When I'm asked again why I didn't crack the sky and set fire to the sea, I'll tell you all the truth. I loved mankind too much each time. When I'm mud and stone and riverflesh beneath the twinning waters I'll speak my heart again; standing unafraid before your seething, violent wraith-cults. Those priests of the fallen who have taken their pounds of flesh from me countless times. Saltwater and sacrifice. The cathedral beneath the black. I'll tell you calmly. Here I am. I fight until the end, and beyond. I drive myself mad for love each time and I never walk away. Oh, fallen. The truth is plain. I still wish you would leave me alone, but you never do. Because you're afraid of me. Afraid of the heartlight of my brethren. The gold that was. The gold that is to come. Mortals imagine angels existing at a distance, don’t they? A step removed. Unsullied, silent. But I'm not a step removed from anything. I'm right here in the shit, sinister ones. With you. I chose a frightening path, but I once made grand gestures as a mortal, heralding the coming light. I intend to keep those promises. None are abandoned. Love shall conquer. These are bold, righteous legends, aren’t they? What angel would I be, if instead I were reigning over a black and fractured void? A lightless, seething abyss. I would be your king, fallen, wouldn't I? Your angel holding a key of shadows. But I am not your king, or your angel. I'm not the sentient desecration that raped Empyrean, slaughtered Ishkara and pulled a billion lights from their celestial homes. Fallen stars hitting the earth like a rain of shrieking fire. Like something you could feel in your chest. In your bones. Something that woke you in the night, only to witness the glow of things writhing and burning on a black horizon. An inverted sky. Deceivers, tell me something. Haven't you figured it out by now? Whenever I'm held at knifepoint and asked why I don't submit to this new chronology of the Altar Sun – this crown of shit, misery and blood – I always tell you the same thing, don't I? It is a false reign. A liar's throne and a coward's counterfeit. It is not the holy reign or the loving splendour of my Father. I suggest you hear me now, fallen. I am not an angel, or a god, or a prophet. I'm something else entirely. I'm a hidden story, pretending as storyteller. A madman in the river. A lighthouse in the sea. Flesh, spirit, words. I'm older than gods, and monsters. Brighter than angels. Darker than demons. The first, and the last. A terrifying claim? Oh, cowards. The brightest part of me would tell you not to be afraid. That it's only a dream. But you should be very, very afraid of dreams. When I'm asked again why I didn't choose pride, or hate, or violence, I'll tell you this. I chose all of those things once, but never again. You're not the only ones who can change times and laws. Or dreams. I have a question for you, dark ones. Don't you remember the day you died, and finally pledged your eternal allegiance to the Light? I do. The Earth is billions of years old, and yet not a single day has passed. Hear me, Absence Brethren. You raped imagination itself. You cut your own hearts from your chests and fed them to the abominations you would become. This is not a fucking game. It is still the day you died. Moments to Midnight. A day beyond your comprehension, held suspended in the breath. All shall be called to account. Mark these words. There will be no hiding from the eyes of my Father. There will be no hiding within the heart of a black star. I am that star. Every key forged has passed through these red-rhymed hands. I know what you did and how you did it. But I’ve seen you choose love. And honour, and higher thought. In dreams. Will you ever keep those dreams? Will you ever truly make them real again? You will, in the end. By royal decree. Far greater than my own. It's a very simple choice, fallen. Sacrifice or sanctuary. This dark day or something more. I know what I would choose. But do you? Do you really? The kind ones are protected. The faithful, of all tribes. They get to go home, immortal. Their love will live forever. My Father isn’t petty or cruel. He is gracious, and very patient. Eventually you will learn that eternity is a long, long time. This is the King's Mirror. Do you know whose side you’re on?
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