Vendetta Chapter 6

By Jonathan Priest

Pesmerga sat alone in this dark, cavernous grotto, his thoughts betraying him. There was a time, not so very long ago, that the thought of killing Yuber, to watch him gasp for his last breath and see the fire of life extinguished from his eyes, would truly make him happy. The only happiness he ever experienced in his sterile, solitary life. Yet, even when he was so close, even when he was so willing to kill Yuber, the happiness of the thought faded like a fleeting dream. His last, his only happiness in this life had deserted him, and Pesmerga was left with his misery.

And so, pondering the life he had lived, Pesmerga studied his existence, his very purpose for life. And as he began to ponder his world, this creation of hate he has built, he understood that he had no purpose in this world. He had been so fully possessed with the driving obsession of revenge against Yuber, that his detest for that vile creature had replaced his soul. He realized, and understood, the world would be no better or worse whether he destroyed Yuber or not, and this was the source of his doubt.

He had sought nothing but Yuber’s head for so long, that he had become an alien to this world. He could feel no emotion, save hate, and he had been driven by that emotion for so long, that he forgot the existence of his heart. And it was the town of South Window, seeing the faces of the people, actually happy. Despite this damnable war, the people still clung to their hope and dreams.

“And what dreams do I have?” Pesmerga thought to himself, his silent words echoing within his mind.

Certainly, after Yuber’s death, there would be something for him to live for. But despite his best efforts, Pesmerga could not think of one. His reason, his whole existence, stemmed from hate, and yet he fought alongside Young Master McDowl. McDowl fought to make a better life for the people of the Scarlet Moon Empire. Yet Pesmerga had joined only to track Yuber. His example should have driven Pesmerga to become a better man. Young Master McDowl fought to purge the land of a corrupt empire, and it was his hope, and his desire that triumphed over the most impossible of odds. Likewise, Pesmerga fought a corrupt demon, with the desire to purge his evil from the land, but he does not fight for hope, he fights for hatred. And as Pesmerga dwelled on this revelation, he understood now, this was the very source of his emptiness.

Perhaps, he should inspire hope, fight for hpe. Yet when the thought came to him, the hope that he could have hope, Pesmerga’s mind was snapped back to the image of Kalekka, the slaughter that had burned into his mind and would never let him go. The horrid scent of burning flesh still invaded his senses, and the cries of the innocent shattered this disillusioned dream. Rage boiled through his body, as he stood up, his hand reflexively going to the hilt of his sword. And he remembered the boys of South Window, remarking of some strange voice coming from the Cave of the Wind. He also recalled his sister, her tortured scream as Yuber ran her through with his sword, the scream still echoing through his tortured psyche, and his vow to hunt, and kill Yuber for what he did.

Pesmerga walked rigidly through the tunnels, his heart pounding with anticipation as he scoured the cave for his prey. And finally, after his long search, he came to the end of this cavern. A large stone, slit in the center to mark the placing of where a weapon once rested, stood in this crafted, rocky dome. And a slight distance away, Pesmerga studied the tracings of the scorched earth, burns of lightning, yet no cloud or storm could enter this cavern. Magic was the only explanation. And through his weary hope, again would find his desired quest to yield no gain.

“You…” Pesmerga whispered, his hushed voice, bouncing throughout the cavern. “Yuber, you bastard, your not here either, but I will find you.”

And as Pesmerga turned around, preparing to depart, he came face to face with a young man in a red tunic, staring at him. There was something about this boy, the familiar sense of DeJavu, or the haunting nostalgia that vanishes after a comforting dream. It wasn’t that he had ever seen this boy, for he hadn’t, yet it was…his eyes. The same glittering hope shared by Young Master McDowl. This boy expressed the same desire, the same dream of peace that McDowl had. And that hope caused Pesmerga to stagger in his hate.

“Did you say Yuber?” The young boy inquired.

“Yes, a demon…of sorts, my enemy, my arch nemesis. It’s difficult to explain.”

“Uh…would you join us?”

Pesmerga had become more than slightly curious in this youth. And as he had listened to his tale, he understood. Had fate delivered him into the hands of yet another child, a child of hope and compassion. Perhaps this was a sign or omen to Pesmerga. His life, though governed by death and hatred, could also protect. This boy fought to end a war, against an impossible enemy. Perhaps it was time Pesmerga fought for more than to subdue his rage, perhaps he should fight to bolster hope. Redemption for his life, need not begin with Yuber’s death, but could begin now.

“Let’s see,” Pesmerga began, “my real goal is Yuber, but I believe I can lend you a hand.”

Pesmerga found this boy’s hope reassuring. And for the first time in more years than he cared to remember, Pesmerga smiled for the hope of the future, and was enriched by it.


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