Chapter 43.3 – The Path of Hatred (3)
The day I long anticipated soon drew near. Each time I clashed with the Madness of the World, whereas I was invigorated by the death and blood, it slowly lost control. Its madness could not overcome my hatred. And the moment it began to feel fear, it created an opening. I seized it in that instant, not wasting a second. The Madness of the World writhed beneath me, attempting to throw me off, but the fear was already there. I bared my fangs, and in my gaping maw it could see all I desired: agony, destruction, vengeance, misery, suffering, and death. The Madness of the World was the subject of all these great and powerful emotions. Just as it had me, I drowned it in my hate, flooded it with my pain and my desire until it suffocated.
I gripped the fine threads that linked it to its creatures, the near-humans, and twisted them into a distorted, unrecognizable shape. Despite the battle going on between our creatures, the near-humans dropped to the ground, their souls being ripped out of their chests. My lizards felt no remorse for them, and continued their assault on the helpless enemy, determined to wipe them out once and for all.
Soon, I found the connection to the subjugated Eyes of the Hills. Hatred had long consumed the pity I once felt for the being, and I was just as ruthless as with the Madness of the World. I became a spear and dove into its heart, blaming its pain on its own weakness and inability to protect its creatures. The lumbering brutes experienced just as much pain as the near-humans, even if they did not understand it.
Each time they struggled I giggled, and every attempt to dislodge me was met with maddening laughter. Did they really think they could escape me now that I had taken them? Were they foolish enough to believe they could fight back? Once I sunk my claws into them, could they even hold a modicum of hope that I would release them? No. A thousands times no. A hundred thousand million times no! This would be their end, and I would not let go until they had taken their last futile breath. Damnation be upon them. They would live in the personal hell of pain and torture I designed for them until they could live no longer. It was the Madness that turned me into the devil, and my hate-filled heart relished every moment of it.
Meanwhile, my lizards continued to slaughter the disabled creatures of the foreign overseers. Just as I wished, the hills, forest, and mountain were covered in their blood. With the loss of every creature, their essences became smaller and dimmer. At last, victory was ours when the last enemy bled. The overseers simply disappeared in my grasp. With nothing left to keep them here, they simply vanished.
Celebration spread throughout the colonies. Peace could once again return to the land, now rid of its oppressor.
…But hatred was only a temporary solution; it was not an answer.
With hatred in their hearts, and no enemy to aim it towards, the lizards became agitated. They no longer had the sweet release that bloodletting gave them. Their addiction to the blood forced them to take it from other sources, and in my rapturous delirium, I encouraged them. Take all the blood they can. Lives that used to be so precious had become things to throw away for the sake of the war, for the sake of their Blood God.
That was the new name they had given me. The God that desires the blood of their enemies above all else. And blood they gave, huge amounts of it, and I relished every ounce spilt. So used to the bath of blood was I, that I did not even care about its source. Not until it was too late.
With no other creatures to become enemies, the hate turned inwards to their brothers, to their sisters, to their parents, to their children, to their lovers, to their friends, to all their kin. They gave me the blood I desired—the blood of their fellows, for the hate-filled family heart could only be appeased with blood. It was the only thing that brought it joy in this mad, mad world.
Lizard turned against lizard, hate fueling their actions. One by one they fell, and the land once stained with the blood of enemies now became stained with the blood of their families. The worst of it, I still relished in all the blood. Even though it was theirs, once I had the taste for it, I craved it like nothing else in this world. It was more important than myself, more important than my lizards, more important than the family heart.
The family heart was dead.
Now, there was only the Blood God filled with hatred.
And once all the lizards were gone, that hole in my heart that had filled itself with hate was now empty once again.
And this time, I was truly alone.
This was the future I envisioned.
This was where the path of hatred would lead.
Hatred was but a mere temporary solution, and would only avoid the problem. It would not fix it. It was not a problem that could be fixed.
The problem was loss, self-loathing. I could direct my loathing elsewhere, but with no one left, I was again the only one to loathe. The hate was not really for my enemy. It was for myself.
I hated that I was weak. I hated that I could not save the Surveyor. I hated that my choice caused his death. I hated that he accepted his fate and did not try to fight against it, that he accepted my decision. And I hated that I had to retreat to a world of fantasy to imagine myself strong.
My heart wept. It wept for the Surveyor, myself, and for the lizards. I knew war was imminent and they needed to protect themselves. And I would have to protect them. Even in war, they must not lose their compassion, they must not lose their sense of family, they must not lose their heart. If I lost myself to hatred, it would be just as bad, if not worse, than losing myself to madness.
The true path of weakness was hatred. And now, more than ever, I had to be strong. I had to protect my lizards from their enemy, and I had to protect them from me.
The fires inside must not be allowed to rage freely and burn everything in their path. A great fire brings death and destruction, but a small fire is needed to temper metal. I would not forget the hatred, but neither would I let it consume me. I must become stronger than the hatred. I must be strong, not for myself, but for them.