The hillside was dark, and it was raining blood again.
The daggers in his hands cut scored his skin, sharp at both ends, digging further in and adding his life to the sticky, sodden mud around him.
Sure it didn’t used to be this vertical, he continued, pulling himself up by digging the knives into the hillside (Which screamed every time).
A decade passed, and the top of the hill was there.
Eliza’s corpse lay, again, in the centre of the plataeu at the top of the hill. Johin’s corpse. Amelia’s corpse. The rain curtained off around the top of the hill, a dry circle you could cross in a second or hike over for the rest of your life, and his corpse was in the middle of it. He stood.
Unarmed, he was surrounded by four victims and murderers. Sailors and governors and fathers and teachers and priests and well meaning friends and ill meaning relatives and brothers and cousins and everything and everybody and his life and his god. In four people. With the words they attacked him (“Can’t you do anything?”) so sharp and well placed (“At least get something right”) that (“You’re destined to be a third rate failure”) he can’t tell he is bleeding (“A poor student”) until he slips on his own blood (“shows no attention”) and tumbles off the mountain, though the steel rain to be a lifeless ruin on the road below (“to detail”).
The hillside was bright, and the sky was blue.
The words in his heart couldn’t be completely translated, but they scored the minds of the people he spoke to, digging in and adding more thought to the people before him.
Sure it didn’t used to be this easy, he concluded, Closing out the themes with the words of another from a small yellow book, which worked every time.
The moment passed, and the crowd was still there.
Eliza’s corpse lay, again, in the centre of the plateau. Buried under the earth she’d been killed over, under the church now built here. A church you could see all of in a second, and help people from for the rest of your life. He preached in the middle of it.
Unworried, he was surrounded by friends and family. Traders and governers, princes and fathers, Teacherites and Huntress followers. Well meaning priests and ill-meaning subversives and everybody and his life and his god. In all. With the words they asked him (“Did I do good?”), as if his opinion and thoughts (“You’ve been a real help”) were of any value at all (“I’d like you to be my priest”), and his time not totally wasted (“if you’re in any trouble, run”) on the work he did (“to Detail”).
The hillside was dismal, and the cold drizzle cut to the bone.
The worries in his mind shot though him, spinning and unraveling, shouting and screaming, rendering rational judgement impossible.
Sure life didn’t used to be this frantic, he sat, pulling his mind together into some semblance of logic, which took quite some time.
A tremor passed, and the top of the hill was moving.
Eliza’s corpse lay, again, in the centre of the plataeu at the top of the hill. Around them more boiled out of the mud. Raoul’s corpse. Erin. Tormaline. Gwen. Canashir. Tac. Jig. Jin. Tami. Amalie. Ansillina. Amelia. Kala. Dreamer. Ishtar. Hame. Patch. Will. Jacob. James. Stepan. Brent, Marcus, Sha, KP, Kass. More and more. Stuart. Fiona. Ferris. Piling high until they couldn’t all fit and started tumbling down the hillside, a mountain of corpses you could cross in a day or mourn for the rest of your life, and on the edges of it, he stood.
Unafraid, he was surrounded by victims and murderers. Friends and family. Fighters and planners. Righters, Writers and Riters. Corpses of everything and everybody and their lives and their goals. In hundreds. With his words he returned them (“My lady please look upon me as I serve you”), in places railed and preordained (“I am unworthy of speaking of their life, but they were important to many people”) and in others chaotic and rambling (“but then, the only people who can speak of them with truth”), but always with heart and feeling (“and so, I recommend that you ask them yourself”), the most that he can ever do (“as I lay all my friends to rest”).