"Kai will be the hand of destruction as Kai was in the past and will be in each cycle of time."
The words spurred me to consciousness. At first I thought was that I was back on Water, but I could not smell the ocean. Not to mention the LEXX had destroyed Water only minutes after destroying Fire. The décor of the chamber I was in did not match my memories of Water although it seemed vaguely familiar.
"You finally decided to wake up I see." The voice was familiar. I turned my head to find myself staring into familiar hazel eyes. They were my own, but not my face. The man I faced was much older. The thick gray hair streaked with strands of black so deep they seemed blue fell loose around slim shoulders and was longer even than my own. It was like looking in a mirror and seeing my reflection, only as a middle aged man.
I stood up and took a moment to survey the chamber "Where am I? The last thing I can clearly remember is lying on my back, thinking to myself not again. It seems I should know this place, and you."
"You are in the Other Zone, and I am Kai. I know it makes no sense to you right now but soon it will. I am you and you are me. I'm here to help you adjust and discover who you really are."
"Then I am finally dead?"
"You are and you are not. Your physical body is dead. Your spirit and soul have been reunited into one again. Your spirit is attached to your mortal body, your soul is something else, but both are indestructible. Your 'death' freed this combination of spirit and soul to come here to the Other Zone. Now you must purge yourself before we can proceed."
"Purge myself?" I questioned. I had no idea what he meant by this.
"Your spirit has been tainted by the insect essence that enslaved you." He looked at me for several long minutes. "Well, are you just going to stand there looking like you ran out of protoblood?"
It was as if the word itself was the key that unlocked hell. Protoblood, the substance that I had depended on for 'life' for so long, and now it released a flood of memories. The images were overwhelming; blood, death and horror surged through my mind. I collapsed to my knees and struggled for control as shame and self-loathing washed over me. I had been responsible for so much pain. How many lives did I destroy over the centuries?
"No you must let them come, Kai. You must face all those who died by your hand. Don't fight it." A new voice this time, one I recognized immediately. The voice of Vlad, the Divine Executioner sent to destroy me. The Divine Executioner who would have destroyed me if not for Stanley Tweedle. The last time I faced her it was as a Divine Assassin and fear was just a word I could define. This time it was different, I felt fear add its own crippling force to my already uncontrollable emotions.
"Listen to her. It is the process of purging yourself. You must face your victims and accept the death you dealt as weapon of His Shadow. The harder you fight against it, the more painful it will be." The elder Kai's voice penetrated my seething emotions. "You are a warrior. A warrior faces both his triumphs and his shame with equal courage, anything less is an insult to those who have gone before. You are also more than just a warrior. Now stop dishonoring yourself, your name and your people and embrace your purging with courage." The last was said in a sharp tone that allowed no defiance.
Once I stopped fighting the memories the emotional turmoil eased. It seemed an eternity passed as the faces came and went leaving me facing one small child. How well I remembered her. I remembered her screams of fear as she watched both of her parents painfully die by my hand. I remembered her screams of pain as my brace tore into her innocent flesh taking her life also. And I remembered the order that drove me to such depravity. Not just to kill, but to terrorize and torture a young family of heretics. None were to be spared or shown mercy, not even this small helpless child. She was a part of the most shameful order I ever received in the 2000 years I served His Shadow and yet she stood there and smiled at me.
"I cannot tell you that we forgive you because there is nothing to forgive. It was never your choice. It was the orders of His Shadow. I can tell you that we do not blame you." She stepped closer to me and wound her tiny arms around my neck, "Go forward now and be at peace with yourself, Kai. We will leave you and take with us the shame and guilt. It is not your burden to bear."
I felt peace wash over me I realized that I had not felt 'clean' for a very long time. Even though Divine Assassins do not feel as such; I realized that we did suffer the weight of our actions, it was just closed off from our minds. At that moment I realized that I was still held in an embrace, not a child's but a woman's. I opened my eyes to find Vlad looking down at me with concern. Vlad was displaying concern for me? "Do you understand Kai? They know where the blame lies."
I thought for a moment, "Yes. It was never me who did any of those things. It was His Shadow working through me." In the same instant I realized that Vlad had been as helpless against her orders as I had been against mine. "I also know that I cannot blame you. You were also a tool of His Shadow." I was not prepared for Vlad's smile of understanding. She stood urging me to my feet at the same time. As I stood I noticed many more like the two of us, undead weapons of His Divine Shadow kneeling or laying on the ground writhing in what appeared to be pain.
"We must all go through the Purging. Here in this chamber is all the collected emotions; fear, anger, hatred and guilt carried by Assassins and Executioners over the ages." She pointed to the ceiling of the room which was a swirling mass of energy. "When all have been purged it will go where it belongs, to His Shadow.
Just as you as an assassin had to face your victims, so must I face mine. It is my task now to comfort and assist those I hunted to purge and in return gain my own forgiveness. For you it is over, your forgiveness is one step closer to my own freedom. There are more that I must assist before I am ultimately freed. Goodbye Kai." I felt her lips brush my cheek before she turned and walked away to kneel by another.
"I would ask if she poked her victim's eyes out with that hairdo but yours is not much better nor are the clothes. Both are the mark of a coward." The elder Kai distastefully nodded towards my now brightly colored Brunnen G attire. "This is the style that was favored by those who lost their way, who welcomed death without a fight. They rejected the honor of being Brunnen G. Only a handful of Newborns who died when Brunnis 2 was destroyed were accepted by their ancestors in The Dream Zone."The elder Kai was offering me a plain tunic and trousers similar what he was wearing. "Get changed and comb out your hair. Warriors normally wear their hair loose unless they are going into battle. When you are ready, we will begin."