"Have you ever hated- really hated, with every fiber of your being? True hate is a powerful thing. It can give you the strength of will to do things you never would have considered. Things you never would have believed yourself capable of. Unthinkable things. Awful and magnificent things. Hate is a powerful force because it lends an impossible strength. With enough hate, you could rule the world. Or end it."
"Is that what you want to do?" I asked him. "Destroy the word?"
He laughed. "I don't give a runny shit about the world, or anyone or anything in it."
"Then by all the dead gods, what do you want?"
He sat down on a cracked headstone across from me and leaned down with his arms on his knees. He looked tired.
"How old do you think I am?"
"Forty? Maybe forty-five?"
"I'm seventeen hundred years old. I saw the fall of Thagoth, and of Hluria. I was ancient when Havak Silversword was imprisoned behind the Wall. You people are mayflies to me."
"You're tired of life."
"You haven't the least idea. It's much worse than it sounds. Because of the curse laid on me, every moment that passes feels like a hundred. Listening to you talk bores me to tears. Listening to me talk bores me to tears. I've experienced this conversation as though it's lasted all fucking day."
"I'll try and talk faster," I said, but he waved it away.
"Don't bother. You can't speak quickly enough to make the least difference."
"So what do you want, Heirus?"
Suddenly he was in my face. I never saw him move.
"I want the Goddess's gods-damned Blade, you stupid cow!"
"Call me a cow again and I'll stick the Blade so far up your--"
I never saw the fist, either.