- November 14, 2021
The Incarnations: The Incarnal War (Chapter 6)
The war has gone on for another week, and in that time Sir Peace has had to pull back his armies to guard his stronghold from the impending threat of Lord Dread.
The Duke of Destruction has proved elusive in his ability to avoid the Duke of War, his reason for evasion still unknown.
My dutiful son now sends forth his armies to guard Lady Justice’s borders, who has made several failed attempts to exit her remaining lands, and who has prevented many attempts to invade hers.
The only battleground that stands to see major change is the one between Madam Sadness and Sir Happiness.
Without Sir Peace’s tactical mind for strategy, and with King Good to lend her his angelic troops, the Madam has been able to push Sir Happiness out of her lands, and into his. She currently lays siege to his fort.
Much like Madam Honor, Sir Happiness does not have a large castle, but his fort is much grander and thought out than hers. It is half the size of a Lady or Lord’s castle, but it matches anyone else’s in acres, meaning that Madam Sadness has much ground to cover.
That doesn’t mention the fact that his fort is well prepared for a siege in terms of trained swordsman and weapon defenses.
Then there are the natural defenses throughout Sir Happiness’s lands. His exotic forests and jungles are more akin to that of Reganora, the Regamorph homeworld, than it is Earth’s or Motera of the Dinorans.
The trees are windy and concave, large and sturdy. Rivers of liquid mercury flow through the jungle, making the large vines and tree roots the paths from which to walk on. The creatures and plants change constantly based on whatever the Sir finds most visually appealing. Madam Sadness has had the misfortune of invading when her brother’s tastes have become most exotic.
Due to the land’s layout, she has only been able to attack from three entrances in the north, west, and south. The corners between them have no land to walk on, and swimming through mercury to the fort’s walls would be a strategic nightmare with the rivers lying alongside the unnatural fauna and flora. The east wall of the fort lies against a steeply designed mountain, which allows for no invaders from the east naturally.
Madam Sadness lays siege to all three points, trying to hammer down a way in for her to enter and find her brother. Being an Incarnation who has learned to harness her speed and momentum, her movement capabilities allow her to easily and swiftly move between the three battlefronts.
His Majesty’s angels lay down artillery upon the fort’s surface, but the contraptions for the fort’s doors are inside, which would remove any of the angels’ advantages. Then there is the fact that there are many weapons and positions inside the fort’s outer walls, not only on the roofs. All in all, the angels have been forced to be normal soldiers with better shots through the glassless windows.
Madam Sadness currently stands in her tent behind the battlelines, consulting with the leaders of the battalions laying siege to each fort entrance. She uses a similar projection to speak with them as she did with me the week before. She speaks to her most capable servant, Droefheid, who leads the siege against the northern wall, Goed, King Good’s closest servant who leads the angels from the west, and Tristesse, who stands beside the Madam to lead against the south.
The Madam asks the servant, Goed, “Are you sure there are no weak points in the fort’s roofs? Truly nowhere?”
Goed shakes his head and explains, “None at all. The courtyards are all empty, and the doors to the center tower are as tough as those at the main gates. I believe walls have been made behind them, thus making the doors no more than show right now.”
Tristesse asks, “What about entering the walls themselves?”
“The only passageways to the walls are the ones connected directly to the center tower, and those are encompassed by the same stone that is keeping us out everywhere else,” Goed reveals. He begins to worry, and asks the Madam, “Is it true that each Incarnation was gifted with Eden Pieces, leftover pieces of Creation to make whatever they pleased?”
The Madam lays her hands flat upon her table as she ponders this question. She knows the answer, but she wonders why the servant asked it. “It is true.”
The servant of Good becomes nervous, and the rest narrow their eyes upon him. Droefheid asks first. “You don’t think Sir Happiness mixed his portions with the stone to make his fort, do you?”
Goed nods his head confirming that he does. “It would explain not only why we cannot break through into his fort, but also why when his world changes on his whim but his fort always remains the same.”
Droefheid brings her hand to her chin, to think on this idea herself. “If this is true, we’ll never enter his fort. Eden Pieces, for the most part, are nearly impossible to destroy.”
What makes Eden Pieces so special, is that they can be used to create anything. If made into a weapon, it can allow even a mere mortal to kill an Incarnation. Madam Honor made a shield, and Sir Happiness made an indestructible fort. Something tells me that they were thinking ahead.
Droefheid, as Madam Sadness’s knowledgeable right hand woman, contemplates what they can do. “If anything they can only be reverted back into the raw energy they were in the Beginning, unless we want to blow ourselves to Oblivion. Can we try that?”
Madam Sadness stares down at the map of the fortress over her table, as if she had stopped listening to her commanders halfway through the conversation. The netted veil over her eyes has allowed her to visually drown out everyone around her.
Tristesse places his hand on the Madam’s soldiers to try and gain her attention. “Madam, did you hear Droefheid’s question?”
The Madam jerks her head with puzzled look, but quickly regains herself. She answers, “Yes, my apologies, we could try that. To do such a thing we would need my own Edin Pieces.”
Her servant besides her asks curiously, “What did you make with it?”
Then Madam Sadness turns to face the servant Tristesse sullenly. She quietly informs everyone as she looks upon Tristesse, “I made you.”
Tristesse simply replies, “Oh.”
“What does that mean?” Goed questions with great confusion.
Droefheid takes the moment to explain to the angel, “It means Tristesse is practically unkillable to any simple servant. It would take an Incarnation with the power of a Lord or Lady at least to destroy him.”
“I didn’t mean to protect him from any Lord or Lady,” the Madam clarifies gravely. “Sir Happiness has attacked me many times over eternity. To drive me into despair so he could kill me. In response I made a servant who he did not have the power to kill.”
Goed, with an expression on his face that says he still doesn’t completely understand the situation, asks the Madam, “Well what does that mean for us right now? Can the Piece of Eden be taken from inside Tristesse?”
The Madam slowly closes her fist, the sound it makes as the leather tightens, makes it clear to those listening that the answer is not one much preferred. The Madam admits, “To do so would kill him, most assuredly.”
Then a cold silence washes over the room.
Goed is not willing to break the silence, being the outsider he does not feel comfortable implying that the necessary action is for the servant of Sadness to be sacrificed. Tristesse stays silent because understandably, he does not want to die. Madam Sadness herself, searches for the strength to do what must be done.
Droefheid does not have anything holding her back. Bluntly, she announces, “Then we must cut Tristesse open.”
Tristesse, understandably and completely alarmed, exclaims, “Wait, what? You can’t honestly want to kill me!”
Droefheid crosses her arms and gives her fellow servant an uncompassionate look. Coldly, she reminds him, “You are a simple servant of pleasure. Nothing more. Your life is no more important than mine or any servant, and this a war between Life and Death. It’s more important that we do our best to win than it is that you get to keep your life.”
The two servants of Sadness gaze into each other, one with a cold stare and the other with the look of betrayal and fear. It does not take long for Tristesse to realize that his peer has no mercy for him, so he turns to his Madam. “My Madam, surely you are not considering, actually killing me?” The Madam sighs, and turns her head sideways towards her servant. Her gaze tells him everything he needs to know.
“Tristesse, you are a wonderful servant and friend, but I do not care for you more than my duty to Creation. You were born from my pain and loneliness, and with your death I move towards ending some of it.” Tristesse begins to back away in fear of his Madam. Then after short hesitation he turns to run out of the tent.
The Madam lets out a tired sigh. She informs the others, “I will retrieve him and the Eden Pieces, then I’ll bring down the door near me.”
Droefheid nods her head in understanding. “I’ll begin to lead my troops to the south wall then.”
“I shall as well,” Goed agrees, but then he curiously asks, “how will you retrieve the Piece of Creation?”
The Madam answers, “The Pieces will answer to the orders of its sculptor. It was shaped with my power, and always can be reshaped.” The servant of Goed nods his head, accepting of her answer.
Then the projections dissipate and disappear, and the Madam is alone.
She brings her right hand to her hip and grasps hold of her rapier, the Depression. She turns around to walk out of her tent and look at her people around her, some wounded and some preparing to fight some more.
She looks straight ahead to see Tristesse trying to run atop of a gigantic vine that leads back into the exotic jungle. Madam Sadness looks upon the layout of the land before her, taking note of where the wandering people and tents are so she knows to avoid them.
With lightning speed she moves her feet. Her hands stay locked onto her sword as her legs propel her forward. The dirt rises after every step she takes, a trail of wind forming behind her. Servants fall over, tents storm up, and everything from pots to swords, to pans and armor plating, are sent flying back. In a mere nanosecond the Madam has covered half a mile, and moves in front of the pleasure servant who must complete his duty.
She stops a few feet in front of him, her feet spread apart, and unsheathes her rapier.
Jaded, she twists her right hand to face the point at him, and with a dash forward, she thrusts the sword through his stomach. While painful, this cannot kill him.
While she thrusts the sword through him, she places her left palm against his chest, and summons the Eden Piece in his chest. She digs her fingers through his breastplate and into his skin to hold onto him, so that even when their momentum stops he does not fall off of her sword.
As Tristesse stands with a sword in his stomach, she is gathering the force she used to give him life. The Madam summons the energies in his body to the point in his chest that her hand touches, and his veins begin to shine bright.
The Eden Pieces can be seen coming together as if the blood in his veins are all flowing towards one spot. As this happens, his frame begins to decay, the muscle and fat dissipate to leave only skin and bone. When all of the Pieces of Creation are formed together in his chest, the Madam rips it out. Tristesse’s body collapses to his knees, and she moves out of the way. When his upper half falls to the ground, he dissipates into dust.
Madam Sadness now holds the the Piece of Creation in her hand. A gem in the shape of a large diamond that glows a multitude of changing colors that spins as it floats above her palm. With this in her hand, the Madam now turns to her servants, her soldiers who recently witnessed her kill one of their own.
She holds the Piece of Creation high above her head for them all to see. She announces to them, “With this! The symbol of your brethren’s sacrifice, we will bring down the wall!” The servants do not cheer, servants of Sadness do not have the mindset for such a thing. They bow their heads instead as their sign of fealty and understanding. “Prepare quickly! We will commence the final attack in an hour!”
With that announcement, everyone begins to work more diligently than they were before, preparing the best they can as they wait for the angels and the battalion led by Droefheid.
In that time the Madam pulls back her forces from the southern wall, and while she waits for the other battalions she sits alone to sharpen her saber.
Only an hour later, she now sits on an empty crate in the middle of camp, and contemplates everything.
How many will she have to sacrifice in the next few hours to achieve victory, and how will she face Sir Happiness, are the questions she goes over again and again in her mind. She doesn’t want to kill the Sir, which is strange considering how he has tortured her, has tried to drive her insane, and has tried to steal away her power.
He has consistently attempted again and again to drive all sadness from the world, and can never understand why mortals fall back into it. With that in mind, she shouldn’t want to do anything but take his life, so now I must wonder why she does not want to. I want to know, but maybe it’ll be more interesting if I wait to find out.
As the Madam sharpens her sword she stares into space again, and allows Droefheid and Goed to surprise her. Her servant speaks to her with a softer tone than usual since she knows how her Madam can be. “My Madam, the army is ready, and it is time.”
Madam Sadness’s head jerks up to look at the two commanders, and lets out a heavy sigh, knowing what task now lies before her.
The servant of Good inquires from the Madam, “What is our plan of attack?”
The Madam makes the explanation more long winded than it needs to be. Maybe the length of time she wastes is why she feels the need to speak so long on it.
“All this time we have tried strategy after strategy, along with maintaining a battle across three fronts, and now the assured way to victory is so simple. I need the soldiers to be meatshields while I place some of my Pieces of Creation against the door. I must maintain power for mine to interact with what’s in the fort walls for a few seconds, and then we must wait for it to melt down. That is all.”
Droefheid worries for her Madam. “Will you not be in danger so close to the reaction?”
The Madam shakes her head. “I have no intentions of letting the slow melting touch me, Droefheid. I am not known to move slowly.” The servant gives her Madam an apologetic nod for her mistake.
Then the Madam looks to the servants to order them, “The armies are ready, then launch the assault. Storm the bridge.”
They both nod in agreement, and go to command the soldiers. The Madam walks once again by herself through the camps towards the front lines and the direction her commanders ran.
Between the spikes that symbolize the territory claimed by Sadness and her tents and supplies, lies an army forming into lines and legions before the two commanders. As the Madam walks between a legion of angels and a legion of her own foot soldiers, she doesn’t look upon them.
She moves without thought, no thought can bring her any good at the moment.
When she comes close to Droefheid and Goed, Droefheid asks her to speak, but her Madam doesn’t hear her.
Madam Sadness keeps walking towards the battlefront, which confuses Goed and the angels. Droefheid and the soldiers of Sadness are already familiar with their Madam’s absentmindedness, and Droefheid raises her sword to command them all, “Now we begin! Protect the Madam so she can bring down the wall!” The soldiers of Sadness march swiftly to follow behind the Madam. Goed doesn’t lose his confusion, but acts in accordance anyway, ordering the angels to do the same.
Arrows are sent her way as soon as Madam Sadness steps onto the stone bridge that connects the fort to the forest.
The Madam deals with the attack herself before any legion can form around her to protect her. With lightning reflexes she grabs hold of the Depression, and swings upward to deflect with grace.
The army altogether storms the south wall with arrows and cannons rain down upon them.
The Madam does what she can to ignore the soldiers around her as they are mowed down and eviscerated by the cannons. The Madam does not need protection on her way to the wall, only when she is already there, and soldiers realize that they do not need to protect her. Not a single arrow that heads her way meets anything but the blade of her sword. One cannon ball heads straight for her, and her blade cuts it in half.
She cannot simply run to the wall because she will be without her protection, so she must walk and march with her army. The trek isn’t long, but it seems so for those around her. She cannot not pay them attention, she cannot think upon their sacrifice yet. If she does, she’ll be distracted, overcome with grief and guilt, she does not have the luxury to feel such emotions just yet. She must bring down the wall, and face Sir Happiness.
When the Madam reaches the wall she doesn’t notice, she walks into it, face first. She leans forehead against it and lets the cold wood of the door cool her face. She leans to the side to see her soldiers moving to surround her and defend her. She’s in shock as she watches one after the other be shot down before her.
She’s losing it.
The Madam pushes all of that out of her mind, pushes the loss and sacrifice out of her head. She kneels before the door and summons her Eden Piece. She stares at the beautiful gem for nothing more than a second. Such things do not capture her attention as death does.
She places a finger upon the gem, and then it sticks to the tip of her finger. She moves her finger away and painlessly a shard of the gem is removed. The Madam hides the majority of the gem, and places the shard against the door.
The Madam places her power on the tip of her finger and fuels it. She fuels it’s breakdown. The shard fizzes and vibrates as it seeps its way into the door. The Madam places her left hand over her right, then her right palm over the shard.
She feels her power leak out from her palm. Straying out wildly. She must be careful, her supply is not unlimited.
Then the door starts to shake, and does so violently.
The Madam commands the soldiers around her, “Pull back! The door is coming undone!” With that she starts to walk away slowly as her soldiers run. She pulls her sword to defend against a few arrows, but the hail of death ceases too. The door is coming down, and the soldiers of Happiness are realizing it. They must move to plug the hole.
Madam Sadness watches the door glow the multitude of colors that the Eden Piece. She watches as it vibrates and the bottom edge begins to lose its composure. It splays out against the stone floor, melting. As it melts, the door loses its wooden texture and becomes shiny and clear yet colorful as the gem was. It’s as if the door has become the liquid form of the gem.
The portions of the door that have melted begin to evaporate, collapsing in on its own matter and becoming useless vaporware, never to be used again. The door’s higher edge begins to reveal the inside of the fort, and the decor of the inside becomes clear. It is done like a castle.
The Madam holds her sword in her hand, and her soldiers march to stand beside her as they wait for the Eden Pieces to consume and destroy each other.
The forces of Sadness don’t have to wait long, and when the wall separating them from their goal is gone, the meager forces of Happiness stand with their swords.
The Madam offers her enemy one choice. “Tell me where your Sir is, and I will not inform him it was you who told me. Otherwise you may lay down your arms, or die.” In a surprising sign of cowardice and self-preservation, several soldiers throw down their arms, and are shocked by their comrades who won’t. “Good choice,” the Madam compliments them, but before she can say anything further, the greater number who will not surrender slay those who do.
The Madam grits her teeth, and attacks first.
With her superior speed, she dashes towards the enemy. She coldly calculates that of the fifteen fighters before her, that she should kill the ones who are attacking their own last, and not to waste any more time or energy stabbing any soldier more than once.
Astounding her allies and the enemy, the Madam swiftly and smoothly stabs the Depression with pinpoint accuracy once through each soldier, either to skewer their hearts, or to bottom out their brains. There is one soldier that reacts fast enough to attack her from her left while her rapier is in the head of another.
For that single soul, she twists her hip to dodge his slash, and swings her rapier out to behead him. The rest are defeated with general ease.
When she comes to the last soldier, she effortlessly stabs a whole in his right wrist, and grabs him by the neck. She holds him over her head, only to have him spit blood on her cheek. She realizes that her grip damaged his throat, and she waits for him to finish coughing. She demands to know from him, “Where is Sir Happiness?”
The soldier answers, “The tower, where else would he be?”
Madam Sadness actually grins for a second, “That actually makes too much sense.”
The soldier does have a point. The tower is the most defensible location, the only issue is that with no windows, there’s no room for escape. I assume that if combatants reach the tower, the Sir does not wish to escape.
Then she drops her grin when she squeezes the soldier’s neck, crushing his throat and spine. She drops the limp body as more soldiers come from her right. She tells her own soldiers, “Any who throw down their arms can be spared. Slaughter the rest.”
She dashes towards the incoming enemy, running through as if the wind, dispatching one after the other with deadly proficiency. She aims to make way to the passage that leads to the tower, and reach Sir Happiness. She doesn’t take notice and pay any attention to the decor or the designs on the wall.
This fort is no military base. It has enough beautiful furniture, plants, and fruits to make any castle seem empty. The floor is covered by a red carpet that the Madam now sprays black with the blood of the Sir’s servants.
She does not notice the paintings and photographs that illustrate happy memories and fun times, not only for the Sir, but those of his servants and other Incarnations too. Each Incarnation has had their own time with Sir Happiness, even the Lord Dread at one interval.
Not one contains Madam Sadness. Sir Happiness has made way to attempt to touch each of his brethren, and he lines his walls with memories of these attempts. His fort is so grand on the inside, and now the Madam must sour it all.
The Madam obliterates soldier after soldier of Happiness, and eventually many soldiers clamber down in fear. They wait for a death that never comes, for the Madam passing them over.
The Madam is by no great means an exceptionally powerful Incarnation, anyone of these servants can fell her if they land one decent strike. But they realize that they cannot match her skill and speed, so they give up. They fall prey to the rumors of an Incarnation’s combative power, now likely witnessing it for the first time.
Madam Sadness finds herself cutting down one last soldier to reveal the doors to the center tower, mere yards away with five brave soldiers between them. She readies her sword as they ready theirs.
They run at each other and the soldiers reach maybe a few feet before the Madam is on them. The Madam stabs the first with a swift jab through the forehead. Then she jumps over the middle two with an upside down twirl. As she spins over them, she stabs down, ending one with a plunge where the spine meets the neck, and the other right above his right ear.
As she twirls and spins upside down, she readies to slash with her sword to behead the next soldier. She is stunned when the soldier has his blade ready to block, and their swords meet.
The Depression stabs the flat portion of the soldier’s sword, so not only blocking an attack that all before have failed to evade, he does so with precision.
She is locked in the air, upside down when he swings his blade outwards and throws her away.
She skins her head on the ground before rolling onto her side and recovering to face her opponent in a ready stance. She shows no surprise as her opponent stands ready, with a different air about him.
The Madam analyzes him as he stands between her and the door. There is one other soldier cowering behind him, so honestly only the soldier who just deflected her attack is one to take notice of.
She asks him, “Are you Geluk? The Sir’s right hand?”
“Does my reputation precede me?” the servant of Happiness replies, with a certain confidence to his voice.
“No,” the Madam answers coldly. “The only servants who are going to pose any real threat are the most trusted companions, the right hand of an Incarnation. Through our naming conventions you would be Geluk, assuming you don’t have a dead predecessor.”
“Are you always this cold?” the servant asks the Madam.
The Madam reels her sword back, ready to attack before replying, “Only against decent opponents.” Then she runs at him, and Geluk stands prepared.
This moment is best watched in slow motion. As the Madam is running several feet ahead of him, she amplifies her speed to vibrate with great intensity. When she does this she manipulates the light around her, in the form of a flash step before she jumps. Against a slower or less experienced enemy, it would seem as if she phased out of existence, then reappeared before killing you.
For Geluk, he notices her seemingly disappear and reappear above his head, but he has experience with this technique. He raises his blade over his head to block her downward strike, and when their blades should connect, a rapier pierces his chest.
“*Gluck!*” Geluk chokes. The image of the Madam dissipates over his head, and he looks down to see her form against him with the Depression lodged below his heart. She then removes the rapier and slaps his sword out of his hands towards the wall, all before stepping back to allow him to fall to his knees.
He croaks out one question, “How…?”
“Simple,” Madam Sadness begins with cold tone, “I may be only be a Madam, but I am still an Incarnation with power that far exceeds yours. It’s child’s play to create a basic image of myself above you, and to make one to cloak myself for a mere second, faking a flash step. You thought I was above for the split second I needed to stab you through the heart.”
Then when she holds her sword’s bloody tip to inspect it, she sees his black blood on it. She whips it to the side with great strength and the blood flies off of the tip against the wall.
Geluk smiles excitedly as blood stems from the corner of his mouth. He praises her, “Amazing…”
Then he keels over by her feet.
The Madam then looks up to see the last soldier hiding in the corner. She asks him, “Do you want to dance too?” He shakes his head before throwing his sword to the ground. “Smart boy,” she says as she steps over Geluk’s corpse, and moves past the soldier now sliding to the ground against the wall, shaking in fear.
When her hand touches the handle, there is no hesitation before she opens it. She opens the door to the bottom floor of the center tower. She is surprised to see many servants in there, and none of them soldiers. They all wear tuxes and dresses, as if aristocrats at a party, all with the same blistering gold skin of Sir Happiness that was hidden under his soldiers’ armor. Their shining silver hair exudes the treasure that the Sir visually appears as to the world.
The Madam realizes that a battle with the Sir might be in her favor from the start. Not only is he maintaining an army as she is, but also civilians who serve no purpose other than to entertain and fuel his ego. He seems to lack a tactical mind.
The Madam informs them, “Stay calm and out of the way, and you won’t harmed.”
One thinks to point out, “What do think will happen if you kill our Sir? We’ll just move on?” They will surely die a painful implosion if another Incarnation does not act to save them.
The Madam states honestly that, “Let’s hope I can convince your Sir that it doesn’t need to come to that.”
Does she fear fighting him? Eventually, in such a small space her army and the angels would surely overcome him. If that’s the reason she wishes to spare him, why fight him head on? To give him a quick death? I can’t fathom a reason as to why she doesn’t shake with rage at the idea of killing her long time tormentor.
Calmly and cooly, she turns to her right to the revolving staircase that leads up to the center tower. She begins to walk up the stairs with no rush to reach the top. The Madam takes the time to inspect the floors where she did not the halls, becoming distracted. Each floor a museum of different arts, recording the Sir’s escapades. Each floor is meant to be a social gathering of sorts.
There are over a dozen floors, each categorized by which Incarnation or species the Sir spent his time with. Paintings, pictures, and sculptures of him and whichever Lord or Lady he spent an evening trying to charm. She can tell which floor is Lord Dread’s or Lady Hate’s by how empty it is.
Each floor symbolizes a different person with whom Sir Happiness used to better his ego and vanity, but the Madam seemingly disagrees. She feels… sad for him, she pities her brother. She must take all this a different way.
When she reaches the top, there is a door separating them. She places her hand against it and finds herself hesitating, for the first time since this battle began. Madam Sadness knows that Sir Happiness is on the other side, waiting for her. This war has always been about this meeting for her. After today she’s essentially done. She’ll have done her job and defeated a main pillar of Death’s forces.
This is her last intended battle.
She leans her head against the door, and takes a deep breath. Then pushes it open.
The Madam walks in to what is a large and grand dining room. A dining table that stretches farther than a fencing platform. It reminds the Madam of Lady Love’s table.
Then there is Sir Happiness, sitting on his throne. The light from the shining chandelier illuminates his disheveled and blistering silver hair. Strands haphazardly fall over his eyebrows, looking as if he just came out of a cold sweat.
The sweat does illuminate his gold skin, aptly visible by the dress shirt with several missing buttons. Baring his chest has been a part of his fashion, sadly. His tight black trousers only make him look helpless and beaten before he’s actually had to fight.
As he sits slump against his throne, his gold irises and pupils bore into Madam Sadness with disdain.
He sarcastically welcomes her with a goblet in his hand, waving it and spilling the wine inside. “Ah, dear Madam, finally you have arrived. Here I was hoping one of my own would stab you on the way, but alas, you appear absolutely unharmed.”
The Madam begins to walk towards him slowly as she says, “Your best, Geluk, he deflected my attack with great skill before he fell.”
With a sardonic smile and narrowing of his eyes, the Sir asks, “That makes his death so much better, doesn’t it?”
“No, I’m sure it hurts you,” then with a finger over her heart, “right here.”
“Poke fun at me, do you?” the Sir asks with an arched brow, misinterpreting the Madam.
“Not at all, I cannot imagine that one of our brethren survives this war without feeling the same stab of pain in their hearts. Even those we feel do not have one.”
Sir Happiness chuckles and takes a sip of his goblet, a sip that turns into a chug to finish off his drink. With it finished, he tosses it aside.
“Well Madam, is it time we finished this?” he asks.
Madam Sadness tilts her head back slightly with a frown of reluctance. She tells him, “Are you so eager to fight?”
“You have corrupted me, Sadness,” he accuses with insult. “You have made me depressed in a way I have never been. You take away what makes me happy. Yes, I am eager to fight.”
“I am not,” she admits.
“No?” he questions with a smiling disbelief. “You have been gnawing at me since the universe began.”
The Madam abruptly interrupts him to state, “I have done no such thing, I have never wanted to hurt you.” She stops when she is at the corner of the dining table. Close enough to hear him whisper, but not enough to strike at him.
The Sir’s face deteriorates into a mean scowl. “How can you dare say that, when you come at me with sadness? Come at the world? You drag everything down, you always try to remind everyone of pain. The world would be better without you in it, without you everything could be happy.”
The Madam shakes her head she frowns. Her frown is one that speaks to an annoyance over having this same argument again and again. “I have told you before, Happiness, you cannot be happy all the time! It is meaningless that way!”
“What is meaningless is the emptiness and depression you cause! That’s what’s meaningless! Don’t give me the same argument that the highs become lower and lower, if there’s no memory to remind of the alternative!” The way he speaks, the way he spews his words at her, relays his experience, not his unproven idea. “I don’t need to have a sad memory to know that my happiness is true. I don’t need this pain and emptiness to know that my memories of those I cared for were important! Admit it! If you weren’t here, I wouldn’t feel this way.”
The Madam looks upon him with a face of realization. Her brother has finally admitted that he is not happy. She speaks to him, from a place of higher knowledge. “You think killing me will make the moments of pain and emptiness go away? That if you kill me, immortality and loss will not prove a curse? I’m sorry to tell you, brother, no matter how you kill me, even if you kill me each time I Reincarnate, your emptiness is not dying with me.”
Sir Happiness takes notice of a specific word that almost goes over my head. “Brother, cruel Madam? I am not your brother.”
“But you are,” she repeats. Madam Sadness can’t possibly remember. She has shown no signs before. “The others, they don’t remember their childhood. You don’t remember, but I do. I tried so hard to forget how you hurt me, scarred me. I couldn’t. I couldn’t forget how we were born together, and from the start you hated me. I just wanted to protect you, to prepare you for the trials of life, but you hated me.”
“I don’t believe it, not for a second!” the Sir yells at her.
The Madam begins walking towards him again, with her arms open. “It is true. I wanted to forget, I wanted to think you a crazy beast, but I couldn’t forget. The pain wouldn’t let me. You’re my brother. Because of that I want to help you as I always have, even now.”
“No!” Sir Happiness screams, and takes out his rapier to aim at her, the Bliss.
Madam Sadness reasons, “We were even born with the same weapon, brother. Rapiers that we have used to stab at the other’s heart.”
“No, you, you’re trying to trick me! To encompass me in the pit that is your heart,” he accuses. Then he walks towards her, and attempts to place the tip of his sword at her throat. She can disarm him easily with her superior speed and his shaken state, but she doesn’t.
The Madam leans her head back as the cold steel lies against her throat, a speck of blue blood trailing down her neck. “If you truly believe that, brother, strike me down, I won’t stop you.” She’s playing a dangerous game, a game that isn’t worth her life, or whatever prize she believes she may get. She should strike him down while she can. “I’ve never fought back. Surely, you’ve noticed that.”
The Sir’s head twitches as he thinks on that, but denies all truth and spouts meekly, “No.”
“No?” the Madam questions with doubt. “You don’t remember your attacks, your raids, your attempts at assassination that I never returned. I only bunkered down and stood my ground. I made unkillable friends and emotional walls to protect myself. I took the punishment so you had your outlet. I took it all as an older sister will do.” She’s older by seconds if any. “Does your body have scars from my blade? My poison?”
The Sir’s sword arm shakes, and his lower jaw twitches tensely. “No, no, I do not.”
“That’s because I don’t want to hurt you,” she says.
Then the Sir changes his stance and brings himself closer to her, his blade at her throat for an easy cut. “If that is true, then why did you join Life against me? If Death ruled everyone would be happy. I would be more powerful, I would feel less pain and so would everyone else because no one would die. If you didn’t want to hurt me, why did you immediately take up arms against me?”
It is true, she claimed the war against her brother from the beginning, allowing no one else to go after him.
The Madam shakes her head slightly as she holds a gaze into his eyes. “Brother, I did it to protect you! You think if Death were to rule, you would become more powerful? You would die!”
“That’s preposterous,” the Sir mumbles.
“Is it?” she challenges him. “If Death rules over the world, and no one dies, what is the point? What is the point in doing anything? You know yourself that immortality comes with a price of boredom and deterioration. Everyone would feel that. Your greatest high would lead to the greatest low you’ve ever known before you die. I’m trying to save you!” she screams finally. With a heavy heart, and a look of shock, Sir Happiness lowers his blade. The Madam admits lastly, “As I always have.”
Sir Happiness stares at his sister until he finds he can no longer. As he looks away in shame, he realizes that all of his preconceived notions were so far from the truth. The Madam isn’t his enemy, she is trying to protect him from himself.
He is his own worst enemy, and she is the only one seeking to help him. He admits, “I’m so terrible and stupid.”
Madam Sadness looks down as she feels the sad emotions erupt from her brother. “Terrible to me, but to be honest, gods aren’t judged by how they treat one person, but how they treat everyone, so I’m sure you’re not going down into any history books as a cretin.”
“Maybe so,” he mutters. The Sir asks the Madam, “What do we do now?”
“You surrender, and you save the people you have left,” she tells him. The Sir becomes confused, he cannot imagine a world where he is not killed by the Madam’s other allies if he surrenders. “Believe it or not, we’re not looking to kill you all. Not even Death. Even Lord Dread spared Madam Honor.”
The Sir gives his sister an expression of shock. “I had heard of that, but I didn’t believe it. Truly, if I surrender, I won’t be killed?”
The Madam looks up at him and asks rhetorically, “I’ve been fighting this war to make sure you live, and you think I would let someone kill you now?”
“Silly question, I guess,” the Sir mumbles.
“Yes,” the Madam agrees. Then as they stand, two siblings without a healthy bond between them, find themselves without much to say. The Madam only has a wish.
Madam Sadness, slowly approaches Sir Happiness who becomes anxious and nervous, and embraces him, wrapping her arms around his torso, and laying her head against his chest. He finds this act shocking, and part of him still finds her repulsive. He abstains from reacting until she relays her wish to him.
“I have waited many lifetimes to do this. Would you mind so terribly to play an act, and humor me?” she asks of her brother.
He tries to remind her while sparing her feelings as much as he can. “You know I’m not comfortable with this.”
“Then play a part, pretend, please,” she says, close to begging.
He knows he owes his sister this, and raises his left arm to slowly and awkwardly wrap around her shoulders. Even though she knows it is not the love she desires, for her, this will do for now.