Justice and Vengeance, Monsters and Fire

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

A story of anger.

Anger is no emotion, anger is a parasite.


Anger is a tick that buries itself deep in the souls and minds of men. It clenches its jaws on the body, drinking deep the blood of life. It grows larger, and larger, and larger still. Anger does not stop growing, for it needn’t give up the host. The host is willing — nay, happy — to give its life to its new master. The abomination grows and grows and grows, its spined carapace pushing ever outward in the heart and brain. Tendrils worm their way into the most guarded places of the being; pounding against whatever pieces of tattered humanity might remain until those too become fuel for its conquest. There cannot be compassion, there is hate. There cannot be humor, there is pain. There cannot be love, there is rage. There cannot be life, there is death.

In the end, anger is no longer felt. The person to feel the anger has long departed.

There cannot be a person, there is anger.


I was six-and-ten.


I came to this world in Leafsong, a town of Tevea. One cannot forget the first time that arcane sparks play across the fingertips. For me, I was born a mage. Mother would always tell me that I had an amazing smile — it reminded her of the sun’s first glow on the horizon. Spellcraft was my love; magic was the blood in my veins and the warmth on my skin. Magic carried a certain warmth, no matter the kind. Whether it be turning the family dog into a small dragon — an accident, of course — or creating fire and lights to dazzle an audience, magic felt as spice tastes. I smiled so much then, feeling the sun flow through me when I made my arcane mark upon the world. Where I was the sun, my sister was the moon, as her dances carried the mysteries of the night. One could also call her a singer, but that would be a lie; she did not sing. When her lips parted, she did not sing, she simply retold the oldest story imaginable: the melody of the stars, the harmony of the universe, and the tune of all creation. Our parents felt blessed with us, and we felt blessed with the world.


She was four-and-ten.


Kuskan, you may know of it. A cold place, a harsh place. Kuskan and Tevea have been locked in war for as long as the rulers of both nations have been mad. The reason for the conflict has been long lost, and the blood of the new covers the blood of the old, a glowing crimson pool that only grows deeper with the hatred of both nations.


It was three-and-ten years ago.


Leafsong is a border village. Oftentimes we would hear of the war from squat criers who clambered for presence in the village square. Greasy fingers grasping tragically clean parchment, a soulless voice telling news of unknowable victories, we did not think much of it.


There were four of them.


The night is not blue, nor black, nor prismatic. The color of night is sanguine. A night’s beauty betrays nothing of its ferocity. My sister had told the tales of harmony and body, I had bested a fellow mage in a game of illusion. We slept with wide grins, but it was not long before the world of the living claimed us. I cannot remember what woke me; it may have been the screams, it may have been the proud shouting, it may have been the smoke rising from the ashes of my world.

My sister’s bed was empty, my mother was gone, and my father dragged me from the home that had now become a burning grave. Kuskan soldiers passed us by as we trudged our living shells through the carnage of the village, their hearts swelling with blighted ardent glory. The night passed, ignorant — or perhaps indifferent — to the hell it had hosted. Time did not stop for me, and morning came.


There were three of us.


Mother was gone. Father had no words. Sister had no song. They carried on as the morning did, living with the inexorable flow of time. Father grew distant and grey-faced, his love for the world torn from him by Kuskan men. I knew not what they did, but sister’s lips did not part to sing again, her body no longer moved with the dance of life. Their eyes sank, and the beating of their hearts became grudging.


Where they met ice, I found fire.


The magic that flowed through me never again had sun-like warmth. Instead, the arcane prowess coursing in my skin felt like fire. I stood up where they stood down. Hideous hellfire rose from the earth to become one with my being, and the shattered shards of the broken heavens became swords to wield in my grip. What they had wrought, upon my family and so many others, deserved retribution. My purpose then was clear: justice. I felt I was giving a voice to the voiceless, I felt I was giving might to the weak. The taste of spice did not hold on my tongue, the warmth of love did not fill my heart; the passion for discovery was lost in the depths of my mind.

There was only vengeance.


Men were only flesh.


I rose quickly in the military. Those with talent in both spell and sword were highly sought after. Before, I carved sigils in wood to mark my prowess. Now, I carved wicked patterns in skin. Those who did not fall to my blade fell to my flame. In Leafsong, I was known for my illusion magic. In the ranks, I was known for the terrible fire I could conjure from the depths of my being.

I was known to some as Flamespeaker, but it was a false title. I did not speak for the flames, the flames spoke for me.


There was only hatred.


We were split into teams of four in platoons of sixteen. Kuskan’s border villages were unprotected, ripe for the taking. The guardsmen fell easily, I killed many myself. Rage had taken me long ago; this was a time for it to lash. More blood, more flesh, more death. We came upon a house, the door turned to ash with a snap of my fingers. I stepped in, curved blade gripped tightly in one hand while fire danced across the fingers of my other. Vengeance was mine, the Kuskan mongrels that infested this wooden hole would fall to me, and I would finally have my blood.


There were four of them.


They disgusted me, huddled together, clinging close as though it might halt their demise. A man, a woman, a boy, and a girl. My comrades advanced, so did I. Then, the boy turned to me, eyes wet and dripping, orbs glistening with nothing but sheer terror. In them, I saw myself.


There was nothing of me.


I faltered in my step, boots crunching upon the broken wood of their dwelling. I saw myself in those eyes, and yet, I saw none of me. What was reflected in those eyes was not a child of Leafsong, it was not a young and talented mage, it was not a boy with a smile like the dawn. It was an abomination, a soldier of Tevea fated to break and burn, to rip and tear. There was not a person, there was only anger. I wondered if he would feel the same vengeful rage, when he was killing and raping the people of Tevea.


My sword became heavy, my fire turned cold.


The other soldiers stepped toward the girl; it was a simple matter to cut their throats. I dropped my sword, covered in the blood of my countrymen. I wanted to apologize to them, to say something, to absolve myself of the sins of my life, but I could not. From a hoarse throat I bellowed “hide”, and then I turned, a living shell once more, trudging towards the farthest corner of the world.


There was not a person; there was only a husk.


I remain hollow, I remain empty, I remain dead. Anger took me, and it feasted upon even the last vestiges of what made me a person. I forsook my name, for it meant nothing. Anger had left me completely empty, its parasitic urges lost when it realized I was no longer a fitting host, unwilling to harbor it, unwilling to pass on its twisted sense of purpose.


I am not life, I am death. I am a sunken songbird, and my death knell is my tune. I croak it out in the hopes that someone, anyone will change, and that maybe, just maybe, I will feel love and taste spice once more.

Submitted: November 05, 2014

© Copyright 2021 Gryph0n. All rights reserved.

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