How long does it take for a killer to grow tired of killing? For someone who made their life’s work the destruction of others to step away and realize the legacy they’d left was one of only blood and suffering?
It took me over five hundred years. Perhaps I am a slow learner. Perhaps I was evil from the start. Or perhaps something was burnt into me early in my days that made humanity seem worth destroying. That something that led to me becoming a mercenary, then an assassin, and finally a warlord seeking to bring the kingdoms to their knees.
In that, I succeeded. My ego grew with my victories. And so I sought eternal life with which to rule, grinding humanity beneath my boot for the rest of time. A great dark ritual, flooded with torture and bloody sacrifice. At that time, it was just more drink for my bloodthirst. I reveled in it. And the people feared me more. I was the Dark Emperor, destined to rule eternal.
I do not know what changed in the next few centuries. A cynic might say I simply became bored. Power and its trappings became mine by default, rather than through victory. Every man and woman in the land lived or died at my command. And it is true, there was no more challenge to it. Yet my bloodlust remained. I simply sought more extravagant and perverted ways to sate it.
Yet at some point I started to doubt. I began to look at the people I ruled and see the pain, the terror, everything I’d worked for reduced to a whimper in a corner from a bleeding mother. Is that the lesson we are supposed to learn young? That this pain is not something we should seek, but rather its opposite. That compassion is to be admired, not disparaged.
I am a slow learner, indeed, but I did learn.
The question has now become: how long does it take for the greatest of all killers to make up for their crimes?