With all the progress I have made I wonder if I've made any. I freed myself from the grip of the darkness inside. I pursued a better feeling. A better existence. One not dominated by obsession and violence. The problem is I replaced them with a need for competition. It was an obsession in itself. An empty one. It did no one any good. I decided that it was time to do something. I had stopped the evil within myself, yet there was nothing but evil around me. I chose the worst offender, Redemption. I focused on eradicating the evil that was him. I focused on punishment. I immediately judged him and levied a sentence. Pain.

I replaced one obsession for yet another. Is life truly about walking a path and progessing towards a goal? Or is it just walking on a treadmill? Walking endlessly while moving towards nothing. Just a series of violent encounters with a long list of reasons to justify them. I no longer have the answers. The peace I so desperately wanted never came. The freedom I thought I gained was a lie. My soul is etched in violence. I cannot escape that fact. I've tried. Destroying the evil within myself has done nothing to steer me away from the carnage. Sure, my approach has been different, but violence is all I know. By extension, it's become all Ember knows as well.

She had a chance to really do something in a world I don't understand. She could have found happiness. Unfortunately, she crossed my path. My darkness consumed her. My violence infected her. She became a reflection of me. One that continues to change as I do. I'm not sure how much stock I can put into our supposed evolution. Not when I'm wondering if there has been any change. So I no longer try to destroy lives. Have I improved any lives? Is Ember really better off with my switch in teaching methods? She'd have been better off if we'd never met. I can't give back what I've taken. So there is no ultimate improvement. No fix. Just adaptation.

No I haven't improved any lives. I haven't improved myself. Nothing is better in this world for having been touched by me. It's something I have to accept. I won't pretend to redeem the world. Or myself. I won't claim to make things better. Instead I'll punish Redemption. His agony won't improve the lives of his former victims. It won't take away their pain. Nothing can return what he has taken. Instead, his cries will assure them that has lifespan has been shortened. His injuries will reduce his ability to claim further victims. I can't fix lives. I can't make scars disappear. I can't truly make the world a better place....but I can direct my violence. I can choose who experiences it, and why. For now, that'll have to be enough.