The thing about being a chaos spirit, the thing that really sucks, is that morals don’t come into it. Lup was, kind of a help with that. She was a fire spirit, a weird happenstance of birth when you’re considering the whole twin thing, but she helped a lot. Fire also didn’t care about morals, but it was more versatile than chaos. Sure, chaos helped revolutions better the world, helped the downfall of cruel rulers, bred the confusion that allowed scared kids to run away somewhere safe. But it wasn’t fire- the home, the hearth, the torch in the night. It didn’t keep people warm and alive, or fuel machines to take them across the world, to kiss loved ones on the cheeks. Chaos just was.
Taako just was.
He liked larger scale chaos, but that didn’t change the power boost he got when a bar fight broke out and plates clattered and shattered. He liked localized chaos, but that didn’t change the bits of magic electrifying his skin, as a country falls to war.
When Lup felt the first massive bomb, she cried. The explosion, the fire, burning towns apart. Power arched off her skin, the tears she dropped made the ground light up, gasoline sparking into flames. Taako held her, as she brokenly described how horrid she felt for taking pleasure out of it, of how good the power felt and how alive she was but so many people were dead.
Taako didn’t know how to say he understood. He also didn’t want to admit it gets easier.
How inhuman, how cruel is it, to find comfort in terror?
Taako wished he could suffer forever, could forever feel the spark of humanity that meant he hated it.
He was too weak.
He’d love to say he spent the time of the grand relic wars sulking about, being frantically concerned and stopping things.
He’d be lying.
He spent it floating on air, as much as he could be.
He didn’t stop a thing.
The thing about normal is it’s normal. What the definition is doesn’t matter, it’s a neutral state. You aren’t sad, when everything’s normal. You aren’t angry, when everything’s normal. You might be bored, or content, or discontent. But it’s normal.
Or, maybe you are all that. Maybe you’re so sad it burns away to nothing, till you’re just ash and embers, confetti on the ground long after the festival has passed. Maybe you feel until you feel no more, the empty husk of a firework, until you can’t see what there was until it’s past.
Maybe. Or maybe not.
But maybe it was okay, for Taako to not feel. To not spend every second, trying to pull the power from his flesh, trying to rip himself apart for existing. Maybe it was okay for it to be normal, for his feet to burn as he ran, laughing as cities fell. Maybe he wasn’t at fault, for knowing only what he knew, for feeling only what he felt.
Narratives have power. Perspectives have even more. The tree doesn’t mourn the leaves, but the leaves are never the same. Taako jumped over a cart with a cymbal crash, bare feet slapping on cobblestone as the guards yelled and struggled to right the food carts. The beggers on the street grabbed the bread, grabbed the fruits, ran as far and as fast as they could. The stall owners despaired, as their work vanished, and the guards stressed, as their cities safety was compromised.
Perspectives, narratives, Taako’s coin purse filling on a train.
It’s easy to love a hero when they’re all you see.
Forgetting Lup was like forgetting to care. It was horrible, almost cruel, for Taako to look back and see what he was without her. He wanted to choose to be different, but apparently alone he didn’t even care to choose. Apparently, without her, he was the same ol’ taako. Just a little burnt in the oven, an egg undercooked. Unwanted, a carrier for disease.
And it didn’t matter at all. He just kept truckin’, kept finding power in chaos, kept shifting the fate of the world around for fun. It’s really fortunate Istus liked him. Maybe she too, got bored.
Or maybe all he did, all the lives he changed, still meant nothing to fate.
Maybe it wasn’t worth thinking about.
Merle was a cleric the same way a dirt road was a road. He maybe wasn’t planned out, but he sure kept doing as he did. He cast spells like he only half knew what he could do, no matter how many times he did it. He cast zone of truth like it was some divine sight, like he’d be able to see all he needed to know just because everyone had to tell what they thought was truth. Zone of Truth, ridiculous, because if it had been of Truth, maybe Taako would have said, had wrenched from his mouth, that he missed Lup like burning, and he had no clue who she was, but he had known her forever. Zone of not-lying, if anything, zone of no intentional deceptions, zone of not being enough for Taako to fucking feel, to have the truth slip up from his boots, to drown him in remembrance, to remind him who he was and why the fuck he felt so HORRIBLE.
He didn’t really like Merle. Not for a while.
And, petty enough. Not for a bit after all the memory stuff.
Taako, if anything, had claimed to be the opposite of a good person.
The world had certainly proved it to him enough.
Lucretia. Oh, fuck. Fuck Lucretia.
It doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter, how much power he had flitting through, how much of his blood dripped down his scabbed arms, how it grew foreign plants and invasive species and fueled him for years. It doesn’t, will never matter, the gold that fell into beggers pockets, the fire that lit in ladies hairs, the children made orphans, the children who found homes, the chaos LEAPING off him. The power in his veins burning through him like a disease, injected and flying out like crows, ripping him asunder and leaving his flesh feeling fanastic.
You can’t take a person apart to fit your needs, no matter what. Taako-god, it would be different, if he had come out better. If somehow, Lucretia had taken the parts that made him so selfish, so powerful, had stripped the marrow from his bones and left him hollow enough to do no harm. But she didn’t. She shook him off and ripped off the cap and let him explode.
The worst part. The worst part…
He couldn’t blame her for all he did.
He couldn’t blame her for anything but taking away his limits.
Sometimes. He wondered.
Did Sazeed hate him? Or was Taako’s own chaos, slipped into his heart.
It felt, most days, not just some. That maybe Taako was the killer, no matter what.
How horrible, how inhuman, how cruel, how useless do you have to be, to drive someone into that. To let them do that.
He wishes he had slipped the meat between his teeth and kissed his life goodbye.
Death of chaos. Maybe the world would be better.
It’s bad enough to think. It’s worse to truly not know.
A Poem to Things Lost:
Davenport, Davenport, Davenport
It’s an ode to the spark of power Taako got whenever he saw him. Isn’t it cruel, what you know without ever knowing?
Champagne, cocaine, gasoline. Isn’t it funny what he didn’t see?