Friday, June 7, 2019

#FridayFlash - Tipping the Scales

I slipped through dimensional walls, approaching my target. Yet another brightly lit world, drenched in sunshine and redolent with the scent of growing things. My least favorite type of world, on my least favorite type of mission.

But as a servant of the Grey Lords, I didn't get much say on the matter.

The town was beautiful and well-maintained. Picturesque. Housewives watched me from their windows, and children halted during their play to stare. Exactly as their kind on these planets always did. I'd endured these looks a thousand times, would endure a million more, but that didn't mean I enjoyed them.

Of course they stared. Even if they hadn't watched me appear out of thin air, everything about me screamed outsider. This was an agrarian society, peaceful, and I was clearly a warrior. Even a society without violence recognized armor and a long sword, the tools of my trade. I stood a head taller than any of them, strode with purpose, and let my ebony hair flow freely to my waist.

I kept my head up and eyes forward, ignoring the whispers. Other servants of the Grey Lords went about their missions in peace, without awkwardness from the natives, but I didn't possess that level of subtlety. In and out, swift as could be, moving on to my next mission.

My target played in a yard two houses ahead, currently unaware of my approach. The sun gleamed on her golden tresses as she merrily splashed in the mud. I quickened my steps, wanting to kill her before she saw me. My heart had hardened to the stares, but not the innocent eyes.

Nothing numbed me to that.

Luck was on my side. I was upon the toddler, sword drawn, and claimed her life before she looked up from her game. Her tiny body offered no resistance to my blade, and fell soundlessly when I withdrew.

Her mother shrieked, rushing to the girl's corpse. I cleaned my sword, ignoring the wails, preparing for my return journey. It would take much alcohol to dull this fresh memory.

A rock hit my shoulder, unable to hurt me through my armor, but it drew my attention to the growing mob behind me. I sighed and turned to face them, the unfortunate mother still wailing behind me.

"Monster!" The middle-aged man in front brandished a pitchfork at me, his face red and jaw clenched. Other men brooded behind him, and even the village women gathered in their rage.

When I'd first began the task of maintaining Balance, I'd attempted to explain my missions to the mortals. I'd wanted them to understand that one death was often all it took to prevent a greater catastrophe. I'd thought it would ease their little minds, that I could open their eyes to the greater causes of the Universe.

But mortals saw only a death, and lost all reason. They were ruled by their emotions, and the blatant reminders of their mortality stirred their fear and sorrow and doubts. No words I offered would calm them back down, so I'd stopped. No one here would know why a little girl needed to die to preserce their way of life.

A wet horse turd flew from the back of the mob, hitting me in the chest before I realized what it was. It broke apart, pieces splattering my face. More cries of villainy and wrong-doing rose, but I barely heard them over my sudden rage.

"You petty things," I growled. Ice filled my veins, not fire. Anger had always brought me cold clarity, the fury of a blizzard. "You cannot comprehend the nature of your world, let alone the greater formula of the Universe. I am an Agent of balance, tasked with maintaining that through whatever means necessary, but you call me a monster."

Another piece of filth flew, struck me in the thigh. They were too busy working into a frenzy to hear my words or see the anger building within me.

"If you want a monster, than I will show you one." No one would remember this village when I was done.

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