Board :Tales of the People
Author :Archon Iyagi
Subject :"The terror within" by Shawnee
Date :9/12
They say that we see clearly only into the past. They're wrong, of course. Most of us can't see the past any more clearly than we see the future. We only think we do.

It's no different from the fact that most of us can't see ourselves any more clearly than we see others- and often less. We spend our lifetimes trying to defend against the evil in the world. What fools we are.

All the evil in the world manifests first within ourselves. And we, in our blindness, fail to see it. Fools. Every last one of us. There is not one evil person who does not think, deep down in his heart, that what he does is in some way right. Not one. So how are you different? How am I?

It was many years ago now, that I first learned this lesson. A lesson I've learned many more times since that day. I wonder how many more times, before I die.

I was working in Kija's chamber as one of his maidservants. It was a simple enough job, really. After the palace slept, I was to help him into his gown, brush and style his hair, and apply paints and powders to bring out his feminine features. I figured this was harmless. I was giving him a much needed respite from his daily grind, and certainly saw no harm in it. Every man (or woman) deserves their secrets. After all, everyone knows M'hul wears a dress. And don't get me started on Lasahn.

I knew nothing.

I had no idea that the reason for this alternate identity wasn't any self-expression, but was in fact a method of subterfuge. You see, Kija was attempting to lure a foreign emporor into marriage. A merging of two great kingdoms, which would ultimately be strong enough to annex both Buya and Kugnae. Don't get me wrong, had I known I still would have helped.  But it was through this subterfuge that Kija was ultimately lost. Kidnapped and held in the foreign emporor's harem - then assassinated when the truth was ultimately discovered.

The story leaked to the kingdoms was of course quite different. Kija's dignity had to be maintained, to protect the position itself. But that dignity is meaningless when I know in my heart that it was in part due to my own good intentions that we lost a great ruler, and were left ripe for the picking.

Now here we sit, occupied by a foreign power who claims to be our Prince. And I wonder, does he believe that he is doing what is right? Does "our" army?

Did the foreign emporor who murdered my Kija? Did Kija himself?

Does the rapist in the alley behind Walsuk tavern believe that his actions are good? Does the executioner who decapitates the wrongfully accused? Does the criminal who steals from the innocent to line his own pockets, tell himself that he is just helping her to get a thicker skin and learn caution?

In the end, I think we are all lost. All doomed to be wrong, in at least some way, in everything that we do. Because we cannot see all the ripples that will come of each action. Not even in retrospect. And this is the greatest unknown terror. The wondering, in what way my actions today will bring regret tomorrow.

Muse of Dementia