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Forgiveness For The Father

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"My soul has become a cancer. I am a monster. I have only spread suffering and death in the name of God."

'Cancer'? 'Monster'??

My mind wanders through everything I've learned since I first heard of The Father all those years ago up to now, since I arrived here in the county. I pause on the memory of bringing him down from his sanctuary, back to the people of New Eden when he first made his return to them. The way they all but cried from relief and love when they saw his face again. He created something truly exceptional and made a lot of people content and at peace in their new way of life.

But he thinks himself a MONSTER??

This poor, poor man. Standing in front of him, looking in his eyes and seeing only an worn shell of his former sovereignty, it wounds me. Out here all alone for as long as he was, with no human kindness to support him, of course he would only be left with the bad thoughts and think himself unworthy.

It's time to change that. He's been blaming himself for too many things for too long.

So, slowly lowering my gun he's placed over his heart and dropping it to the ground, I take his hand in mine instead.

"I know this probably isn't what you want to hear right now, but you are not responsible for Ethan's missteps. I can't even imagine how badly you're hurting right now, but it's not too late, Joseph, please don't give up just yet!"

He tries to pull away, but he's too defeated and frail to put up much of an effort, so I take advantage and grip harder, desperately trying to convince him to live.

"New Eden is not lost, Joseph! There were many survivors after the attack, I saw to that myself! I helped them back to their feet and together we fought the flames down and we were able to save the majority of the coven! Other than the outer walls, the sanctuary is essentially untouched, and what did take damage won't be all that difficult to patch up. I will personally see to the repairs and rebuild New Eden back even stronger. Let yourself rest, Joseph. Spend time with people who care about you and let them help you carry your heavy load. I know it'll be hard and it will take time to heal, but you deserve to feel some kind of happiness after decades of torturing yourself! You've taken on way too much for too long. You're just one man. I know you've been living as a deity for so long that you've probably forgotten how to exist as a normal human, but please... Let me help you through this..."

A barely noticeable flicker of hope rises in his eyes, as much as he tries to stamp it down. After awhile he sighs, slumping to the ground with decades of exhaustion seeping out all at once. I gingerly sit beside him and together we watch the burning tree, both lost in our own thoughts and pain. We stay until the flames have nothing left to consume and the sky grows dark around us. I hear a soft mournful groan and look over to see Joseph quietly crying with his hand covering his eyes as if to command the tears to stop. My heart aches at the sight of his agony and I can't stop myself from wrapping my arms around his shoulders.

He stiffens for only a moment, no doubt completely unaccustomed to positive human contact, before completely falling apart beneath my comforting touch. I don't say a word as years of grief and regret pour out of him in waves, and I determinedly hold him throughout, making sure he knows he's not alone anymore. After some time passes, his sobs quiet and it clearly took a big toll out of him as he falls asleep in my lap. I feel for Joseph and the fact that, as the face of sheer power and strength for Eden's Gate and New Eden for so long, he was never able to show his weakness to anyone before now. No wonder it screwed him up so bad.

I sigh, gently stroking his hair as he rests, feeling an assortment of mixed feelings in my chest at all the shit that went down over the past few days. Anger, sorrow, love, and resolve all fill me and give me drive to face the future. Careful not to disturb him, I hook my arms under his legs and back and lift, beginning the long journey of carrying him all the way back to New Eden so he can finally begin his path to forgiveness.

No one will EVER threaten him or his people again, I'll make DAMN sure of it. If it's the last thing I ever do, I will personally ensure he gets to live out the rest of his life with no more danger, no more hatred, no more betrayal and loss.

He WILL get his peace and reconciliation.

Or my name isn't Captain.