Anima - Into the Shadows

Not the Recap, just for fun

The first thing I really remember is the sound of the pick-axes chipping away at the ice on our bow. It sounded like someone forging a sword from the clouds, beating out a pattern from water and setting it still. The wind dominated everything we did here, in and out of the cabins on the Ghost, orchestrating a drumline on the balloon, feathering the notes from the laborers’ tools.
I had made an educated guess regarding the enemy’s movements, thinking back on the book I studied while I was an advisor, while I was thrall, really, to a man who thought himself a king (and, by purely empirical standards, fit the bill). That I was right, that I had again found myself in position of (potential) advisor, thrilled me. They say the Duk’zarist were ambitious, narcissistic fucks, and I can’t say it’s a reputation undeserved. The sobriquets that label them more succinctly and less flatteringly are similarly deserved.
My swelling ego overcame my sense of self-preservation when I knew I could further ingratiate myself to my colleagues, leaders, and (dare I say) followers. I devised a plan to strike at Bernhold to distract the encroaching enemy forces, but, more importantly, to further satiate the burgeoning megalomaniac in my heart.
That Bernhold was part of my intellectualized ideal and then became concrete, it made me want to possess it, to know the city in the only way a true con-artist could- I would destroy it. I had become a trickster to more frightening lords, and if I could deservedly nudge an entire empire by my recent acquaintance…- who, who could resist?
It burned.
We ducked low enough in a dogfight for me to see a screaming woman, pregnant for many moons, fall out of her house and be peppered with shingles when we scraped the rooftop in our ship, when we gallantly dove, mirrored eight times over, to avoid another ballista bolt vomited forth from clockwork death woven into an airship’s contours. But in our fight from the Angel, we were the only men that killed.
The sins visited upon Bernhold were from people or what they had wrought.
And Soren signed it with that accursed stone star, that damn black butterfly chosen for its ill luck, for its ominous portents. And for that, we will surely win further accolades, have a higher bounty put on our heads, rise in price to both enemy and friend.
And a charlatan is supposed to ride the waves, isn’t he? A real Liar knows to juggle worth and raise the stakes.
So why do I feel guilt like I’m choking on pudding?
Why am I so eager to assail the pass, to prove that I’m worth the price on my head?

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