Old Soul

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Theodore Jones was an old soul, although that was a bit of a misnomer. He had witnessed the rise of countless empires, followed by their inescapable decline to ash. This intrinsically linked cycle was sure to leave a path of carnage in its wake. After all, empires were built atop the bones of rulers and their victims alike.

The passage of time, the source of all decline, would grind everything down to a fine dust. Perhaps that had been the premise for the sands of time analogy Theodore thought? The great temples of past-religions were a testament of society's transformation. These great centres had once been the focal point of communities, the forges which powered empires. Now these marvels of architecture, which had taken generations to build were hollowed out or reduced to rubble.

"Now that is progress," he said before adopting a smirk that made all but the surest men uneasy.

Many empires had collapsed because he played a part in manipulating key events. It was not by accident that weaknesses were incorporated into the Great Wall's design then leaked to the Mongols. Nor was it a coincidence that the Mongolian horde later used river boats for their invasion of Japan. A seemingly insignificant risk, which cost them the bulk of their fleet when a typhoon hit.

"Divine wind my ass," he muttered.

He was responsible for the disappearance of the Ninth Legion, a loss that prevented Rome from taking all of Britannia. That particular mishap also bled the empire dry and heralded their decline.

Not all actions needed to include grandiose plans or sinister plots. His greatest achievements had been to load trade ships with plague ridden rats to spread the Black Death. That singular act unleashed a death toll that escalated beyond his wildest dreams, leaving the sweet smell of death lingering in the air for nearly a decade.

These feats were never done as a means to accumulate wealth. When one lived this long, there was a thirst for entertainment, a desire to live through chaos. What incentives did he have in seeing society running like a well-oiled machine?

Even straightforward acts of terror had the potential for a popular uprising and violence. What better way to stimulate the mind then watch as wealthy industrialists were dragged into the street so they could be tarred and feathered?

He had been there to sow the seeds to dissent in France and witnessed the decapitation of every blue blood. That turned out to be one hell of a party.

Of course, such events were nearly impossible to plan with precision. Nothing as complex as the human psyche could be quantified with any real accuracy.

After a few centuries, one got the knack for anticipating the actions of tyrants and despots. They tended to be the simplest to identify since their thirst for power was mixed with an innate distrust of everyone. Two weaknesses which were easily manipulated to override reason and logic.

Zealots were the real problem, with Joan of Arc being a clear example. To think how he inadvertently created that monstrosity by ordering his troops to rape and pillage to their hearts content. This archetype proved difficult to control as the divine path often went against all rational thought.

In the end, all it took was a king-size greed to have the Maid of Orléans burnt at the stake. The smell of her burning flesh made up for all the trouble she had caused. A shame that the collapse of the French and English empires would have to wait for another time. The world was one big powder keg waiting to go; it just needed the right set of conditions to set it off in one fell swoop.

His thoughts were interrupted when another drink appeared before him. As the world came back into focus, his gaze glided over the drink then focused on the bartender.

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