My blade is pressed to his heart. If I push, if I lean my weight just a little more into the handle, he will die.
Look at the face. Look at the face dark crossed by leaf shadows, pale in a moon washed night. Look at the star gleamed eyes watching me. Watching me lean a rusted blade over the quickened pulse of his heart. Watching for me to relax. Watching for an escape.
He didn't expect to be here, lying under the blade of grostequeness, under the blade of treachery, under the blade of habitual hate. Under the black shadow of bone blistered mutilation - a body and soul screaming at too many broken angles. Something that should have been put out of its misery.
He didn't expect to lie on his back in dew damp mud, watching my age-scarred eyes decide the manner of his journey west. To let him continue to gray ships, rolling in a still harbor, sails furled on the horizon. To force his spirit to flee above the water and into the long halls of Mandos.
Here is my hostage.
Do you love your star child All-father? Do you love your firstborn?
Does it make you weep that he lies in the shadow of a monster?
But if I push - if I press my blade into his heart his spirit will soar above black depth waves and plunge into the home of Mandos. Slowly, slowly over time he will be purged. Slowly he will have healing, and this night will be lost to a new life.
What of your star child All-father? Do you care for him at all? Will you save him from brittle death, alone with reeking hate?
Rescue him All-father. Save him. Prove to me that you love at least one of your firstborn. At least one of your children.
You have forsaken the others.
Deserted to the darkness. A yawning chasm, swallowed, left alone. We cried All-father. Did you not hear us screaming your name? Did you not hear us weeping, crawling, begging for your embrace, the touch of your voice, a whisper just barely heard to show us you knew. To show us we were still your children? To show us we were not forgotten?
The fire popped under our backs. The cavern was black and iron burned heat choked us and scorched our skin and charred our throats. We were stretched and our sweat hissed into the air. You did not come. You were not there.
The walls froze our skin. A thousand sleepless nights buried in the close cramped ranks of body reek and blood. You did not come. You were not there.
We were dashed on rock, mad with hunger, limbs snapped, bones crushed, skin peeled. Pierced, thrown, chained, blinded, hacked into pieces and consumed by one another.
Our voices cried out to you All-father. Your star children cried for you. Our voices echoed weeping on the walls and you did not answer.
And when our children were born, we knew you had left us. We saw the perverted beasts, the monstrous creatures that wriggled clawing from our bodies and realized what we had become.
You left us.
You orphaned your children and left them naked in a land of thorns, fire, and starvation. Of a great beast waiting to devour.
What were we that we were forgotten? What were we that we were forsaken?
Were we not star children too? Were we not also your firstborn?
I woke in the gleaming waters and saw your smile in the skies. I rose under the stars and heard your caress in the trickling murmur. When we were born, you laughed for us in the wind All-father.
But when I wept for you, the wind did not laugh. When I wept for you, there was no caress. Did you not love me?
Look now. I have drawn blood. He watches me. If I press my blade just a little farther, he will die. I will slay kin.
And he will not be the first.
You care for this star-child?
He did not expect to be here. He did not expect lie on his back in view of the still harbor.
Look at the young face. He never woke in the first waters. He was not born to the murmur of the streams. Look at the face hundreds, thousands of years old.
But not so old as I.
I was of the first of the firstborn.
And if he dies. If I press my blade into his heart, he will fly to Mandos' Halls and receive healing.
Would Mandos receive me?
Look. He is swift. I relaxed my blade, and he has seized the chance.
Look. Now I lie here, face dark crossed with leaf shadow. He stares at knife-ruined nose, fire-charred skin. He stares at black hate history hewn in my eyes. He holds my own blade at my throat.
I could take it from him.
Look at your star child now. If he presses, if he presses the blade a little further into my throat, he will slay kin. Kinslayer.
But he will go to the western shore and receive healing. He will be forgiven with time.
Look at your star child All-father. Look at the one lying on the ground. Look behind the age-scarred face, the war torn eyes, the brokenness. Look behind the millennia of death, depravity, humiliation. Service to a devouring beast. Wipe away the children bled, torture, tears.
See me All-father. See your star-child. See the firstborn suffocating in thick layers of stagnated hate. See the child you created, the one I was meant to be. Not the one I have become.
Look. He has made his choice. His eyes tell the tale. He will press the blade.
I could take it from him. I think I will not.
And when he presses the blade I will die.
Will I go to the western shore?
Will I receive healing?
Will you take back a lost son?