I've been hunting down the members of Sleight's old magic troupe. None have given me any useful information. No matter how strenuously I question them, no matter how forcefully I beat them, no matter how tearfully I beg them to just tell me what I want to know so I. Can. Stop. Hurting. Them.
The one I visited this morning didn't survive his questioning. He had a heart condition.
When I turned to leave his house, I found Sleight standing in the doorway.
"Who are you?"
Sleight smiled. It wasn't a cruel smile. It wasn't a joyous smile. It was... peaceful. "You know."
"You can't be here. You were trapped in the City."
Sleight nodded. "I was trapped when I was called Sleight who was called John Kramer. But now my identity has shifted. I am a new being. No longer the Empty City's."
I didn't say anything. I stood there and watched him. Waiting to see what he'd do. Trying to figure out what his game was.
"The Eye found me. It entered into me. A new identity was born. I am the Eye. The Eye is me. I am Judgment." Sleight or Judgment or whatever began walking toward me. A knife flashed in his hand. "The sins of my old self burn within me. Soon the flames will consume this body and a new Judgment must be found. But for the time being I live, and I have a purpose. Retribution."
He struck out at me. It was like watching a cobra. I put my arm up defensively and jumped back. My arm stung. Blood trickled down my skin.
"Your sins weigh heavily on you, Joseph," he said. "Accept my cleansing. It is the sweetest fate you can be given. They have all taken notice of you. You cannot be at peace unless your sins are burned away." He struck out at me again, and again I dodged it, and again I felt a new cut running down my flesh.
"I can see all your sins. Even the ones the Sightless One took your memory of. I can see the first lie you ever told. The first person you ever hit. The first time you were ever intentionally cruel to someone. Every sin in your life glows like an ember. It is a wonder people do not burn on their own, so infinite are their evils."
He slashed at me again, and this time I retreated into the Path.
I ran down the trail, and I heard his voice call out to me, as loudly and clearly as if he were right behind me.
"You cannot run, Joseph. Face Judgment, or suffer at Their hands. Either way, your time in this world is growing short."