8. Era of Qae | Uren

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“This is my chance!” I say ecstatically. “The perfect opportunity!”

“You can’t be serious.” An’ten has forgotten his maps for a second, staring at me with eyes wide in disbelief.

We’re in the Library of Faiths, and I’m trying to convince him to help me kill myself.

“Everybody on the Council is a new member – and since they didn’t get their position the normal way, they don’t know everything the previous Council member knew!”

“What about Kiei?” An’ten’s grasping at anything he can that would throw a wrench in my plans. He’d throw the wrench in himself, if he could. “He’s still on the Council, and he knows.”

I wave a hand dismissively. “Only because Qae can’t get rid of him. He’s never part of the meetings, and the lot of them won’t listen to a word he says. All I have to do is something so incredibly stupid that they’ll be forced to rule that I have to be Forgotten!”

“This is madness, Uren.” An’ten drops down into his chair, eyes focused on nothing in particular. “You’re Persona-”

“This has nothing to do with my Damned Persona!” I yell, heaving a large tome over his head. It slams against the bookshelf with a solid thud. “This is me! This what I want! This is what I’m feeling!”

“That’s your Persona,” he replies softly. “It’s who you are. You are composed, as you so often tell me, of the Belief of your followers. Their Belief defines your Persona; defines you. There is no ‘you’ that exists separate from that.”

“You’re wrong.”

He’s wrong. I know it. I feel things outside of what my Persona says I should. I am not like the gods whose drive and ambition are born of their Faith’s ideals. Who conquer because their followers Believe that is what they do. Who keep peace because their followers Believe they are peaceful. I might be influenced by my Faith as much as I influence it, but in the end my choices are my own, just as my followers cannot be forced to Believe.

“And if it is true, that we are but avatars of our Faith, our Persona determined not by ourselves but by mortals stranded on some rock floating through the void, then what worth can our Existence hold? What worth have we, as individuals? Do you hear me, An’ten!?”

An’ten is silent. He is turned away from me, and I’m not sure if he’s even listening.

“I wonder,” I continue, my voice permeating the room like an eerie fog rolling over the plains. “Who are the real followers, and who the gods?”

Now he turns to me, and still he is silent; his eyes hold a ghostly look, a confused sort of fear. “I hear you, Uren. I only wish I didn’t.”

Then he stands up, his gaze flicking momentarily to the maps spread across the polished wooden table in front of his chair. With a final, haunted look in my direction, he leaves. I hope he goes to the Council, to Qae, and tells him what I said. I hope my blasphemy earns me my death. It’s the least I deserve, for what I’ve been through. The oblivion of nonexistence. If I ever existed as an individual in the first place.

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