Wednesday, June 01, 2011

The Madnesses

“Ah, but love,” the Dead Spirit breathed, circling back and forth around the bars. “That isss a poison, even to you—poison to make men mad and sssend women to their deathsss. No, no, love is too strong for me to use, bright and black and gloriousss, an infection I cannot drive away or bring. It will recede as the tide and come again, steady as the sea, wild as the wind—love destroysss all. But he is not destroyed by love, but by lust. It is not my doing.”

“So you are not responsible for it?”

“He was infected by that madness long before I came here,” the Spirit answered honestly. “Bright-Crown has too long taken what he wisshhhed to be bound by it—his madness is greed, lust for power. You know this, ”

“I know.” The queen pursed her lips. “Spirit, I know you intend to destroy my son.”

“Do you now.” The Spirit paused, just far enough into the blackness that the edges between the shadows of the skull and the shadow of the cell bled into each other. “He tempts me, taunts me, waves morsels beneath my nose and sssnatches them away—the blackened sssouls of all who support him. I intend only to satisfy myself.”

“By his destruction.”

The Spirit hesitated, then nodded, smiling widely. “Yesss.”

“Were it in your power to bring this... madness upon him, would you?”

“Which madness do you ask?” The white skull began to circle again, ducking a little further into the darkness. “The greed, the lust, or the vengeance?”

“Any,” the queen said firmly. “Any madness.”

“The greed, perhaps. If it were in my power, I might blacken his soul to suit my tastes, drive him down a dark path that ends with me. But were it in my power to bring such madnesss, why would I stop with one who bindsss me; why would not every man be infected with such? No, no, such is not my power.” The Spirit drew a little closer to the bars, gliding smoothly instead of the snake-like bobbing that normally marked his motions. “The lust... perhaps. I could make him drag others down with him; lie and cheat to sate the flesh, blacken the souls of many—but again, this is not my power. His lust is what has drawn me here, not my doing. But the vengeance...” The dark figure stopped, inches from the bars, and the queen did not move away. “The vengeance I would not. This madness sets fire to sssaw-dust, forces those who would remain bland cowards to become bright lights, fighting against the mad prince. It pushes away those who would be blackened with him. Yesss, it is madness, yesss, it blackens his soul—but if it were in my power, I would not bring it. The vengeance can only destroy him until he is one like me.”

The queen remained silent for a moment. “So what is in your power then?”

“Fear alone is the source of my power, and fear alone is what I can bring. But there is a power in fear.”


Dana said...

As per usual with the Dead Spirit stories, beautiful. I kind of fell in love a whole lot with his dialogue in this one - I kept visualizing performing it as a monologue. And when that happens that's the mark of good, believable, exciting writing. This was short but it enthralled me. My love for the Dead Spirit grows with every story.

ivy said...

The Queen is an interesting character; I'm looking forward to seeing where you go with her. Their dynamic is interesting, because she seems entirely un-intimidated by him, but I'm not really sure what their history is. Write more so I can find out.

His observations on love here are very...him. "Poison to make men mad and sssend women to their deathsss." Those kinds of little things are what make the Dead Spirit story so brilliant.

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