- April 17, 2022
The Incarnations: The Incarnal War (Chapter 17)
Peace, Based on a Lie, is Peace Nonetheless
Sir Peace overlooks the world from the spire. His globe is now showcasing the Earth, the world of Man, one of the many worlds that Madam Honor and the Duke of War now oversee.
While the Sir did not speak out against his brother and the Madam as the first to attempt this new system, he appears to not maintain a perfect trust in them. He watches over every decision, minimal and serious, every action and more so inaction.
As he stands and watches, the Sir abruptly says, “Come out, Justice. I could smell the wet wolf fur on you the moment you skulked in. There is no reason for you to feel you can’t come here openly.” The Lady reveals herself from the shadows, not even prompting a turn of his head.
She wraps herself in her arms, revealing an ever more visage of a distraught individual.
She walks slowly to stand near the Sir, to lean against the side of the globe and stare off into space. Her blue eyes of the sky ominously peer from beneath the hood of her wolf skin.
It is when she doesn’t say anything that the Sir takes notice of her state of distress. He asks her, “What is it that troubles you? Not more of the phantom pain that ails you now and again I hope?”
She shakes her head and prompts more questioning from him.
“Is it King Evil? Does he bother you? I know your pairing may still seem to be a strange one, but it was best to have someone of worth handling him. You were the best choice, and if we had to do it over again I don’t think anyone else could prove better.”
The Lady shakes her head once more, her head facing the ground. There’s this anguish in the way her expression contorts, the regret, the guilt.
With pain and hesitance, she admits, “It’s none of that, that I can deal with, that I can power through on will alone. I just… I just can’t stop thinking about him, Gratitude, how we failed him,” then with a gesture towards herself, “I failed him. I just think to myself about how he’s dead, and he may never come back. It’s been so long.”
The other three of our dead are already in the process of Reincarnation, and we’ve begun preparing for them. What is so nerve-wracking is that they need more time and power than Gratitude should, yet here they come, and he does not.
The Lady explains, “I found myself wishing that I knew how I could have saved him, so I wished to know…
“And I did.”
The chill running down the Sir’s spine is paramount, the goosebumps on his arm give him away. The Lady turns her head to the Sir, and this time it seems more realistic to say her apprehension and distress are stemming from anger, more so than guilt.
“I then knew,” she continues, “that if I wanted to have Gratitude alive and with us, I should have killed you before the war ever began, before it even took root in Death’s conscious.”
The Sir lifts his hand and turns to her, to attempt to respond but she cuts him off.
“I know it was you. Death didn’t think it important, but I know that it was you who planted the idea in her head that the world would be better with her as the leader of Life and Death. I know that you knew that this war was the only way to usurp them both.”
The Sir doesn’t back away from the Lady, who does hold the power to snap his frail form in half.
Instead, he reasons with her in a tone that displays doubt, “And in this theory of yours, dear Lady, how am I capable of knowing this? I am smart, but as a Sir, I cannot simply know as you do.”
The Lady then stands straight, and takes a step towards the Sir, prompting him to reveal the fear he has rising inside as he steps back away from her.
“I found that unbelievable too early into my investigation. That should be outside of your grasp, you’d have to be a Duke at the very least to have any kind of power.”
Then she strikes for him.
She grabs his neck in her hand and raises him off the ground. He may be taller than her, but her strength vastly laps his own.
Full of rage she reveals, “Unless you’ve been lying for all of time. Unless you lied from the day we were all brought together. You knew no one would question you. You capitalized on the most basic trust we all gave the first moment we met.
“You lied when you named yourself as Sir when the rest of us were honest. When I declared myself a Lady of Justice when one declared himself a Duke of War, another a King of Good. We didn’t consider for one second that one of us would be lying.”
Then Lady Justice tosses Sir Peace to the ground effortlessly.
She looks away, ashamed by being played a fool for so long. “I fought alongside you, strategized, and handed out orders. I deferred to you without ever realizing how you could possibly be so competent. I am a Lady of Gullibility as much as I am Justice.”
As the Lady squeezes her fists and looks for pity for herself, the Sir begins to chuckle on the ground.
He brings the back of his hand to hold near his mouth as he laughs at her. As her gaze turns from that of pain to that of rage towards him, he asks her, “Why must you put yourself down? Why must you be gullible? I believe you should be complimenting me in reality. I mean, have I not earned a new title?”
With that he stands to his feet and clasps his hands behind his back before finishing, “Have I not proven aptly deserving to be known as the Duke of Peace and Trickery?”
The Lady demands to know, “So you confess to lying to us all? To be plotting against us since the dawn of our conception?”
The Sir, or Duke now, grins over her accusations. “I confess to hiding my omniscience. I don’t need to be a genius to realize that such power becomes that much more powerful when no one knows you have it. As for the length of this plotting… not even I can take credit for such a strategy. I just knew that eventually, I would need this ability to achieve what I want.”
“And what is that?” the Lady demands to know without hiding much of her disgust.
The Duke of Peace opens his arms in a humble gesture, before condescendingly saying, “For peace, of course.”
“Peace?” the Lady hisses. “You call this peace? Tell me, while you were plotting this peace as you call it, did you not think to know about how Gratitude would die as the outcome? I can’t possibly believe that you in your infinite wisdom, didn’t know all the terrible things that we would do to each other. To you even. You had to have known everything!”
The Duke’s more happy expression begins to fade, admitting more humbly, “I knew, I knew that Sir Gratitude would die when I was planning all of this. I tried to manipulate my plan to save him, but the desired outcome only came because of his death.
“Without his loss, there was no motivation for the survivors,” he admitted with a gesture over the worldly globe, “not even Love motivated you as Gratitude did.” Then with a slight smirk, the Duke comments, “Ironically, Gratitude caused more guilt with his words than anyone else could have. That’s what happened, the innocent sacrifice has enough brain cells to realize that what is happening to him is unfair.”
“You’re a monster, Peace,” Lady Justice accuses, “you’ve mutilated us all, yourself even. How can you stand it? How do you cope with imposing your will on all of us?”
The Duke arches his brow as he insults the Lady, reminding her, “Only fools compliment kettles and insult pots, Justice. Do not throw insults and accusations that you yourself are also guilty of. At least through my actions, my manipulation of Guilt, of Honor, Happiness, Despair, Evil, even Death… and you, I have brought forth peace.”
The Lady yells at him, “Peace based on lies! Blood and loss! What kind of peace is that?”
“The same as every other, simply peace,” the Duke surmises.
Then with a tilt of his head, he finally asks, “Now what? I’ve said everything that needs to be said, I leave no secret left. I don’t care anymore of your complaints so let us just cut to the chase.
“What have you and our siblings decided for me, now?”
The Lady raises her chin as she looks down upon him. She announces, “Now? Now I give you your punishment, death and damnation to Hell. I help give Gratitude justice, us all justice through your sentence.
“I told all of our living brethren of your crimes, and they all agreed. You do not deserve to see the peace you have wrought.”
The Duke of Peace swallows loudly, as if swallowing for the last time, but with conviction he stands tall.
“Fine, I did what I am supposed to do. The war between Life and Death would have come anyway, and been far more catastrophic, and led to numerous more deaths. With my guiding hand I dethroned them, and created a superior way of life.”
The Duke then removes his hands from behind his back, revealing his dagger, the Pacification. The Lady flinches as if to prepare for attack, but the Duke moves to place his dagger atop of his globe.
He informs the Lady, “I accept death, I accept torment, however long Death deems, and we both know it will not be forever. Now take out your bow, and do what you came here to do.”
Lady Justice for the first time grins deviously, and shakes her head as she clicks her tongue. “No, dear Duke, it is not I who is here to kill you.” The Duke grows surprised for the first time and thinks to use his regained power of knowledge to find out.
His eyes pulse with light as he uses the power he’s hidden for so long, and his eyes grow agape when he knows.
The Lady announces anyway, “The Kings are.”
The Duke turns around but it is too late, he is caught surprised as the hand of fire grabs him by the neck, and slams him through his globe.
The Duke chokes loudly as he is held down by a grip he can never free himself from. He looks up at the eyes of King Evil, as fire spreads from his back, at first like wings at its base in honor of its phantom pain, then the flames spread wildly as it has no true form.
The King smiles like the devil he finally wants to be, and he manipulates the fire that burns the spire around him and engulfs the Duke.
As the Duke screams in pain, his Majesty is sardonic with his taunts, “Hurts doesn’t it?”
Then with more venom and resentment, “I bet my wings still hurt more you spineless, conniving, fuckfaced bastard.”
As the Duke burns and screams, his Majesty lifts him from the globe and walks towards the wall, dragging the Duke across the ground.
Then he throws the burning body through the wall. As the Duke burns and falls, King Evil yells out the hole, “He’s all yours, brother!”
Then as the Duke of Peace falls the expansive height of the tower, he is punched with massive force into the spire’s structure. King Good moving at blinding speeds to catch the Duke halfway through the fall. His fist sends the flames flying away, creating an impact in the side of the spire. The whole structure creaks as it begins to bend inward.
Then with a face of malice, his Majesty reels back his fist and mutters, “This is for making me kill Despair.”
Then he punches the Duke, prompting him to spit out gold blood. It’s amazing that the Duke does not perish from this hit alone. The time of peace sustains him still, but not for long as his Majesty reels back another fist, muttering, “This is for Gratitude.”
Then this punch causes the spire to truly begin to fall.
King Evil then flies out of the top, flying as Lord Dread or Lady Hate do, not by his wings.
He carries Lady Justice by the waist as they watch from above as King Good pummels the Duke and destroys the visage of his all-seeing eye, and his all-knowing mind.
Thump! Thump! Thump!
Then with greater anger than I have ever seen from my son, he reels back his fist, and screams, “And this, is for making me hurt my brother!”
Then with this punch, he snaps both the Duke of Peace’s spine and the spire, killing him along with his home. His Majesty then begins to pummel the dead Duke’s corpse anyway, a reflection of his rage.
As King Good rages against the night, King Evil watches as the world of peace devolves from what was once Sir Peace’s authoritarian future city of marshal law. It crumbles to the natural valleys and hills that it originally once was. King Evil cannot help but smile over how this world falls apart.
He turns to the Lady on his arm, and compliments her, “I must say, I think that just maybe, dispelling out justice could be fun, and even a little fulfilling, if it’s upon cretins such as him.”
Lady Justice is not listening to him as she watches the spire crumble and King Good beat the ground until it is covered in golden blood, and that blood has turned into mere particles.
King Evil shakes her to gain her attention, and she turns her head to match his gaze. He asks her, “What bothers you now?”
Lady Justice answers, “Nothing. Justice has been done.”