She was naked, bloody and surrounded by death. The bodies of every man, woman, child and beast she'd killed in the last fifty years were heaped around her. Their wounds still oozed and seeped as if new, but there was no life to them. Most would have gagged on the cloying stench of blood that saturated the heavy air. Nisha however, had grown accustomed to the smell long ago. She collapsed. On her knees, head in her hands, she wept. Giant, wracking sobs shook her slender frame while she sucked in the sickeningly sweet perfume of their death with every gulping breath.

It's hard to know exactly how long it went on, the rage and grief ravaging her body, but eventually, it subsided. At the end, she curled tight around her sword, clutching it to her narrow chest with her face hidden behind a thick mat of tear soaked, auburn hair.

"You needn't be the villain," said a male voice beside her.

She sprang to her feet. Startled out of her misery she came up confused and armed. No one was able to sneak up on her. Ever. She looked at the man, her solid black eyes wide and wet and angry. She knew she should have been slipping her blade into his body, spilling his blood, but it stayed still in her hands. Instead, she stared. She examined for the first time a man she'd caught glimpses of in her dreams more times than she could count. He was tall and lean and pale with slick, black hair and a wry smile. Her mouth fell open. How had she not recognized him before?

"All Father?" She said, barely above a whisper.

He threw his head back and laughed. The sound filled the cool, clear night that seemed to have slipped in around them, replacing the hot press of decomposing flesh. "Finally," he said.

"All Father, I feel foolish." She said and lowered her sword. "I, I did not mean to threaten. Not that I could. Not even I am so arrogant to think I could fell a God. I am sorry I did not discern you sooner. Why have you been visiting me? Why are you speaking to me now? What..."

"Hush girl," he said, cutting her off. "The answers to those questions matter little. I do what I will, when I will, and this you know. I'm here only to tell you, you needn't be a villain if it is your desire to be ought else."

"But, that is what they say I was born to be. All my kind are, they say, and I, a child born of lies and rape as well. What would I be if not vile?"

He sighed, a heavy exhalation of breath that stirred the darkness around them, making the shadows deepen and move as if alive.

"Are you taking the word of some uneducated peasants over my own?" He asked. "It is true that this is my dream, is it not? My thought, my story. If this world is mine then what I say is law, is truth, and I am saying to you, girl, you need not be evil. You could be a hero if you so chose."

"Truly?" She said, her voice wavering the slightest bit as she looked up to him.

For a moment his face softened, and he reached out to her. His hand cupped her cheek, ghostly white against her pale, yellow skin as he spoke to her gently.

"Yours will not be an easy road. There will be blood and there will be pain, but what I have said to you is true."

He withdrew his hand, and she could feel where it had been like a cool breeze brushing across her cheek. When she looked up to meet his eyes there was a single, crystal tear sliding down his face. She knew not why, but leaned forward and onto her toes to brush it away. With the tiny drop still clinging to her finger, he smiled again and disappeared into the shadows.