Walked through forest, idly hoped Applejack was right about directions. Had been walking for better part of day and still did not feel like I was getting closer. I look up through trees, catch brief glimpse of tower in distance, not much further now.
Finally broke through forest into massive clearing of fallow land. In middle of clearing sits the tower, just as Applejack said. Tower is massive, black, pair of wings at top, this was it. Wonder briefly how to get inside. Scale side? No, sides were smooth, as if tower was carved from single piece of rock, no windows either.
Walk around tower for a while, finally find entrance. No idea how to go about opening it though. Remembered Applejack's words, if what she said was true then he already knew I was here. For lack of better idea, I approach the doors. As I draw near a loud rumbling sounds from tower and doors begin to open. Pony was right, he knew I was here.
I enter through front and find six separate staircases leading off throughout the tower. Before I can pick one, a torch flares to life above one. I pick that one. Climb stairs for what feels like hours, no way tower was really this high. Staircase finally ends and leads into a large hall, far too large. Dimly recall pony's words about impossible architecture. Follow hallway to the end, faced with final door. I approach it and hear what sounds like someone counting on the other side. Once again door opens before I reach it, was beginning to irritate me.
Enter room and walk into what can only be some kind of M.C. Escher painting. Impossible maze of books and stairs, doors and what look like telephone booths. Room is lit by hundreds of floating torches, room looks like it goes on for miles. Finally gaze is drawn to a rather unimpressive man leaning against a nearby bookcase. Mid to late twenties, but leans on a staff as though hunched under the weight of years. Messy black hair, midnight blue robe, ice blue eyes, pale skin. In right hand he holds a staff, in left a glass of chocolate milk. Appearance makes me think of a crow or other carrion bird.
"And enter." he says, chuckling to himself. "I still got it."
"You are Fate Weaver?" I ask him.
He chuckles again. "No, I am not. I haven't been for several years. My name is Kairos. And if I'm not mistaken you are Rorschach."
I nod in response.
"So, what brings you to my humble library?" he asks, taking a sip from his drink. "From what I have heard about you I can only assume you're here to enact some manner of punishment upon me for the stories I'm sure you've heard?"
I shake my head. "Not my concern. Heard you opposed tyrannical princess, came to find an ally."
"Ah, you've got something of a bee in your bonnet about her haven't you? Unfortunately you came here in vain, I've long since given up any grudge I've held towards her."
I stay silent. He sighs.
"The likes of us should not meddle in this world. Our time is long past." he says.
"How did you get here?" I ask him. "Did the indestructible man send you here too?"
"Unlike you I am not a foreigner to this world, though these days I certainly do feel like one. No, Equestria is where I was born." he explains.
"So humans do exist here?" I ask him.
"They did, once." he says, wistfully.
"What happened to them?"
"Much the same as what I'm sure will happen to your world." he replies.
"Dead?" I ask.
"Very." he says. I feel a pang of disappointment.
"What were they like? How did they die? Why are you still alive?"
"Well they were just like the humans from your world." he says. "Except we had the courtesy to not proclaim to be virtuous while we took the world to pieces around us."
I nod, he was right.
"All humans are the same, world to world, some just go about it differently. We knew what we were, a pox, a plague, a cancer upon the world, and we reveled in it. We knew our faults and we celebrated them, for why would one not take joy in what defines them? Mankind is orderless anarchy and that is how we lived. Eventually our chaotic nature gave birth to the Gods of Chaos, whom we worshipped as the paragons of our anarchistic ways. But eventually the Gods of Chaos did what they did best and we were consumed in the fire of our own making."
"They deserved it." I state. The man looked at me funny for a moment.
"I agree. And if you'd asked any one of the humans from that time you would be hard pressed to find one who disagreed." he said, taking a draught of his drink.
"If man is dead why do you live?" I ask.
"Oh, well I was an immortal daemon prince of the winning god at the time." he said as though commenting on the weather.
"Ah." I say. "So if your god won why is he dead too?"
"Funny story, that." the librarian replies. "Mine was the god of scheming, betrayal, and deceit. When everyone else was dead there was no one for him to scheme against, deceive, or betray, and he ceased to exist once he was without purpose."
"Fate is not without irony." I say.
"Speaking of which, I'm sure the irony of a utopia born from humanity's destruction is not lost upon you." he remarks.
"Not at all." I reply. "Utopia can exist, so long as there are no humans to ruin it."
"How are you faring in this world?" he inquires.
"I survive. Have a small cave in the forest. Kill the predators in spare time." I explain.
"You hate them." It was not a question.
I nod. "They are soft, weak, naive. They have no idea what hardship is like."
He sighs and shakes his head. "Because they can afford to be. This is a utopia, why should they need to know of hardships. Just because humanity is doomed to death does not mean they should suffer with us."
"It is a dictatorship. They have no free will." I persist.
"Yet they are happy."
"It is not fair."
"An old friend of mine once said 'What does it matter if it's not fair as long as it's fun?' There is some truth to it, they are happy, they are content." the librarian explains.
"It's not real, their lives are lies."
"You hate it because it is order. These creatures crave order, it is their way. We despise it, humanity is inherently chaotic, we cannot stand to be bound in such a manner."
"Why do you allow it?" I ask. "Why do you let her tyranny stand? Has she taken your will too?"
"My will is as free and chaotic as ever. I may be the last son of Chaos, but I will sow my Chaos in service to Harmony. It is by my own choice, I will never be bound."
"So says the slave to the free man." I reply.
He takes a step forward and locks his gaze with mine, eyes easily finding mine, even through my face.
"And what does it mean to be free? Even now, you, an agent of order, are still a slave to the Chaos within your heart. You rebel and lash out against the order of this world simply because there is no other conflict for you to strive against. Is that freedom? To endlessly struggle with no hope of winning?
"There is no release from the Chaos, not for the likes of us. We are humans and as such are doomed to our fate. But while we can never escape it, we can still compromise. To put the Chaos within us in service to Harmony, it is the best we can hope for."
I growl. "Never compromise, even in the face of Armageddon."
"And what will you do?" he asks. "Take it from one who has been down that path before. Do not make an enemy of the princess. Do not spurn her friendship."
"Why would I want to be friends with that false princess?"
"Because there is much she can teach you. There is much they can all teach you. Do not push them away, do not hate them for their softness. Instead envy them for it, for they can live in a world where they can afford to be soft. We had no such luxury, our worlds were grim and dark, and they are both dead. Maybe yours yet lives, but in truth it is dead, it has been dead since it was born. And it is with good reason they died.
"A world built upon the foundations of chaos could never survive, only through Harmony can there be hope. So do not push them away, let them in, let them help you. They will not succeed, but they can at least help."
I think on what he said. I do not respond.
"Go back to your cave, rest and think. Then make your choice. Will you allow the Chaos in your heart to rule you, or will you be its master instead and accept their friendship?"
I nod to him and turn to leave.
"Wait." he says. I turn back to him and he holds out a glass of hot chocolate. I can smell it, it's warm Ovaltine. It smells like a cold winter night, wrapped up in a blanket, sitting comfortably by a roaring fire with family. I take the proffered drink, it's as though everyone in this world knows of weakness for idealistic American staples.
Without another word I take my leave, gingerly sipping the steaming drink all the way back down through the tower. It tastes good.
Kairos stared at the empty doorway for some time. He was soon interrupted by the soft clopping of hooves coming out from the maze of books.
"Hello, Kairos." a familiar voice says.
"Hello Celestia." he replies. "How are you this fine day?"
"Well, anxious, but well. How about you?"
"Very well." he replies. "I just had a very engaging conversation with a very nice young lad."
"A friend of yours, if I do recall. A nice boy by the name of Rorschach?"
"He was here?" she asked, her voice nervous.
"He was indeed, but I gave him a good talking to. Don't you worry your pretty little head, my dear."
"What was your opinion of him?" she asked.
"Honestly?" he sighed. "He's beyond redemption. He's set in his ways and nothing you do will change it."
Celestia looked worried. "What should I do?"
"Be his friend. He'll never come all the way around, but with a few friends he should change for the better. If you managed to change me then I'm sure he'll be a walk in the park."
Celestia grinned and nuzzled her old teacher's shoulder. "So you're saying I should just hit him with the Elements of Harmony?" she said with a laugh.
"Maybe not that. But a little kindness goes a long way. Even with monsters like us."
"Oh you were never a monster." Celestia insisted.
"Except for that time that I was." Kairos replied. "I think you should go talk to him again. And this time be nice."
"I was never anything but!" she said, indignantly.
"Well then be nicer."
"Yes daddy." Celestia droned.
"You kids play nice now, I don't want to have to come out of this tower," he chuckled.
"Alright, I'll go talk to him." she said. "Goodbye Weaver."
Kairos shook his head at the pet name. "Goodbye Celestia, visit me again soon."
With that, Celestia teleported away and Kairos was once again left to his books.
"I wonder how I'd look with a hat like his." he mused.