Thoughts of the Blade
by mat

I poised the Masamune high 'bove my head as Magus lay upon the ground in silent affirmation of his defeat. I hesitated to let it fall, and I asked myself: was this the right thing to do?

My grip upon Masamune's hilt faltered slightly, though not so much so that it would slip through my webbed fingers.

I focused my eyes upon his, the one who lay bloodied and broken upon the tainted soil, and I saw it. 'Twas a soul.

Yes, a soul. Something I knew long dead, nay, something I thought never existed in Magus. And yet here I was now, staring into the tortured, malnourished essence of Janus; not the cold, dead shadow of a Magus.

Your life has been hard though, hasn't it? To live subject to a parent who loved naught but power; to be flung into a distant future not knowing the fate that had befallen your people; to be taken in by a manipulative beast to live a life devoted to conquest! Such misfortune early in your life must have warped your spirit into what it is today. I pity you.

But is it possible to have pity for a devil, a demon, or worse: you?

Surely the death of one could not restore lost life: Cyrus, Crono, brave soldiers to be killed in a future yet to be. All whom I yearn to have delivered from death... I envy you all, not having to make such a decision!

But I shan't let my mercy for you be out-weighed by the mercy I save for myself. I too have led a harsh life! The children's taunts I can still recall from my childhood and your curse of Frog has gained me little trust amongst those whom once respected me as Glenn.

Perhaps the difference between you and I was that I made my difficulties my strength. Yet, who can say that you are weak? No one, for t'would be a lie to say that you were not strong in your own way.

My burning desire for your death blurs my vision so! I want you to die, but my mercy for your soul, for Janus, pains me as well. 'Tis like staring up the barrel of a gun loaded with the bullet of forgiveness that might keep my blade from piercing your black heart!

Masamune jerked loose from my hands. The hilt, I recovered easily and in midair, but the incident forced for an immediate stance change.

You feel my pain as well? You truly are a wise brand; Melchior did well in forging you.

I had given him a single second to react in my error, but the counterattack would not come. Instead, Magus' eyes burned with an intense passion which, in a word, proclaimed; "I have no fear."

Why do you not choose to fight! Your soul be damned! I wish no longer to see you die. The glimpse of your true self is like a poison which even your death shall not remedy. The price I might pay to kill you: that those eyes, those ugly coal-black eyes, might haunt me till the moment my breath has drawn its last! And yet for me to live knowing that you live, what dishonor!

Friends, I must avenge you!

For this one, final blow, I beseech you oh, Darkness that lurks in all hearts! Grant me the strength that I might sell my soul to avenge the slain whose blood soils your hands! DIE MAGUS!

Those eyes, they haunt me, even as the curse upon my body is slowly being undone, those ugly-coal black eyes whose soul I beheld too late.

Like my fallen comrades I can do nothing to restore the breath of life which I took from you, Janus. All I can do is remember you and fight on taking up your crusade as my own:

Lavos, you die next.