Drazverse: Balance

"Well...what the Hell do you want?"

"Tsk, tsk, boy, such language." The tall man turned his head, looking at Draz over his shoulder with eyes that held the whole of existence. "And in my Heaven, no less."
"Fuck you," Draz snarled, waving his middle finger. The older man only chuckled.

"Come to see what I'm making?" he asked, gesturing with his chin to whatever was on the table in front of him, obscured by his powerfully-built frame. Draz furrowed his brow.
"I don't have time for the 'look at this new universe' bullshit," Draz responded, but he walked over to the table all the same. It held a birdhouse, nearly complete. A neat tap of the hammer drove in a nail, one after the other with practiced skill.
Draz shook his head. "Im not here for a 'tools of the craftsman' speech, either. You have a fuckton of shit to answer for."

The man sighed, setting down the hammer. "You always were the most obstinate of champions, far more so than your brother."
Draz ignored the leading comment. "What do you want?"

"I could ask you the same thing," the man responded easily, a smile on his lips. He paused, pulling a fleck of sawdust from his trimmed, white beard. "And I shall. What do you want, Drazilisk Zarrin Valarauko?"
Draz's snarl echoed in the vast chamber, and the man shook his head again, chuckling. "'Who died and made me god', huh? You know, Draz, you're not the first one to ask me that."
"This crpytic dodgy shit? This is why more people don't try to talk to you, old man." Draz had meant it to be cutting, but the older man just laughed, a loud, genuinely mirth-filled sound that made Draz want to laugh right along with him.
"A bit odd, calling me old when you yourself are a creature of millennia, isn't it?" The man shrugged, and for a moment, all of creation shrugged with him. "But then again, I was here before here was even an idea, so I suppose 'old man' works as well as any other descriptor."
"FUCKING HELL, WHAT DO YOU WANT?!" snapped Draz, rage finally spilling over. The man reached out with one calloused hand, laying it on Draz's shoulder. Instantly, Drazilisk felt the worst kind of peace. It hit him in the chest, ripped his breath away, and left him shaking.
For a moment, there was no rage, no hate, no chaos, just an endless sea of love, and it hurt like Hell because it couldn't fucking last. Draz's breath came in a ragged sob. "What...what the fuck...oh my God..."
"I Am, my son," said the Most High, his face both sad and at peace, all at the same time, a thousand possibilities reflecting in his endless eyes. Draz sank down to his knees, and God dropped down to one knee, cradling him. "And what I want from you, Champion, is understanding."
"You...you killed my wife," sobbed Draz, desperate to feel anything other than that awful, soul-soothing peace. He'd been one with the Void for so long that he couldn't even remember how it felt to be like this. "Your fucking spawn killed the most important thing in my world!"
"He killed you, too, my son." God released Drazilisk, and got to his feet. Draz followed suit, the rage slowly trickling back. A part of his mind was terrified that it wouldn't, and another part was terrified that it would. Draz forced himself to respond.
"I don't give a fuck about me."

God nodded knowingly.
"A constant, for you, Champion. Its been your greatest weapon and darkest curse ever since the beginning. That's how the Void got its claws into you in the first place, into you and your line since it first started. The Void is skilled at twisting the good things, after all."
He paused, and his voice hardened. "Do you think that maybe you're better off without someone to worry about? Stronger, perhaps?"
Draz's answer was immediate. "Fuck you. You believe that shit, you're not God."

God let out another world-music laugh. "Good man. You're a great many things, Drazilisk, but as long as one of them is selfless when it comes to those you love, you might be redeemable."
"Redeemable? Fuck redemption. If I haven't earned it by now cleaning up your mess, then I don't fucking want it." Draz would have spat, but the beauty of the simple, vast room around him was one that not even he could bear to mar.

"My mess?" asked God, amused.
"Yeah, your fucking mess." Draz clenched his fist, breathing deeply. "I know you're older than dirt -"

"Literally and figuratively," interjected God with a smile.

"But even you can't have forgotten your shit-stain of a son."
God arched his brow. "I didn't realize you and Jesus had met."

"YOU KNOW WHO THE FUCK I MEAN," thundered Drazilisk, finally feeling the rage full-force once more. There were few beings who could stand before him enraged, but the Most High was something beyond true comprehension.
Draz struggled to control his anger. "Scion. Your mistake escaped, killed my wife, and nearly destroyed your precious fucking Heaven, and would have, if it wasn't for me and Day."
"I suppose you don't see the amusement there, do you? You and your son taking on the problem of me and my son?" God sighed at Draz's intense frown. "No, I suppose not."

There was a moment of silence.
God picked up the birdhouse, rotating it slowly in his broad hands. "I didn't really focus on this, you know? I let my mind wander and my hands build, and it comes out perfect completely on its own. Take a look."
He tossed the birdhouse to Draz, who caught it easily. He examined the object. Naturally, God was correct. "Its perfect."

"Indeed it is." God shrugged. "For me to make something flawed, well..."
"It would have to be on purpose? Are you fucking kidding me!? You're gonna try to play the 'everything happens for a reason' card with me?!"

God just smiled.

"I can't fucking believe you!" Draz spat, then threw the birdhouse at the wall, hard.
It hit the wall and bounced off, spinning to the floor without even a scratch.

"If I want something broken, my son, I will design it to break. I will design it to break the way I require it to break, and when it breaks, it will do so as I have designed."
God walked over to the birdhouse and picked it up, almost lovingly. He brushed a speck of sawdust from the roof.

"Because you're God?"

"I Am."

Draz let out a long sigh, eyes still flashing. "That doesnt explain your fuck-up spawn."
"Doesn't it, though?" God indicated the birdhouse again. "Clearly, Scion serves a purpose just as all things do."

"Oh, yeah? And what kind of fucked-up purpose does my wife dying serve?!" Draz wanted to destroy something, anything, but there was nothing there to destroy.
"In all your thousands of years, Drazilisk Valarauko, when have we two ever had a conversation?"

Draz's jaw dropped. "You...you're a fucking monster."
"Am I?" God asked with ease. "Tell me, Draz, haven't you been called a monster a time or two yourself for doing what was necessary?"

"You know that I have."

"Right, and why did you do those things?" God asked, his ancient voice soft.
Draz swallowed, hard. Those eyes stripped away every wall he had in his mind.

"Because no one else could." Draz tried to shut his mouth, but God's patience was a force he could feel. "Because I'm the Dark God of Chaos and if I didn't do it, no one would."
"Indeed you did, as do I," replied God. "Because I Am. You and I needed to have a conversation. You needed to understand some things, and that would never happen unless you sought me out yourself in your rage and despair."

"So my wife is dead so we can talk?!"
"For that reason, and for others, your wife experienced an ending, yes."

"You're a monster."

God shrugged. "God, monster; don't they feel interchangeable after a while?"

"I stand by what I said," snarled Drazilisk. "Monster."
"I Am." Slowly, God nodded. "The nature of things, Drazilisk, of Me, of yourself, of this whole thing we call existence, is one of constant duality. Good, evil, black, white, night, day, Void and Wellspring.
Since the very beginning, creatures of all kinds have seen and recognized this constant, and many of them sought to define it. They wanted to know just where one began and another ended. What was good? How far was it from evil?
Over and over those who decided that 'gray' existed failed to live it, because they themselves were flawed to one side or another. But still, they sought the edge, sought the 'gray area'.
Few of them ever realized that what they truly sought wasn't some fabled gray in between the black and white, but something far harder to discern and live out: balance."

"Balance isnt quantifiable like that, though," Draz interjected.
"We can only see balance in the interplay between two opposing forces."

"You've learned well, Draz," God said, smiling at Draz. "Unfortunately, that knowledge is now obsolete. The 'Lore', as it were, has changed. Balance has arisen as a true force, as intended."
"Right. So, if Im the Champion of the Void, and my brother is the Champion of the Wellspring, who's gonna be the big bad Champion of Balance?" Draz asked, crooking his fingers in air quotes. God rolled his eyes.
"Things have changed, Draz. There's a new Champion of the Void, a new Vessel."

"Huh?"
"Indeed. As you yourself are aware, you are of the Void, but no longer for it, drawing from its power, but no longer a slave to it. The Harbinger of Destruction now stands against that very same Destruction."
God waved one hand absently as he spoke, his voice both grave and bemused at the same time. "Did you think the Void would just let that go on eternally?"

"I mean, it hadn't tried to change it before." Draz rubbed his bearded chin. "Figured it wasn't on its agenda."
"The Void does not think the way you do, or even as I do," said God. "Its thought is the stuff of slow eons; it is not a static thing, though perhaps only just."

"So, what, Im gonna lose all my power?"
"Not at all. You are of the Void, Drazilisk. The Void can't undo what its already done. Its like this birdhouse." God gestured to the wooden box.
"Its a birdhouse, sure, but its also made of wood, and can't help but be anything else. The tree the wood came from may decide that it no longer wishes to acknowledge the birdhouse, but the birdhouse is still made of wood."

"The fuck is with you and birdhouses?"
"What's with you and a total lack of patience?"

Draz blinked. "Alright, point taken. Im still a Dark God, still a vessel of the Void, just not The Vessel of the Void."
"Precisely." God set down the birdhouse. "And it is because of this, your use of the Void to stand against the Void, while refusing to serve the Wellspring, that you have become the Champion of Balance."
Draz waited for the punchline to what was surely some mystical divine joke, but God simply looked at him, smiling slightly. Draz crossed his arms over his chest. "I ain't bitin'."

"Oh?" God's smile grew. Draz rolled his eyes, refusing to rise to the bait.
"There's a Champion of the Void because there is the Void. There's a Champion of the Wellspring because there is the Wellspring." He waved his scarred hands dismissively. "There is no Champion of Balance because there is no 'Balance'."
The Most High pulled out two nails and, with a sharp double tap of his hammer, planted them in the workbench's wooden surface. He poked one, and it turned black. He poked the other, and it turned green. "Black is the Void, Green is Wellspring, yes?"
"Sure, if we're gonna do another visual lesson."

"We are!"

"You could just, you know, tell me up front," Draz grumbled, exasperated.
"That would just ruin all of the fun," answered God, appearing genuinely shocked that Draz would even suggest such a thing. He tapped the nails again with a blunt finger. "Void, Wellspring. They exist, can be felt, can be seen, can be represented, yes?"
Draz nodded, and the Most High continued. "And yet, they did not exist in this state, or in any state at all, until someone took the time to install them there, yes?"

"Yeah, no shit."
God was waving the hammer now. "Indeed, someone did, and I Am. Please take note of the nails; they are fixed in place, are they not? Incapable of moving beyond those boundaries within which the craftsman has placed them?
And because of their inability to move outside of their ordained paths, they are balanced, yes?"

"Fuck."

"I see that dying repeatedly has only sharpened your wits, young Valarauko." God smiled in a fashion that would have made the saints weep in uncontrolled joy.
"You see, as the Creator of All Things, the Craftsman, as this analogy paints me, I Am He Who Enforces Balance. You, as the being standing between Void and Wellspring, Heaven and Hell, are, as you have so kindly pointed out, the observable interplay between opposing forces."
"Fucking Hell."

"And so, we have a force for balance in Me," said the Most High with a wave of the hammer. "And a Champion of Balance in you."

"Im not working for the monster that let my wife die," Draz snarled.
"You don't need to work for Me," answered God with a smile and a hammer-wave. "You just need to continue to be you, opposing the Void and refusing the Wellspring, allowing the whole of creation to continue to move along as I intend.
You've been doing exactly that for quite some time anyway, so it shouldn't be too hard for you."

"Why do I feel like this is no where near the whole of it?" said the Valarauko with an exasperated half-growl. God nodded.
"Because you, Champion, are not a complete idiot."

"Thanks."

"No trouble at all." God set down the hammer, fixing Draz with a stare that held the weight of all eternity in its endless gaze.
"From time to time, I may offer advice, or guide your walk. You, of course, will handle these things as you see fit, as is your design. I'd expect no less."

"And thats it, just a 'gentle guiding'?" Draz arched an eyebrow at the Creator of All Things. God only smiled.
"Suffice it to say, young man, that those things I guide you towards will be things that, once you know of them, you will wish I had either spoken to you about them sooner, or not spoken about them at all." God gave a small shrug.

"So...real world-view-shattering stuff, huh?"
"Now, that would be telling," God said with a laugh. "Now, on to business. Yes, 'already'; do pipe down a moment, Draz. Your thoughts are remarkably loud, you know."
The Most High pulled a canvas cloth away from something on the workbench that Drazilisk was absolutely sure had not been there a moment before. With careful, almost reverent motions, God lifted a sword from its stand, and offered it, hilt-first, to the Valarauko.
Draz reached out for the hilt, then froze. The weapon was incredible, a length of razor-edged steel that seemed to call to his battle-scarred hand. It was, in every way, a perfect killing tool, from its hand-and-a-half handle to the curiously-colored blade.
A bit over four feet in total, the weapon begged to be wielded.

"Its yours, my boy. I made it for you, for your hands alone." The Most High pushed the hilt towards Draz's hand. "And you know how I make things."
"Perfect..." breathed Draz, as he took up the blade. He knew it would be perfect, and yet its perfection still shocked him. He held the weapon up, examining the strange two-tone look. One side of the blade was gold, the other jet black.
Even more curious, the weapon had no guard.

"I know how you fight, boy. I saw your battle against Val'Aglar, when your powers returned." God shrugged.
"This is My Heaven, after all. Now, you may be the Champion of Balance, but you'll be enforcing that Balance with a blade in your hand. Your mind is your best defense, and that sword is an extension of the body and the will."
Draz nodded, still staring at the weapon, wonderfully and fearfully made. God continued. "Of course, its no ordinary sword. Its just like you, a beast of two worlds. You'll learn it as you go."
"I have a sword," Draz managed to murmur, still entranced by the gleaming black and gold. "Two, actually."

"Not like this one," God answered.
The Most High was practically preening. "No, not like this one at all. That blade is one unlike nearly any other. I made one similar to it, a long, long time ago, but that one was a shadow compared to this.
With this blade in your hand, Valarauko, there's nothing that can stand in your way."

Draz frowned. "I thought that my Void blades were like that, too. Then I got killed by your kid."
"That will kill even Scion." There was something in the way God said the words that gave Draz pause.

"Scion's dead."
"So were you. Stranger things have happened. To tell you, though, that would be cheating." God shrugged again, and the Universe sighed. Draz bit back a snarl.

"So your shit-eater kid is still alive. Great. Fantastic. Fan. Fucking. Tastic."
Draz's grip tightened on the blade, and he could swear he heard its need to kill singing in his veins. "But hey, fuck it, I've got some kind of god-killing sword now."

"You do."
"You'd be insulted if I asked if you were sure it could kill Scion, wouldn't you?" asked Draz, annoyance plain on his feral features.

"Only a little," promised the Most High.

Draz took a deep breath, then locked eyes with the God of All Creation. "Could it kill you?"
God's smile widened, though for the first time, it did not quite reach his eyes. Slowly, he stood, and Draz was suddenly vastly aware of just how much power radiated from the deity.
It wasn't even a forced display; more like a trickle from a leaky faucet, and that alone was terrible to behold. The Most High laid one calloused hand on the simple hammer on His workbench. "Care to give it a try?"
In God's eyes, Drazilisk Valarauko saw something he'd never once even imagined, even when Scion had struck him down.

His own death. And worse, no fear of it, just the awful peace, the acceptance that, if he made that choice, there would and could be literally no other outcome.
There were many gods. There was but one that was the Most High. Draz looked away. "No...not today."
"You're a good man, Valarauko. No matter what, don't forget that. You fail, you falter, but in the end, you choose to do that which is right. No one can take that from you if you refuse to let them."

"...yeah."
"I never said there wouldn't be suffering on the road, my son." God looked for a short moment like he wanted nothing more than to give the Valarauko a hug, but the moment passed and he continued. "Now, go forth, and seek out the Void's new Champion."

"And kill him?"
"Now that," God said softly, a glimmer of a smile on his face. "Would be telling."

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