Stream of Consciousness

Azra turned to Archimedes and spoke before Shana walked off, “No offense, old friend. I hold the utmost of respect toward you, but had you treated Asha more harshly for delving into the dark arts when you and Pandemonia advised her against it, she may have made a different choice. It’s possible that she wouldn’t have, but at the very least you would have been able to truly say that you made all efforts at preventing her future bad choices. You are a gentle soul, but there are times where a parent needs to be harsh. At least that is my experience in being a father.”

Archimedes nodded. “You are right my friend, and I take no offense. My gentle nature may very well be my fatal flaw and ultimately lead to my death, and it very likely led my daughter to hers.”

Shana shook her head in disagreement. “I don’t think it was your fault, Grandpa. You don’t know if my mother would have still taken that dark path, even if you had been harsh with her, discipline-wise. In fact, that may have driven her even further, for all you know. My mother was not an adolescent or child when she committed the evil acts that she did. She was an adult and fully aware of her choices. It’s easy to say in hindsight that if you had done this, or done that, that such and such wouldn’t have happened, but the reality is, you do not know what would or wouldn’t have happened had you made different choices. There simply are too many variables involved, and in the end, it all comes down to personal choices.

“My mother made the choices she did because she was addicted to the idea of power and control over others, and such an addiction has nothing to do with upbringing. It is a personality disorder, not a learned trait. If it is that easy to teach evil, then there would be no hope for someone like Belial. But he was forgiven and is taking a new path now.

“In fact, there was likely no one in my mother’s life and experience who was evil for her to have learned to be that way herself because they wouldn’t have been allowed to remain on Sanctuary if they were. So, you can’t claim that your upbringing drove her to that state, that it sent her down a dark path and caused her to do evil acts. You are not the only parent I’m sure who has a gentle heart and nature, and their offspring aren’t led down a dark path because of it. Asha was an aberration from the norm. Her darkness was a personal choice and had nothing to do with how she was raised. You and my grandmother did everything in your natures to turn my mother from that path, but she desired otherwise.”

Archimedes considered Shana’s words, and he finally nodded in agreement. “You are right. I have been overly harsh with myself. It is hard for a parent to see their offspring take a path that is so destructive, whether self-destructive or causing harm to others. It is my ego and arrogance that made me believe that I could have done something to stop Asha from the path she took.

“It is possible that what Azra suggested might have had an impact, but the truth is that you are right, there is no way of knowing if it might have done so. And the facts are, I can’t change the choices I made in the past simply because I didn’t like the outcome. None of us are given that opportunity, or very rarely, and if I am to be totally honest with myself, I don’t think I would make the choice of being harsh with Asha, because it simply is not my nature to do so. I have to accept that my daughter simply was evil because she chose to be evil. Thank you for setting my mind straight, Shana.”

Shana smiled and leaned down to kiss her grandfather as he had returned to his seat. “You’re welcome, and I love you just as you are. Thank you for keeping me safe from my mother’s evil.”

Azra spoke, “I am impressed with your reasoning at such a young age. I may have misspoken in regards to my opinion of how your grandfather raised his daughter. We often get caught in our own personal point of view as being the best way to behave.”

Azra turned to Archimedes. “Forgive me for my own arrogance old friend. I had no right to judge your parenting style.”

Archimedes smiled. “I was judging my own parenting style as well. So, I forgive both of us—me for blaming myself and you for feeling that I could have done better—due to Shana’s reasoning, as her reasoning is sound.”

Shana smiled. “Well, I am going to head to bed. It’s been a trying day, and apparently, I have an early appointment tomorrow.” That made Archimedes chuckle. “Sleep well, my dear.”

Shayde watched Shana leave, impressed with her intelligence and ability to reason. True, she was a bit emotional, but considering her genetics and the fact that she was a female, that wasn’t surprising. Archimedes noticed Shayde noticing his granddaughter, but he said nothing of it and instead turned his attention back to Azra to continue their conversation. It hadn’t been anything important, just catching up with one another.

Meanwhile, the other boys took advantage of Shayde’s distraction to tackle him to the ground, making Shayde grunt but then laugh as he shifted to his wispy shadow form and freed himself. Now that Shana knew the truth and the boat was under a spell of illusion, he didn’t have to hide his true nature.

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