The Road

[V.O. Alastor] 37

…hey, Artemis.

Normally I’d be talking to you about all this crazy shit, but since I left you behind in a cold dark hellhole of insanity that was exactly your worst fuckin nightmare, you’re not around. But I’ll be damned if I let that stop me. Especially when I’m hung the fuck over and spent most of last night in a haze of beating the everloving shit out of people who probably only kinda deserved it.

Now, before you give me that look and go “tch” and get on my case for wallowing in self-loathing bullshit, I’m not. Mostly. Kaa was right, there had to’ve been a reason we let you stay and I’m not gonna second guess it until I know exactly what happened back there. The Abyss, as you know, is a bottomless well of douchebaggery, and it put its fingers in my head and scooped out a bunch of my memory. Don’t worry, though, I remember the most important part. The promise I made you. I’ll get to the bottom of what’s wrong with Daniela and I’ll fix it. I’ll look after em for you.

Ain’t talked to Rhi yet, I put it off last night. Was reeling a little too much from losing all that time and everything changing under my feet. You’re gonna laugh, but I had a Ladder girlfriend who’s kind of a milf. (If that’s slang you don’t know, too fuckin bad.) She’s got a sweet car but damn, like things with Rhi weren’t complicated enough. Plus it turns out Rhi was banging Lasombra in this shiny new reality, and maybe you’ll say this is bullshit but honestly? After all the hell I put her through, maybe she’s better off.

Look, don’t think I don’t see it. In my position there’s not a lot anybody could’ve done. About the archmasters, the Prince, all the many and various forces fuckin with us from beyond every veil from here to god damned eternity. But you know what? Not fuckin good enough. Not for a Mastigos. It’s an excuse for still being too weak, too small. Somewhere Pandemonium’s lookin down at me and saying, jesus christ kid, ain’t we given you enough chances to prove you’re not just another mindless product of the fuckin Lie? If I were half the Mastigos I should be, I’d’ve found a way to stop them all from making us bend over and take it all this time. I didn’t.

Put it this way. I found this fern everybody’s had their panties in a twist about, out here on the balcony. At first I didn’t see what the big fuckin deal was. Why would Praelia think I’d give half a shit about a plant? But I figured it out. It’s not the plant that’s important. See, she and Kaa, they both asked if I’d been taking care of it. Like that was the important part, the act of keeping this thing alive. Considering I apparently told Praelia my whole fuckin life story, she’s gotta know who I am by now. How many things I’ve broken. This thing was a challenge.

A challenge I still need. The family, the cabal, everyone who’s ever depended on me, I broke them all. Not this time. This time the Ladder wants me around, they respect me, and I’m not gonna fuck it up. I’m not gonna fuck it up for Kaa, either. And if it kills me, this fern is living to see it.

…I fuckin hate that destiny handed me this second chance now, now that you’re gone. Like…like you were the price. If I ever get my hands on the cosmic force that planned this one, you better believe I’m gonna rip its head off and crush its metaphysical skull into a thousand pieces. It’s not right. You should be the one coming back to a life that doesn’t suck balls, not me. I can deal with a shitty hand, hell, it’s my job, why did you have to be the one to take one for the fuckin team? God dammit. How many times did I tell you it wouldn’t happen? Just a lie. Another promise I couldn’t keep.

…yeah, yeah, quit it with the attitude, I know. Not gonna go do something stupid out of guilt, turn myself over to Jimenez or anything. Even though you just did the same fuckin thing, you stubborn self-sacrificing bitch. I’m gonna make damn sure I get it right this time.



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