I kneel before him, one knee bent, the other pressed into the dirt.  My head is bowed.  My armor reeks with blood and the filth of war.  I have been fighting.  I have been fighting hard.  I have the heavy, sick feeling that I have been fighting all the wrong things.  Face away from the leftover ravages of empty war on monsters with black blood.  Denying its existence.  I delighted in it.  The plain behind me is pitted with grey hollows, shrouded in wraiths of mist.    I am alone.

He stands before me, a pillar of bright yellow light, vaguely man shaped.  I know him–my heart responds to his presence.  Guilt, shame, iron-shod heavy.  Drawn to him, pulling, tugging inside me.  Darkness.  I hate myself.  He is kind.  I know his eyes are on me, I look at them, and know them.  Even though I cannot see them clearly, I feel that I can, as if with another kind of seeing.  My heart sees.  My heart knows.  My body, my soul, bows before its King.

He wants it, the dark parts of me.  He wants me to surrender them.  My spine rebels, hard, tensing, at the thought, the muscles in my back clenching.  Anger rises, billows, smokes.  I take a deep breath.  I recognize this sickness, this disease. Own it.  Love it even as I hate it.  Let it go.  This warrior must fall.

I will it up, the black, oily darkness, from every part of me.  Will it up, snaking, from my toes up through my torso and in from my arms and fingers.  Gathering in my chest.  My head jerks back, my chest heaves upward, I close my eyes, mouth open.  It leaves me, I can feel it, spiraling up from the center of my chest, wafting in the air.  Repulsive.  Infecting.  Evil.  Breath leaves me, whispers from my mouth as it escapes me.  He absorbs the snake into himself, and it vanishes, as if it never was.

My limbs feel lighter, my shoulders more buoyant.  I feel like light.  I open my eyes, look at myself.  Shining new raiment, cloth I have never touched, textured and real, barely kissing my skin, loose.  A white, long-sleeved jerkin buckled over light brown, ankle-length breeches at the waist.  At the same time the most real thing I have ever felt and the most otherworldly, like it could vanish at any moment yet leave me aching for the wonderful truth of it.  My blood, my filth, my weapons, gone–just a weighted memory of a reality.

I look up at the King.  He is smiling, I know.  He reaches out his right arm and slides a glimmering sword into the leather loop attached to my belt on my left side.  I draw it in a smooth, clean motion, lay it across my palms and fingers, survey it in admiration.  Long.  Light.  Clean.  Sharp.  Shining.  Mine.  I sheath it again, and look up at the King.  My heart, the thing in my chest tells him, I am surrendered.  I am finally at peace.  I am yours.

He looks down at me.  Powerful.  Righteous.  Loving.  “I have loved you with an everlasting love,” he says.  His voice is strong, commanding, gentle, reassuring, authoritative, confident, kind.  Too many things at once to think of, only feel.  A pause.  Then, “Now go out into the world and be my light.”

And I do.