Chapter 8

A delusion of a being long dead, an idea of living only to serve, only for one purpose. It leaves behind a sharp-edged data fragment to mark its passing.

There is a conflict in me, O Witness, that unsettles your weapon, my self. Why is it that you allow flawed understandings of your great work to persist in all those who serve you, even in your Disciples? Every one of us seems to have some different conception of your Final Shape.

I do not need reassurance in my own comprehension. Only to understand what purpose it serves that you have chosen such disparate servants to carry out your will.

Is it a simple answer? Perhaps none who serve you have the capacity to grasp your vision. And so, rather than waste more of your time and attention on explaining something they will never hold, it is enough that they act as you will. The Witch and her Hive carving single-mindedness out of the cloth of the universe, that whispering Nightmare seeking the fullest gamut of existence, the Upender destroying all differentiation. Shadows on the wall.

In this case, it would be hubris to think I have understood your work, that I alone among your Disciples have grasped what purpose it is we serve. All of us must see darkly reflected.

But there is relief in simplification. There is kindness in winnowing. So then, why is this proliferation permitted?

The shadows, showing the truth by their casting.

Perhaps it is enough to simply trust that we are weapons in your hand, O Witness—even if we cannot see the perfect shape of your plan, we serve it by your wielding of us. Each Disciple has come to be only by your will, and so that incomprehension is also in your making. You ask for trust, and obedience, and promise that whatever you do, whatever finality you achieve, will suit each of your followers perfectly.

Your Final Shape will be a hundred promises kept. I have seen the reflections of it through all of we Disciples, through the tracks you leave in the universe, a truth understood through the shadows it casts.

There: I have resolved the conflict within my thoughts, and I am at peace again. Once more, I am only your violence and nothing more.

The Final Shape will realize us as we strive.