00 Musings of a Murderer 00
Every so often, a murderer shows true remorse for his actions. He awakens to the world, the veils of his own dark illusions being stripped from him until he sees the horror he has wrought by his own hand. Only then can he hope to seek forgiveness for his transgressions.
Sparda couldn't remember the day it actually happened, this awakening. He was sure that some act had triggered it, for that is the way of things. But for the life of him, he couldn't recall a time when he hadn't felt this way.
Looking down at the blood on his hands from the broken body of some wretched mortal, he couldn't shake the feeling that this wasn't how things were supposed to be. This wasn't right, and some part of his soul was telling him he shouldn't be living this way.
Since when did I become a lover of humans?
It bothered him that he didn't have an answer to that. He had hoped that a sacrificial offering to the dark powers controling the Underworld would provide him with the knowledge he needed. But looking down on the twisted limbs hadn't given him any enlightenment. On the contrary, it only confused him further. There was no joy at the defeat of an enemy, and now all he felt was guilt. It was an emotion that he wasn't accustomed to.
Humans were never a challenge for a demon lord such as himself. He took no pleasure from the wanton destruction he could wreak with a sweep of his mighty fist. The youth had come apart in his hands like a broken doll. Limbs popped out of sockets. Screams were drowned in the gurgle of blood and tears of pain. And he kept asking the boy, "Why...? Why...? Why...?"
I do not understand what it is that is making me feel this way. What is it about you that makes me tremble as no devil should ever tremble? What is it inside of you that forces me to stay my hand when I should destroy you? Why do I feel such misery when I kill your kind?
He had ended the torture with a blow to the youth's head. He had meant only to end the pain, but instead destroyed half of the human's face and skull.
Sparda stood looking at the shattered corpse, lamenting the life that he had taken. He hadn't proved anything by killing the mortal. He didn't feel more evil for having taken a life, only disgusted by his brutal actions. He looked down at his hands, steeped in the gore of his victim, and clenched them tight.
I've lost my way.
There was no one he dared to confide in. A devil's life is one lived in solitude, with only so many allies as one could destroy if they turned traitor. Sparda trusted no one, and therefore was allies with no one. Never before had he felt so alone as he did now, staring down at the life he had taken so easilly.
What was he to do?
Lord Mundus desires to take control of the human realm. He requires my services in this endeavor.
It was an honor to be called into service, Sparda reminded himself. He had slaughtered countless people during his life, and demons live many, many years. He was a warrior and a devil. It defied his very nature to sympathize with the humans. It would be best if he got over these weak thoughts, and soon. Tongues were wagging.
He had heard the gossip, the whispers that the Dark Knight Sparda was troubled by something. They knew he no longer enjoyed killing. A devil with a conscience was nearly unheard of. Many would see Sparda's lack of bloodlust as a sign of weakness and use it against him.
His reputation was at stake.
But do I really wish to conform to a lifestyle that flies in the face of my own heart?
With each conquest, he found himself withdrawing further and further from his demonic brethren. He held no love for any of them, but at least a few he could respect. Now that he saw them for the butchers there were, he couldn't even claim to do that.
Sparda bent down and touched the ashen face of the youth he had crushed between his powerful hands. The skin was soft and mushy from pulverized tissue and bone. It had turned the color of bruised fruit, a sort of sickly blackish color smeared with blood. Pale green eyes stared out at nothing. Watery red tears had trickled down his cheeks when the veins in his eyes had ruptured from repeated blows to the side of the head by Sparda's iron-like fist. The thin-lipped mouth hung at an odd angle from a broken jawbone and missing teeth.
My victim was little more than a child.
Sparda growled and reached out a hand as if he meant to put out the corpse's eyes. At the last moment, he laid gentle fingertips against the puffy, blackened lids and drew them down. Were it not for the blood and skull fragments poking through the young man's hair, the dark knight could almost imagine that the boy were only sleeping.
Sparda raised his clawed hands in front of his face and examined them. They were as deadly as the blade strapped to his back. Strong, black skin that was more like armor covered his hands, and his claws could rend flesh to ribbons in seconds.
He bent his face and licked at the blood drying on his palms. The tangy, coppery taste lingered on his tongue for a moment before his stomach rebelled and he vomited to the side. The acid ate into the rocks, leaving small craters. Giving a bellowing roar, he punched his right fist into the ground. Small fissures streaked through the rock where his fist connected.
I've lost my taste for blood and battle. Can I really still claim to be a devil while harboring such pathetic sentiments for mortals?
Yet somehow, the knowledge that he wasn't very devilsih didn't bother him as much as it should have. In a way, he almost felt...relieved.
Sparda wiped the back of his left arm across his lips and rose to his feet. He let his eyes roam the landscape around him.
He was standing in a dusty field with clumps of dry, white grass scattered around the area. In the distance, he could see the cathedral-like structure of Mundus' palace, and his own onyx tower. To the left came the distant roar of a great waterfall of reddish-brown water. Hot wind teased about his ram's horns, and it smelt of sulfur. There was no sun, but an ever-present light source that stretched across the sky that would dim with the fall of "night." This was a barren world, both blistering hot and soul-numbing cold at turn. It was, effectively, Hell. His home.
Everyone knew what became of angels cast out of Heaven. They became the Fallen; beautiful, feather-winged creatures of light that cast no shadows and hungered for the glory they once knew.
But where do devils go when they have been cast out of Hell? Sparda wondered. Certainly not Heaven. That place was reserved only for the good. Even if he weren't of demonic blood, he had done so much evil in his life. Heaven was barred to him, forever. But maybe there was still a chance to do some atonement for his crimes.
Red lightening streaked across the sky. The origin of it was the top of Mundus' palace. Sparda sighed. The Griffon was being dispatched to find him.
Mundus must desire my presence.
It didn't take long for the gigantic, birdlike creature to find him. It landed with a great deal of rising dust and lightening spires escaping into the ground. It clacked it's unusual beak at the dark knight.
"Hail, Lord Sparda," it said in a thunderous voice. "Emperor Mundus requests an audience with you."
"It is as I surmised." Sparda motioned for the Griffon to lower himself a bit. With a short, running jump, the dark knight launched himself into the air and landed on the bird-demon's back. "Let us not keep him waiting." He hesitated but a heartbeat before adding, "There are things I wish to discuss with him."
"Then we shall away," the Griffon replied. It spread its wings to depart, then noticed the dead youth laying beside its foot. "What is that?"
Sparda shifted. "A human."
"What is it doing here in the Underworld?"
Being atop a giant bird-demon's back has its advantages. The Griffon never saw the flash of sorrow that crossed Sparda's face and was gone. "I had a question I needed answered. Killing him seemed to be the best way to find out what I wanted to know."
"Ah. And did you learn your answer?"
A small, calm smile touched Sparda's fanged mouth. "Yes. In the end, I think I did." Then he kicked the Griffon in the sides with his heels. "Enough talk. To the palace, now." His mount made a point to avoid stepping on the body as it took off, but Sparda knew that was only because the Griffon didn't want to fly around with something stuck to its talons.
The land fell away under them as they rose into the sky. Studying the vast, nearly colorless landscape did nothing to endear the place to Sparda.
There is nothing for me in this realm of shadows. I cannot remain as I was, oblivious to the suffering I have caused in the world beyond the darkness, the lives that I have snuffed out of existence. He would tell Mundus that he wasn't going to take part in his little campaign to destroy the mortal world. It wouldn't make up for the lives that had already been taken, but no more would die by his hand. Of that, I swear upon my honor.
The palace was drawingcloser with every beat of the Girffon's oversized wings. Destiny was drawing closer.
00 The End 00