Inifra left me for a few hours to check on Hamada. The people there are having a difficult time making their way across the rapids to return home. Destroying the only bridge that crossed the Nanten River was an unfortunate necessity. My ears didn’t stop ringing for days after that blast.
I can’t stop thinking about the chief of the KoraKora, nor how deeply he hated me. What shocked me, and what continues to shock me, was how similar we were. He is the only other Timeshift I have ever met who hadn’t lost himself to the shift. The only other swordsman I have ever met who could match me in a fight.
A chill ran through me last night when I realized I no longer hated him. The place he held in the world has left a gap in me, one that I didn’t realize was there: A loneliness for someone who understands me. Someone who knows himself and his skills as well as I do but, more importantly, whose skills are the same as mine.
He followed me for months to avenge his brother. He mobilized an entire nation for vengeance. That is not something I would ever do, but I am no stranger to revenge. Or could I have missed something? Was it because he knew that I too was a Timeshift?
What keeps me from crossing that invisible boundary that borders good and evil? Or is that border so wide that I find myself in it already, traversing the no-man’s land of grey between the black and white in which I always thought the world was draped? Am I so good?
I murdered the only woman I ever truly loved in a moment of blind rage. I forsook wisdom to perpetrate that crime, and left my brothers behind where no Tetrarch should ever venture on his own. I took my people and despised them, cast them aside in favor of my own self-righteousness and jealousy.
How is it that I see the Nantese as something other when the very villain they feared was a brother to me? How can I see myself above them when, truly, they have been the kind ones. The hospitable ones. The ones to sacrifice themselves for total strangers, whose hearts were blackened by bigotry and murder.
I am no better than them. I deserve none of their assistance. None of their care. Yet they give it so freely.
What can I give in return? I do not feel the pressing weight of guilt or self-hatred that I would expect. I simply feel detached. Distant. I feel as though I belong to some race entirely separate from the human one, an alien who does not feel what it should feel nor love how it should love. I feel numb, and it is far worse to be standing here staring at the contrast of who I am and who I should be than any wave of loathing could ever feel.
What have I become?