One in Ten

Even in war, there are rules
Humanity. Honor…Fools!
No human is impervious. Push enough
The most gallant become ghouls


Huddled in the corner of an old factory, whose insides were gutted and floors damp, Stievo shook with rage. He should have seen this coming! How could he be so blind?! Geryman was pure evil and not even his own son was exempt from his thirst for power, supremacy. Driven ever increasingly more mad by his inability to capture Glendan, Geryman turned his bloodlust toward his son, the next generation’s Champion, to suck him dry like a vampire.

As he contemplated his next moves, he became acutely aware of the burning sensations over his battered body. Geryman had sliced him good. Slowly at first – and then faster as he concentrated on the wounds themselves – the skin began to bind back together. Stievo was healing himself. He then decided to test a technique he had read about but never tried himself. With closed eyes and razor-sharp focus, he scanned the surrounding vicinity for signs of life. He would steal…kill for what he needed. First: a starving dog in search of food. Stievo put the beast out of its misery, welcoming the rehabilitative powers of its life force. He then sensed a wounded man, one of Geryman’s mindless soldiers, tending to a stump that once held a leg. (The casualties of this war continued to pile up.) Stievo shut his eyes and took in a deep breath, dropping the monoped lifeless to the ground. Fully healed, Stievo felt a similar level of intoxication to the time when he and Geryman had incinerated downtown Portland. Back then, a seed of unease was buried in the excitement. As war was being waged before his eyes, so too was it fought within them. Now, he felt no such conflict. He was pure in mission and in being. He had just ended two lives that had ceased to be worth living. If anything it was humane…No, not that…He was…Yes! He was!…The Champion of Dark. Champion of Death.

A truth, withheld from me by intention
An inheritance, denied by abstention
The capacity of the human mind to shield itself from evident truth
With the empowering of my Other at the death of Carenf was proof
Blind to this reality, I didn’t want to believe what I was, what my father could take from me
The human capacity to operate against thyself with sabotage, espionage, and secrecy
Denial eradicated – the self embraced
The inevitable ruler of the human race

Stievo bit his lower lip until his teeth pierced through. As the blood trickled down his chin, he again closed his eyes and scanned the surrounding blocks. It took some time to find life, but then he honed in on a teenager…A young adult…No! A child…No matter! This life was ably walking down the street – intention unknown and uncared-for. Slowly, and with a serenity that he had never experienced, Stievo reached for a shard of broken glass by his side, held up his hand before his face, and sliced off his pinkie finger. As he inhaled – dropping the teenager’s lifeless body into the gutter – Stievo exhaled to the sight of his skin stitching over the wound, and then the bone regenerating up and out. His hand, whole again, clenched into a fist. Stievo laid down in the fetal position. He would need some rest for what was to come.

Battered and bruised, terrified and terrorized
The primal instincts activated once more
No real consideration of retreat; gore implored
Won’t turn my back; lash out and attack