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When I still had my workshop, an old chessboard and its pieces were donated to me.

The King, The Queen – even the Rooks were well-presented in mint ivory, like antiques that were protected from a forgotten time.

And then there was a cloudy plastic bag that was full of wooden pawns – chipped, abused, and likely replaced dozens of times in the set’s lifetime.

They took on the image of how they’re thought of in the game itself –

The weakest link, like the unarmed men on the battlefield that played their trumpets to signify that the artillery was on their way, all the while settled into the notion that they would be the first ones to feel the bullets of the opposing force.

It reminded me of my own experiences as being a pawn – from the man that was supposed to be my father to the fellow ring rat that treated me like just another stepping stool.

It reminded me of every single time I added the edge to the blade for someone else, only for them to toss me away in some cloudy, throwaway bag as just another thankless tool –

But you needed that tool, didn’t you, Mordecai?

People like The Impaler and I were your necessity – the ace under your sleeve that got you close enough to Sigil to achieve some semblance of revenge.

We were the pawns that restricted the enemy’s movements just enough to where you had the clear advantage.

We were the pawns that defended you just enough so that you could walk away unscathed, because you knew what Sigil was capable of.

And then you were done with us. You played us into your little justification and then abandoned ship, assuming that everyone was content with the accomplished job.

But I think you’ve misunderstood who I am, Mordecai.

Because without a pawn there to take care of your dirty work, you’re sixteen pieces short of a completed assignment.

And n this game of chess, missing a few essential tools can prove to be a bane in your forward motion, my friend.

A violent, hungry, malicious bane that’s eager to show you how your own bullets feel.

But don’t worry about me

Remember, I’m just the pawn that got you both to where you are now.

I’ve no skin in what’s left in this soap opera between the two of you so please, allow me to step aside while this deserved battle inside of the big square commences.

The moment that concludes, however, is the moment that this raggedy, throwaway pawn begins its revival

Where the vultures of the night appear to pick away at the bones to ensure that nothing remains.

Nothing whatsoever

Because once that board is devoid of dreamscapes and portals, sixty years worth of punishment will be administered to a Demon Legion that seems to think that he’s the true necessity.

Silly boy. 

He must have dozed off during the first twenty moves, lost in a haze of excitement over watching a couple of knights beat eachother into a beautiful oblivion.

Because it’s at this point that I’ve got the rook in an inescapable position.

And I call it checkmate.