade away.

Desnei and Saker, the names of the two, only achieved victory at the last gate. Human rulers didn’t hesitate to martyrize them for their bravery. Two new species created by humanity stomached the brutality.

The Larthans met with the Veryn’Kah (Black Demons) months later. One of the Veryn’Kah remarked about the fact that humanity will recreate the blight. He pushed for extermination. Larthans offered reeducation as a rebuttal because of the human adage “two wrongs don’t make a right”. After weeks of intense debate both parties reached a compromise.

Three Larthans halted action from every human military while the others herded humanity into secure, self-sustaining cities. During humanity’s incarceration the Larthans and the Veryn’Kah fought off residual effects from the blight. The Endarkened.

Sadly thirty centuries wasn’t enough time. The universe decided humanity has to be the ones to save themselves. Us in the Royal Protectorate understand fully what it means to bear the sins of others. I once hated this organization with a passion but now I know the truth. We have a lot to clean up after. This isn’t a god’s mess. . .this is ours and we don’t need a miracle or a holy debt to fix it.

“We protect the innocent; we save the lost and forgive them of their transgressions; we fight darkness to see the dawn; we are the Royal Protectorate.”

sa;bdry

The Creators of Fate: Humanity

I walk among statues of the people I swore I’d defend. They all stare at the center of the city, the Citadel of Lost Dreams. A group of cloaked men walk to the entrance but stop to look at me. One of them in the back touches their shoulders making them collapse lifelessly. Shadows cover his face and still I could see his eyes. In his eyes radiates a white, illuminated fury.

When a darkness manifests from our hearts
Into existence it’s a blight of the World Tree.
We tried living on green plains and to be free
But we burned it all away. The story repeats.

Twelve blights forsake the roots fighting to live
Among desiccation. We only take and never give.

So will you change before it’s too late?

sink
It takes just one act to change everything. . .

The Grand Judge v. Desnei

A man who lost his life and turned into something called the Grand Judge had a very rough existence. He never knew his parents due to a terrorism attack at the hospital he was born. The government discarded him into an orphanage with no funding until a wealthy couple adopted him. They treated him more like a slave than a kid by never giving him an education.

Ultimately an elderly butler taught the kid to read. They spent hours talking about the glorious world out there. One day the adoptive father fired the man for what he did. The man asked to adopt the kid because this wasn’t right for them to do. After consideration he accepted the offer at a considerable monetary cost.

They walked across town to a house on the outskirts. He taught the kid a lot but his health kept declining. A sickness crept in and robbed the kind man of his life. Eventually the government took custody again sending him into the military as a child soldier. This one journey in life taught so much pain and hate to an already hurt human.

He hung himself. . .

Desnei met a lot of tragedy as well. He never took his own life but life tortured him in so many ways. Many of the events that lead Desnei into the darkest side of his world create the series Rise of the First Blight. He lives in a world created by the Grand Judge (after he lost his humanity by playing god for millions of years).

Desnei is the last hope for the Grand Judge to finally change his heart. . .


“Treacherous burner of the tapestry of fate,
I spent eons creating a perfect civilization
Where pain doesn’t exist. Only destruction
Followed their births. All the suffering I hate.

Why would you forsake my final grand plan?
With a single thought I could start over again.”

“What do you have to hate? The tears and blood
We spill have nothing to do with you. If your flood
Clears the slate we won’t vanish from where we stood.

Each civilization you destroyed remains within.
What are you running from? It cannot be us all.”

“I’m no god. I was just a man that gave up.
When I was given a choice I just ran far away
And the choice caught me. Given my wish
Because I must learn of something new.”

“Maybe that life isn’t something you can choose.
Life has been and will be. Are you afraid to lose?”

“I already lost. A cruel world where I didn’t belong
Lost me with a little rope. The world was so wrong.”

“I pity you. Did no one ever show you a little heart from the start?”

sa;bdry

Where the Mists Began

The Mists, what is it? I guess the material that makes up consciousness. It’s something constantly changing but represents the concept of self. The self is not a certainty. People find who they are through their experiences. A blank canvas represents the Mists and life’s experiences represent the colors of paint on a palette. What they paint; what they become doesn’t matter as long as they live.

I thought of the Mists because I’ve always questioned bloodshed over beliefs. Many times beliefs weren’t at fault but used by others with bigger agendas. But what of the ones who believed in what they did? It’d be very cruel if one set of beliefs held credibility while others didn’t. Without certainty I created the concept of the Mists to move people from a narrow mindedness. Will others follow? Probably not. The contingency of humanity doesn’t gain much from working together against those with bigger agendas. They’re better off believing everything they’ve been told because they’d lose a lot of their comforts. I can spout ideals all my life yet get nowhere with my dedication. Selfishness will undoubtedly lead humanity towards a pinnacle moment where survival and luxury collide.

At that point the Mists took on a new direction as the basis of a fictional story. During my leisure time throughout my high school day I fleshed out the tale. A tragic hero named Desnei conquered death only to find himself cleaning up the mess of a world teetering upon its destruction. His world mirrors the real world in some respects to humanity and how we too teeter upon our destruction. Through his efforts Desnei saved his world some time after sacrificing himself. Without going into too much detail he originally lived during a time where four major cities vied for supremacy despite on paper being united by a World Government.

Two of the cities openly assaulted each other causing many mass exoduses during their hostility. Desnei attempted fleeing with his fiance with a military caravan. They discovered the opposing regiment sent out genetically altered humans after the caravan. Either him or his fiance had to assist a few soldiers in distracting the enemy. Chivalrously Desnei accepted the task and promised he wouldn’t die there. The thing about promises is we sometimes can’t keep them because every step forward has a risk. A risk that we turn and run, we try and fail, or we win this bet. He died.

The Mists welcomed the young man’s consciousness as his body stopped functioning. A question he often struggled with in life displayed itself in a way he could easily relate to. Run away or face the truth? Many humans find themselves caught between these two routes. It’s easy living in one’s limited view of life but harder learning from the views of others. Although the choice decided during life might not be the best in death there’s another chance. Is one path right or wrong? Not entirely. People advance at their own pace. A closed-off view will be safer than exploring the unknown. Taking the step from safety towards uncertainty must be directed by the person living the life no matter how much time might be spent. Desnei stated a great response towards himself at this time:

“You have lived your life and died by a choice to help another live one more day. Will you live on believing everything is alright or face that you’re dead without her? It hurts, yeah it should. You’re upset for obvious reasons but a choice must be made. Look forward instead of behind.”

Ultimately he accepted the reality. The place he entered contained trillions of other consciousnesses existing. Some were good and some were bad. Others told him about the layout of the Mists, the rulers of certain isles, the Fog of Lethe, and so many remarkable things he never believed in. Desnei decided he’d set off towards the nearest ruler named Rintaen but discovered true unrest in the Mists. A large squirmish between men and men with wings erupted over trivial matters. After he made landfall one of the men with wings promptly tossed Desnei and his raft back into the Mists. Unsure what he messed up Desnei drifted between that isle and another until a mysterious man appeared. Kronos.

They talked about the Mists for a long time. Kronos explained that the isles share names with writings from multiple faiths. The two isles nearby deemed Heaven and Hell may have similarities with their religious equivalents but they aren’t the same. This Kronos convinced Desnei that he ferried separated lovers from these isles back together at a cost. Desnei asked him if love could bridge a way back to the real world. Kronos replied:

“Of course love can make that a desire but payment is the means by which I can reunite you with your loved one. I often gather small memories from those seeking love but you’d sacrifice much more. I can’t take all your memories or I’d release a monster into existence. What to do. . .oh wait, a deal that only the living could do. Us figments of the Mist don’t truly exist and because of that we can never enter where you came from. Let me use you for my bidding. I’ll smuggle you to a place where hope doesn’t exist so you can do what’s impossible there. Revive yourself.

If you can’t I’ll bring you back here. She’ll die eventually then you’ll both be reunited and I’ll take a few unnecessary memories. What do you have to lose? Desnei think about what could be done if you returned. You probably wonder others never returned but that’s because I didn’t exist back then. A certain difference in the combined consciousness conjured me. So, what would you do with your renewed life?”
“Cherish every second. I’ll do it.”

That single choice started Desnei down an entirely different route than if he waited. This is what the Rise of the First Blight teaches people. We’re all humans trying our best but sometimes we make foolish choices. Good or bad doesn’t matter because life can become very confusing with all the differing variables. The journey he began here will open a new way for many others, a new set of variables. As a story Rise of the First Blight can be described as daunting for it’s meant to be something that reminds humanity about who we are.

sa;bdry

A Wretched Tale: The Darkest Night

I grabbed the dual berettas and walked towards the beasts. They clawed at my face as I kicked them back. I crushed one of their necks with my foot. The dark blood oozed out from its mouth. More of those beasts raced towards me.

They pushed me down and gnashed at my flesh. The darkness in their making seeped into my veins. Memories from the souls obliterated by them clouded my thoughts. I screamed because I once knew those faces as friends.

My blood sloshed onto marble floor. The beasts carved to the bones in my limbs. They ignored the meat and reveled in my suffering. Oddly my thoughts weren’t on saving my life but the absurdities in this life.

Fear chained me from ever taking action. I never trusted anyone because they could hurt me. They weren’t these demons but they scared me to the core. What if I failed them? They’d abandon me without a second thought. All those frightened souls looking for a reason to stay.

We walked away from each other. When the demons arrived we ran from our friends in need. The concept of survival destroyed everything we created together with a single strike. I stubbornly accepted that as the only way but they needed me. What good is living if you’re alone?

I never meant for the love we shared to someday die. This tragedy stoked the dying fire left in our memories. I grabbed one of the demons and tossed it against a wall. My arms trembled from the pain but I used the berettas tearing a way through the pack.

They watched me and slowly advanced. Their warfare tactics pushed me into a corner where I propped me body up. I unloaded on their front line, propelled myself through the formation, chomped on one of their necks and drank the demon’s blood, and suddenly my vision went black. . .

My body banished my mind from control. I joked around with my thoughts during the whole entire time. I shunned myself for drinking tainted blood but knew I would’ve died if I didn’t. The selfish nature I succumbed to will bring its tolls until I’m dead from the weight I carry.

I forced my eyes open to see the horror. Dark blood healed my wounds, my hands grew claws, and I spoke in their tongue. The demons laid decapitated around me and their blood formed a design, a circle split into fourths. Unable to move myself I loosened my grip on my humanity.

Who are you? I am you. The blood holds the memories of others and the demon. When you drank it you accepted us. We are you now. What are you doing? You need to regain control and assume your human form. You’ll die if the demon blood takes over. And how does this fix that? Blood purifying. The afflicted blood makes the symbol, to the left humanity stands, demons haunt the right, and the accumulation of dreams leads the way. Essentially we’ll sacrifice a human, a demon, and a Mistkin for you to live. I DON’T WANT THAT!!! You don’t have a choice, live on for us who reside within. The demon’s chains shattered and our memories don’t want us to die again. Please.

Three near dying beings stood in the circle with me. My demon blood started flowing out of my eyes. The demon and human evaporated into spheres of light cleansing the dark blood. I dropped to my knees because of immense pain. I watched the Mistkin be drained of his blood to save me from blood loss. He absorbed the cleansed blood until the ritual finished. He changed into a being of pure light that spoke.

“Ah, you are the one. The true sinner who stays alive to defend the holy radiance. Born of humanity and bathed in evil. You’ve seen the light from the darkness. A knowledge forbidden because few man are worthy of the sacrifice. To always see the radiance but never reach it. And what is your name Lightbringer?”

“Shadow, a moniker because the real name has been lost.”

Archangel Origins: The Lion’s Awakening ~ Prologue

“The ancient times when steel obelisks stretched towards a blue sky harbored both cathedrals of light and dens of darkness. Many people during that century never noticed the forces in control of their lives. Why would they wish to? A sense of safety was found in the day to day struggles that their social hierarchy created.

After seeing such a system destroy my own world I found myself in a place I can only explain as a requiem. The echoes of every organism endlessly reverberated there. However, an urge pulled me deeper into the sound until I could distinguish between the moments in time. I stayed there watching a trillion separate lives unfold. There was something beautiful in the uncertainty, no the randomness, of their lives tossed into an unknown Universe.

I drifted among that pseudo-space of consciousness for what felt like an eternity. Memories from great scientists, selfless priests, honorable men, and noble leaders demonstrated how beautiful the outcome of life could be. Their deeds inspired me greatly.

I finally realized I wasn’t in control of my drifting between memories. A force comparable to the pulling of tides moved me further through the pseudo-space. I stayed patient and opened my heart for the memories ahead. My thoughts centered around them instead of myself. I even forgot about my own life for a while there. That sudden release of identity never frightened me, never created hysteria, and never felt wrong. The feeling must be explained as nostalgic because there exists a point in every life where memories don’t exist.

Remembering now the life I lived had many struggles but I never stopped reaching higher. I never made it to my unrealistic goals and continued on until the day a war destroyed my planet. It was my home. Like a fairy tale the planet garnished something quite miraculous for such a short time. I’ve never loathed the end of any great tale because all good things must end someday. In truth my past stopped mattering when my death catapulted me from my materialistic universe into this pseudo-space.

Fate, the best name for the force that moved me, led me into a darkness. The number of memories here greatly diminished compared to the bright place I was earlier. I watched very dark memories taint other memories with malign intentions. Suddenly a large burst of energy knocked me away from that area to another.

I landed on my back upon a cobblestone path. My eyes affixed towards the pseudo-space above as I coughed from the hard landing. I sat there confused and watched the dark and bright memories violently clash overhead. Something about this frightened me more than the super nuclear weapon that destroyed my entire planet. My body shivered from the fear but I forced myself onto my feet.

This is where my story begins. . .at the end of my life.”

sa;bdry

Of These Passing Stars; Part VI

“The experiments conclude that there is no easy way to balance the two energies within you. We really should find an alchemist with the knowledge about the Marks of the Forsaken Brothers. More specifically we are after disciples of Pan and Karthentrex. The intelligence branch sent me details on a lead north of Dragacia. Do you have anything left to do in the capital?” the doctor taps his foot and anxiously glances at the door.

“One thing. This needs to be off the records though. My sources spotted Ariex, my brother, and arranged a meeting. He worked with alchemists of the sect we need. If you want I can go by myself.”

“No. My duty is to watch you . Even if we raided a garrison I’d have to be your accomplice because the High General hates loose ends. Screw him but I have my orders.”

“Damn. I’ll be ready in a second Raejak just get the one device I’ve seen you used to sneak out.”

“I know not what you speak about Synji. I’m a good medical doctor of the Royal Protectorate who respects the Mist Ban.”
“And we totally aren’t the only regiment who uses Mist Alchemists. The taboo is stupid and everyone knows that. Society uses the alchemists unjustly to hide the true issues we face. My brother left the Royal Protectorate for that reason. I envy his strength for walking away from what’s wrong.”

Raejak tosses his arms up then walks into the other room. A few books fall to the ground. He curses the realm of physics for scheming against him since the day he learned about the Mists. He tosses a little metal orb with engravings all over its surface. I glance at the surface and realize there is a map of the capital on it.

“Synji where do we need to head? Also grab my shirt because I don’t think you’ll want to walk there.”

“District Nine.”

He turns the orb until he finds the place. A ray of light emerges from a hole and touches Raejak’s eye. The light thickens up until his eye can’t be seen. Suddenly light rays shoot off from the first one then crisscrosses around Raejak and me. I get all dizzy but hold tightly to Raejak’s sleeve like an anchor.

We appear in a filling bathtub with two naked men in it. Me and Raejak stare at each other for a few seconds. One of the men gets all angry while the other hides his junk with his hand. We start laughing uncontrollably. The angry man punches Raejak in the face making him fall out of the tub.

I get out and grab Raejak by the leg then pull him to the door. The two men keep watching us. We both put our index fingers over our mouths and shush them. When we get out of their house we begin laughing again. Strangers give us mean glances. Raejak finally stands up and I pat his back.

“The town never changes. We get looked at like some disreputable vagabonds. Decades of isolationism but society is the same. It is a wondrous quandary!” exclaims Raejak.

“Raejak, shut up. These people have been controlled by things they barely question. We have competitive sports, competitive politics, competitive jobs, competitive beliefs, and competitive everything. They wouldn’t realize equality and respect if they slapped them in the face.” I grab a cigarette and light it.

“What’s your proof?”

“Look over there. A crime scene where someone got shot. There is an angry crowd standing over there blaming injustice. It isn’t that and they should know that. History says there was a time when people didn’t even have to mass together to express how they felt. We have lived in the same world for centuries. They have much to be happy about but no they all want to extrapolate the situation for their egos. Kind of tragic if you ask me.” I puff out a cloud of smoke.

“You have a point. I just wonder how others see it. Do they truly believe they’re right or were they never taught to think? Education is the first step towards leading a better life. The education system keeps getting worse. Less free thinking and more memorization. All the schools do is perpetuate the problems. Some good teachers still try but the majority just do what they’re told. When in war for us soldiers we must follow our general’s orders no matter what. If we don’t we are labeled deserters. And if we follow the orders and it creates a travesty we’re labeled tyrants. Both things are wrong but society gets to dictate what’s right or wrong.”

“People need to just walk away. Follow your heart and if you’re wrong accept it then move on. And if it gets too hard take a nap. Everything will be better when you awake.”

“I’m not sure laziness is what we need.”

“Would you rather be a lazy bum or someone who only does what he is told?”

“Valid point King of Sloth. Well go find your brother I’m going to drink this bottle of wine and take a nap. Use the code phrase to wake me up.”

“What code!?!”

“The High General’s wife is a slut.”

“Really? That’s the code? Fine! Just don’t go into the brothel because I’m not pulling you out of that diseased cesspool.”

“Probably was caused by the High General’s wife.”

“You don’t like him do you?”

“Fuck you. Go talk to Ariex and remember the code. It’ll save your life.”

sa;bdry

Of These Passing Stars; Part IV

     A howl breaking through the membranes that divide mind and heart leaves a fissure within. Every thought of self seems even less real. They vanish into the fissure. No way to be led back to the correct path if there ever was one to begin with. And the truth stands perpetually like a pagan monument built on hallowed ground.

     I realize the thoughts in my head don’t justify a thing. The truth will be even if every soul is deleted. Who am I to question it? All I can do is try my best at living. The howl returns me from the open space inside. My mind must calculate and my heart must will. If they do anything else I will lose this battle.

     The beast dashes at me once more with gnashing fangs. I cross my blades right before the impact connects. A shock wave of force runs through the blades and into my bones. I grunt from the pain then realize the beast just standing in front of me.

     “Why does it have armor?” I say the most obscure thought in my head making the entire regiment laugh.

     I remove my plate armor and taunt the beast. It charges at me but I jump over the attempt. The alchemists’ summon a magical barrier before it went any further. A staggering opponent unaware of me above aiming my blades for his eyes. It howls once more causing the barrier to crack.

     The sergeant stands in front of the alchemists as a secondary barrier if the first falls. This is always harder with others. After I lost the only two families I ever had I’m cold to his selfless gesture. Novice alchemists can’t withstand the shear strength of the demons I fight. Well gravity will be the determining factor here. The beast lashes out with its arms shattering the barrier. Crystallized shards of mist fire off in every direction.

     I slam the blades into the beast’s neck and push it backwards. Dark mist spews from the wounds. My chest starts burning when the dark mist engulfs the whole field. I tear my shirt off and feel the mark left there years ago from a lover. Memories about her I chose to forget return because the darkness feeds an inner fire I wish to put out.

     “Poor old Niteblade abandoned by everyone he cares about. Unable to see what was in front of you you accepted one of us. Was it the face of your lover that made you blind? Did you not see the corpses, smell the decay, watch friends kill each other with their ravenous lust, and see your lover leading that dark covenant?” a sinister voice emerges.

     “I saw everything. She lost her way and so did others. But that woman wasn’t my lover. She was one of you, the Endarkened.”

     “Is that what you call us? We are the Illuminated. Life hurts some people really badly. The Mists have been altered and now the strong emotions people catalyzes an extreme reaction. Complete soul removal. The human must be a willing party for us to be created. But there is another way if an emotional bond ties a human to an Illuminated. You gave into the desires of flesh and desecrated yourself.”

     “Yeah. I’m a human we make mistakes sometimes small and sometimes big. We will screw up but we can learn. Can your kind learn anything more than your patron sin? Pride.”

     “You could tell? I can’t say if we know our potential when we are hunted like beasts. Ask your superiors who imprisoned the Seven Kings and altered the Mists. But what do you care? All you know is orders like we know sin. We both don’t understand why we exist.”

     “I don’t feel for you. The fact I can relate makes me want to kill you more. I’ll check into your lead though and lay to rest every corpse you tainted in your wake.”

     “Thank you. I don’t like living if it means I erase everything around me. But I can’t surrender without a fight. My patron sin says more terrible things and you’ll never hear it. Why? Your friend who stood in the way of those alchemists. He’ll never be able to return to battle even if he lives. Such a selfless act refutes my existence.”

     “Your execution comes from the Spear made from the light of hope. Searing through the damnation until only humanity remains. The word of God is lost yet morality never dies. It is in all of us to stand upright no matter how much we fall. Without holy text we can still see the way. Defiled hearts must be cleansed by the surging waters of hope and change.”

     “Beautifully resolute. You have admirable qualities but lack many things. I won’t pretend that I can persuade you to sin. Death is the answer then I’ll snatch your soul. Lowly beings such as yourself make lovely pawns.” Pride snickers at my belief and humanity.

     I reach for my blade while listening to the wind for Pride’s movements. The darkness parts, I shove my blade into the opening, and see red blood spew out. I stumble back fearing my action. A laugh trails from multiple places in the darkness. Blood on me dissipates into the darkness. Thoughts pile up in my head making it even harder to see the difference between illusions and reality.

     I feel with my left foot. My boot hits the hilt of my other sword. I kick up the blade and grab it. Something feels weird. The weight is off. It transforms into a spike and pushes into my palm. My mark reacts violently. Blood turns black and crystallizes into a blade. I feel my mind slipping underneath the taint.

     The blade absorbs the darkness. Pride stares at me with a smug gaze. He rushes me biting and clawing like a wild beast. My flesh begins to crack and memories begin shattering. I struggle to find any light within me. Everything goes black but I can still hear my thoughts.

     Stop the darkness, I must. EMBRACE IT!!! No, I can’t. My life h as to remain. I’ve seen too much. REST FOR A WHILE. . .no. If I let you win I’ll never be safe inside. Isn’t that overrated? Very much so. Then why? I must make right the past. You can’t. I know that. Why then? To protect my new friends.

     Light pours from the cracks. I stand up in a beam of sunlight. The blade that is my right hand dissolves the darkness within. Sunshine fills the crystalline blade. Pride backs away with fear then starts laughing. I dash at him but his claws deflect my attack.

     “Did you really think light could. . .” Pride’s claw fades away into the sunlight.

     I push him back to the edge of the forest clearing. A giant oak stands between him and escape. I say a prayer under my breath and shatter the crystalline blade into four shards. Each shard flies into the beast. Two shards pierce his shoulders, one digs into his heart, and the last enters his head through the right eye. The beast disintegrates into sparkling sunlight and I fall to my knees.

     The alchemists come over and place their hands on my shoulders. I hear the lieutenant crawling over. Brothers sitting in the aftermath of a battle. The stench of blood lingers in the air. Three brothers lay lifelessly on the ground. Tears drip from our eyes. We know it is our fault death welcomes them. Strength defines the result.

     “I wasn’t strong enough to save them. Lieutenant you can’t even stand up now. The horses ran off and I’m too weak to carry you to the nearest town. I’m your general but I can’t do more than when I was a nameless soldier. I should relinquish my position.” I lament on the truth of these events.

     “Kid, you are fit to be a general for saying that. General Niteblade thank you for saving our lives. And we are sorry that you must overcome that curse for us. If you turned we would’ve all died. But you overcame it. What is a few broken bones, gouges, and blood? Nothing compared to that curse. What matters is we are alive.” the Lieutenant adds from an adrenaline high.

     “Who can still stand?” I yell at the remaining soldiers who all yell back.

     “General let us alchemists lead them. The town must be burned down. If he was wandering that only means he ran out of livestock. Anything else?” the taller alchemist pats my back.

     “Bring the bodies here. I promise to lay them all to rest. They aren’t easily erased like our superiors think. One lonely regiment tucking a scary truth away from the public’s eyes. But we still have things we must do. Leave me here though. I have to finish that prayer for it.” I give the best orders I can with Pride’s essence merging into the mark.

In the encompassing light we walk

Through the straits of sin and talk.

Choices make the path. Undeterred,

We continue our journey. What we feared

Will soon burn away in the light.

Beings of stardust who think they’re right.

Our lies will burn away

Leaving nothing but ash.

Humanity is nothing divine

Nor will it ever be. Wine
Should be drank and bread shared.

Not taught or learned just shared.

There is darkness and light. Day and night,

The movement of celestial bodies around stars,

Give birth to the duality that leaves scars.

Rest in the light of dead stars and bask in daylight.
sa;bdry