Os had spoken of love: love for his ignorant human children; love for the world; love for Slate himself. Os had been brimming over with love, and good will, and sentimentality. Os was full of *shit.*
Slate knows vengeance, and this life is a punishment as full and painful as any he could have imagined. If there had been anything left of Os--anything more than cliched sentiment, and ridiculous platitudes--he would have ended Slate's life. There was honour in death at the hand of a worthy opponent, a dignity denied to him with Os' final actions.
Full of forgiveness, full of *love,* Os had cursed Slate with humanity.
He had longed for freedom, but not like this. Thousands of years old, and he will grow old, and weak, and he will die within the withered shell of his body. Thousands of years old, and Slate knows the weaknesses of the human body: he has dealt in pain and death, and he can feel his own vulnerability prickling along his spine.
Love the world, for it is beautiful, Os had said. Slate holds no love for the world, and it none for him. The world is dangerous, and Slate is not--not now, born anew, human and defenseless. His sword lays broken, and his enemies cannot be fought with steel alone.
Os had spoken of love, but he has left Slate with nothing but his hatred and his rage.
Some punishments, only love can conceive of.