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To Kill a God
By Will Hiles
© 2005 Wm Hiles
The command issues from the darkness and echoes
between the marble columns in the Great Hall of Fortress
Arachnos. Approaching footsteps, the rustle of cloth—the
cloaked seer stands bowed before the dais.
She kneels, ignoring the small brown spiders that skitter across the stone floor; “My Lord?”
A gloved hand curls away from a face locked by iron,
etched by shadows; two embers appear, erupting with cold fire. He
dismisses the Arbiters standing watch at his side.
“Your prophecy remains clouded.” The voice is deep. Annoyed.
“All visions, my Lord, are subject to the vagaries of fate. This is…no common foe.”
“There is no fate but that which I command. I shall proceed as planned. Leave.”
“My Lord.” The seer bows in retreat.
He again contemplates the word.
Goddess of Retribution. Of Just Punishment.
The word has an undeniable intimacy. He savors the
familiarity, rolls it around his tongue like wine. A bitter vintage.
Rising from his webbed throne—a malevolent arachnid waking—he lifts his face to the unseen sky.
One to the other, down through the ages, Marcus: You and I shackled together in a battle only one shall win.
Through gritted teeth he calls out to the high darkness:
His mouth fills with the rust of ancient blood.
He stands before the massive arched windows
overlooking the storm-tossed Atlantic. A flash of lightning; his
own watery image stares back at him for an instant—burned on his
eyes. Thunder rumbles hollow through the fortress.
An old memory intrudes; faint; vaguely disturbing.
Had we once been friends? Amici?
Or was it merely a chance meeting of two tortured
souls groping for meaning midst the carnage and horror of the Great
War? Even then we shared differing views. Oh, we agreed on
the madness and the waste. But still you managed to dredge up a
glimmer of nobility—if only to ease your own pain. You
propped up those moldering corpses of freedom and liberty.
The alternative, you said, was the triumph of evil.
I said it was a word to frighten children. True evil is allowing
the weak-minded to run the world; to allow millions of brave young men
to be slaughtered in the name of empty ideals. The world is a
charnel house and only the strong deserve to lead, to survive, to
restore order. Others have tried. Attila. Genghis Khan.
Charlemagne. Napoleon. Mussolini showed promise, but he became a
clown; Pagliaccio with the
soul of a common criminal. They all sought to eradicate the
illness that continues to cripple humanity. Your notions of liberty and
freedom have only perpetuated the old sickness—coddled it,
protected it, nurtured it. I seek to obliterate them forever.
No, not even then…
He feels her presence like icy smoke; a curious
mixture of anticipation and sorrow follows as she draws near.
He speaks without turning, thoughts energized by the
maelstrom beyond. “These isles…racked by storms,
surrounded by deadly currents, haunted by the souls of murderers and
thieves. Bermuda Triangle, indeed. Now a dagger poised at the throat of
my greatest enemy. And not even he can touch me here. How ironic.
The laws we seek to destroy now protect us.”
Flashes of lightning invoke her emerging
reflection—stark beauty as pale as moonlight; eyes empty as
“My Lord,” Ghost Widow says softly. “What kind of man is this States--?”
He silences her. Fury rising, barely contained: “I will not have that name spoken here!”
A momentary lapse. Calmly now: “He is a god.”
He senses her fear and confusion. He laughs, mirthless and funereal.
He reaches out to her bone-white hair—his
fingers pass as if through frigid water. “Marcus is cursed with
the powers and ideals of an old god.” He nods slowly. “Yes,
I make war on a god. We stand again on sacred ground, girded for
combat. Is this not a war worth fighting? Worth winning?”
Ghost Widow shudders at his touch, his words. “How can you defeat a god?”
He turns to the window. “Like all gods they
have their weaknesses. He has his false ideals, his righteous belief in
goodness and justice. He has his pride. Without them, he is
nothing. Without him, the mewling masses, the weak, the so-called guardians of freedom, are nothing.”
“This is your destiny?”
“Yes.” Lord Recluse answers, his gloved hands becoming fists. “My destiny. Per uccidere un dio.”
To kill a god.
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