When I was growing up, all the neighborhood kids were scared of this guy named Chet.
This guy was your typical old codger. They said he only came out at night to do anything, and hated anyone he ran into in his rare public appearances.
He had this giant fence build up around his property. Every year, there’d be some brave kid who thought he could jump the fence and see what was hidden inside.
And every goddamned year, that kid would piss his pants in fear of the dog chained up in Chet’s backyard.
We called it The Beast.
Chet would threaten to unleash the Beast on whatever poor kid came into his domain, but always let them go, we assumed to send a message.
Stupid kids, he called us.
Kaine Knightlord, that’s kind of how you view the world around you, isn’t it?
You’re old as fuck, a consequence of your state. You only come out at night, and do your damndest to stay away from any and every one.
But every once in a while, some stupid Kine comes up on you, don’t they?
They jump the fence you erected around yourself, the one that you hide behind to this day.
You give them a glimpse of the monster you keep chained up inside.
You fear what would happen if you let the Beast roam free, don’t you? You fear what happens when the world learns what you really are.
Kind of like Chet.
See, when Chet died, that fence came down and the world got to see his secrets.
The truth was that he’d lived a long life full of stories. His dog had eaten a kid once. So he holed up in darkness and shadow, behind his fence. His anger, fear, and shame was all burned into that dog.
The Beast we were all so scared of?
He was so cowed by years of idle imprisonment that he could not even muster a single bite.
In the end, Chet was nothing.
You know, Knightlord, I kind of think that’s what would happen if you ever did decide to let The Beast out.
You’ve spent so long trying to keep The Beast fenced in that it fenced you in, too. You fight to stay in control of what humanity you have left, but just as the Beast, you’ve been reduced to a toothless monster that couldn’t hurt a fly.
But I’m just a stupid Kine, right? I couldn’t know shit about you.
There’s a beast inside me, too.
Each and every day I fight to keep it from taking over.
But my Beast isn’t chained behind a fence. No, it gets fresh air, each breath feeding to grow larger and larger.
That’s why I turn cities to ash while you hide behind your fence.
Speaking of, I’m jumping that fence, Chet.
I hear your threats, but I don’t give a fuck. Bring your Beast. I’ll bring mine.
Beast vs. Beast.
Fire vs. Blood.
When it’s done, I will be All That Remains, and the world will see you for what you are.