Calus' Letter to Ghaul
What sad turns has your life taken since my exile? When you look upon the dour face of the Consul, do you feel the nauseous twinge of regret? Do you find solace in a meditative state—a lonely island in a sea of incessant blathering?
I wonder what portion of your life is spent pondering how else it might have been. All of those possibilities must pile up behind you like a chorus of furies, each whispering doubts in your ear. When next we meet, the volume of that chorus will become deafening, and you will finally understand the totality of your mistake.
The light of this universe will soon dim. You cannot see it yet, but I assure you, there will be no denying it when it comes. There will be no safety, and no defense. The only question you should ask yourself is, "Where do I want to be at the end?"
From my vantage, I have cause to ask myself this question with some urgency. I will move soon, and I mean to choose the place from which I will watch all become darkness. I find it poetic and satisfying that you will be near.
When you imagine the last moments of all life in this universe, what do you see? Is it struggle, war, and death? Are you fighting to the last breath? Are you suffering?
I am not. In those last moments, I am surrounded by joy, pleasure, and good company. I am the last thing that they see. They give to me the greatest gift—the last of the living acknowledge that I, above all other beings, was real.
I've known you through many lives now: gladiator, Primus, usurper. With each new incarnation, I think we learn a little more about each other. How many more lives before our relationship becomes complete?
But this life is my last, because there is no further that I can go. When next we meet, you will face one who has transcended even the gods. What will you be?
I think perhaps I am finally ready to forgive you. There's no point in carrying around this hate forever. I think about who you were, and who I was, and the end seems inevitable. How can I blame you for the poisonous ambition that the Consul poured into your ear? You were merely his instrument.
In the end, it has all been for the better, has it not? Your betrayal is the first chapter in the story of my ascension.
Sometimes I stare into the abyss of space, plagued by a terrible fear. In this waking nightmare, everything you said to me and everything you felt for me was a lie.
But what was the nature of these lies? Were they manipulations wrought by ambition? Were they hateful machinations of vengeance? Or, worst of all, were they self-delusions? Did I merely ascribe to you words and feelings that were, in fact, my own?
I think it is only fair to warn you—I mean to reincorporate the Red Legion. I am their rightful emperor, and I shall offer them forgiveness. All they must do is repent and submit to their reeducation.
I feel like it's only fair to make you the same offer. How does "Primus of the Red Legion" sound?
Your reassimiliation into the empires is likely to be cause for concern. You'll understand that it will come with some preconditions. After all, we can't have it appear that I've played favorites. But there's no cause for alarm; your reeducation is merely a formality.
While I may forgive you, the rest of the empire will need some time. It's important to show the people how you have changed. It won't be forever, just however long it takes to earn your place at my side once more.
When you left me on the Leviathan, you left me with nothing. I hope you understand things are different now. I've been tested, and I have emerged from the other side.
You always spoke of how adversity shaped the person you are, how it made you stronger. I see the truth of that now in a way that before I never could. I want you to see what I have learned. I want you to see what adversity has allowed me to become.
You've gone to great lengths to hide your movements. I know, because I've been tracking you, not out of any kind of obsession; I just need to know what you're doing. It might affect my plans.
But I'm curious to know—are you hiding because of me? Is there some reason you don't want me to see you? I'm not upset about it, but you should know—I'm not hiding from you. If you want to understand what I'm doing, you need but look.
You don't realize that I'm all around you.
I know that you have gone to the Sol system. I'm writing because I will be there soon as well. Perhaps a reunion is in order?
My agents have left ahead of me to prepare for my arrival. I like to establish good relationships with the locals. I know it may surprise you, but one of the ways in which I have grown is my attitude towards the lesser species. I've come to believe that there is a place for all creatures in my empire. The end will be so much more interesting if we face it together.
I often think of what it would be like to see you again—how you might look and what you might say. I imagine different scenarios where you walk around a corner and there I am, magnificent and in control. I don't see you at first, and you hesitate. Is this a confrontation you want to have?
Of course, your curiosity gets the better of you. Our eyes meet. Neither of us say anything, because we both know what's at stake. This could be the end of an empire.