The Incarnations: The Incarnal War (Chapter 10)

A Guilty Conscience

“Evil, wake up,” a voice calls as she shakes her Majesty. “Wake up! There’s someone here!” His Majesty’s eyes flutter, attempting to open but lacking the will and desire.

King Evil attempts to pull his satin blankets higher up his body, but his companion steals them away from him, allowing a cool chill over his body.

I don’t understand how he feels cold, his bed is surrounded by moats of flames.

He slowly rolls onto his back and begins to rub his eyes. He asks his companion, “Lilith, why have you awaken me at such an ungodly hour?”

The raven haired human berates my lesser son for his laziness. “Ungodly? It’s half past noon!”

She still shows the tone of challenge that necessitated her replacement. When he removes his hands he sees her in her bare form, and finds himself distracted by thoughts of the night before. A smooth seduction he’s already calling it.

Playing his games with her, as he does his servant Onheil, his Majesty responds, “Yes, I don’t ever plan to wake up until dinner is being prepared.”

Lilith shakes her head, and grasps the sheets to cover herself which prompts his Majesty to make a mocking face of sadness. She notices and rolls her eyes as many do to him. She informs him, “I’m not of a state of mind where I like baring myself to strangers as you do.” Something she wouldn’t do at all for Adam.

“But it’s so fun!” his Majesty exclaims playfully. “Its freeing to roam around bare, and if everyone is uncomfortable, well that’s just quality entertainment.”

Making others uncomfortable truly is one of his Majesty’s favorite pass times.

“Not to mention the fun that is usually had when we don’t have clothes on.” He reaches to pull back the covers, but she slaps his hand away.

The human reminds him, “Well, if that’s what you want, by all means greet the Lord without your pants!” This prompts a speculative frown from my son.

He asks for clarification, “A Lord is here? Which one?” Then with a look of comical desperation and annoyance he groans, “I hope it’s not Dread, he can be so boring. He lacks any personality or humor. Though the only other option…”

“Onheil said it’s worse, it’s Guilt,” Lilith informs him.

“Onheil was here?” his Majesty asks.

Lilith actually grins quite snidely now, remembering it. “She came in while you were sleeping, and was more than a little annoyed with our indiscretions, then even more so that you would not wake to her voice.” His Majesty then groans, realizing the headache he is going to develop later.

“Ugh, this war is almost over, and yet they still run to me,” his Majesty complains. He places the back of his hand to his forehead as he complains, “It’s so terrible to be so desired.”

Lilith maintains a small grin as she shakes her head at him. He notices and inquires as to what she is so entertained by. “What? Do I tickle your fancy, my beauty?”

My son sits up and leans forward to speak with his lips so close to hers. She asks him a question she thinks she already knows the answer to. “Are you never serious?”

“Only when it matters,” he answers honestly, which surprises her. “So hopefully not for a few more years.” Then in a crafty manner, he steals a kiss from her, tongue and all, and dashes away to move to his feet.

Lilith shakes her head at him again, calling him a, “sneaky bastard,” with a playful undertone. King Evil winks back at her as he snaps his fingers and finds himself in his red leather trousers, and red silk robe.

As he walks around the bed towards the bridge to the elevator rather than balcony, the human inquires, “No shirt?”

His Majesty admits that, “I like to drive Onheil crazy. Maybe I’ll bully Lord Guilt too.” Then he waves goodbye as he leave his bedfellow. He presses the button to open the elevator.

The elevator is already on his floor so it opens to allow him in. When the doors close and waits for him to pick a floor, he realizes he doesn’t know where Lord Guilt and Onheil are waiting. He thinks about where he’ll be talking to them, but when the future is blocked he remembers to think in present tense. He finds that the two are waiting for him in the skyscraper’s lobby, so he presses that button.

“I guess that’s really just common sense,” he admits.

As the elevator goes down he wonders what Lord Guilt could possibly have to say. He can only assume that the Lord will make a plea for his Majesty’s aid in the war, and while his confident smile doesn’t show it, he fears the argument the Lord will make. Guilt is a stronger motivator than gratitude, and his Majesty must steel his will to maintain his neutral stance.

When the elevator doors eventually open, his Majesty is greeted to a lobby full of demons, small and large, multi-colored, winged and tailed.

As he walks out they have different responses to their Majesty, all that please him in some sort of way. Some simply wave their hand and say hello, others bow their heads, some look to shake his hand as if they have known him for years, and one demoness sends an insult towards him that makes him laugh even though she is furious.

When he sees the Lord at the front desk of the lobby though, he sees the way the Lord looks upon him. The empty black eyes that somehow manage to bore into him. Match that with the maroon complexion and the white hair, his Majesty does not ponder why many mortals believe the Lord to be more evil looking than the King himself. His heavily textured and spiked breastplate, along with the armored arms  and legs do nothing to dispel his reputation.

Besides him is the powerful pink demoness, Onheil, or at least pink today. I could have sworn she was red before, but with her wings on full display there’s no doubt that she’s indeed pink. His Majesty notices something strange about her other than her outfit, which distracts me. Really all of the demons’ strange fashion distracts me.

The suit pants, and what I can assume to be the suit jacket, no longer goes over the button blouse but a simple gray shirt. I don’t get it.

His Majesty notices the demoness’s long and thin forked tail wagging back and forth in front of her, almost systematically. From the billions of years that she has served him, he knows that she only shows her tail from under her clothes in two instances, when she’s in a mood, and when she’s nervous. He highly doubts her mood is anything near what can be described as pleasant. 

His Majesty walks up to them, and moves to stand besides Onheil first. She leans against the front desk, her eyes to the ground, allowing him to sneak up on her, and whisper in her ear, “Don’t worry, I’ll make sure everything is fine.” He’s not trying to keep a secret from Lord Guilt, because he can easily listen in, but more so to calm his servant.

She turns to her Majesty, and assures him with words, “I’m not worried about anything.” Her eyes assure him that she trusts in him.

Still, she fears the Lord’s ability to coerce, and she fears joining the war as any servant should. They become the fodder who die, even though by now she should realize that her Majesty finds her too invaluable to sacrifice as others of her kind have been.

Then my son responds with an uncharacteristically humble, “Of course.” Then he holds his hand out to the Lord to shake. “It’s a pleasure, Lord Guilt.”

“Likewise, if only under better circumstances.” The way the Lord smiles does not prompt my son to believe his words. The Lord at the very least, gets right to the point. “You know why I am here. Maybe we should speak with less distractions.”

“Agreed.” Not wanting to wait in the elevator with this Incarnation, he snaps his fingers, and flames begin at each of their feet, and burn them away, transitioning their bodies to his Majesty’s balcony. While the action to separate themselves from the servants makes sense, and the lack of desire for the elevator understandable, his Majesty might as well have shouted that the Lord has already unnerved him in some way.

His Majesty then walks to lean on the balcony. With his back to the Lord, he grumbles along, quite undignified. “Well, get on with it.” He waves the Lord off as if he were a door-to-door salesman.

Then there’s that grin he sends back the Lord’s way that speaks to the pleasure he gets from the attention. “Go on, tell me how much you need my help. How my mother needs me to come and save her from my oppressive father, to end a war she started over an insult. Sell me all of the sob stories you want. I’ll tell you want I told my brother, I’m neutral, and I like it that way.”

The Lord moves to his Majesty’s side, and grabs his shoulder to look him in the face angrily. The Lord is powerful, and threatening in many ways, but physically? To a King, he is no more a match than Lady Justice was.

At first his Majesty is immediately annoyed and insulted by the Lord’s manhandling, but when he sees the look of rage in the Lord’s face he can’t help but be shocked.

“You insolent child. You spoiled, thankless brat of son. How dare you accuse Death of starting this war, over an insult? Is that what you’ve been told? Do you truly have so little respect for the one who raised you?”

The accusations the Lord throws at his Majesty catches him off guard. He does not know what the Lord is talking about. He understands what he is implying, but doesn’t know any truth behind it. “Your mother started this war because she finally realized that she would be the better Creator. That she would be better on Life’s perch. We rallied behind her because we agreed, so who are you put down her honest ambitions?”

For the first time in a long time, King Evil is practically speechless. “I-I, I didn’t, I didn’t know, nor realize that was the reason. I had thought this whole war was a reaction to Adam, Eve, and Lilith… how Life had forsaken her.”

“That was simply the last straw,” the Lord reveals. “Death has been taking punishment and abuse from Life for millions of years, but she would never ask anyone to fight over that, especially you.” With that last remark, his Majesty grits his teeth.

My lesser son rolls his tongue along insides of his mouth as he looks away. Without looking at the Lord, he repeats, only with less conviction, “This all may be true, but I’m still neutral. Tell my mother that I cannot help her.”

Lord Guilt shakes his head in disgust, which is ironic all considered. “You know what I loathe the most about coming here, is how she refused to ask you for help, to drag her favorite child into this war. Even as she loses, she didn’t send me here.”

“She didn’t?” his Majesty questions as he turns to face the Lord with a shocked expression. “Then why are you here?”

“To do what she wouldn’t, win her the war.

Then the Lord acts flustered, energized but with nowhere to place his power. He clenches his fists and turns his back to his Majesty, looking for something, anything, and decides on the balcony railing. He brings his hand crashing down upon it, shattering it in a rage.

Do you know what angers me? The fact that she has been slowly giving up this whole time, when she knew that if she had your help, we would win, but she refused.

“She wouldn’t?” my son merely mutters. He can only listen in awe of how his mother wouldn’t dare to ask him to sacrifice so much.

I’m sure it’s not lost on him how I did.

“No, she wouldn’t. When we lost Sir Happiness, she refused to call on you. She decided to blame her own military leadership, and passed it on to Sir Peace.” Then as an underhanded comment, the Lord adds, “As if he wasn’t already playing the role of strategist.

“But, then we lost Sir Peace, and Death merely gave up, reclined to her realm, to recoil to herself in failure, all instead of calling for you, her beloved son.”

I haven’t looked upon her, not once in this war. I’ve always been afraid to know if she truly hates me, but instead now knowing that she lacks respect for me instead, and for herself… in a way that feels worse.

Then the Lord walks towards his Majesty, who’s currently in a tragic state of mind. He moves in close, face to face, and informs the King, “Guess what she said when she was informed that Lady Justice and I were taking the choice out of her hands? Guess. She made you an offer, and a promise.”

“Doesn’t matter what she offers, I refuse to fight my brother,” King Evil tells the Lord. I can only hope that his love for his brother will sustain his will against his own guilt.

Lord Guilt informs my lesser son, “Death offered to make you someone whom the mortals cannot look down upon, disown or blame as they do to you now.”

His Majesty shakes his head as if such a thing were impossible and tries to turn his back. The Lord manhandles him again, grabbing his Majesty’s arm and pulling him back to tell him, “She’ll make you no longer Evil.”

What would he become then?

Now the Lord’s grasp has stepped too far, and the gorgeous wings extend from his Majesty’s back as he forces a look of anger upon the Lord. In a voice meant to threaten, he assures the Lord, that, “I do not want to be Good.”

The Lord stands his ground, but trembles slightly as his bluff is being called. “You would not be good. In Death’s own words, you would be what you have always truly been. King Normal.” By the look of surprise that seems to be permanently corrupting my lesser son’s face, he knows this offer to be tempting, so Lord Guilt decides to do what he does best. He guilts his Majesty. “But please, turn down the offer. Don’t stand by your mother as she has stood by you.”

His Majesty is angered once again, and tears his arm from the Lord’s grasp with such force that the Lord stumbles a step backwards. He yells at the Lord, “Enough!

But the Lord refuses, putting his life in peril. “No, Death has always stood by you as Life has your brother, but you refuse to repay her that debt! Without a doubt, she has always treated you with more love and tenderness than Life has shown anyone, and yet you still won’t stand beside her!

“Be, silent!” King Evil screams in the Lord’s face as he dashes forward.

“Want to know the worse thing,” the Lord mutters under his breath. With that one sentence, his Majesty’s wings erupt in bright flames, ready to burn the Lord to smithereens. To save himself, Lord Guilt finishes, “Death said, that even if you don’t join her, she wants you to know she will still love you.”

His Majesty’s face turns from one of rage to distraught as his mouth hangs open. His expression that of a truly remorseful conscience that kills his flames.

He only asks for something he already believes to be true. “Did she really say that?”

“Yes,” the Lord confirms, “she said just that.” With that, his Majesty looks down to ponder what kind of son he is. If he is strong he won’t give in. If he is strong, he won’t fall to lesser instincts and emotions, instead he will stand by his original word.

His Majesty turns to walk away, back towards the door, if only he takes to his bed, he will escape his guilt. He must simply leave.

Then a thunderclap sounds across the sky, as dark clouds erupt from the heavens. In a flash his Majesty and the Lord race to the railing to look out upon the King’s city, and see the speeding black smoke heading towards them.

Lord Guilt mutters, “Lord Dread has arrived.”

“He is too late.”

The black smoke quickly becomes the figure of fear itself, in all of his dark glory. As he races over the city’s streets, horrifying the demons, King Evil steps onto his railing, and dives off the side to fly down to meet him. Lord Guilt sighs, and jumps to follow suit.

His Majesty meets Lord Dread halfway, and as soon as the Lord sees the wings of beauty he stops in his tracks.

He floats above the ground to look up at the face of Evil. Before his Majesty begins to speak, the dark Lord announces, “Your Majesty, I’m here to stop a certain pest from-”

Lord Dread stops speaking once Lord Guilt appears behind his Majesty, as if walking on air. Lord Dread finishes his thought, “Am I too late?”

His Majesty informs his second uninvited guest that, “Indeed, you are much too late.”

Lord Guilt turns to his Majesty in confusion, and seeks clarification. “Are you saying that you will join me? You will fight Life?”

“I will stand by my mother’s side as she deserves,” then with a finger towards the Lord Dread, “after I eradicate this enemy from existence.” When his Majesty threatens the dark Lord, I notice the Lord’s tense and cautious body language. The way he holds his arms, ready to grab onto anything, or maybe even to turn and run. For once, his hand twitches, and just maybe, he feels the one thing he is never supposed to feel.

His own Dread.

In a stroke of luck, Lord Guilt floats around and between King Evil and Lord Dread, and tells his Majesty, “There is no time, I can dispatch this pest.” I assume he did not appreciate the other Lord’s insult towards him. “You must go to your mother, and convince her all is not lost. She mustn’t give up on fighting for us all.”

My lesser son arches his brow to match his expression of confusion. He asks Lord Guilt with a hint of comical doubt, “You want to fight Lord Dread? Can you handle that?”

Lord Guilt immediately becomes insulted, and turns his back to his Majesty. “I’m starting to remember why I dislike so many of my own. You all underestimate me outside of a conversation. You all forget,” then he holds his hand out, and the Destiny, his long spear with its deadly tip materializes in his hand, “I am a Lord.”

“Okay then Mr. Overdramatic, I’ll leave the Lords to fight it out.” As his Majesty cedes the fight to Lord Guilt, Lord Dread’s twitching in his hand ceases, but his frown deepens. He should be delighted that his Majesty is not going to destroy him. King Evil will not hold back as his brother did upon Lady Justice.

Then his Majesty flies to float beside Lord Dread, he prompts a curious look. He holds his hands behind his back as he tilts his head and asks the Lord a question that has been eating at him. “Before I go, I feel this may be my one and only chance to ask you this. Something about you and your place in this war has always absolutely befuddled me.”

The Lord Dread asks his Majesty for his question. 

“Why did you side with Life? Shouldn’t you want Death to win? What do mortals possibly fear more than Death?” My lesser son’s question is fair, one I have not thought to ask. I always assumed the Lord sides with me as the honorable action to take.

Lord Dread replies with something more profound than honor. “If one were to only think about how I would survive long-term, they would understand why I need to side with Life.”

“Do explain,” his Majesty asks of the Lord.

The dark Lord does in turn “Death is what mortals fear the most, or at least the majority do. But if Death rules over them, she becomes the constant in their lives, a new normal. She becomes the norm, and what they once feared so much, becomes nothing to fear at all.”

“And you lose your power,” his Majesty finishes with a bemused look on his face. “I must admit Lord Dread, your answer is more true and well-thought than I would have expected. Good for you.”

Then he begins to fly upwards to take his leave, but leaves a warning to both Lords, “Oh, and boys, if either one of you brings any harm to my home, specifically my skyscraper, I will return and burn you to ashes, despite whoever you fight for. I like the people in there, more than I ever will either of you.”

The Lords merely gaze up at him in understandment, and his Majesty salutes them before he flies off with speed that removes him from sight in the blink of an eye.

Lord Guilt then turns his head to the side, and asks the other Lord, “Shall we be-”

He is cut off by Lord Dread, suddenly without restraint, bringing the Terror down upon Lord Guilt, who miraculously but barely blocks in time with his spear.

“Well, someone is quite impatient,” Lord Guilt jests.

Lord Dread reels back his sword and slashes at his enemy from several directions at blinding speed, prompting Lord Guilt to do his best to keep up.

On a final strike the dark Lord fuels his power behind his blade, and slams it down upon the staff of the other Lord’s spear, forcing Lord Guilt to fly a generally small drop to the ground. Lord Guilt swiftly recovers back to his feet to defend against his opponent, but Lord Dread does not attack again immediately.

Instead, he nonchalantly floats above the other Lord.

Lord Dread finally answers, “I’m impatient because you are not worth my time. For you see, you stole a fight with King Evil from me.”

I must contain myself from chuckling over Lord Dread’s twitching, which apparently was excitement, and not fear. I can see why the Lady wants him to have a therapy servant.

As Guilt becomes offended once again, Dread moves as black smoke with astounding speed above and around to slash at Guilt from behind. Underestimating his opponent, Dread is surprised when Guilt effectively blocks with the Destiny.

Lord Guilt grumbles angrily, “It’s becoming quite aggravating, the levels of disrespect always being paid to me by brutes like you. I assume you do not treat Lady Justice with such disdain, or do you disrespect anyone with intelligence over transformation?”

“Don’t worry,” Lord Dread answers when he dashes back then expands to the height of the skyscrapers, raising the Terror over his head, “it’s only you.” Then he swings down with his hellish blade upon the insect-like size of Lord Guilt.

When the sword should have sunk itself into the ground, it clangs, and reverberates back. Lord Dread then brings his executioner sword to his face to inspect it to determine what stopped his deadly strike. He looks to view down upon his opponent, laughing while leaning against his spear.

To investigate further, the dark Lord decreases back to normal size to stand before his enemy, and waits for the other to cease his laughter.

Lord Guilt finally calms himself, and comments in half a chuckle, “Enjoy that parlor trick, did you? I’m happy to say that it’s going to be a nightmare for you.”

“Did you receive or make some kind of armor to protect yourself?” Lord Dread inquires.

“Of a sort,” the other Lord answers. “It protects me from harm.”

Lord Dread narrows his eyes upon Lord Guilt, believing that his enemy is naturally not telling him the whole truth. Something is protecting him from Lord Dread’s blade, and the dark Lord has already determined that his opponent’s protection cannot not be utter and complete. If it was, why would Lord Guilt bother blocking at all?

Lord Dread then takes the opportunity while his enemy’s guard is down to attack from several directions. He uses his transformation capabilities to first bring his sword down upon Lord Guilt from the his opponent’s front, which Lord Guilt barely blocks in time. While his sword bears down against Lord Guilt’s spear, black smoke emits from Lord Dread’s body.

The smoke spreads in three different directions to form apparitions of Lord Dread’s upper half, swords in hands. They all move around Lord Guilt to slash upon three specific locations. Lord Guilt is shocked and angered by this surprise attack, being able only to watch on as he is attacked by multiple directions.

One apparition attacks Guilt from above, a copy of Dread’s upper half swinging down towards Guilt’s head, but that attack is deflected in much the same fashion as before. The other two swing towards his right arm and left leg. They both are able to damage their targets, as Guilt’s arm is merely cut, but his leg is severed at the thigh.

After this attack, which all happened in the time span of two seconds, Lord Dread himself dissipates into dark smoke to fly through Lord Guilt and come together with his other apparitions as one.

He leaves his back to Lord Guilt, as an open invitation to attack, feigning no guard.

Lord Dread explains to Lord Guilt, “From just now I surmise this, whatever protects you, only does so from fatal blows. It protected your head, but not the cut on your forearm, and it will not protect your limbs, so you can still bleed out.” He turns around to question Lord Guilt for clarification, all the while Lord Guilt reattaches his leg and stands back to his feet. “Did I miss anything?”

“You must think yourself so clever,” Lord Guilt hisses. His leg might be reattached, but the way he avoids leaning on it speaks volumes about the pain he must be in.

“Lord Guilt,” the Lord Dread says with a surprising hint of sarcasm, “do you treat Lady Hate with this disdain, or just anyone with natural intelligence?”

I believe this is the most Lord Dread has ever spoken in a battle before. I wonder if this is a new regular occurrence, or a strategy specifically against Lord Guilt.

“Only you,” Lord Guilt answers.

Then he places his hand over the gash on his forearm to heal his wound. “You did not miss a thing, but do tell me, when I can heal my own wounds as well as you can given the chance, how do you plan to defeat me? Bleed me out? You’d have better luck with Lady Love, she won’t fight back.” Then he places a finger on his mouth, then seemingly corrects himself. “That was a poor joke. Everyone knows the Lady is quite easy now that I think about it.” Lord Dread’s stone face of apathy quickly sullens to rage. “Ah yes, it seems you finally have a nerve that can be struck.”

Lord Dread then readies his blade and prepares to attack again, all the while asking, “Do you want to talk, or are we going to fight?”

Lord Guilt develops a devilish smile and remarks, “You started talking first.”

Then, to take the initiative this time, Guilt dashes towards Dread with his spear.

Preemptively, Dread readies his sword to block, believing himself vastly superior to Guilt in terms of thinking and moving speed. When Guilt’s body vibrates, Dread realizes his mistake.

Guilt amplifies his speed to vibrate with great intensity. He manipulates the light around him, a flash step. Before it appears as if Guilt dissipates from existence, Dread is looking to see where he will appear.

Due to Guilt’s ability to call upon a vast amount of energy, his flash step works more effectively than Madam Sadness’s. His flash step can happen several times over, without a running start.

Guilt appears above Dread, and stabs his spear straight down. Dread deflect the Destiny’s tip away, and attempts to cut off Guilt’s hands.

Guilt flash steps again, this time to Dread’s right where he is open. Dread inhales to dodge a strike against his abdomen.

Without giving Dread a chance for another counterattack, Guilt flash steps to Dread’s front, where his chest is completely open.

As Guilt aims to stab right through Dread’s chest, Dread grabs the Destiny by the spearhead.

With his great strength, Dread is able hold his sword in one hand and stop Guilt from plunging the spear right through him with the other.

Dread and Guilt lock eyes for a moment, seeing their new predicament, but Guilt shows no apprehension, and flashes Dread a smile. He flash steps again. This time Dread cannot see him anywhere, and doesn’t realize where is until the blade is already through him.

Guilt flash stepped behind Dread and stabbed him right above the dark Lord’s heart, out the front of his chest.

Dread then grabs hold of the speartip with his left hand to prevent his opponent from tearing the spear lower towards his heart.

He needs a moment, only a moment to transition to smoke and escape, but Guilt wraps his left arm around Dread’s neck and chokes him. To stop Dread from escaping, Guilt empowers his arm and creates an acidic sensation across Dread’s neck.

Lord Guilt then whispers in his opponent’s ear, “And to think you had wanted to fight King Evil. As if you’d ever have a chance.” Lord Dread attempts to struggle against the burning grip around his neck only for it to be tightened.

Lord Guilt instead aims to strike deep, saying, “You know what has always bothered me about you, a lack of drive. How can I guilt someone as uncaring and empty as you?” Lord Dread does little other than groan and grunt in response to pain.

As they struggle, both of their combined power begins to splurge from them, sending forth shockwaves that shakes Evil’s world.

The dark Lord tries to struggle against Lord Guilt, but the acidic properties of his opponent’s power is eating away at his chest and his own strength.

“There is your meaningless word, I supposed, your honor. Tell me, is that the only thing keeping you from taking your own pointless life? The only thing that gives you a reason to live? Otherwise you’d sulk and do nothing else but scowl.”

This line of questioning sparks a rageful increase in power from Lord Dread. The Lord then decides as he is unable to escape through transformation, he must then instead relinquish his grip on the Terror, and place both hands on the Destiny. Lord Guilt develops an expression of surprise as his grip on the dark Lord loosens.

Lord Dread then proceeds to pull the spear forward, out through his body. With Lord Guilt only being able to pull back with one arm, he loses his grip on his own spear.

As Lord Dread’s bout of strength proves successful, Lord Guilt lets the Destiny go, and uses his free left hand to grip into Lord Dread’s left eye socket. The dark Lord yells in pain as black smoke leaks from around his face as it does around the spear he pulls through him.

Before Lord Guilt can attempt to blind his other eye, Lord Dread quickly spins his enemy’s spear around and stabs backwards to strike Lord Guilt in the ribs.

Lord Guilt cries out from the pain, and his hold on Lord Dread loosens, giving the dark Lord a chance to tear away the arm around his neck.

With great speed, Lord Dread then breaks away and summons the Terror back to his hand.

He spins around to slice across Lord Guilt’s stomach. Blue acid leaks from it, acid that bubbles and pops.

He’s stunned, leaving himself open for Lord Dread to add insult to injury by kicking him right on the open slice and sending him flying for miles.

With this chance to take inventory of his wounds, Lord Dread sees how his opponent was eerily close to melting his chest to the bone. He weighs his options, taking the time to seal his chest wound or his blinded left eye. He places his left hand over his chest, feeling the sting of his muscles directly feeling the skin of his fingers, and pools his power to his chest.

The Lord then notices that the Destiny suddenly flies forwards away from him, so he knows that Lord Guilt is coming.

His skin is regenerated, but not unscarred when Lord Dread sees Lord Guilt racing towards him at top speed, clearly enraged. Lord Dread swiftly blocks the spear strike with the flat portion of his sword. Guilt’s strength carries them both for miles, Dread’s feet tearing apart the ground.

Then he sees Lord Guilt begin to flash step again, so Lord Dread immediately becomes black smoke.

Lord Dread grows to the height of a house, but never completely materializes his lower half. He attempts to grab hold of Lord Guilt in large and gaseous claws and protruding tendrils. Whenever Lord Dread comes close to making contact with Lord Guilt he solidifies his hands, but Lord Guilt gracefully flies and flips away. Lord Guilt looks as if he is jumping from invisible perches as he avoids the gaseous tendrils that attempt to grab him.  

As Lord Dread fruitlessly attempts to ensnare Lord Guilt, the acrobatic Lord reverts back to taunting. “I say you’re empty inside, you don’t budge. I imply Lady Love is easy to bed you and attack. But insult your word, that’s what enrages you. Is your word really all you care about? The only thing worth maintaining?”

Lord Dread this once stops attempting to grab hold of Lord Guilt, and says in a voice of thunder, “You know nothing of what I care for.

“I doubt it, Dread. You aren’t all that deep.” Lord Guilt then flips through an enclosing black hand. “Then again, maybe defending the Lady at all shows you care for something other than a measly word of honor.”

Lord Dread does not answer, but instead strikes at Lord Guilt with sharpened points instead of grasping for him.

Lord Guilt then chuckles and leaps high above Lord Dread’s ghastly claws to then fly across the street and stand perpendicular on a building. 

Lord Guilt continues his taunting from far above Lord Dread. “It’s not true anymore to say that honor is the only thing you care for, and just so you know, I haven’t been talking about the Madam.”

Lord Dread digs his enlarged claws into the building Lord Guilt stands on, and claws his way up with an expression of savagery on his face.

“Ah yes, maybe you do care for Lady Love. Tell me, do you feel as if you’ve found something you never thought you would?”

Lord Guilt stops standing on the wall and begins to free fall towards Lord Dread. As he dodges and evades incoming tendrils, he finishes that, “I believe you’ve found something you feel the need to protect.”

Without another word, Lord Dread then surprises Lord Guilt by crushing him between his hands. Lord Dread is surprised when the Destiny plunges through his hand, covered in the acidic power of Guilt.

It then moves to the right, cutting away at the dark Lord’s hand. Lord Dread lets go of Lord Guilt, and as Lord Guilt falls towards his enemy, he reels back his spear, and throws it at the dark Lord’s chest.

Being that the weapon has been coated in acidic power it flies through Lord Dread’s chest, and poisons him with burning pain.

Lord Dread then falls backwards back to the ground, he shifts back to his normal size before he falls upon a vehicle that a demon abandoned. Then Lord Guilt falls on his chest, feet first, prompting a painful sounding grunt.

Lord Guilt then steps off of Lord Dread and grabs the dark Lord’s hood to pull him over his shoulder.

Lord Guilt then with much power, throws Lord Dread in rising arch through the upper floors of the skyscraper opposite of him, where the dark Lord spirals in a freefall above several buildings, and then down through another to land in another street, scaring many demons away.

Lord Guilt then makes several leaps to reach Lord Dread, leaping up and down to a building where he can watch demons scurry away from his enemy below. He sees Lord Dread struggling to stand, feeling the acid in him, eating him away. Lord Guilt jumps down as he faces Lord Dread’s back. He sees that Lord Dread’s hood has fallen backwards, but takes no immediate reflection on it.

He raises his spear to stab through Lord Dread, and reaches for him to see Dread’s face as the dark Lord dies.

He grabs Lord Dread’s shoulder and turns him around. He sees Lord Dread’s eyes completely, and gasps in terror.

As Lord Guilt backs away in fear, Lord Dread pulls his hood back over his eyes, and admits, “You’re right. Before this war I cared for nothing but my word, it’s the only thing I could muster reason to fight for. But now, now I have met Love, and she does not cower when she looks into my eyes as you do.”

“How that is possible, I have no idea,” Lord Guilt gasps, for when he saw the dark Lord’s true eyes, he saw that Dread does not have irises at all.

In fact, a strip of darkness spans from ear to ear, reaching just above his eyebrows to the bridge of his nose. There are the white pupils, but they are surrounded by images. Images of whatever the onlooker fears most. Lord Guilt saw what he feared most, and he is shocked to the core because of it, and is distracted.

The Lord of all fear and nightmare raises his hand to his right, and summons the Terror to him. He summons it through several buildings to find its place in his hand.

He looks up at his opponent and asks, “Are you done cowering, or do you need a moment?”

Lord Guilt seems more undone by what he has seen.

“If I had known before what a monstrosity you were, I would have sought out your death without this war.” This does nothing to faze the dark Lord, but then Lord Guilt threatens the wrong Lady. “And if Lady Love can look at that and not be afraid, she is a monster of different kind. You abominations belong in Oblivion.”

Now the Lord prepares to fight, with new reason to win, especially as Lord Guilt continues to threaten the Lady. “When I kill you she will be easy pickings, and to think we all thought she was pure, yet she can see the greatest terror and smile. There must be something wrong with her that no one else can see.”

“Hear me, and hear me well, Guilt,” Lord Dread begins. “Love is the purest being in Creation, and she is the only thing containing what makes her pure. I will never let anything harm her.”

Lord Guilt tilts his head slightly in surprise. “Such big talk.” Then he readies his spear.

Lord Dread responds, “Maybe it’s time you stopped.”

Lord Dread reels the Terror behind his head, and in a surprise strategy, throws his executioner blade at Lord Guilt. Lord Guilt is caught off guard by the strategy, but does not fail to deflect the blade.

Though as he does so, Lord Dread appears in front of him and grabs both ends of the spear. As Lord Guilt struggles to pull his spear back from Lord Dread, he demands from the dark Lord in a yell, “What are you doing?!”

Lord Dread ignores his question, “Before, I had deemed no one in this war guilty enough to deserve the ultimate end, to suffer a death of true horror. But you threatened Lady Love, not only with harm but even death, to me…

“You have changed my mind.”

Lord Guilt grows nervous, when he never would have before had he not seen Lord Dread’s true eyes.

He tries to pull back his spear, but finds that it will not move. He looks at the dark Lord’s hands upon it, and sees that they don’t shake, twitch, or budge.

In a gasp, Lord Guilt asks, “What is this strength?” Lord Dread does not answer. “Answer me abomination! You did not have this power before! You are poisoned, you are weak! What are you doing?!

“I’m done holding back,” Lord Dread reveals, “I’m done trying to give you a death by the sword. You don’t deserve it.

Then he lifts the spear over Lord Guilt’s head, and kicks him in the gut with such force he goes flying down the street.

“Everyone, all of our brethren, they call me merciless, but I am anything but.” Lord Guilt clambers to his knees, but Lord Dread has evaporated and appeared over Lord Guilt in the blink of an eye to bring his boot down on his head. “With every battle, in every war, I hold back. I spare souls the fate of being consumed by the Abys, to know fear like no other. I spare even the most worthy of souls this fate, but I will no longer try to spare you.

Then Lord Dread removes his foot, and it looms under his cloak. Tendrils come from Lord Dread, and ensnare Lord Guilt’s limbs. They lift him up, and now he sees how Lord Dread has transformed.

He does not see the dark Lord’s tunic or trousers, instead lies a deep dark Abyss. One worse than Oblivion, one that shows true terror that none have ever been able to escape.

Lord Guilt struggles against his bonds, and releases his power sporadically. To free himself, he points his palms straight into the abyss, straight at Lord Dread, and erupts in a fiery blast of blue power. He uses so much of his power that it all erupts to encompass him. He blinds himself trying to escape a fate he fears like no other.

No matter how hard he tries, no matter the effort he puts forward, Lord Guilt’s bonds still hold him, and he must wait for effects of his power to clear from view. All he sees is the abyss.

Lord Dread explains to Lord Guilt, “You wonder how you’re losing control, how you have lost the advantage.

“No matter what, no matter how good you are with your spear, no matter how guilty you make people feel, no matter how much you worm your way inside my head, I am Dread.

“My power will always put me above you, will always allow me to recover, to power through, you cannot overcome me.

“For Guilt does nothing, but fuel fear.

Then Lord Dread consumes him. I watch on in horror.

Lord Guilt is consumed in darkness, absolutely. He feels nothing, sees nothing, and hears only his own voice.

Then he feels them.

He feels the tiny legs crawling all over, sticking into his skin as they climb towards his head. A light swings towards him as the legs crawl over his body. The light swings over the Lord as they climb into his ears and mouth.

The light reveals the cockroaches climbing into every orifice. So many going down the Lord’s throat that he cannot even scream.

Then he begins falling and falling, seeing dim light below, feeling the tiny legs crawling inside of him as he falls. The dim light becoming brighter and brighter, while also growing in radius.

The Lord sees and realizes, it’s fire.

As he screams he feels the bile tickle his insides as the little legs do. He falls into the fire, and he feels the burning. Not just outside, but inside too. He can feel and hear the screaming of the insects ringing out through his orifices. He feels his skin turning to ash, and then jagged points skewering him from his privates through his stomach and out his neck.

Then the tiny legs begin to crawl out through the new wounds. Only this time, instead of cockroaches, spiders squeeze their way out of the small wounds in his privates and neck.

The tiny, hairy legs crawl all around the Lord’s exterior with some inside chewing their way out. As they leave holes for more of their own to escape through, they began to wrap him in a web, right before the fire reaches his bones.

As they wrap him in the web he feels safe, protected, and free of torment.

To cease this false sense of safety, the Lord feels and hears hands beginning to tear apart the web, someone to save him, someone to show him mercy. Then the web around his face opens, and he sees a face looking down at him.

His own.

He sees himself looking down at him, smiling with glee, a smile that begins to stretch unnaturally farther and farther towards his eyes.

Then bulges start to form on the face of this other Lord, bulges that change color and shape as the mouth grows protrusions and points.

The bulges become hundreds of yellow glowing eyes, and the protrusions become venomous fangs. Then the spider-like Lord dives in on Lord Guilt’s face. It stabs his eyes with his venomous fangs and rubs it’s many eyes along his forehead as he screams.

Suddenly, the spider-like version of himself  disappears, and the Lord sees his own hands, wooden, with strings attached.

He feels a force pulling on him, controlling him, forcing him to move without consent. He’s forced to dance along, dance past shadows with beady eyes of all shapes and colors.

He feels hands, and tentacles, and small little legs, and tongues touching him, feeling his wooden form as the strings force him along.

He hears whispering, and yelling, in languages he doesn’t understand when he should understand them all.

They cheer and they curse, somehow he knows and somehow he doesn’t understand, until the pool lies before him.

A red pool, and he is forced to walk towards it, into it too, and with his first step he feels his wooden legs begin to melt, to feel the acid eating away at them.

Yet the strings force him forward, he has no control, no will to save himself from coming undone. He hears a voice, many voices, each word spoken by a different voice, each voice that of his brethren Incarnations.

“Is this how an Incarnation grovels? Is this how an Incarnation truly dies?

He melts until he is just eyes, and his eyes do not melt.

Instead, his eyes are picked up by hands, and put into a body with arms and legs he cannot see, cannot feel, until light shines again.

He has his normal body back, but he is tied, and nude, and being pulled in several directions by several bound limbs. He is still helpless.

Then he sees them, the needles, the knives they come to him, and they lie against his skin. They tear against his skin, cutting him everywhere from all directions.

He screams, but all that comes out is air bubbles that he watches float in front of him. Not up nor down, left nor right, nowhere that symbols the direction of land. His air bubbles just float in front of him, as a gooey liquid fills his throat, and his skin is eviscerated by knives and needles.

I finally tear myself away, I can watch no longer, no longer see what torture Lord Guilt faces next. I shut my eyes tight, and I wait, I wait for his screaming and torture and peril to be done.

I wait until the Lord of Guilt is no more.

It takes hours for Lord Guilt, no days, maybe even years of torture, but to Lord Dread, it is merely minutes. After endless, sadistic, torture after torture, Lord Dread feels nothing. He feels no remorse or regret, no pain or self doubt.

He shows no signs of being affected by the monstrous experience that happened to another inside of him.

Lord Dread merely opens his coat, and lets a husk fall out. A husk, a being of dried gray skin, skin over only bone, and a jaw in a permanent scream.

The Lord sees a medallion hanging over the husk’s neck, and he leans over to tear it off. He inspects it, and identifies it.

Nonchalantly he mumbles, “Must be how Lord Guilt deflected the fatal attacks. It’s made with an Eden Piece of Creation. I wonder if she would wear it.”

Then the Lord looks down at the husk, and for the first time he really gives it a good look. He sees the leftovers of his fellow Lord, one he killed without any mercy.

He leans down to grab hold of its head in his hand. He lifts it, which causes the neck to crumble to dust. He lifts the head to his face, and he whispers to it, “I will never let Love come to harm. I will never let the only love in the world die.”

Then he drops the head to become dust upon impact, and he takes his leave as if the battle meant nothing. Absolutely nothing.

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