The days were endless, filled with familiar routine and stability. You had been by my side for many years.
Perhaps it was not truly your choice; I didn’t think about it until recently. It is true that you were cast aside for another, but I never believed there was such a thing as a useless soul, a human without a purpose. I wanted so much to show you that you did have a purpose, and that it was something you had to define.
Yet where did it all go wrong?
How did you go from that relieved, hopeful youth to a young man whose heart was full of hatred? I thought that by showing you your abilities, you would gain confidence and respect for yourself. Never in a million years did I imagine you would attempt to throw the land into darkness. When I encountered you at the Temple that day, your innocence seemed worlds away from such terrible ambitions. Perhaps it was my fault for not seeing it sooner; I mistook your gratitude for optimism. I didn’t realize how deeply you had been affected by what you considered your curse--the curse of a True Rune bearer.
The True Runes...they are a curious sort. Like their bearers, they hold desires deep within them. However, as with their bearers, desires are not always guarantees of truth. You never seemed to understand this, but I cannot completely blame you. Becoming a bearer to a True Rune can be cruel. In your case, you were born with the True Rune a part of you. While some could forget their “curse” at times, you could never escape the haunting echoes of the thing entwined with your very soul. And being told of the desires of the True Wind Rune over and over, it is no wonder you lost hope so quickly and fully.
I didn’t realize this until it was too late. That is an error for which I may never forgive myself.
However, the fault does not lie entirely with one person.
The True Runes are an unmistakable part of our lives, of our world, the role of ‘master’ sometimes shifting between rune and bearer. The runes keep everything in balance, and as their legend suggests, they are often catalysts for war. But what you must understand is that the runes alone are not responsible for war. The bearers must also claim responsibility for their roles, or greed, as is sometimes the case. We are all responsible for our actions, no matter what sort of power a rune holds. Ultimately, we end up masters of the runes, so we must take extra care in not abusing that power.
I know all about the temptation to give into darkness. When you find yourself alone, with nothing to turn to except for the unkind echoes of a True Rune’s memory, giving in feels like the easier choice, the better choice...even the logical choice. But it is a choice. Do you not think I was once tempted? Many times I could feel my heart slipping away, my capacity to care for another human being only dwindling. It is a horrible and lonely feeling. But it is made easier when you keep comrades and loved ones around you. That is something I wanted to show to the inheritors of the True Runes, that as bleak as one’s path may sometimes seem, the presence of loved ones helps to light the way. It is not easy to carry such burdens alone, and the True Rune rarely is a friendly companion.
That is why I appeared to you that day at the Temple. That is why I pushed you to fight in wars, to make more than just travel companions. I didn’t want you to be alone...but it appears that all my efforts have backfired.
Maybe my view of you was too optimistic...to the point I was not acknowledging any potential dangers. When you suggested rescuing her from the Temple, as I had done with you, I was only filled with pride. Despite the unjustness of your early years, I thought that you were finally opening your heart. I was relieved, even happy...thinking that things were finally looking up for you.
I am not ashamed to say that, throughout the years, I have grown to think of you as a son. It is hard for me to consider myself the maternal type, but ultimately, I have adopted similar feelings. I raised you, cared for you, reprimanded you, and taught you many things over the years; what other course was there for my feelings to take?
When you brought her to live with us, those feelings only grew. Yet another generation to what was our little ‘family.’ I took joy in teaching both of you the ways of sorcery, and even more joy in seeing you pass on to her what I passed on to you. Both of you matured into fine young people and talented magicians. Yes, I was proud. Little did I know how you intended to use your talents.
I was against your plan from the beginning. Of course, you probably never expected me to be for it. I had been under the impression that you were happy...so your declaration of hatred was a slap in the face for all the years I provided for you. I should be angry. I should be disappointed. But do I bear these feelings now? Watching you incite chaos, struggle, and ultimately perish, there is not a clear answer to that.
It has been a long time since I experienced such mixed emotions. Cursed child, rejected child...an experiment gone wrong. These were the only words you heard uttered by the mouths of your early caretakers. Unable to control the nature of your existence, unwanted over the outcome, and discarded for the child successful by mere chance...perhaps pity initially is what caused me to take you in. And, perhaps...it is what prevents me from fully expressing myself now. Shedding no tears seems a cold reaction to the tragedy, but after spending so much heartache reflecting on the bond destroyed between us, it becomes as natural as any instinct. This does not mean I do not care or feel for you; there comes a time when exhausted emotions cannot reflect a feeling so accurate. Besides, my role does not permit me to wallow, and in the end, I knew you had to walk your own path. Did I know the outcome? No. But part of me sensed that horrible destruction you were aiming for would not come about...
Or perhaps that was simply blind hope on my part. Can you imagine such a thing? I am far too old for fairy tales, but for a while, I found myself wishing like a child.
But little that wishing did. You never did come to your senses, and though you did not succeed in your mission, countless still suffered because of you.
Good and evil...
Evil and good...
The older one gets, the less of a boundary there seems to be between the two. It is easy to categorize something as one or the other, for we find comfort in simplicity. But many of those judgments are inaccurate, failing to factor in potential and specific conditions. It is easy to be ‘good’ when one has all the resources. To maintain kindness and morality when one has lost it all is a feat in itself!
I wonder if you ever thought of yourself as evil. Having never known true happiness in your life, it was probably easy to associate yourself with symbols and objects traditionally considered evil.
I could never think the same, however. I always saw the good in you...or at least, I’d like to believe so. It is that goodness that allowed you to fight in wars for a better future. You may have just been following orders, but you could have also chosen to reject the ones around you.
Yes, you had a choice. And later, you chose to invoke your wrath on the True Runes, giving little care to everyone else around you. You justified your actions by claiming you were saving the humans from their ultimate fate, but that was where you made your greatest error.
You alone do not decide the fate of others. Even when you make a decision, you require the aid of others to carry it out. Especially a decision made on a grand scale. Besides, while the desires of the True Wind Rune seem arrogant, your quest has been no different. It is simply a matter of who is playing God- the humans, or the True Runes? By cursing a million lives, you have committed a crime so grave. Sometimes, I still cannot believe that you were capable of this.
There are times when I also wonder about my own capabilities, about the way I brought you up. Was my influence so weak, that you failed to see any positive side to the situation? Did you shun others who only accepted you without question? Did I fail as your mentor? Or was the voice of the True Rune so great, it engulfed the other voices around you? These uncertainties intertwine with my anger and disappointment, demanding more questions of my feelings. As you challenged God, my heart, too, found itself up against a mighty force of doubt.
It is far too easy to declare affection for another when one’s situation is not met with misfortune, or when one’s image of the other person remains untainted. One gains a sense of security and bliss inside his or her unchanging world. Though I have lived for hundreds of years, I was not immune to this trap. Only when that world is challenged is when the true test of love and devotion begins. And oftentimes, the definitions of such words are warped to suit a person’s desperate wish to never be alone.
But a mother would not think of such selfish desires when her child claims it is his time to leave, no matter his reasons. Her true feelings toward him would not change, though once in a while, they may be repressed by his selfish actions. She may reprimand him, be angry with him, but she would never reject him. And while she may not agree with or follow him in everything he does, she will always be waiting at home with open arms.
So have my feelings changed? Not in the least. You’ve done things I completely stand against...but I forgive you. You had to see for yourself what the right path was, what the wrong choices were, and whether or not it all was meaningless. And though I disagree with your methods, I do respect you for holding to the path in which you believed. Yes, Luc. It all meant something. It is hard to see when you are one soul out of millions who have struggled, but your own struggles have made a difference in the history of our world. Nations that bickered for decades banded together because of you, and great leaders were made, full of resolve to save humanity from your hand. To millions, you will be remembered as the one who defied God.
...But to me, you will always be that relieved, hopeful child I met at the Temple that day. You may have been wrong, but I cannot deny the way I feel. You were the one I raised, the one by my side all those years. Cold and mischievous, you were every bit what you denied being--human--and no one can take that away. Not your Harmonian caretakers, not the True Wind Rune, not even your father himself. You are human, and I would stake my life on that.
Yes. My feelings are clear. Sensing your spirit now, the voice in my heart resonates, bringing with it blessings I gladly impart to you. It is time to say goodbye. Thoughts and feelings can always be put into words, but I will be generous at present. It is up to you how to receive them. If you accept these words, fine, but if you reject them, there is little more I can do than to communicate the message once more. But no matter how you choose to react to my thoughts and feelings, they will never change. They will never go away. Time and experiences have molded them into something solid and unmistakable.
I love you, my son.
May you at long last find the peace your soul desires.