Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Night Before

I was awoken in the night by the sound of steel boots on a stone floor. Dragoneyes didn't need to make that sound. Steel and stone were his to command, and they would be silent if he willed it. But will it he did not. Perhaps he wished to give me some warning, however slight, before his arrival.
"Amniel," he said. "I am a Destroyer. I am a nightmare, a greater one than Koteph. I have butchered so many... I need to stop. I need to finish this, and learn what I must learn."
I didn't know how to respond to my friend's confession.
"Tomorrow. I will fight Koteph. It will be our last fight. And, if I win, I want you to stab me in the heart."
"Why? Why would I do that. You don't need to die-"
"I won't die. I don't expect to at least. But after tomorrow, the world will have no use for me. No need for me. Unless I can become their savior. If I die... so be it. But if, as I watch death close in around me, I gain the power I need over it... I would end all of human suffering. All the flaws and weakness the Shapers imposed upon us, I could remove. For that, I will risk my own life."
"Do you think this will work?"
"I can see many things, Amniel, but the future isn't one of them."
"Why does it have to be me. I don't want to stab you, why must it be me?"
"Because I trust you."
It took me a moment to understand his meaning. After I stabbed him, he would lay in the dirt, bleeding, hoping for a True Name to come to him. He would be vulnerable. He would be open to attack. And I was the only person he trusted not to-
"You think anyone else would kill you."
"I think there is a risk. There are many who would fear the future I bring."
"I fear the future you bring."
"I know. But I can see into your heart. I know you would not betray a friend."
I thought about my sister's prediction, when Dragoneyes lay wounded after an early fight with Koteph. That we would never again have the chance to end his life. But now my friend was offering me that very chance. What did it mean?
Dragoneyes spoke a word, and handed me a knife. "We both need rest," he said.

It isn't exactly easy to go back to sleep after your friend wakes you up asking you to kill him and make him a god. I tossed and turned. This was a huge responsibility. The fate of all men rested on my actions. I never wanted that. I never asked for that. I wanted to be an academic sorcerer, study complicated spells that nobody would ever understand. I didn't want to do... this.
I tossed and turned for hours. What would Dragoneyes do with this power? Should I try to get a healing potion, just in case? Should I let him die? Should I kill him? I didn't know. And, somehow, I went to sleep. Pondering the future of mankind is tiring.

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