When Brin Salisir was my instructor at the Scourge he taught me many things. He taught me to fight, how to carry on fighting when I was wounded, and how to make someone pay dearly for wounding me in the first place. He taught me how to move quickly, how to hide, and how to kill without warning.
More than anything, Brin Salisir taught me how to hate.
Salisir was my guide into violence. It is not something most people have in them naturally, the ability to harm other people at will. To kill them. Some few men have no issue with such actions, the rest of us have to be taught. Salisir made killing easy.
Brin Salisir was a master of violence. Whatever story about his past you believed, it was clear that he had every reason to become a violent man. Salisir was a musician whose only instrument was the human body, and he knew how to make it sing every note imaginable.
But his hatred for the Tetrarch was something I never understood. They had trained him, had given him every opportunity he would have never otherwise had. How could he hate them so? When that hatred turned on me it became one of my greatest lessons.
Hate is something that will boil away at your insides, cooking you like a fever until there is nothing left that can function. That was what I saw in Salisir. He was distant more than he was present, his thoughts consumed at all times. When he came to reality it was always in a rage. You didn’t want to be the one to have to break into that distant look, for when those eyes focused on you there was recompense to be made.
But hate can be put to better use. Hate can be contained, and rather than boil away at your insides it can be used to wash away impurities and fuel motion. Hate can be focused and used like another source of strength. My hatred for Salisir is what got me through his beatings, what picked me up when he knocked me down, what made me strong in spite of his efforts to subdue me.
In a way, Brin Salisir’s hatred freed me even as it hurt me. He taught me to contain my fury, and use it to subvert his own. Salisir taught me to see through the obvious actions of others to their core, to their real motivations. Once you see what those around you want, why they do what they do, they are vulnerable.
Once I saw his hatred for what it was, my victory was to succeed in the face of it. My vengeance was to withstand his venom and thrive. My joy was to see him condemned.