Continued from Part 4
I rise and walk toward the abyss where my Teacher has sacrificed himself.
A mountain of a man, nearly naked and covered in blood, approaches wielding a massive sword.
Ernie: So are you happy?
Ares: The question is, are you?
A. You don’t want to admit it, but you actually ARE happier when you give in to your darker impulses. When reason and learning are all cast away. And you are left alone with the nakedness of your desires.
A. To be sure, I don’t care much either way. Those petty sins that shame you so much mean little to me.
E. So, what do you care about?
E. What? But wars are so divisive!
A. No. Wars are stress, and reveal the subtle divides so they can be healed.
E. But, the American Revolution…
A. Was the only thing that United the colonies. Why did you think the Civil War had to be so painful? Because the deal with the devil had to be broken and reforged better.
E. But… war is evil!
E. Yeah, but…
A. Did you not just say you wish to only be judged by God’s word? Surely you would grant me the same grace.
E. But don’t you delight in cruelty?
A. Again, that depends on what you mean by cruel. Pain is part of life, is it not?
E. I suppose.
A. So is it not better to enjoy the work God gives you, rather than hate yourself?
A. It seems to me you feel an obligation to feel bad when you hurt others. Is that it?
E. Um, yeah. All the universe is part of God. He fees what happens to us as we feel our own body. Surely we should not enjoy hurting God?
A. Do you not enjoy hurting your muscles to make them grow?
E. Well, yeah, sort of. But that’s me…
A. Did not Steve your trainer enjoy your pain the same way?
A. Should not those who do God’s work for Him rejoice the same way He does?
E. But war is so indiscriminate! There is so much unnecessary pain.
A. As opposed to what? Love? Work? Religion? Why should I get demonized when others get redeemed?
E. I… I just don’t see the good that… that… justifies that much pain.
A. And how is your ignorance my problem, little man?
E. So… you’re saying the whole purpose of war has been to create unity, cohesion, generativity. And that you give joy in that work, even though often impure and ineffective. Like Dionysus with wine, or Aphrodite with sex.
E. And my job — if I choose to accept it — is to create a world where men and women admit your legitimacy, but strive to reduce the downsides.
A. Yes. And to be sure, I am happy to let the others have their chance. Hades has done wonders to unify the world, and even my darling Aphrodite has her moments. But I am the God of Ultimate Sacrifice; and when I am needed, I will not be denied.
E. Was… was that why Chiron had to sacrifice himself before I could see you, on your own terms?
E. As… as I too must be, if I want the One to rule in your pace.
A. As with all of us. We were created to serve the One. But for reasons beyond understanding, He gave this world into your care. We have done the best we can, but it is hardly our fault our masters were so shortsighted and blind.
E. No. [thoughtfully] I guess… perhaps it is mine.
A. As you wish. [nods to me] I think I will meet you again, Son of Adam.
He whistles, and a fiery black horse thunders close. He mounts in a single fluid motion.
A. Never forget! Only those who shrink not from destroying their souls will ever truly own them!
And with that, he was gone.
Or to be continued?